Rock City Nottingham 14.12.15.
Tonight’s show, being so close to Christmas, was a welcomed break from wrapping presents! As it was on a Monday, it was a nice late opening of the doors, so I had plenty of time to get to the gig aswell. As there were only two bands on tonight’s bill, the action didn’t start until 7.30pm, so plenty of time to look at all the lovely merch available!
It was suggested to me, that I get to the show early enough to also check out the only support band Dead Soul tonight, so naturally I did. Beforehand, I managed to check out the bands new single ‘The Fool’ taken off their second full-length album, ‘Sheltered Sky’, which was released on October 23 2015 via Century Media Records (World excl. North America & Nordic) and Razzia Notes (Nordic)! Incidentally, I really liked the sound these guys had produced on that single, so it made me want to check the band out live. We were offered an interview with the band and had I known that the traffic was going to be as quiet as it was, we would have taken them up on the offer, to get to know them off stage. Ah well, hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Dead Soul are from Sweden, as are Ghost, so they must be familiar with each other enough to be asked to go on tour with them. They may even know who the nameless ghouls are in real life…..? Dead Soul, as a band name, is quite well suited to their musical style. I don’t mean that dis-respectfully, but their sound and style is that of mindful, thought provoking beats melted with a deep rock sound. Think Nick Cave meets Nine Inch Nails meets Johnny Cash and you might get an idea of what awaits you. Dead Soul is the gloomy alliance of the rough and unpolished delta blues of Anders Landelius and the electronic music of Niels Nielsen, which together creates a unique, dark rock sound that one could describe as industrial doom blues.
If I can picture the scene – we see three musicians before us, two of whom hold guitars in their hands, yet both stand in front of a keyboard, appropriately furnished with red Christmas lights on the front, very festive! The lead singer looks as though he’s either fallen out of a production of the Blues Brothers, or his favourite TV character is non other that Heisenberg from Breaking Bad? Non the less, his voice is very good. Although the two guitarists are very talented, the drum and electro beats are all produced using the keyboards. The purists may say, why don’t you just get a drummer, but then that’s what you’d expect I guess – this is different and does show how multi-talented they are!
I found these guys enjoyable to watch and live, I caught a glimpse of Monster Magnet minus the heady trip brought on by the hypnotic lighting that the band provides at their live shows. Dead Soul however, appeared to forget about stage lighting all together, for the first two songs at least. Even the third song wasn’t much better! If you’re a relatively unheard of band in a new country, may I suggest you provide better stage lighting, as it helps me, to help you – food for thought there!
As a side note, Monster Magnet have today announced they will be returning to these shores in 2016, be sure to check them out also, as I personally love that band!
So then, Ghost B.C (Before Christ) where do I begin, maybe at the beginning, I guess! As stated, the band originate from Sweden, well it’s been confirmed the lead singer Papa Emeritus III does at least, the rest of the band, known as The Nameless Ghouls, are just that, nameless and unknown, so they could be from anywhere! To help hide their identities the band all wear identical black outfits and ghoulish masks, that wouldn’t look out of place in a gothic church built in the dark ages. They are pretty cool masks though, I love them and look great in my photos – even if I do say so myself! The only identifying feature amongst these five are the instruments they play, of which, they are further identified by a unique symbol which represents that instrument and it’s role in the band! As for Pappa, he’s dressed as some kind of satanic priest, raised from the dead, clad in all things anti-religious, such as upside down crosses and other satanic symbols. In all fairness, the bands look relates heavily to the music and lyrical content within their music and helps to create a theatrical show that’s nothing short of entertaining, from the first chord, to the last drum beat!
I, like so many others have struggled to understand this band musically and their first two albums hadn’t really captured my imagination. Some have taken things a little too far with regards to Ghost’s mis-matched musical style and appearance, going as far as to start a petition to prevent this band from ever playing again which was a little ridiculous, if I’m completely honest, but as they say, bad publicity is still publicity non the less and it certainly sparked my imagination to get to know more about the band. I’d like to think the bands third and latest album, titled ‘Meliora’, released earlier in 2015 was an attempt to silence those unbelievers and made a conscious effort to produce music more suited to their appearance, therefore making their sound more satanic? Whether that’s true or not, I’ll probably never know, but this album has helped me to identify with this band more, in particular the track ‘From The Pinnacle To The Pit’ which is an amazing track!
Thankfully, tonight I got to photograph the band and they played that track within my allocated first three songs, so to be stood two feet away from the band as they performed one of my favourite tracks, off one of my favourite albums of 2015, was something very special!
Taking that one step further, now I’ve actually seen the band live, I can truly appreciate why the band look the way they do as their live show is just that, a very entertaining show which has an awesome sound track! I’m now pleased to say, I’ve been truly converted, I’m just sad it’s taken me so long and that I wasn’t one of the true believers who’ve stuck by this band since their conception in 2008!
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)