Venue: Rough Trade NYC (Brooklyn, NY)
Label: Loma Vista Records
Just this past Friday, the band Ghost released their brand new album “Meliora” which comes care of Loma Vista Records. It’s their third full length release and also the first one to feature “new” singer Papa Emeritus III so you can imagine that their fans are super excited about the new music and developments in the lineup. Shortly before the album’s release date, the propaganda announcement came that the band would be embarking on a short series of acoustic performances under the title of “Unholy Unplugged”. There were just about a half dozen of these performances to the run and our regional show would be at the relatively new Rough Trade NYC record shop. This massive space is something to see down in Williamsburg if you consider yourself to be a true melomaniac. The first three hundred fans that purchased the album on the release date would get a wristband to see the show for free AND get to do an exclusive meet and greet with the guys and get their new album signed.
The gig was set to start at 2pm but was running a few minutes late which was a relief for me since my train trip here to Williamsburg was a nightmare. The line of ardent fans was still filtering in and looked to be down around the corner which was awesome to see. Since there is no sort of photo pit area and no means to get down up close based on all the diehard early arrivals I secured a space on the balcony and as soon as I pulled out the gear the guys in Ghost were making their way to the stage. It was a simple set up with two stools and acoustic guitars for the Nameless Ghouls and a microphone for Papa III. They were met with great applause and shouts and Papa spoke to us all very candidly saying this was something entirely new and they were just winging it. He inquired about who was a drummer in the audience and while I was, I was a little far up from them to help out and it would get in the way of some photo taking anyway. He found some folks in the crowd to hold shakers, sticks to clack and a tambourine. I think the fans loved the idea about helping the band out with their set. It made them feel all the more special about the event. The first song would be “Jiggolo Har Megiddo” from their sophomore album “Infestissumam” and I had to say that hearing their melodies in acoustic fashion was a very interesting experience. Now while that might sound like a “safe” statement, what I am getting at is that they sounded fantastic and that this first selection from their repertoire really worked out well. Onward and upward we would go.
With the second tune Papa III would be a little more vocal about the audience participation needed and asked us if we could all clap but he didn’t want a lazy persons clapping along off the mark but more of a furious Spanish clap which required a little bit of temperament. It was funny but when they started to play “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen” it all made more sense. He suggested we were quiet for the soft parts and when he brought out a kazoo for this section of the song I nearly bust a gut. It was very, very strange but so much fun. The faster part of the song for those who knew it had the quick paced clapping and it just brought the tune to larger life. Everyone was singing along. Now since this was the final gig on the run and we were in NYC I almost expected a little something extra from Ghost but that would not be the case in terms of song presentation. Papa III was clearly moved deep down to his dark core and coldest of hearts by the response the fans were giving him and said how he always appreciated the treatment that Ghost received in this city as New York was always very kind to them, or so he had heard from his brother Papa Emeritus II. His talking led us into the bands cover of “If You Have Ghosts” which is a Roky Erickson tune from the EP of the same name and then almost as fast as it began it was over and the band collected their percussive things and exited the stage. I was a little surprised to not hear any of the new material done in acoustic fashion but was fine with the tunes they chose. Papa III introduced his Nameless Ghouls on guitar as Alpha and Omega so I guess they are not so nameless anymore.
I should mention that the sound in this space was awesome once more and though packed it looked as though there was sufficient room for everyone even though about 300 fans were gathered. There is also a full bar down there and I made sure to grab an ice cold beer for myself after the proper work had been done. You cannot bring beverages into the record store of course but who wants to shop and drink anyway. After about twenty minutes the band re-appeared in the record store part of the space and began greeting their fans. They were only signing the album and now permitting any photos to be taken with them which I knew bothered a few people but hey rules are rules. This was a great idea and something that I hope we find the band doing once again. I am not adverse to a more comprehensive Ghost acoustic performance at all since the tunes they selected for this brief tour worked out so well. The new album “Meliora” is excellent and I will be reviewing that soon as well so stay tuned. Welcome Papa Emeritus III, Ghost will be setting our North American region on fire in a few short weeks so you best get prepared for their icy cold grip upon our live scene.
Full Ghost Photo Gallery: https://piercingmetal.com/ghost-live-photos-rough-trade-nyc-8232015/
1. Jiggolo Har Megiddo
2. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
3. If You Have Ghosts
Now please enjoy a bunch of photos from the signing.
After the whole signing line had finished, I managed to get a quick group shot of the guys before they were on their way. I wished Papa III all the best as their new singer and he nodded his approval 🙂
Here’s a few shots of some of the fans and the first one features my good colleague in media Luis along with Andy from Rough Trade NYC.
Hey that’s Paul from Black Anvil. His band is in process of recording the new album so watch out for that.
One of the fans had crafted this stylish Ouija board for the guys in the group. There was one for each of them in attendance and I just had to snag a photo of it. Sadly I did not get to photograph the planchette (that’s the heart shaped pointing thing BTW) which was a shame since it had Papa III’s grim visage on it. Oh well. I thought it was pretty cool that someone did this for them.
Let me close this part up with some shots of the Rough Trade Records store. Look at the size of the place. I am coming back for sure as soon as I can find some time to do so.
As the customers made their way off of the signing line, Miss Freddie here handed them a cool poster. No the band was not signing this as it was a CD or Vinyl only sort of thing but how cool is that to get yet another takeaway from today’s event. Nice work Rough Trade.