Ghost @ The Bottom Lounge, Chicago (US)

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GHOST / BLOOD CEREMONY / ANCIENT VVISDOM

Date: 24th January, 2012
Venue: The Bottom Lounge
Ticket: $16 (€12)
Promoter: n/a


DimK: It was a cold night in Chicago with some clouds in the sky, making the entire atmosphere perfect for some occult music and -why not?- some mysticism, since the ‘13 Dates Of Doom’ tour hit our town. Ok, some believe that GHOST are playing the publicity game like pros, but at the same time it’s always nice to spice things up with unknown musicians and a bunch of rumours and speculations. So, after the work the METAL KAOZ crew made the drive to The Bottom Lounge half an hour before the announced starting time and learned that the show was already sold-out. No surprise there, since the billing was really value for money with no filler bands. Entering the venue we found ANCIENT VVISDOM already onstage, performing “Devil Brain”... That was a turn off! Come on, how stupid is to start the show before the announced time? And this was not just a local band chosen to fill the concert time; it was one of the acts of this tour. My frustration became bigger when I realized that ANCIENT VVISDOM gave a killer show. I mean, there was passion and absolute dedication to the music that fitted like a glove the billing aesthetics and mysticism. Nathan handled both drums and vocals, being the center of attention absolutely sunken in ANCIENT VVISDOM’s without losing the connection with the audience. The sound of chains hitting the high hats was simply amazing and there were moments that this gave me the chills. Michael was the perfect partner in crime delivering the down-tuned riffs with an awesome sound, while his almost CELTIC FROST aesthetics really deserved additional kudos. Yep, it was a real shame that we missed most of their setlist. Follow the schedule, people, since it is unfair to the band, but also to everyone who had paid to see three bands and not two and a half... I hope for a second chance with ANCIENT VVISDOM!

ANCIENT VVISDOM setlist:

01. "Alter Reality"
02. "The Opposition"
03. "Necessary Evil"
04. "Forever Tonight"
05. "Death’s Head"
06. "Devil Brain"
07. "VVorld Of Flesh"
08. "By Fire Light"

ANCIENT VVISDOM

Ancient VVisdom @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ancient VVisdom @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ancient VVisdom @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ancient VVisdom @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: I had been waiting for this moment since the release of the occult heavy Doom rockers BLOOD CEREMONY’s debut in 2008 and finally I fulfilled my ecstatic dream to watch the priestess Alia O’Brien (that night simply dressed in ebony black) and her clan onstage. Before I describe my first ever BLOOD CEREMONY experience, I’d like to state the following:

a) I’m sure that the figure on the BLOOD CEREMONY’s debut cover artwork is Alia,
b) Sean Kennedy was definitely baptized by Tony Iommi,
c) Lucas Gadke is a transformed Pan into a human form and his bare feet totally proved my saying.

After the awesome set by ANCIENT VVISDOM, the cosy stage of The Bottom Lounge was set-up within 15 minutes and everything was ready to welcome the four Canadians who have decided to induct us to the very ancient witchcraft and sorcery as it used to happen in Toronto, Ontario. The early start of the concert (especially in a working day) was a big time turn off and after a while I realized that many fans missed even the first half of BLOOD CEREMONY’s part. Well, blame the organizers, the bad management or just a typo on tickets, dunno; anyhow, the 40 minutes set passed so quickly during which BLOOD CEREMONY visited both of their albums.

Having Alia as a narrator, armed with her haunting poses and her carefree headbanging, BLOOD CEREMONY took us back in the early 70s when COVEN had their occult rituals in the woods as the prototype Doom took its lily-livered steps. I could talk about BLOOD CEREMONY’s performance for hours and how JETHRO TULL’s Ian Anderson’s figure came to mind every time I closed my eyes, listening to Alia’s soft and whimsical flute whistling, or how simple she stood  inside the sold out The Bottom Lounge, but I guess it would be a waste of time. You see, you have to be martyrs of a BLOOD CEREMONY set to feel the chills down your spine and bow deep in front of the Canadians’ majesty. It’s just magical listening live to songs like “The Great God Pan”, “I’m Coming With You” or “Oliver Haddo” and live their ritualistic ceremony to really get my saying. “They came, they saw, they conquered” Chicago, leaving our ashes for GHOST. I still got the feeling that BLOOD CEREMONY could have been the evening’s headliners.

“Our coven meets - the Sabbat is nigh”

BLOOD CEREMONY setlist:

01. "The Great God Pan"
02. "Hop Toad"
03. "Return To Forever"
04. "My Demon Brother"
05. "The Witch’s Dance"
06. "I’m Coming With You"
07. "Oliver Haddo"

 

BLOOD CEREMONY

Blood Ceremony @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blood Ceremony @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blood Ceremony @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blood Ceremony @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: “Where were all these almost-satanists who packed the venue for GHOST when Tom G. Warrior was there a year ago with TRIPTYKON?” was the first rhetorical question in my mind, trying to justify the combination of how you can get so many Satan’s disciples at once, just to watch an ascending satanic-driven act with only one release. Well, I still don’t get the Americans’ way music-thinking - or should I say ‘fashion’? Because judging by the crowd’s reactions that night I’d say that the Swedish occult rockers are part of the mainstream scene due to the hidden ids and the covered-in-black-hoods faces. Personally, I was quite curious to see how they could get connected with their crowd who seemed to be fanatic enough (as ELECTRIC WIZARD said once, “Come My Fanatics…”) and if they would manage to deliver onstage the mysticism and ritualistic atmosphere of “Opus Eponymous”.

After the 30minutes break, the five Ghouls stepped in a slow tempo, dressed in hoods like members of a dark sect or something like that, while thick white smoke had already covered the entire stage, raising the crowd’s anxiety even higher, since everyone wanted to catch a certain characteristic or a tattoo mark that could reveal their true identities. Of course, the Ghouls didn’t make us that favour and found their onstage spots waiting for Papa Emeritus I to follow, dressed in his blasphemous priest-cloth with all these inverted crosses and the trademark GHOST sign marked on his coronet, while holding a burning incense, swinging it like a proper Christian priest.

GHOST’s show was super tight, even though there was some dynamics missing due to the absence of the second guitar. Actually, Ghoul #2 left the stage minutes after the start of the set without giving an explanation, costing GHOST the lack of that massive guitar sound that is present in the album. Even with one Ghoul missing, Papa’s MERCYFUL FATE-esque vocals, his poses and gestures (provoking the audience to join the evil Mass) and the devilish lyrical content drove crazy the 400 attendees, who were dancing and chanting Satan - Satan during the 55 minutes set, making the five black-dressed men very happy and proud. Personally, I enjoyed the band’s intro with all the mysterious settings and the opening with “Con Clavi Con Dio”, even though it felt more like a theatrical show and less like a Rock concert. The big winner of their set was definitely THE BEATLES’ cover of “Here Comes The Sun” that GHOST delivered with their own special way, while “Ritual” put an end to this strange but beautiful night.

The time was 09:15pm when the show had ended and there I was, wondering about these all-ages restrictions that don’t want young kids staying late on a week day, but have no problem getting served with all the satanic and blasphemous onstage happenings. Maybe I should rephrase the famous NBA motto into “Chicago, where strange happens”...

GHOST setlist:

01. "Con Clavi Con Dio"
02. "Elizabeth"
03. "Prime Mover"
04. "Stand By Him"
05. "Death Knell"
06. "Satan Prayer"
07. "Genesis"
08. "Here Comes The Sun"
09. "Ritual"

 

GHOST

Ghost @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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