Ghost – O2 Academy, Bristol 20/03/13

As soon as the Jägermeister tour was announced, I knew that I absolutely had to attend. With tickets priced at only £5 and a lineup featuring both Ghost and Gojira, it was a night that couldn’t be missed.

Kicking things off were Welshmen Revoker who got the night off to a brilliant start. Revoker is a band who I have seen many times and I just can’t seem to get enough of their live show. Singer/guitarist Jamie makes being a frontman look effortlessly easy and when you pair that up with the fantastic instrumental skills of the other three members, it’s a recipe for success. The four of them just have so much energy and enthusiasm for their music that it’s a pleasure to watch.

Opening with Time To Die, they continued with an extremely strong and energy-filled set, with Psychoville, The Great Pretender and Stay Down going down especially well. They even treated the audience to a new song, which sounded very promising (they are currently writing and recording material for their upcoming second album to be released some time this year). I was, however, a little disappointed that they didn’t close their set with my personal favourite of theirs, Born To Be An Outlaw, since I personally find it to be an incredibly satisfying ending to their always brilliant sets.

Following Revoker was The Defiled, who were like a tranquilizer dart in comparison to Revoker’s shot of energy. It was hard to differentiate between their songs, due to them all sounding identical to one another, and they just didn’t grab my attention. I was especially bothered by the way their keyboardist “The AvD” manhandled and threw his keyboard about onstage, seemingly showing no respect for his instrument – I was surprised it still worked by the end of the set! They were popular with some members of the crowd, but The Defiled are definitely not a band for me.

Another thing that I wish to note, which wasn’t a problem for any of the other bands on the bill, was their sound. I don’t know if it was a choice of the band or whether it was a decision made by the venue but it was just too loud, the bass especially. I go to a lot of gigs so I naturally anticipate there to be a lot of noise, but if I have earplugs in and the music is that loud that it still deafens me, and if I can feel the vibrations from every single note…then you definitely have a bad mix and should tone it down considerably.

Thankfully, Gojira got things back on track, playing at a much more reasonable volume and their sound mix sounded incredibly crisp and clean in comparison. They played in front of an impressive lit-up stage fixture of their most recent album, L’Enfant Sauvage, and they played a set littered with crowd favourites such as The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe, L’Enfant Sauvage and The Gift Of Guilt.

They went down an absolute storm, with the crowd frantically moving about and also chanting their name at every possible opportunity they could. The atmosphere was electric in the room and for me, their best track was Wisdom Comes. It was executed perfectly, with each note resonating about the room – the guitar riff in the song is simply magnificent, especially in a live setting. Gojira are a fantastic live band; their music just comes across so much better in a live environment.

The final band of the night was the enigmatic Ghost, a band shrouded in mystery that do not reveal their true identities. The band consists of six members, with sole vocalist Papa Emeritus II dressed in black cardinal robes and the five instrumentalists in black hooded robes, known only as “The Nameless Ghouls” – just adding to the mystery of exactly who this band is.

They came out onto the stage in front of possibly the most impressive backdrop I have ever seen – a multi-layered affair of stained glass windows – which really gave the impression that we were in a church and that Papa Emeritus was preaching to us all. He moved about the stage with elegance and grace and on rare occasions reached into the crowd to shake audience members’ hands as if he were a real and revered religious figure. The whole bands stage presence was just unreal; I’d never seen anything like it before and I’m not sure if I ever will again.

The set was chock-full of songs from their debut release, but they also played a small selection from their upcoming album, Infestissumam, namely Secular Haze and Year Zero (both already released online) and closed their set with a previously unheard track called Monstrance.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the set was how they made such good use of a smoke machine. To put it lightly, I am not a big lover of them since for me their only purpose seems to be to decrease visibility of bands onstage and to make me cough, but the way Ghost used their smoke machine was masterful. They basically got it to blow out that much smoke that the whole stage was covered in it and whilst ordinarily I wouldn’t have liked this, it added so much ambience to the show and worked so well for them. It just suited them perfectly.

Overall, Ghost played an absolutely faultless set and I strongly advise everyone to go and see them – they put on one HELL of a show!

7/10

Ghost: Website|Facebook

About Natalie Humphries 1819 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: nathumphries@soundscapemagazine.com or @acidnat on twitter.

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