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Friday 31 March 2017

A View From The Back Of The Room: Ghost

Ghost & Zombi, Cardiff University Great Hall

When the opportunity to see Ghost on home turf came up it was an experience that was too good to miss, having only seen the band in Bristol, at Festivals and in *shudder* Newport, seeing them in The Great Hall on a Saturday night had all the opportunities of being a bit special. After pre-loading on real ale and mountains of food at a local pub we went into the venue and were met by the multi faceted crowd that always come to a Ghost concert, there were rockers, ravers, goths, a fair few nuns and those with an interest in the weirdness of it all.

After a bit of a wait Americans Zombi (6), took to the stage with Anthony Pattera behind the drums and Steve Moore on keys and bass and kicked off their support slot with pulsing synthwave, a few of the songs were good but the instrumental synth driven music did little to stir the crowd with many getting bored and staring at their phones. All except for the loud, obnoxious and totally pissed bloke that was standing a few feet from me who was sort of a fat Noddy Holder shouting Rock n Roll at the top of his voice along with other even more nonsensical things all delivered at full volume right behind my fucking ear!

As Zombi finished there was much running around to get the stage ready for the headliners 'sermon', as we waited pissed up fat bloke continually heckled, receiving the ire of those around him and then eventually his wife. Yes there was long wait between the acts, so much so that I was anticipating Lordi levels of problems but after about 20 minutes Masked Ball came through the PA, cue obnoxious man shouting "It's A Tape!" We fucking know mate yeah?

The Nameless Ghouls arrived on stage and with a puff of smoke so did Papa and they dove straight into Square Hammer every line was sung back at full voice as Papa III led the congregation in the Satanic verses of From The Pinnacle To The Pit and the doom-laden Secular Haze, the all-new (apparently) Ghouls were on fine form dual guitars a-gogo, thumping rhythm section and huge organs and Papa was singing well despite the use of backing tapes for the layered sections, his vocals were audible from our position, (although the same cannot be said from other parts of the venue).

Cardiff's Sisters Of Sin were introduced to the crowd with explicit warnings to take what they were given and no more in case anyone got too amorous over the sinful nuns. They gave Communion during Body And Blood and Papa decided to de-frock after this to go to his 30's vaudeville style, Year Zero rapidly followed Circe building the atmosphere with two of the bands most recognisable then after the acoustic interlude over the tape, the huge sing-along returned with the pseudo-spiritual He Is which really saw both Papa and the Cardiff crowd in full voice.

Then as the set wrapped up they progressed into the meatier riffs of Mummy Dust, Guleh/Zombie Queen and Ritual, Papa conducting the Gothic Mass as the band's focal point. The encore was of course Monstrance Clock which is stylised as the band and crowd's collective orgasm, as the final bell tolled the lights went up and that was it. A well paced set meant that this was one of the ebst times I'd seen the band, the sound got better as they progressed and the performances were full of fir and visually arresting. The only downside to the performance side was the extended wait before they took to the stage and it was all a bit to quiet until the last part of the gig, still you always get a brilliant performance from Ghost (9) every-time you see them and this was no exception.

I will however just mention one of main gripes about this gig and in fact a lot of the gigs that happen in The Great Hall, the majority of the crowd were fans ready to enjoy the music and the experience, however there a lot of pricks that seemed to be there purely for the 3 for £10 drinks offers and were using the evening as an excuse to get shit-faced. Now as it's a student venue you'd expect it to be the under 30's that were indulging a little too much but no there was a fair few gents who should know better, having been given free reign by their wives for one night. This meant a lot of the normal gig etiquette was not observed making the whole experience slightly dampened by the sheer amount of pissed-up twats at the venue. This was almost in complete opposite to previous night where the crowd at Thunder couldn't have been more well behaved. Still it does seem to be an increasing trend in live shows at the moment. Remember folks have a little respect for everyone else who have also paid their money to be there.               

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