Masked men, costume changes and a devilish sense of escapism. London’s pantomime season may be in full swing but this evening at KOKO, a very different show was playing out.
Taking to the capital for the final night of their ‘Black To The Future’ tour, Ghost impress from the off. As incense burns to the corners, the haunting theremin intro of ‘Spirit’ sees the uniformed Nameless Ghouls take to the stage ahead of the swopping entrance of frontman Papa Emeritus III.
As the grand movements of ‘Meliora’s opening track swell, so does the band. While their frontman conducts with a considered refrain the surrounding Nameless Ghouls go all out, injecting personality into their instrumentals as well as their performance. Despite the anonymity of the band, they forge a connection with the very sold out room through playful little flourishes and a majestic soundtrack.
‘From The Pinnacle To The Pit’ shudders with forward momentum before wailing guitar solos distract and delight while the acutely named ‘Majesty’, conjures an epic fairytale shrouded in threat. On record the songs pop but live the more theatrical moments really come to life. During the evening Papa E. (maybe don’t tell him we called him that) talks to the crowd and promises to bring out The Sisters Of Sin. There’s a warning about not grabbing them but there’s still an air of unease about the imminent parade. When they do march out, the three men dressed as nuns are met with laughter and a sigh of relief before they hand out communion to the front row. “How do you like eating flesh, Londoners,” Papa E. then asks ahead of ‘Body and Blood’. “How do you like drinking blood, Londoners?” Tongues lodged firmly in cheek, Ghost is very much in on the ridiculous elements of their band and they wield it to full effect.
Commanding and bold the group needs to do very little in the way of encouraging the audience – a flick of the wrist here, a nod of the head there – yet the room is enthralled for the duration. Loud as sin and gloriously fun, this isn’t a band out to offend. Oh no they’re not. Ghost is on a mission to entertain.