LIVE REVIEW: Ghost Black to the Future - Bloomington, IL

Central Illinois is the home of at least 807 satan worshipers. All of them came out to attend mass put on by clergymen Ghost. From the outside looking in this may seem like a scary place to be but it ended up being one of the most pleasant experiences for this parishioner. The sold out service was held at The Castle Theater in Bloomington, IL. Men, women and children (seriously there were children there) alike came out in droves. They were excited, respectful and ready to have a good time…and Ghost did not disappoint.

From the second I heard Ghost’s music I fell in love. When you mix in the theatrics and the image you’ve got the perfect combination of great music and mystery. That’s what’s missing from rock n roll today, mystery. Ghost is single handedly keeping that alive. They’re all in with the image, theatrics and music. The show started before the band hit the stage. Most bands just play music up until it’s time to hit the lights. Ten minutes before the band hit the stage organ based satanic church music blared through the speaker. Two stoic ushers came on the stage to remove the cover from the drum and keyboards and test the instruments. Name another band with that level of commitment to their live show.

When the clergy hit the stage the parish erupted in excitement. They kicked things off with “From the Pinnacle to the Pit.” The band was tight. Song after song was as good as the album if not better. They were flawless. Papa Emeritus III is the ultimate showman. While the other nameless Ghouls were all dressed the same they commanded the stage as if every member of the band was a house hold name. What this band has been able to accomplish over the last few years is truly impressive.

The highlight of the show for me was “Year Zero.” The song is clearly the bands biggest hit and it got the biggest reaction from the crowd. It was also the song that made me fall in love with Ghost. The song “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen” is a song I liked but after seeing them play it live it’s now one of my favorite Ghost songs. They played it during the latter part of the show which I thought was a weird place for the song since it starts out so mellow but to watch that song build live is quite the experience.

If you haven’t had the chance to experience Ghost I highly recommend jumping at the next chance. The dedication to not only their craft but the whole package is commendable. I’m glad I made the two hour trip to cover the show. I don’t plan on ever missing another Ghost show.

 BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at
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The lineup of festival experiences and The Road To Northern Invasion Battle Of The Bands, hosted by 93X in Minneapolis have been announced for the second annual Northern Invasion, Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15 at Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, WI, just outside the Twin Cities. Northern Invasion will feature the biggest names in rock on three stages with expanded campgrounds. After quickly selling out its inaugural year with 25,000 fans in attendance, Northern Invasion expands to two full days in 2016.

Concertgoers are encouraged to save money by purchasing Northern Invasion tickets now at Ticket prices will increase on Monday, April 11 at Noon.

The Road To Northern Invasion Battle Of The Bands, hosted by 93X in Minneapolis, will offer one lucky band the chance to play Northern Invasion. From now until April 10, vote for your favorite band at The Top 5 bands will play a live showcase at Mill City Nights in downtown Minneapolis on April 29, with the winning band receiving the coveted performance slot at Northern Invasion.

The Northern Invasion band lineup is as follows: Disturbed, Rob Zombie, Korn, Shinedown, Chevelle, A Day To Remember, Bring Me The Horizon, Seether, Lamb Of God, Ghost, SIXX:A.M., Pop Evil, Sevendust, Clutch, Hellyeah, P.O.D., BABYMETAL, Yelawolf, Black Stone Cherry, Trivium, Asking Alexandria, Parkway Drive, Saint Asonia, Butcher Babies, Turbowolf, Beartooth, Red Sun Rising, Enter Shikari, Avatar, Lacey Sturm, Aranda, From Ashes To New, Monster Truck, The Glorious Sons, Audiotopsy, Wild Throne, Devour The Day, RavenEye, City Of The Weak, Hands Like Houses and more.

Northern Invasion is proud to partner with Surly Brewing to debut the “Northern Invasion Pale Ale. The NI Pale Ale, a highly aromatic pale ale with citrus and pine flavors is Surly’s take on the classic pale ale style and is an exclusive canned beer just for fans of Invasion. The limited edition beer will only be sold at concession stands during the 2nd annual Northern Invasion in Somerset, WI.

The current Northern Invasion onsite experiences are as follows:

Monster Energy: Monster Energy will be keeping all fans fueled up and ready to rock by offering free sampling on their Monster Energy viewing deck. Enjoy Monster Energy drinks from one of the best seats in the house. Make sure to check back throughout the festival for a schedule of Monster Energy’s interactive artist experiences.
#monsterenergy #monstermusic

Bud Light: America, they say we’re a nation divided. They say we disagree on everything, but they’re wrong. We agree on a lot: liberty, justice, ROCK MUSIC, and beer. Nothing brings America together like Bud Light and nothing brings rock fans together like Northern Invasion. That’s why we’ve formed the Bud Light Party – a party for everyone. We are the fake political party America needs right now and we’re stopping by Northern Invasion to supply ice cold beer all weekend long. Because no matter where we stand on the issues, we all sit on the bar stools with our hands raised in the air listening to our favorite rock bands. America has seen the light, and there’s a Bud in front of it.
Instagram: @budlight

f.y.e.: f.y.e. will be hosting the ultimate fan and artist interactive experiences throughout the festival. f.y.e. is the only place at the festival to get all your favorite band’s music – and maybe even get to meet your favorite Northern Invasion performer. Check back for updates on artist meet and greet and autograph signing sessions.
Instagram: @officalFYEmusic

Jack Daniel’s: “Taste of Tennessee” invites visitors 21-and-up to come enjoy the show from the brand new Jack Daniel’s stage trailer with a great view to our second stage. The Jack Daniel’s Experience at Northern Invasion will be the place to be throughout the weekend.
Instagram: @jackdaniels_us
#jackdaniels #BornToMakeWhiskey

Zippo: Zippo Encore will be back in action at Northern Invasion with a full stock of Zippo lighters, including the limited edition Northern Invasion festival designs. Come by and check out their contests and giveaways or get a free lighter fill or tune-up. Be sure to bring your Zippo lighter to the festival, it could be your ticket to special “Can’t Buy” experiences.
Instagram: @zippoencore
#zippo #zippoencore

Deep Eddy Vodka: Deep Eddy Vodka will be keeping fans well hydrated throughout Northern Invasion. Grab some friends and come lounge at our vodka garden where and check out Northern Invasion signature cocktails all festival long. Our Austin-based distillery produces only the finest vodkas infused with real fruit--never artificial flavors or sweeteners. Please remember to day drink responsibly.
Instagram: @deepeddyvodka
#deepeddyvodka #mixwithmusic #daydrinkresponsibly

Jägermeister: Jägermeister has been rockin' with Northern Invasion fans since day one and we are excited for an even bigger and better 2016 festival, with the launch of the Jager Live Lounge. This will be a must see festival destination for fans 21+ and will feature a live DJ, lip synch battles throughout the weekend, and plenty of cold beverages.
Instagram: @jagermeister
#jagermeister #Jägermeister

VIP Experiences: Pabst 1844 Lounge is the ultimate VIP experience at Northern Invasion. The Pabst 1844 Lounge is open to all VIP ticket holders will have feature shaded tents with seating areas, direct view to the Monster Energy main stage, video screens, private bars, upgraded food vendors, private restrooms, access to WiFi and charging stations.
#pabstblueribbon #pbrmusic

General Admission, Weekend GA 4-Packs, VIP lounge and 4-person tent space tickets are on sale now at A limited number of Ultimate Camping Packages are also available at All Hotel Packages are now SOLD OUT.

The Northern Invasion Camping area will be open from Friday, May 13 at 12:00 PM CT through Monday, May 16 at 12:00 PM CT. Camping packages are sold for spaces on-site as well as adjacent to Somerset Amphitheater on the Float Rite grounds. Upgrades and camping packages include access to the Friday Night Bonfire Party.

A limited number of discounted tickets are also available for active military through Northern Invasion partner GovX (

Download the Northern Invasion mobile app (available for FREE via iTunes and Google Play) for festival information and band performance times.

Northern Invasion is supported by great corporate partners including Bud Light, f.y.e., Jack Daniel’s, Zippo Encore, Monster Energy, Deep Eddy Vodka, and Jägermeister. These partners, along with many others, will feature interactive experiences, artist meet & greets, and other unique fan engagement opportunities throughout the festival.

Northern Invasion is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents and AEG Live, and is the newest addition to the World's Loudest Month concert series, which features the biggest names in rock music performing in eight distinct U.S. concert atmospheres in April and May.

Somerset Amphitheater has been a favorite Midwest music venue since the late '80s. Located on the Apple River and less than 40 minutes from the Twin Cities, for years it has served as a summer hub for music and camping for those from Minnesota, Wisconsin and beyond.

Facebook: @NorthernInvasionFest
Twitter: @northinvasion
Instagram: @northerninvasion


The term “supergroup” gets thrown around on a regular basis these days, however, a new tour featuring some of the greatest guitarists of all time is about to truly give the term a whole new meaning.

Introducing: Generation Axe, featuring Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi.

Beginning on April 5th in Seattle, Generation Axe - A Night Of Guitars is hitting the road for 26 performances in North America.  Tickets for all shows go on sale Friday, February 19th.

"The Generation Axe show is a unique performance of five fiercely talented guitar players coming together to create a 6-string extravaganza that is sure to amaze and delight,” commented Steve Vai.

The Generation Axe fan experience will go way beyond simply gathering five guitar greats on one stage to jam.  Each tour stop will include a variety of collaborations by the five players, including everyone performing together as one cohesive band with a rhythm section including Pete Griffin (Dweezil Zappa, Stanley Clarke, Edgar Winter) on bass and Nick Marinovich (Yngwie Malmsteen) on keys.  Vai, Wylde, Malmsteen, Bettencourt and Abasi will perform songs from their various catalogs and join forces on some well-known songs (as well as probably a few unexpected, unearthed gems).  

Making this rare tour experience even more special, Generation Axe VIP packages will be offered, giving fans access to these guitars masters and exclusive one-of-a-kind memorabilia.  A front row package (including a meet & greet), a meet & greet package, and a VIP tour package will be available.  For more information, visit

About the Generation Axe Members

While many artists fit easily into a single category, Steve Vai remains unclassifiable.  Vai is a virtuoso guitarist, visionary composer, and consummate audio producer who sculpts musical sound with infinite creativity and technical mastery.  He is one of the most in-demand, versatile, eloquent and soulful guitarists in the business.  The GRAMMY Award-winner has sold over 15 million albums and toured the world as a solo artist, a member of G3, and with Frank Zappa, Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake.  Vai launched his successful solo career with the release of Flex-Able in 1984 and has written, produced, and engineered all of his solo albums.  He has appeared as a guest artist on more than 40 albums and created music for blockbuster films, best-selling video games, national sports franchises, and corporate brand initiatives. Vai has earned honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and Musicians Institute.  For more info, visit:

GRAMMY Award-winner Zakk Wylde’s legendary career includes a lengthy tenure with Ozzy Osbourne in which Wylde co-wrote and recorded several albums, including the multi-platinum No More Tears, Osbourne’s largest selling solo album featuring the classic hit single, “Mama, I’m Coming Home” and the bulk of the double platinum 2002 set, Ozzmosis.  With Osbourne, Wylde has played on countless world tours and television appearances, with his signature bullseye Les Paul in tow.  Wylde has his mitts imprinted on Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame; guest-starred alongside Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston in the movie “Rockstar”; and even momentarily joined Axl, Slash and Duff in Guns N’ Roses.  But nothing offers the pure expression of Zakk Wylde’s animalistic “id” like Black Label Society, the stomping, heavy, bluesy, recklessly unhinged hard-rock-metal quartet who are quick to rip up a solo as to dip into a piano-fueled anthemic ballad.  For more info, visit:

When Yngwie J. Malmsteen hit the scene in the early 80s, he turned the entire guitar world upside down; never before was guitar playing like his ever heard. Drawing inspiration from his love for Baroque and Romantic classical music, Malmsteen employs classical violin techniques such as four and five octave arpeggios, pedal notes, and harmonic minor, diminished and Phrygian scales, flawlessly delivered at mind-boggling levels of speed and clarity. In doing so, he has singlehandedly created a brand new style of guitar playing and composing that is still derived from today. In addition to having written and produced 35+ neoclassical rock albums, Malmsteen composed and orchestrated the "Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra,” which he recorded with the prestigious Czech Philharmonic in Prague, conducted by Yoel Levy of Atlanta Symphony fame. Malmsteen subsequently performed the piece live with the the New Japan Philharmonic and the Taipei Symphony, among others.  Malmsteen has received numerous Grammy nominations, hundreds of magazine covers, dozens of Reader's Poll and Composer of the Year Awards, a plaque on the Rock Walk of Fame, signature model guitars, amps, pickups, strings, picks, pedals, microphones, and more. TIME Magazine placed him as one of the top ten guitarists of all time. Some 35 years and 25 million+ album sales later, Yngwie shows no signs of slowing down, with his brand new record World on Fire due for release in April 2016.  For more info, visit:

Guitar virtuoso, singer-songwriter, and record producer, Nuno Bettencourt rose to international prominence as a guitar player with the GRAMMY-nominated, Boston-area band EXTREME, one of the most successful rock acts of the early to mid 1990s selling over 10 million records worldwide. Musically, EXTREME is dominated by Bettencourt’s blistering guitar riffs, often with funky, syncopated timing, and incendiary, high-speed rock/metal solos. Bettencourt penned the acoustic ballad “More Than Words” that went to #1 on the Billboard charts and “Hole Hearted” that reached #4. He has released multiple solo albums as well as with bands he founded including Mourning Widows Population 1, Dramagods and Satellite Party. Bettencourt has written, produced and performed with many legendary artists including Rihanna, Steven Tyler, Paul McCartney, Janet Jackson and many others.  For more info, visit: 

Oluwatosin Ayoyinka Olumide Abasi, better known as Tosin Abasi, is a Nigerian American guitarist known as the guitar player and founder of the instrumental progressive metal band, Animals as Leaders.  Abasi’s compositions of intricate music have garnered critical acclaim in a few short years. Abasi is part of the breed of new contemporary players who are raising the bar on the concept of electric guitar virtuosity.  His approach to the guitar stems from a passion for advanced techniques and harmony. Using 7-, 8-, and 9-string guitars have allowed Abasi to create a highly unique and individual sound.  For more info, visit: 

Generation Axe - A Night Of Guitars is produced by Copeland International Arts and is booked by CAA.

For more information:
April 5, 2016 - Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
April 6, 2016 - Vancouver, BC - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
April 8, 2016 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
April 9, 2016 - Las Vegas, NV - The Joint
April 10, 2016 - San Diego, CA - Humphrey's Concerts By The Bay
April 11, 2016 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
April 13, 2016 - Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre
April 15, 2016 - Kansas City, MO - Uptown Theatre
April 16, 2016 - Salina, KS - The Stiefel Theatre
April 17, 2016 - Dallas, TX - Bomb Factory
April 18, 2016 - Houston, TX - Revention Music Center
April 20, 2016 - Jacksonville, FL - Florida Theatre
April 21, 2016 - Orlando, FL - Hard Rock Live
April 23, 2016 - Wilmington, NC - Cape Fear Community College
April 24, 2016 - Washington, DC - Warner Theatre
April 25, 2016 - Cincinnati, OH - Taft Theatre
April 26, 2016 - Indianapolis, IN - Murat Theatre
April 27, 2016 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
April 29, 2016 - Chicago, IL - Copernicus Center
May 1, 2016 - Madison, WI - Orpheum Theatre
May 2, 2016 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre
May 4, 2016 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
May 5, 2016 - Upper Darby, PA - Tower Theater
May 6, 2016 - Westbury, NY - Theatre at Westbury
May 7, 2016 - Hampton Beach, NH - Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
May 8, 2016 - Providence, RI - Providence Performing Arts Center

BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at