As is customary at this point, before Ghost took the stage, Jocelyn Pook's haunting "Masked Ball" from Eyes Wide Shut came through the P.A. and perfectly set the mood for what was to follow. At first, the Nameless Ghouls took their places and started off with "Per Asperi ad Inferi" in costumes that resembled a more stylized and less cumbersome doctor masks from the era of the black plague. When Papa Emeritus II strode dramatically forth, the enthusiasm level went up a notch.
See also: - A Nameless Ghoul from Ghost B.C. on Papa Emeritus II being too evil for the Vatican - A Nameless Ghoul from Ghost doing the Halloween thing with a major twist - Review: Ghost at Marquis Theater, 1/27/12
After the first new song of the evening, Ghost played a crowd favorite from Opus Anonymous, "Con Clavi Con Dio," on a stage bathed in red. For "Secular Haze" the crowd let out an even greater sound of appreciation as soon as the carnival music-esque intro revealed which song was next.
Toward the end of the tune, something caused the sound system to drop out for a second, but this didn't even seem to faze the band. The following song, "Stand By Him," sounded less like the usual Ghost faire and more like something KMFDM might do, resulting in one of the only songs of the night where the metal went on the industrial side. Emeritus gestured dramatically like a silent movie actor throughout the whole show.
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After a rousing rendition of "Satan's Prayer," Emeritus left the stage and let the rest of the band shine with the instrumental "Genesis" before returning for another crowd favorite with "Year Zero," which centers on a chorus of "Hail Satan!" "Ritual" would have closed the show out, but shortly after the group left the stage, the band came back out for an encore of "Monstrance Clock."
Earlier in the evening, the show got off to a solid start with Speedwolf. Something happened between the last time some of us saw Speedwolf and now. Gone was the raw exuberance and occasional goofiness of old. In its place was still the raw sound and the healthy sense of humor but bound up with a confidence and poise that made the band look like naturals on that big stage when most of us in Denver have so often seen the group at small clubs and warehouse spaces.
Touring with Napalm Death sure didn't hurt Speedwolf's natural development and Reed Bruemmer joked fairly easily with the audience and thanked us for showing up early and at one point toward the end of the set saying, "Van Halen is next." Speedwolf then treated us to a handful of its finest, fast-grinding tunes in the opener "Speed Like the Wolf," "One Percenter From Hell," "Out On Bail," the paean to, um, stimulants "Up All Night," a searing rendition of "I Can't Die" and closing out with what should be Denver's official city anthem, "Denver 666."
Ides of Gemini solemnly took stage next and probably confused a few people because its music wasn't metal so much as a heavy kind of death rock or, to use a clumsy genre descriptor, pagan metal. Sometimes the music could be fairly same-y but Sera Timms' resonant, haunting voice really carried the songs along.
At times it was reminiscent of early Dead Can Dance when that band was more of a rock outfit and playing hard-edged, atmospheric, dark post-punk. At other times it had sonic qualities not unlike early '80s death rock like early Christian Death and perhaps a later alternative rock band like Two Ton Boa.
The outfit played songs such as the dirge-like "Resurrectionists" and the drone-y "Constantinople" as well as the brooding "Starless Midnight." For every person the band confused it probably made a few fans of its music that doesn't fit comfortable into a genre niche--and we sure need more bands like that.
Ghost B.C. Ogden Theatre - April 18, 2013 Denver, CO
01. Per Asperi ad Inferi 02. Con Clavi Con Dio 03. Prime Mover 04. Depth of Satan's Eyes 05. Elizabeth 06. Secular Haze 07. Stand By Him 08. Death Knell 09. Satan Prayer 10. Genesis 11. Year Zero 12. Ritual
13. Monstrance Clock
Personal Bias: I became a bit of a fan of Ghost when the band played The Marquis last year.
Random Detail: Ran into Curtis Wallach and Suzanne Magnuson, formerly of The River Drifters now of the new band Dudebabes, at the show.
By the Way: Rumor has it that members of Ghost were in the audience during Speedwolf's set rocking out with the audience.
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