Missed opportunity of the evening has to go to the numerous walking ghost tours that were clogging up the cobblestones of Edinburgh’s old town. One quick diversion off Cowgate, and the squads of puzzled looking tourists, as they contemplated whether or not the tour guides were talking shit, could have come face to face with a snarling, sweaty, throbbing, real life entity. The Midnight Ghost Train were in town as part of a thirty date European tour, that has the American power trio putting in the miles as they criss-cross countless countries. Having a carnival style barker on the corner could have boosted the numbers inside, “Step right up folks… ghosts inside… £10 admission… no refunds.” The doors would have blown off in their hands, poltergeist style, once they ventured inside. Make no mistake about it, these guys are a force to be reckoned with on stage.
It’s loud… ferociously loud. Gravel-voiced vocalist and guitarist Steve Moss is lost in the music from the off. The interplay between Moss and his bandmates, drummer Brandon Burghart and bassist Tyler Harper, is incredible to watch. Harper is quite new to the cause, which makes it all the more incredible just how in sync the band are. If pressed, you would hazard a guess that these three have been playing together for years. With new album ‘Cypress Ave’ making waves upon its release last year, The Midnight Ghost Train have some killer songs to air. ‘Tonight’ is one of the highlights from ‘Cypress Ave’, the quiet intro suckering the listener in, before Moss unleashes his blood-curdling howls. Live, it is amplified a hundred times over, as the Tom Waits-style throaty vocals from Moss come blaring out of the darkness. Tom Waits with a stack of Marshalls behind him, and a penchant for heavy guitar effects, including lashings and lashings of delicious wah wah. ‘Red Eyed Junkie Queen’ is another highlight. The bass intro from Harper gives way to a groove so hot that had it been written by Clutch or Josh Homme, the popular press would be tripping over each other to spew forth superlatives. The vocals from Moss have a sinister edge to them, as they rise above the pounding rhythms Burghart and Harper are laying down. Again, the guitar effects are hugely effective on another powerful track.
Before too long, The Midnight Ghost Train bring their short set to a climax, and a few things become evident. These guys can undoubtedly play, but special mention has to go to Brandon Burghart, who battered his small drum kit with such power, style and precision it was almost impossible to take your eyes off him. It’s also evident that those who opted for a night on the couch, instead of attending a rock show, missed a trick. When The Midnight Ghost Train come back around these shores, they will come highly recommended. Lastly, as they quickly packed up their equipment, they mentioned that they had an overnight van journey down to Dover, to catch a midday ferry to Belgium for a gig that night in Gent. Chew on that the next time that you complain on a band’s social media page about having to travel 45 minutes for a gig, or that the band are not actually playing in your front room.
Images: Dave Jamieson