Ghost Popestar tour Gig Review Leeds o2 Academy 28.03.17

Tonight’s support act Zombi is a strange choice, their electronic prog jams do little to entertain the crowd, though in reality it doesn’t really matter who the opener is because tonight is justifiably all about Ghost. Setting the tone with eerie Gregorian chants, the room fills with smoke and the sweet scent of incense, Papa and his five masked Ghouls take to the stage shortly after and begin with a glorious rendition of the brilliant, euphoric pop tinged anthem Square Hammer. Gimmick’s aside; a chorus this massive can stand toe to toe with any band, factor in that Ghost have indeed fashioned a gimmick which has endless possibilities as well as being a marketing dream (notice the never-ending queue at the merch table) and it becomes apparent that we are in the presence of one of the most vital bands of the modern era.

Everything about tonight’s show is phenomenal, striking a perfect balance between expertly crafted theatrics and seamless musicianship. Every little detail is a work of choreographed genius, the smoke and the lights set the mood for each song, complementing the stained-glass window backdrop whilst the Ghouls work the stage around the prowl of their satanic master. Secular Haze and Con Clavi Con Dio capture the band’s throwback sound, intertwining with Papa’s distinctive vocal and the satanic lyrical content that it spiels, which in turn offers non-stop singalong moments for a crowd who are in fine voice.

Papa Emeritus III conducts the audience in the way only a satanic Pope can, walking the line between frontman and comedian, his tongue firmly lodged in his cheek throughout. The performance steps up a notch when he sheds his cloak and headdress, with this his flamboyant frontman act takes a new form, a more camp and exuberant side fully on display, and that cleverly juxtaposes the bands theme in a way which, without explanation works. Year Zero’s cries of ‘Hail Satan’ fill the room before He Is and Absolution provide of perfect 1-2 of shifting dynamics both however, with structures that simply demand singalongs. Ritual and Mummy Dust provide arguably the most riff heavy moments of the sixteen song set with the latter featuring a face melting key-tar solo, these twenty seconds or flawlessly encapsulate the extravagant nature of this brilliant band.

Monstrance Clock, as usual finishes tonight’s show, rounding off what is another stop on Ghost’s steady rise to the top of the pile all whilst spreading the message of our satanic overlord, any non-believers will more than likely be on their knees (crying for absolution) sooner rather than later because Ghost are without a doubt here to stay.

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