Holy Ghost Revival

Holy Ghost Revival

They’re out of control, but that’s a good thing. Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London (June 5)

You’re all a bunch of fuckin’ pussies!” goes the rallying cry…

Previously they’ve visited these shores only sporadically, scrapping with tiny audiences before being chased back to their native US each time by irate promoters, but this time around Holy Ghost Revival are here to stay. Sharing a shitty flat in London’s Streatham, they’ve decided they’re not leaving the UK until every last soul has either smacked them in the face or fallen head over heels for their gloriously violent, over-the-top psycho-rock majesty.


Even hampered by tonight’s ludicrously ill-suited sound system, all at once they sound like Guns N’Roses, Queen, Lynyrd Skynrd, Meat Loaf, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Alice Cooper. They are operatic punks, with songs called things like ‘Embrace The Hate’ and ‘Rationed Sacrifice’. As they launch into ‘Wolfking Of LA’ someone mutters “The Darkness”, but, while there is an element of pantomime here, that’s way off the mark: these guys are serious about what they do. They’re a reaction against all that is stale in music, against anything as dreary as “math rock”, against the very notion, in fact, of “indie”. One of their number is known as Shakey Jakes Bayley, which is obviously amazing in itself, but more important is their singer Conor Kiley. Looking like a young, underfed Axl Rose (and with a screech to match) he berates the audience, slams into them, steals their beers, feeds them to his bandmates and pushes people over. At one point an old man – an innocent bystander clearly not here for a dose of chaotic primeval rock music – takes a tumble. It’s horrible, but anarchy inevitably brings casualties. He eventually gets up and leaves quickly.


See, this is not controlled chaos. It’s not controlled anything. Holy Ghost Revival are car crash rock’n’roll by design, they haven’t thought about the consequences of anything and they never will. This makes them kind of stupid, irresponsible and not a band you should think about taking your parents along to watch. And if that last sentence hasn’t made you think about going to one of their shows, you really are a fuckin’ pussy.


Hamish MacBain