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GHOST / DEAD SOUL – Newcastle O2 Academy December 16 2015
Mysterious Swedish occult rockers Ghost embarked on their headlining tour of the UK in December and the Newcastle date of the “Black To The Future” tour drew a very sizeable crowd, filling out the larger of the 2 rooms at the 02 Academy with an impressive amount of curious punters drawn out into the cold December darkness to witness one of the most talked about and biggest new bands of recent years work their musical magick live onstage. And judging by the amount of people wearing Ghost shirts it really was clearly evident how far out of the underground scene these Swedish ghouls have came since 2010.
Fellow Swedes Dead Soul had the difficult task of capturing the crowds attention and providing the musical warm up for the much anticipated headliners, this Swedish duo (expanded to a 3 piece in the live environment) are quite an eclectic and mixed musical bag, featuring elements of hardrock, goth, blues, electronica, and horror rock and recieved quite a warm if not somewhat muted response from those in attendance, but undaunted by the task of opening for one of the hottest bands on planet rock currently they performed with confidence and energy and delivered a set featuring some very memorable songs from their latest Century Media released album “The Sheltering Sky”.
The atmosphere in the room whilst the Ghost intro was playing was rather electric with a large portion of the crowd now pushed up closer to the front of the stage and the stench of burning incense only added to the atmosphere and anticipation and as soon as the various Nameless Ghouls entered the stage chants of “Ghost” were reaching fever pitch and Papa Emeritus III was welcomed with a rapturous reception.
The masked musicians played a set that has clearly been well honed from weeks on the road in support of their 3rd album “Meliora” and this was a masterful and majestic performance in every way, from the very striking stage show to the powerful and bombastic music with songs from throughout their discography executed with precision. Older songs and fan faves like “Ritual” slotting in perfectly alongside newer unholy hits such as “From The Pinnacle To The Pit”, the set was obviously focused on material from “Meliora” and the crowd lapped up each song with energetic enthusiasm.
Papa Emeritus is quite the comedian too and his light hearted in between song stage speeches and quips going down a storm with the assembled congregation.
The band concluded the set with the Roky Erickson cover “If You Have Ghosts” and “Monstrance Clock” before finishing of their satanic sermons for the night and leaving a buzz in the air of the 02 Academy.
It will be interesting to see where Ghost go from here in terms of popularity and can they really take their headlining performances all the way to arena status? If there is one band currently capable of rising to such lofty heights it’s Ghost and love ’em or loathe them there is no denying that they put on a spectacular (or should that be spooktacular?!) live show.
WORDS: KAT GILLHAM
PICS: GRAEME J BATY