Ghost B.C. has positioned themselves as one of the most interesting – and polarizing – bands in music today. Not at all black metal, but with all of its satanic trappings; candy-coated pop without any the sweetness; gimmicky but presented with a conviction that is admirable. You either love them or hate them, but you know who they are. I have loved the band since the first time I heard ‘Year Zero’. Deny it all you want, but the moment you heard the choral bellows of “Belial, Behemoth, Beelzebub! Asmodeus, Satanas, Lucifer!” You were caught off-guard and they had your attention. I would dare say that those who do not like them have to grudgingly admit this band takes their music as seriously as their image. But can they deliver all of this dichotomy, pomposity and schtick live?
The answer is a resounding YES. Ghost has created a sound that appeals to a broad range of rock fans. The have the melodic sensibility to corral rock/hard rock fans, the horror/punk edge that appeals to the punk rockers, and the lyrical/visual melancholy dripping with keyboards that woos the Goth crowd. Even with that mix, their music still has enough crunch and groove to appeal to many metalheads, especially those who appreciate singing as opposed to the screamers that dominate the genre. The crowd is as undefinable as the music they have come to experience, but one word that could be used is dedication. While the crowd was very respectful of the rockabilly-tinged crooning of Seattle-based opener King Dude, it was clear from the t-shirts, face paint and chatter who the throng was there for.
From the background music, to the lighting, to the incense, to the cathedral-like backdrop complete with stained glass windows, Ghost knows how to set a mood. Much credit has to be given to the attention to detail that makes you feel as if you are part of a satanic church service as much as a show, and that it’s more than just throwing on some face paint and a costume. This band is so 100% committed to their image and its presentation, even a non-fan can respect it.
The Nameless Ghouls filed onstage to the gloom of ‘Masked Ball’, and launched into ‘Infestissumam’. His Unholiness Papa Emeritus II strolled onstage and up to the microphone for ‘Per Aspera ad Inferi’ complete with his Pope-esque robe (with inverted crosses), the mitre (tall pointed pope hat), and the staff bearing the huge Ghost logo on its top. He is striking figure, and all of his movements, gestures, and speech patterns during his between-song commentary shows this man has done his Papal homework. Stoic, never headbanging, never so much as a sway or dance, he really bears himself as the role requires. The front line of Ghouls are quite animated, and interact with each other and the audience more than some reviews would lead you to believe. The band’s musicianship was tight and quite exceptional, able to nail the genre-skipping their songs demand with ease. The fans were screaming along to every word, swaying and dancing, and there was even a pit now and then. The last song performed was ‘Monstrance Clock’, and ended with the band leaving the stage to the crowd’s chanting of the lyric, “Come together, together as a one! Come together for Lucifer’s son!” I have not seen this kind of intense reverence for a band since I saw Neurosis last summer. These folks are INTO IT. And it was a damn good time.
For all of its darkness, it was fun, amazing concert experience. Even if you are not their biggest fan, do not pass up the opportunity to see Ghost live – it will be worth every penny of that ticket.
Ghost Set List:
Per Aspera ad Inferi
Jigolo Har Megiddo
Con Clavi Con Dio
Body and Blood
Here Comes the Sun (Beatles cover)
Depth of Satan’s Eyes
Stand by Him
If You Have Ghosts (Roky Erickson cover)
WORDS: LYNN JORDAN