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Former Ghosts


I saw Former Ghosts last night Upstairs at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA.

Former Ghosts

Former Ghosts is a fairly new collaboration between Freddy Ruppert, Jamie Stewart, and Nika Roza. I have enjoyed Xiu Xiu for a while but wasn’t even aware that Jamie Stewart was part of a new band (full disclosure: I don’t really know anything!). I must thank my friend James for inviting my girlfriend and me. Here are my impressions of the evening in a stream-of-consciousness bulleted format:

  • James is wearing his storm trooper boots. I’d be jealous of them, but they make him look like he’s either an astronaut or a real astronaut.
  • Apparently I just walked by Freddy and Jamie without noticing them (Nika is not on the tour).
  • The waitress forgot the milk for my girlfriend’s tea 3 times. She was still the nicest waitress I’ve ever encountered at the Middle East.
  • Carrot cake and chocolate cake. I want to go to there.
  • Free Rolling Rocks. Yessssss.
  • I found the opening act, Born Without God, quite enjoyable even though everyone I was with frowned upon my enjoyment.
  • There are 3 saxamaphones on stage. Oh, and now one of them is in my face. Somehow I can’t stop smiling though.
  • I don’t like this bulleted format.
  • That was me from the future interrupting me from last night’s stream-of-consciousness.
  • The sound guy is always awful. Why?
  • The second act is not my cup of tea, but Bat for Lashes is. Why?
  • Oh, that’s why.
  • Why don’t the bands sound check before the show? This kind of unprofessionalism towards showmanship is not tolerated in any other art form. Theaters don’t invite you to tech, artists don’t invite you to installation, and strippers don’t invite you to the lube & lotion show.
  • Let the haunting begin.
  • Freddy shakes his hand incredibly fast and he sounds very much like Jamie when he sings.
  • The simple addition of some live drums (including Xiu Xiu’s awesome cymbal stand thing) and keyboards and Jamie’s distorted microphone makes all the difference when you are watching a band that is performing to mostly pre-programmed music.
  • And man can Freddy dance!
  • Jamie seems way more subdued onstage when he is not the frontman. Now he’s dancing a little. This is fun.
  • I wish Freddy would use his earthquake hand to karate chop the assholes in front of me.
  • Get mad at those cymbals!
  • Even though the opening acts sounded very unbalanced, Former Ghosts sound really good because they took the time to step off stage and listen to themselves during sound check. Unbelievably loud though.
  • Freddy sounds great.
  • Favorite moment: Jamie and Freddy sing together and it sounds like it’s one voice and it’s incredibly beautiful.
  • I really enjoyed Former Ghosts. They have a very consistent sound that is similar to Xiu Xiu’s more accessible music. They are not obnoxious or pandering at all on stage, which I appreciate. Freddy’s pony step is my favorite new dance.
  • Only now do I realize I should have taken a photo.

Former Ghosts’ album Fleurs will be released on October 20, 2009.

[Update: Jamie Stewart is writing a wonderfully humorous and candid diary of the tour here: Can’t wait till he writes about the Boston show! Freddy Ruppert smears his heart here: Also, after listening to Fleurs a few times I think it’s a real shame that Nika couldn’t come on the tour. She has an amazing voice. Still, I highly recommend seeing Former Ghosts if you get the chance before their tour is over.]

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