GHOST with SKELETONWITCH At the Bijou Theater Knoxville TN

October 14 2013

By Rusty Coffinnails
The day started like any other day...a long day of hammering on cold steel, bloody knuckles, broken junk and foul language was in front of me but the light at the end of the tunnel was in sight.

The destination was none other than Knoxville's own Haunted Theater known as The Bijou. The Bijou Theater is located in the Old City of Knoxville, and like many places in the Old City, it is said to be haunted. The Bijou has a long and somewhat seedy history, all the better to see an evil metal show and look for ghosts.We rolled in to K-town a little after 6, parked the metal machine and hiked toward the Bijou, stopping in at a great little pizza place for a few slices and to down a cold one before the show.

As darkness started to fall it was our cue to go get some seats and settle in for what was to be a great show. As I spend most of my days on my feet we sought out top notch seating in the balcony just in front of the old projector room. The theater is a very small place that is decorated like something out of the 19th century with ornate wall coverings and things like that.

The stage was set for Skeletonwitch to come out and rock the place to it's foundation. The air was abuzz with the hum of metal heads swapping stories and old friends running into each other. And so it begins. Skeletonwitch hit the stage like a 40 ton wrecking ball, first blasting us with "Erased and Forgotten" and a long list of other metal treasures like "Repulsive Salvation" and "Beyond the Permafrost" to name a few. Now I have to confess up til this point I was not too familiar with Skeletonwitch, but these guys are a class act... no frills full force heavy metal that is loud, gritty and in your face. At times they reminded of Amon Amarth with their aggressive, angry style, I hope they liked Knoxville as I would dig seeing them again. They closed with "Crushed Beyond Dust" and took their bows and cleared the set.

While waiting for the next band to come on (This goes for about every show I have seen) I find it a bit amusing to just kick back and watch the crowd. On this night I saw....yes, in the crowd none other than Jesus Christ! or some one dressed up like him. Well, needless to say this cat did not go unnoticed, he seemed to wave to and "bless" most of the people. He gave a BIG thumbs up to the girl that flashed him her boobs. Then out of the crowd we heard a loud voice yell "Hey, Jesus, Fuck You!". Well ,the Messiah did not turn the other cheek this time around but instead he issued one of the most impressive double middle finger gestures that I have witnessed.

It must have worked as we heard nothing more from the loud voice.

The house lights dimmed and the next act was up. The smell of incense was in the air as the chanting of "Masked Ball" began. Ghost enters the stage in a slow reverent manner as they all take their places and start off with "Infestissumam" off their second album of the same name. Ghost is one of those bands that are better live, the sound quality and stage presence just adds to the experience.

They performed songs from both their albums, New stuff like "Secular Haze" and older favorites such as "Ritual" and "Death Knell" have a common quality in that they are all as catchy as hell. I have caught myself singing "six six six" out loud in the grocery store a time or two. The front man Papa Emeritus was quite chatty and even used the word "y'all" for us southerners and remembered being across the street at the Tennessee Theater.

For the encore , they blessed us with "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen" and a little singalong to "Monstrance Clock". Papa said we did "pretty good".Well it was a great show and a late night for my old ass but well worth the price.

Check out the history of the Bijou Theater here: