CONCERT REVIEW – I Am Ghost’s Final Farewell Funeral til’ The End
by: Natalie Perez
Six years together, five years apart, “They Always Come Back” is the title off the sophomore album from metal/rock/punks I Am Ghost from sunny Southern California, the album being “Those We Leave Behind” released in 2008. That said, the band did go on to release a debut album “Lover’s Requiem” in 2006, before that their debut EP “We Are Always Searching” in 2005 saw two releases, a release made and sold by I Am Ghost themselves, printing upon thousands of copies, to them, then getting signed to record label Epitaph Records, where their EP was re-mastered and re-released under that label, the same for the two full-length’s as well. When it’s all said and done though, it didn’t stop there, the band would go on touring relentlessly, playing showcases left and right, from here in the United States to across the pond in the United Kingdom.
There was no stopping these guys, so much so that they played a few “sold out” shows including one that was recorded for a live album titled “Live In Orange County” released in 2009. That being one of the many showcases, I myself will never forget about. So then what happened after that show, well the band ended up, breaking up, according to founder and frontman vocalist Steve Juliano in July of 2010, he to put it simply “The band had matured and grown up”. Moving forward from I Am Ghost, so did its members, forming other projects and bands, ranging from Steve forming another band called Requiem for the Dead, later changed to Requiem, releasing a few albums themselves, and doing some touring, while the other members went on to other acts like Chamber Of Echoes, XO Stereo, Falling In Reverse, to name a few.
So then what happened between all of that other activity, well the band was going to get back together for a final farewell showcase in 2011, but that one couldn’t be set=up properly. So then time past and the band mates continued on with their other projects in the meantime. Until…..five years had passed and word had gotten out, that I Am Ghost had reunited.
It had happened in April of 2016, the band had made the announcement of a comeback show, one that would be the one, that did not take place sometime ago. This would be the comeback reunion of a farewell performance? Yep, this reunion final farewell showcase would indeed happen, no, the band was not coming back for good, but for this one special moment in their musical careers and as I Am Ghost. It would take place in the fall of 2016. It was all set for Saturday October 22nd, tickets and VIP and even new merchandise, were all set beforehand, their fan base, buying items left and right. So much so in fact, that the merchandise and tickets were sold out. VIP not so much but getting there at the most part at least.
In any case, everything was set and ready to go, until word of a date change had to taken place. Moving the reunion final farewell show from Saturday October 22nd over a move to Friday November 4th 2016. Where of all places, where I Am Ghost played their second and several more shows, including where that live album of theirs released in 2009, “Live In Orange County” was recorded live. The notorious yet historic venue the Chain Reaction, in Anaheim, California in Orange County. Little do people realize that this venue is a small one, it is so small that it’s capacity limit is that of 250 people.
So in any case, it would turn out to be quite the show none the less right? Well the show was sold out when the tickets first went on sale, but with the date change, plans people had made for the first date, had to be cancelled or switched around to fit this new date, so tickets became available again, but soon and sure enough the show with its new tickets and new date of Friday November 4th 2016, would be yet again a sold out performance. So the venue was packed in quite a bit by the end of the night.
But before that input is said, the start of the night, had people filling in from when the doors opened which was about 7PM with the first opening act of the night, hitting the sage around 7:30PM playing about a 30 minute set, this act being an up-and-comer called Our Frankenstein. These guys combine quite a bit of genres with their style, metal, rock, industrial, and electronic, how does it sound thrown together, well take an act like Davey Suicide, except Our Frankenstein has more “screams” in their material than those other guys do. Their stage presents is quite entertaining, getting the crowd pumped up, egging them to get a mosh pit started, for those who aren’t aware a mosh pit is where you push the people around you, around, everywhere in sight to the beat of the music being performed. So that was done during their set, while the band themselves put on a noticeable appearance with their attire, the frontman vocalist Ryan Frankenstein, showcased himself in green paint, with short sparkle shorts with ripped bottoms to thrown it altogether. While another member was decked out in pure red attire, red and black hair, to red top and bottoms in a skimpy look but pulled it off well enough to say the least. So the band has the look, and the angst to get the crowd going, as for their musical approach, their style is solid for what it is, it has beats that can be danced too or headbanged upon, which is good enough for the listener or watcher in question. Expect these guys to release their music in the form of a debut album very soon.
Next up, were two acts centered around females, Moxy And The Influence was first, an all female group playing pure rock n’ roll tunes, including some classic rock tracks, of Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart” to “Barracuda”, as well as their own material including such songs as “Watch Your Mouth”, “Stomp You Down”, and “This One’s For You”, to name some. Their stage presents was a sight to see though, they put themselves in a very rock fashion, tights, leather, crazy hairstyles, got the look and feel, but the music isn’t half bad either. All in all their performance captured what will be the next generation of what rock music is meant to be, if not even better, from the likes of Moxy And The Influence.
After their performance was an all acoustic female act known simply as Harley Rose, who has done a lot of her showcases with other acts especially Blood On The Dance Floor. In any case though, her all acoustic approach to music making, is good but she needs more instruments like drums, keyboards, bass, her being there with a guitar in hand, and perhaps someone else, filling in on the side, which there was, someone a violinist. Her and the violinist did a decent job, even doing an acoustic cover of Johnny Cash and Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt”. Which was to say the least, not too shabby.
So by the looks of it, the opening set of acts, weren’t so bad after all. So then who was left, well the headliners of course, but of course! I Am Ghost the reunited act who was back, for one comeback show, one final farewell, to their fans and their music, as they put to rest, their “children” as they call their material, having set things off on time, at 9:45PM. The lights dimmed as they centered on the stage, as a Priest yes a Priest took the stage, giving his eulogy to the band, this being a funeral after all.
What? You didn’t think the band would do that, but of course, this final farewell put the band to rest, rest in peace in fact. But in any case after the Priest had read his reading’s the band was welcomed onto the stage, getting that sold out crowd pumped to the maximum, like it was 2005-2006 all over again. Having gotten into I Am Ghost in 2008-2010, knowing them during their time that was the earlier years of 2005-2007, I only experienced them through YouTube video instances, but in any case, after witnessing them first hand, for my first time in 2008-2010, there was obviously something there.
Their music hit me, like it did many other fans and people who have heard these guys. Their music embraced so many lives, with their releases, playing tours, shows, the works, that this night, was a night to never forget, but always remember the memories of it. So after the band hit the stage, songs from the past came to life once more, such as “Our Friend Lazarus Sleeps”, “Kill Likes Candy”, “Dark Carnival Of the Immaculate”, “We Are Always Searching”, to even earlier works like “Eulogies and Epitaphs”, “Lady Madeline in Her Coffin”, to newer stuff like “Don’t Wake Up”, “Saddest Story Never Told”, “Smile of a Jesus Freak”, “So, I Guess This Is Goodbye”, the set list for this final show was just endless really. You can’t forget about classics like “This Is Home”, to “Pretty People Never Lie, Vampires Never Really Die”, which was always a thrilling song both non-live and live, it was a pure crowd pleaser. Each song perfumed just filled me up with memories of when I saw them back then, and so much so for other fans who were there with them since the very beginning to now it being the very end.
The band themselves all a little older, still kept that energy and momentum flowing though, which was great to see, hugs were exchanged throughout the set, while bouncing in sync with one another was kept in check, to the crowd singing along to every single lyric sung. It was truly a night that had so many memories to leave in. Including one where one of the guitarist accidently bumped into the bassist causing him to bleed from his head, he was treated on stage, and continued to play, which was impressive. While during the set a stage diver, literally took a dive, as he leapt from the stage into the crowd below, landing on the floor, as no one was there to catch him but he was fine in the end, bumps and bruises being again more memories to cherish of this very night.
But it didn’t stop there, the band kept playing and more special surprises happened one being a proposal so some lucky couple are now planning a wedding, so that was quite the sight to see and behold, and will be forever another memory to not forget. The fun and surprises kept on rolling as the band kept their set going. Getting the crowd jumping on their feet, singing some more, to pushing everyone around them from all angles possible, everyone there was smelly, sweaty, and tired, but it was all well worth it. Like they did before, they did it again, revisiting a past life, that showcased the pride and passion, that they have as musicians and to their fans. Members of the past were asked to come, some came forth, while others held back, but with the line-up and environment as it was this night, it was flawlessly fantastic.
A sold out crowd, that had come from various places, including right there in California, everyone was brought together, from the joys of the music being played this night. I Am Ghost came back, to then be put back to rest, to rest in peace they will, for this was the final farewell reunion showcase, that will ever take place in their musical careers, for them being a band, to the fans who witness it firsthand. It was pure suspense, surprise, and magic, that will be captured in the memories that will be left behind, because I Am Ghost will never turn to dust. They are Vampires and they will never die.
Intro: Crossing the River Styx
- Our Friend Lazarus Sleeps
- Don’t Wake Up
- Bone Garden
- Dark Carnival of the Immaculate
- Eulogies and Epitaphs
- We Are Always Searching
- Killer Likes Candy
- Smile of a Jesus Freak
- Saddest Story Never Told
- Those We Leave Behind
- So, I Guess This Is Goodbye
- Lovers’ Requiem
- Lady Madeline in Her Coffin
- This Is Home
Outro: The Dead Girl Epilogue: Part One
- Encore: Pretty People Never Lie, Vampires Never Really Die