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Wednesday 26th February 2014
Gorilla in Manchester, UK
Reviews & Photography by Mark Holmes
The last time I caught Claudio Simonetti live in the UK was just over 6 years ago. A rare, one-off date in London's dingy and decrepit Slimelight, performing under the guise of Daemonia, it was a surprisingly poorly populated show with only around 120 people in attendance (albeit horror movie luminaries such as Doug Bradley were amidst the sparse audience). Skip forward to 2014 and it's an entirely different story. With Claudio back over in the UK for a five date tour in venues significantly larger than the small confines of the Slimelight, Manchester's 700 capacity Gorilla is rammed well over an hour before showtime. It seems rebranding his Daemonia clan as Claudio Simonetti's Goblin was a wise move for it's attracted the masses - a large contingent of metallers, progsters and goths, as well as a number of other random punters.

With members of Goblin's original lineup touring under that moniker, Claudio's offshoot is constituted by the exact same personnel who formed Daemonia, joined as he is once again by guitarist Bruno Previtali, bassist Federico Amorosi, and otherwise multi-instrumentalist sticksman Titta Tani. However, what this transpires to be, over the course of an hour and three quarters, is far from a standard Daemonia show. Beyond the expected array of soundtrack pieces from some of Dario Argento's most seminal movies and 'Dawn of the Dead' etc, non-soundtrack Goblin tracks are also aired. It not only justifies use of the Goblin name for Claudio's latest touring venture, but also serves as a reminder of his one-time prog credentials, as well as allowing his long-time comrades to fully showcase their musical talents. It's the metalled-up horror movie themes such as 'Suspiria', 'Profondo Rosso', 'Tenebre', and 'Phenomena' that engender most smiles in the crowd, although set opener 'Snip Snap', 'Roller', 'Goblin' and 'Aquaman' from their 1975 album 'Roller' cause some jaws to drop at the musically diverse sonics and fine musicianship on display - jazz, funk, rock and metal are combined to good effect, and delivered with a genuinely progressive flair. It's a shame not to hear the sublimity of 'Opera' this evening or their erstwhile take on Keith Emerson's 'Inferno' soundtrack but this is, in every sincere sense, a full-on Goblin extravaganza.

And it's all wrapped up in an infectious joviality as Claudio jests pre-'Phenomena' that a "special guest" will appear... "a few thousand flies"... cue loud fly buzzing through the PA before they launch into the track good and proper. And encore number 'Demon' from the Argento produced/Lamberto Bava directed 'Demoni' is preceded by the legendary keyboardist's reappearance wearing a replica mask from said movie (which he wisely seems to avoid cutting his face upon removal!). Elsewhere in the set, the crowd are encouraged to sing-along to 'Suspiria', to which they oblige; Claudio messes around through the vocoder he wears for 'Tenebre' before commencing the track; and band members seem thoroughly thrilled by the capacity attendance as they take crowd photos on their smart phones when each of them are introduced. The only downside of the night? Movie clips projected onto a large screen behind the band are incessantly miscued and severely achromic due to some inappropriate stage lighting. Otherwise, Claudio Simonetti's Goblin deliver a flawless and rousing performance, and with a ridiculously fantastic sound through the PA to boot. As band members take bows to well-deserved applause and cheers, fans exit the venue to the theme from the 'Hammer House of Horror' 1980 TV series, courtesy of the night's DJ Andy Votel. In short, a fucking phenomenal show.
Click on thumbnails for larger images:
Claudio Simonetti at Gorilla in Manchestr, UK, 26th February 2014
Photograph copyright 2014 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
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