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Wednesday 11 November 2020

A View From The Living Room: Moonspell Live Stream (Review By Paul Hutchings)

Moonspell: Halloween 2! 6th November

Live streams are becoming a way of bands keeping in touch with their fans. And also, a way of band members getting back on the stage with each other, and kicking out those jams. A gentle, slightly artificial but necessary reminder of those pre-March days when we took concerts as part of everyday life. Originally planned for Halloween night, Portuguese gothic rockers Moonspell finally lifted the cobwebbed curtain a week later and delivered a show that reminded us exactly what we are missing. 

Pax Julia is a local theatre, built nearly a 100 years ago which sits in the ancient town of Beja, some two hours north of the Algarve capital Faro. It was this setting that provided the backdrop for Moonspell to cast their magic. 300 socially distanced guests, sat at gaps across the stalls, provided a mouth covered roar, punching the air, applauding, and raising the devil horns with a ferocious regularity. Witnessed by thousands of the band’s loyal wolfpack worldwide, Moonspell demonstrated why, 28 years after their formation, they remain an impressive machine. A recent change to the band’s line up is the arrival of drummer Hugo Ribeiro, who this year replaced original member Miguel Gaspar who had been with the band since 1992. Ribeiro slotted in nicely, anchoring the engine with energetic bassist Aires Pereira, whose head banging and constant movement despite being allocated a small area of the stage was one of many highlights.

The evening opened in dramatic style. Frontman Fernando Ribeiro was bathed in red strobes, his cape stretched out wide as he introduced the intro to Vampiria, the first of 17 songs in an action-packed evening. Moonspell’s sound is more than just gothic metal. They switch between the gothic sound they have created over the years with elements of other genres, and often blend elements of symphonic metal with choral string effects. Fernando Ribeiro was the focal point for much of the evening, but he didn’t overshadow any of the other members of the band. Pereira was the most active, whilst guitarist Ricardo Amorim went about his business with little fuss, shredding when needed, with the thick layered melody of keyboardist Pedro Paixão adding to the depth of the songs.

It may have been a slightly artificial event, but those in the seats were clearly enjoying what they saw despite the face coverings and the requirement to stay seated. Moonspell pulled out all the stops with a full production. Banks of lighting, lasers and pillars of smoke were all utilised to provide a first-class show. There was an energy that Moonspell were determined to generate, with Fernando regularly expressing the band’s gratitude in both Portuguese and then English. Two sets of encores concluded the event, with the finale the aptly titled The Future Is Dark.

I’ve watched two live streams in successive nights. One with an audience, one without. Obviously the one with punters was more enjoyable. I’ll take this option for now but if this is the future, then it is indeed dark. To Moonspell, thank you for the effort and enthusiasm. I’m not scoring this. That would be wrong.

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