P H O T O :



P H O T O :



108 THE LIST 1 Nov 2019–31 Jan 2020

NORDIC METAL GHOST SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Mon 18 Nov

Since their diabolical inception in 2010, Ghost are already on their fourth frontman. The first three vocalists Papa Emeritus I through III all met a gruesome untimely end. For 2018’s album, Prequelle, Cardinal Copia wrestled control for the next chapter in Ghost’s campaign for world domination. Unlike his papal predecessors, Copia forgoes the skull

make-up for a slimmed down streamlined look enhanced with ghoulish prosthetics. ‘I thought it would be interesting because previous ones [singers] have come into the band already risen to full exultation. Whereas on this record, I thought it was interesting to meet someone who hadn’t yet been anointed to full power,’ explains the man behind the mask, the mastermind behind Ghost, Tobias Forge. ‘As soon as you step into another character you are definitely liberated to do a lot of things you wouldn’t do as yourself.’ A witches brew of Satanic imagery, deep, heavy, classic

rock and metal (such as Black Sabbath, KISS and Blue Öyster Cult) forms a strangely upbeat and life-affirming take on devil worship. Ghost have even covered ABBA, the Beatles, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics and Simian Mobile Disco.

‘As most things age, they have a tendency to grow very

conservative and puritan,’ says Forge. ‘The same thing happened with extreme metal, so many followers of the genre . . . created dogmatic rules about how it should be and for some reason there’s this idea that this kind of music shouldn’t be fun which goes against the whole idea. Venom [widely acknowledged as the first black metal band] was a lot of fun. Even if you skip the subcultural aspects and look at it from a Biblical point of view, the Bible is dominated by a lack of humour, unintellectualism and slavery, suppressing what is human, so obviously the exact opposite should be intellectualism, laughter, fun, being free, living life, thinking, feeling.’ (Henry Northmore)

ALTERNATIVE / INDIE SHE DREW THE GUN Summerhall, Edinburgh, Fri 1 Nov; Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, Sat 2 Nov; Garage, Glasgow, Sun 3 Nov

Two albums into their career, Wirral four-piece She Drew the Gun, fronted by songwriter Louisa Roach, are turning heads with their complementary mix of melodic indie pop and no-messing socio- political comment. Their current mammoth UK tour is titled Trouble Every Day after their updated cover version of the Frank Zappa track of the same name, which was originally written in response to coverage of the Watts riots in LA in 1965. ‘It’s amazing how reflective the words were,’ says Roach, ‘but I thought if I changed some of the verses into what’s happening now then it might have more impact, so it’s using a song which is 50 years old to say the same thing, that the media’s really not serving you.'

Roach initially performed solo as She Drew the Gun, using spoken word to grab attention and as a useful tool for the more declamatory material. ‘What I’ve ended up doing is nicking the spoken word bits and turning them into songs,’ she says. ‘I decided to give it a go with the music,’ she says, ‘and that’s what I’m still doing, just giving it a go. I don’t know if I was just blocked for many years or whether it takes a certain point in life to become a writer. Toni Morrison’s advice to writers was don’t start until you’re 40. In the literary world, it’s not expected that you have to start that trajectory so young, but the mainstream pop idea is that you’ve got to be set for something when you are a child. It doesn’t have to be like that.’ (Fiona Shepherd)

EXPERIMENTAL COUNTERFLOWS Usurper, Áine O’Dwyer, Bill Wells and DJs, Fri 20 Dec; Joe McPhee & Decoy, Elaine Mitch- ener and Stewart Smith (DJ), Fri 31 Jan; both Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

This winter, Glasgow’s highly regarded festival of underground and experimental music, Counterflows, journeys along the M8 for a new concert series at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh. Instigated by the Queen’s Hall’s director Evan Henderson after discussion with Alasdair Campbell of AC Projects, these shows form part of the venue’s almost-ended 40th anniversary year.

‘The bigger idea from Evan's perspective is to expand the audience for different forms at the

Queen’s Hall,’ says Campbell. ‘From ours, it’s a way of spreading the word about what we do in a venue where you might not expect to see Counterflows. ‘Some of the artists have performed for us in the past, so placing them in this context is very

exciting,’ he says. ‘Usurper are legendary Edinburgh artists who we featured in 2018, Áine O’Dwyer is one of the most creative artists in the UK these days and Bill Wells is just the great Bill Wells. For our January event, we have Decoy, one of the great unsung bands of the free jazz world.’

Campbell is hopeful that budget and interest may allow for more shows in Edinburgh, although he’s keen to emphasise that Counterflows isn’t seeking world domination. ‘We’re very conscious of locating Counterflows locally within communities and this takes time and commitment to build relationships. Others have been promoting great music in Edinburgh for a long time and we’re undertaking this with full respect for them.’ (David Pollock)