Swedish occult metal act Ghost could be the next big crossover heavy metal band, and last night's show at the Granada in Lawrence showed just why.
Ghost (or technically knows as Ghost B.C. here in America due to a copyright) is a hard rock/heavy metal band in a similar vein of Blue Oyster Cult, Mercyful Fate and Black Sabbath. The band has catchy melodies and danceable rhythm but supplements it with hard-hitting guitar riffs, heavy bass and twin guitar solos. Behind the group's catchy music is some of the most satanic, evil lyrics that rock and roll has had in quite some time. While there has been a resurgence in this style of heavy metal in the past few years, Ghost has employed a few gimmicks to plant them firmly at the front of the pack. For example - none of the members identities' have been exposed to the public.
Headed by the enigmatic and entertaining Papa Emeritus II (possibly Tobias Forge of Swedish death metal band Repugnant? We may never know), the head of the band dresses as a satanic Pope, complete with robes, hat and skull face-paint. Papa roamed the stage at the Granada, constantly shaking hands with the feverish crowd and encouraging singing along - he had the crowd in the palm of his evil hand from the night's beginning. The rest of the band, credited as just "A Nameless Ghoul" for each instrument, sounded fantastic. The two guitar players each were almost as animated as Papa Emeritus, they were headbanging and stepping out into the crowd during guitar solos - they had their own personal styles onstage despite being one of five similar figures clad in all black with a black mask.
The crowd was nothing short of overjoyed by the time Ghost took the stage. There were raucous sing-along's to "Per Aspera Ad Inferi" and "Con Clavi Con Dio," a sight to behold considering the concert was held in the heartland of America and the choruses of these songs aren't in English. The loudest responses of the night came early for "Ritual," Ghost's first crossover hit that had them picked up on every rock magazine's radar, and "Monstrance Clock" to close out the night, with it's catchy chorus "Come together/Together as one/Come together/For Lucifer's son." Papa Emeritus even gave some roses out to the women in the crowd, playing up his "satanic playboy" image to the fullest extent. It's obvious that Ghost don't take themselves very seriously - they included a cover of The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun" and Roky Erickson's "If You Have Ghosts" to the delight of the crowd. Ghost know their niche and their gimmick, but they know how to back it up with solid music and a solid performance.
Opening band King Dude were musically different from the heavy metal stylings of Ghost, but almost identical in lyrical content. Fronted by one man on guitar that swung in vocal stylings between Johnny Cash and Johnny Rotten, King Dude is a neo-folk/country trio with heavily focused satanic lyrics. Opening for a hyped band like Ghost might've made them worried about crowd reactions, but the Granada was extremely receptive to them. By the end of the first minute of their last song "Lucifer Is The Light Of The World," the crowd was singing and dancing along. Not an easy feat to accomplish for an opening band!
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