For about three years now, I’ve wanted to shoot Ghost, not because I love their music mind you; but for the mind-blowing photos I always see from their tours. Being a concert-photographer sometimes means you chase and attend gigs for the thrill of getting a creative shot – but doesn’t always mean it’s good music or something we might enjoy. With all that in mind, I headed out to Kings Theatre for the first time to catch a band I knew little about except that they might possibly be Satanists and or, in a cult.
As you approach the historic theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn it seems out of place; like it’s the only thing left that survived from its glorious era and now is surrounded by chain stores and a seedy neighborhood. Once you step inside however, it’s a warm and friendly place with high ceilings and a main hall that is gorgeous and inviting. At a 3000 person-capacity, it’s not unlike the Beacon, but with one wide balcony. The acoustics are also superb as Marissa Nadler showed with her gloom-pop-rock to warm up the crowd. In a rare NYC moment, the near capacity-crowd gave Nadler the silence needed to hear the depth of her tunes.
Once the lights dropped and the masked figures emerged from the foggy darkness, the place exploded and in turn, so did the band with a sizzling “Square Hammer,” which is off their latest effort Popestar. With a quick hello to the sold-out crowd, Papa Emeritus III and crew wasted no time into tearing into “Pinnacle.” That’s when it hit me; Ghost isn’t some dog and pony show, they’re actually pretty incredible musicians and once you look past their stage-getup you can appreciate their distinctive style.
The impressive set would continue with “Secular Haze,” “Devil Church,” “Mummy Dust,” and would finish with a confetti (fake money) filled “Monstrance Clock.” As I watched the show it was obvious that it would be hard to categorize the Swedish band and if was pressed to compare another act musically – would choose an obscure Norwegian band from the 90’s called Madrugada.
As the show was letting out I was happy to had finally gotten some cool pics of the band. But what I came away with was much more substantial – you could take away the masks/anonymity, the elaborate lighting and stage setup and still have gotten more than your moneys worth with Ghost. I still haven’t figured out if they’re actual Satan Worshippers or if they have a cult somewhere – but it doesn’t matter as I genuinely enjoyed the gig, forgot about the shitty world for a few hours and that is priceless.
Article: Shayne Hanley