Ghost, perhaps one of the most entertaining names in rock music today, made their Ottawa debut on Friday night. Although the turn-out was disappointing, Tobias Forge and the Unknown Ghouls most certainly were not.
With a paltry 2500 tickets sold, the Canadian Tire Center felt empty – and cold. For a building that holds a touch more than nineteen thousand bottoms during hockey games, it was a shocking site. Where was everyone?!
Hamilton the night before had been packed, from what fellow media members told. And their performance at Heavy Montreal this past summer was jam-packed with ghouls.
Nevermind, both bands tonight played as if the arena was bursting at the seams – and those that had shown up were in for a treat.
The night began with the hard-hitting tomes of the rapidly emerging Nothing More. Singer, Jonny Hawkins, climbed up a ladder and used his muscular frame to wind up a crankshaft air raid siren that signified the start of their set. One where Hawkins remained uncharacteristically fully dressed – almost! Barefoot, the well-toned vocalist normally performs topless. Not tonight.
Nothing More turned heads. Those that hadn’t heard of them before were beside themselves with the discovery of this group. Modern metal with a twist. A Skrillex cover and a robotic thing, for lack of proper description, that Hawkins climbed into and used to drum up a frenzy.
The quartet’s final number saw everybody on stage battering a drum. Nothing More were highly amusing and seriously entertaining.
Ghost were as I have come to expect – phenomenal. This being my fourth time seeing the band – and second this year, I was still awe. This tour was geared towards arena-sized venues. Lots of stage set-up and visuals. A two-tiered affair with the drummer, third guitarist and keyboard-playing Ghouls sat upstairs, with a staircase running up and down that the other two guitarists, bassist and Tobias could roam around on.
I was most curious to see how their incredible outdoor performance in Montreal would translate inside a large arena; and was pleasantly surprised by how massive the whole ordeal felt. Ghost were as amazing and always.
Drawing heavily from the likes of Alice Cooper and King Diamond, Ghost are a throwback to better days in popular music while remaining fresh and new. Yes, it’s schtick and camp, and on recent releases very much influenced by the 80s – which is the trendy “in” thing these days. But so what. Ghost are to music what Stranger Things is to television.
For two hours, Ghost rocked what was by all accounts an intimate show. A fluke and poor judgement by Ottawa’s rock n’ rollers.
All the best songs where played. Including the A-side off of their newest seven inch EP, “Kiss The Go-Goat”. There were pyrotechnics and stage antics and banter and so much more.
Ghost have grown up to be everything their early days promised they could be and I can’t wait to see where they go from here. They fill a glaringly huge hole in rock music. A real arena rocking band that comes to entertain each and every night.
My taint tickled. My ass jiggled. My socks once again rocked off. Ghost reign supreme.
Rather than trek back to Montreal after the show, we chose to stay and make a weekend of it. The city core of Ottawa was filled with people that approached us and inquired about the show they hadn’t attended the night before. Ottawa has Ghost fans – they just didn’t make the drive out to Kanata for the gig.
Hopefully Ghost are forgiving and return to Ottawa – and those that missed out come out for a taint-tickling, ass jiggling good time. I hope they do. I hope.
Review & photos – Kieron Yates