Apollo Manchester 31st March
There is something special about the Apollo Manchester, before this gig I was watching YouTube and the Beatles gig in 1963. Some musical giants have played here and Ghost have just joined them.
They are promoting their new EP Popestar, and Papa Emeritus wants you to engage with him. I have never seen the band live before, but over the years have played them consistently on my radio show so with high expectations I stood there taking in ”Miserere mei, Deus’,’ a Gregorian chant, blasting through the PA. Then as the Lost Souls emerge onto the stage, the Swedish Papa Emeritus’ voice cuts through and we are off into a journey of pure theatre and performance.
The sold out crowd hung onto every word— and here was me thinking Manchester hasn’t got a huge rock scene, that the crowd would be mostly newbies, like myself, here to watch the ‘‘new kings of rock”. I was so wrong. From the opening song of ‘Square Hammer’, to the closing ‘Monstrance Clock’, the crowd knew every word. Although there were the obvious satanic themes and devil worship in abundance, (Geezer’s Wheatley fandom has had long repercussions) Papa didn’t take himself seriously and with his on-going banter with the audience (He seemed to have discovered the word Mancunian) making him more ‘with the crowd’ than some aloof pretentious beings (of whom I could name many).
We had flames, we had smoke by the bucketful, even ticker tape blasted onto us. But more importantly we had great music. Although classed as metal, it was very classic rock to me and Papa himself reminded me of a cross between Dave Vanian (the Damned) and Fee Waybill (the Tubes); a wonderful mix.
A few years back I read how rock was now done and dusted and the only remnants were the 60 somethings, having their final encore, but if Ghost and a few other new bands have anything to do with it— Rock has found its new Spring equinox.
On the way out of the venue a group of people asked me for the directions to Satan’s Hollow (a rock club here in Manchester). I smiled as seemed such a fitting end to the night.