Review: Ghost – O2 Academy, Bristol

Ghost – O2 Academy, Bristol 20 Dec 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, Bristol’s O2 Academy played host to one of the hottest acts around, Ghost. Renowned for their live performance, the anticipation was high. Along for the ride were Swedish brothers, Dead Soul.

 To open the nights proceedings were Dead Soul, another Swedish band that have been creating a name for themselves over the last few years. After recently releasing their second full length, they set off on tour with the mighty Ghost. Taking to the stage, it was clear that Dead Soul had already made an impression in the UK. They had many fans in the crowd and were appreciative of the bands presence. Playing a variety of tracks from both ‘In The Darkness’ and ‘The Sheltering Sky’, they played a full 30 minutes that had the crowd in awe, with many singing along to the lyrics. A spitting image of Breaking Bad’s Heisenberg, the front man’s vocal performance was a step above the album’s recordings. Clearly an experimental band that has developed a niche that can not be pinned down. A great performance and one that will hopefully see them return to the UK in the near future.

 The second of tonight’s double bill are one of the most photographed bands on the planet. Ghost have been one of Sweden’s finest musical exports, and return to the UK after their latest release, ‘Meliora’. As the lights went down, the crowd roared. With many returning fans, and some new, the prospect remained the same, tonight was going to be incredible. Playing for 90 minutes, the band played a variety of tracks from ‘Meliora’, ‘Infestissumam’, ‘Opus Eponymous’ as well as a cover of ‘If You Have Ghosts’. From start to finish, the bands performance was flawless, playing fan favourites ‘From The Pinnacle To The Pit’, ‘Cirice’ and ‘Ritual’. Not a note was out of place, and plenty of showma ship from both soloing nameless ghouls and the mighty Papa Emeritus III. Tonight was my first experience of Ghost, and I was thrilled by the experience they provided. It was a very different approach to live performances that I have previously witnessed. A much more hands off approach as far as audience interaction goes, but it really seems to work in the bands favour. Their visual approach to live music makes them a very striking band and great to photograph. The band’s latest album is certainly something that will gain a lot of new fans and I think here in Bristol alone, they gained a lot. The last night of the current tour is in KOKO, London, before they head home ahead of 2016, and what is set to be another busy year of touring and festivals for Ghost.

 I sure hope that Ghost will to return to the UK in 2016 for the festival season, if not another incredible tour. For now, they have been announced for 98Rock Fest and Rock On The Range in the US. Review and Photography: Siôn Roe

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