Thursday 6 April 2017

Gig Review: GHOST and ZOMBI at The Apollo, Manchester (UK) 31/03/2017

I arrived at The Apollo in time to catch the support band. They were called Zombi and were a duo, made up of a drummer and another guy with some keyboards. Their music is some kind of Electronic Soundscape with an 80's vibe and has no vocals. They seemed to be good at what they do, and the drummer was clearly a particularly good player, however listening to 45 minutes of instrumental Soundscape music is something that someone might do when they're at home and very high. I didn't feel that it worked in a live setting, especially at a Rock concert. I'm sure their material is good in context, but to be brutally honest, they bored the shit out of me. 

Zombi at The Apollo, Manchester 2017

I last saw Ghost in Manchester in December 2015 when they played at The Ritz and they were amazing, so naturally I was really excited to see the band again especially as there had been talk of a new and improved stage show. I was a little concerned as there had been rumours of problems within the band last year which resulted in everyone being fired except lead singer and main songwriter Papa Emeritus III. Naturally, it's hard to know what's going on when everyone in the band is anonymous (since writing this review, that has changed due to details of a legal battle being posted online) so as a fan, I put my faith in Ghost and hoped for the best. I wasn't disappointed, as The Nameless Ghouls were excellent. If I hadn't been told by the press prior to the show, I'd have had no idea that they were different people under those masks.

After a fair wait, which involved roadies in suits doing the sound check in a ceremonial fashion and loads of incense being pumped into the auditorium, Ghost finally opened the show with the killer Square Hammer which had the majority of the room singing along. The band played for a good 90 minutes and packed the show with all the usual favourites including monsters such as Cirice, Year Zero and Ritual. I was a little surprised that they didn't play any covers from their latest EP or the ever popular If You Have Ghosts, but with such a wealth of original material there was no need to. As before, the performance was extremely well choreographed and Ghost put on a show as opposed to 'just a gig'. This time round there was fire and huge smoke machines, and Ghost clearly demonstrated that, as an act, they've stepped up into the big league. I remember thinking that they now look like festival headliners, and funnily enough they were announced as headliners for The Bloodstock Festival a couple of days later.

Tonight was a huge success for Ghost and all in attendance loved them, myself included. I just hope the internal band issues do not compromise the quality of the next album. 


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