Did you know that Italian Prog-Rock heavies and Argento soundtrack stalwarts Goblin are currently undertaking their FIRST-EVER US tour? Well, now you do.
I got the chance to see the first date on their tour here in Atlanta. It was more mind-blowingly awesome than you’d imagine.
Opening for the band was former Mr. Bungle/Faith No More guitarist Trey Spruance’s collective Secret Chiefs 3 (the umbrella under which his seven satellite bands toil; the show was an amalgamation of the disparate bands’ material). Clad in their traditional robes (and using programmed beats), they ran through a short set of Ishraqiyun’s polyrhythmic and avant-garde takes on Eastern folk melodies, UR’s Spaghetti Westernized version of “Book T: Exodus” and Surf Rock “Personnae: Halloween” and much more.
But the main act was yet to come. And for this sold-out crowd, it couldn’t come soon enough.
After an introduction from Atlanta’s own Ghost Host With The Most, Professor Morte, Goblin took the stage. Original members Massimo Morante (guitars), Maurizio Guarini (keyboards) and bandleader Claudio Simonetti (keys, vocals) were augmented by new rhythm section Bruno Previtale (bass) and Titta Tani (drums). And despite this being the first night of their first North American tour, they went off without a hitch.
The set list was remarkably varied, ranging from non-soundtrack songs from ROLLER and BACKTOTHEGOBLIN, to classic film music from NON HO SONNO, PHENOMENA, DAWN OF THE DEAD, TENEBRE, DEEP RED (PROFONDO ROSSO) and their masterpiece, SUSPIRIA. The arrangements tended to drift toward those of Simonetti’s Daemonia project, injecting the songs with a more metallic edge than their original film versions, but in a live setting, that dynamic edge can make all the difference. And with the seasoned hands of Morante and Guarini on deck, they were delivered with more subtle shadings than Daemonia’s. But tracks like PROFONDO ROSSO’s “Mad Puppet” took on shades of Deep Purple as the spare original was beefed up in performance. And songs like “L’alba Del Morti Viventi” and “Zombi” became propulsive, doom-laden monsters as the band charged through them.
Before the show, I had concerns about the new additions to the band. Fabio Pignatelli (bass) and Agostino Marangolo (drums) were such integral parts of the band’s sound, with their jazzy interplay adding a rich dimension and soul to Goblin’s music. But I need not have worried. Previtali and Tani locked into place immediately, ably taking on the complexities of the band’s idiosyncratic progressive rock.
After almost two hours, they left the stage to a rapturous ovation. It was better than I could have imagined, and I’ve got a pretty damned vivid imagination.
If you get the chance, GO. If you can’t, well…it ain’t much and it ain’t the same, but here’s a video of ’em from back in the SUSPIRIA days.