October 6, 2013

Concert Review: Goblin at Underground Arts (Philadelphia, PA 10/5/13)

I do not know when, exactly, that I became aware of Goblin. I was late to the horror game, so it was much later in life that I was introduced to horror movies and it was after that that I became aware of the importance of music. I saw Dawn of the Dead and loved it, but the composer did not click. The closest I can think is when I fell for Suspiria and the music for that movie is very distinctive. Since then I have listened to their scores and particularly one of their compilation disks, it never gets old and is just beautiful music.

It was earlier this year that I learned that Goblin would coming to the US and performing at the music and movie festival that Phil Anselmo was organizing in Texas. Oh, to be there, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. Then came word they would be going on their first ever US tour. Things got a little exciting, and then it became real. One of the stops was on a Saturday night in Philadelphia. Now, that is a little outside my usual driving range, but this was set to be a once in a lifetime event.

My problem came when I took the weekend after tickets went on sale to see if I had money and to decide whether or not to go VIP. Well, my delay resulted in no ticket. The event sold out very fast the first day. My heart dropped. It was my own fault. But there was still a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

There is a convention I go to called Monster Mania. At this convention they always have a charity auction for a Yorkie foundation. Before the weekend started, I saw that someone had donated a ticket to be auctioned. So, there I was, waiting for hat item to come up and when it did I sprang to action. I was sure it would price out of my ability to pay, but it didn't and I won! You could have knocked me over with a feather,

Well, with ticket in hand I got in my car and made the three hour drive to the Underground Arts venue in Philadelphia. Once here, I met up with fellow writer James Harris (DocTerror.com). We chatted waiting for the doors I open, meeting a few other fine folks involved in the East Coast horror community, including the folks who were behind this show from Exhumed Films and DiabolikDVD.com.

Once inside we found the merch table, where I picked up a limited edition tour EP. We also saw they had a second room where they were screening classic horror movie trailers from 35mm film. Very nice addition. The venue itself was not very big, but had a lot of personality, from the small stairwell with the cracked paint on the walls to get in, to the industrial feel of the place, to I don't know, it just felt right.


The opening band hit the stage just past 9:30. Secret Chiefs 3, they were called. I had not hear of them before, although I did learn they were formed by a former member of Mr. Bungle. I was told by Paul from It Came From Schenectady and Dead til Dawn Drive In that they were not to be missed. He was right.

They played for about 40-minutes and just floored me. Keyboards, drums, bass, guitar, violin, and trumpet combined to play music of beauty, of dissonance, of awesomeness. This is a band that knows how to build a song, build tension, and take you on a journey. Early in their set they played a great interpretation of he classic Halloween theme and the set closed with a spaghetti western styled piece that was awe inspiring. Secret Chiefs 3 is a band to look more into...


About a 40-minutes later, the mighty Goblin took the stage. Let me tell you, it was a transcendent experience. Their music has the ability to transport you to another place. Even if you don't picture the movies that much of their music is from, there is a still a strong visual element, you will see something, of will feel something. Their music is really unlike anything else that I listen to. There are other bands who have been greatly inspired by them, but no one is able to match the power, precision, and majesty of Goblin, especially when founding members Claudio Simonetti and Massimo Morante are involved.

The first half of their set was filled with such non-score pieces like Roller, Goblin, and Mad Puppet. While I am not as familiar with these tunes, that was no matter. The keys soared, guitars screamed, and everything was right with the world.

The second half was filled withe tunes we all know, with selections from Dawn of the Dead, Suspiria, Tenebre, Phenomena, and Profondo Rosso. If the first half was amazing, this half was glorious. As good as they are on disk, it was an awe inspiring thing of beauty to witness these "rocked up" live arrangements in person. They were load, energetic, and spot on. At times I just closed my eyes and let the music carry me away.

The band was on point and were likely the most technically precise band I have ever witnessed. I could distinctly hear each of the instruments in war was a really good mix, to my ears.

Goblin live is an experience not to be missed. It was worth the drive and I am extremely happy that the band decided to tour the US and that I was able to bear witness to the genius.

Goblin's set list (I believe):
1. Magic Thriller
2. Mad Puppet
3. Dr. Frankenstein
4. Roller
5. E Suono Rock
6. Aquaman
7. Non Ho Sonno
8. Death Farm
9. Goblin
10. L'alba dei Morti Viventi/Zombi
11. Suspiria
12. Tenebre
13. Phenomena
14. Profondo Rosso

Encore:
15. Zaratozom

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