I’m not a terribly spiritual person, to say the least. To be honest about it, the biblical concepts of heaven and hell have just never interested me. I do, on occasion, worry that hell isn’t an endless fire pit and might instead be tailored to the particular individual. If that’s the case, I’ll spend eternity squished on a picnic table between an endless buffet eating Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, who will only occasionally stop chewing and masticating to slap each other on the back and say something like, “Ha! We were right about those damn queers!” Really, am I supposed to work toward the celestial goal of hanging out with those people for eternity?
In any event, the odes to Beelzebub by Ghost (B.C.) crack me up. They remind me of a time when parents thought that Alice Cooper and KISS (Knights In Satan’s Service!) were grabbing their audiences by the lapels to drag them straight to the tormented underworld. This was an important concert to me because (a) I never go to Halloween parties and I thought this would be a fun crowd to check out, (b) I’m conservative looking enough to make said crowed think I’m a narc, and (c) if I do spend eternity in hell, I’ll feel better having a Ghost (B.C.) gig on my rap sheet. If this Saturday night gig was any indication, hell will be replete with pudgy white people that wear black t-shirts and probably play too many video games.
Following the pre-taped introduction, the band hit the stage like a tornado – using wireless equipment gives the guitarists the freedom to stomp around the stage like rabid pachyderms. There’s plenty of flash, crunch, and bombast typical of a heavy metal show, but Ghost isn’t a mono-functional band. There are elements of ‘60s rock (the opening notes of “Jigolo Har Megiddo” are a direct rip from “Sunny Afternoon” by the Kinks), garage rock (the playful organ riff on “Stand by Him”), as well as thrash metal, punk rock downstrokes, and melodic hard rock. On “Year Zero,” the percussionist even plays a beat that would fit will within the context of electronic dance music. The look/image of Papa Emeritus II is obviously a hat tip to King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, but the band also replicates the melodic sensibility of Blue Oyster Cult, as well as the hipster irony that BOC displayed.
The robes and make-up image of Ghost might be the best gimmick since KISS and like Gene’s business entity, Ghost moves a lot of merchandise. This is a band that puts on a show and despite not knowing what is live and what is Memorex, it’s an entertaining spectacle. The group works tremendously hard, often transitioning through whiplash tempo changes to build to Wagnerian power chord thunderstorms. Not everything works – “Here Comes the Sun” (yes, the Beatles song) requires a deft touch, not a sledgehammer and the instrumental “Genesis” was an atypically dull and repetitive number. Regarding cover tunes, the quixotic sci-fi of Roky Erickson’s “If You Have Ghosts” was a much better fit, both musically and within the context of the band’s image.
Bottom line – excellent musicians, fine songwriters, entertaining spectacle, fun night. I still don’t think I’m going to hell (or heaven), but if there is an afterworld, I’ll enjoy whistling “Monstrance Clock” in my interminable post flesh existence.
Grade – B+
Per Aspera ad Inferi
Jigolo Har Megiddo
Con Clavi Con Dio
Body and Blood
Here Comes the Sun
Depth of Satan’s Eyes
Stand by Him
If You Have Ghosts
Going Steady: New Singles 3-17-23 – 3-23-23 Reviewed
it is like a change in the drill direction
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – June 1985 (Volume 17, Number 1)
Creem, at this point, seemed to be looking for new feeding hands to bite.
US Top Ten Albums Tracking 3-10-23 – 3-16-23
a potential top album of the year.
Dawes At Beacon Theatre, Saturday, March 18th, 2023, Reviewed
Refreshingly honest and considerate
Sneak Peaks: Upcoming New Albums 3-24-23 – 3-30-23
can they survive an entire album?
L.A. Burning, West Coast Concert Picks March 20th To 26Th
Fleet Foxes are at the Belasco on Wednesday
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1985 (Volume 16, Number 12)
highlighting hair metal bands simply to make fun of them was more amusing than profitable