Caught Ghost tonight on the 11th show of its 13 Dates of Doom tour, the Swedish band's first ever tour of the U.S.
As I said in my CD review yesterday, I was turned on to this band by a colleague who loves the darkest crevices of metal.
But in this case his advice to check the band out was right on. I got the band's CD Opus Eponymous and was hooked right away. The fact that they had a super theatrical show complete with Peter Gabriel-esque singer in full costume and makeup just sort of shoved it over the cliff for me.
The band packed the Hawthorne Theater in Portland on a Tuesday night no less, and like with seeing Them Crooked Vultures at the Roseland, I imagine this is the smallest venue where I will ever see this band. They are on their way to big things.
Maybe it's the KISS-like mystique, or the catchy music or the Sabbath meets Genesis tunes, but this band has something special. They only played about 50 minutes - their whole CD plus an oddly gorgeous cover of Here Comes The Sun. And no encore. Certainly left us wanting more.
Part of the fun was bringing my friend Dave to the show and not telling him what he was going to see. I broke out the CD in the car on the way there and as expected he dug the music. But as the smoke filled the Theater, I turned to him and said, "Oh by the way, these guys are kind of theatrical."
Turned out to be the understatement of the year.
The band as expected was completely shrouded. There was a notable absence of front lights and no spotlights so for much of the show the band was backlit, meaning you could see their silhouettes but not their fronts. The amount of fog would have made Pink Floyd envious.
Interesting musical notes - there was for sure a backing vocal track a la Rush, because the singer was the only guy with a mic, yet the backing vocals from the CD were very present. Also, the whole band used Orange amps (see photos), which is a very cool deal. They also had a sweet tour bus - I mean nicer than I have seen at shows a couple of levels above this one. Someone is funding these guys to tour in comfort or they made a deal with...oh wait...
Anyway, it was certainly a show I will remember for a very long time, and was pretty much exactly as exciting as I expected. They head to San Francisco tomorrow and I wish I could see them again.
And actually, just today a U.S. tour was announced with Ghost, Mastondon and Opeth, so there will be another chance for you all to see these guys. Like KISS opening for Fleetwood Mac, I expect Ghost will steal the show on this tour.
The merch guy said this tour had exceeded everyone's expectations across the board and I think they can log the Portland show in with this assessment. The show was epic.
Sorry for the disjointed review - I am still buzzing from the show. Below are some of my terrible iPhone photos, plus a YouTube of Here Comes The Sun. Wow.