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Goblin - Marquee Theatre - 5/1/2014

Goblin Marquee Theater 5/1/2014

A couple hundred -- give or take a few dozen -- folks gathered Thursday night at Tempe's Marquee Theatre to check out Italy's progressive rock legends, Goblin, whose notoriety skyrocketed via their soundtrack music for classic Italian horror flicks like Dario Argento's Suspiria and his cut of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, titled Zombi/Dawn of the Dead.

Though it was a minimal crowd for the spacious venue, it was obvious that most in attendance were dripping with geek sweat at the opportunity to see these rockers live. I'll happily out myself as a member of that group. After all, it was just last year that a recent incarnation of the group crossed the water for a North American tour -- their first ever since the band started in the 1970s. Those California dates seemed like a onetime opportunity, so, yeah, this recent tour made for a rabid crew in Thursday night's house when the band took stage.

The band has seen too many lineup changes over the years to note (including some since the aforementioned 2013 shows) but Thursday night saw original members Massimo Morante on guitar and Fabio Pignatelli, bassist, leading Goblin as they started the set with "Magic Thriller." Massimo was the only member of the band who decided to don rock 'n' roll attire, totally comfortable rocking leather pants, a headband, and a flowy shirt while engaging in hand-conducting to accent some of the punchier notes and musical changes.

They glided their way through the first half of a set featuring numbers from their 1976 release, Roller, including the title track, "Aquaman," and "Dr. Frankenstein." The overall sound was super-crisp and bright and allowed the audience not to miss any of the strategically crafted dips, riffs, effects, or drum taps in each song's journey. The whole blend was a sonic-electronic adventure, made extra good with Pittsburgh's Steve Moore of torch-carrying space rockers Zombi joining as a second keyboardist and lending vocal support. The galloping drums were a fun rollercoaster ride behind the rest of the musical mix, which featured Morante's driving and deft guitar work.

Hearts started beating a little faster when Goblin went into a series of their popular soundtrack creations, including "Dawn of the Dead/Zombi," "Tenebre," "Suspiria," and "Profundo Russo." The crowd had thinned out by this point, but you could see smiles and feel the collective charge of getting to hear those selections performed live. And it didn't hurt that they sounded glorious. What was a little disappointing was the video component. It would have been nice to see the film clips as the band's background, having them at all would still be a treat. Played on the high screens that flank the Marquee's stage, it there was some behind-the-scenes trouble getting the flow and syncing on target. Was still nice to get a little visual, though.

After closing up with "Profundo Russo," they wrapped things up, coming back for one encore, "Zaratozom," and took a few final bows -- they deserved 'em, each one a damn demon on their respective instrument.

Set List:

Critic's Notebook

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Last Night: Goblin and Pinkish Black at the Marquee Theatre

Personal Bias: Total geek for their soundtrack tunes. I think the same could be said for most in attendance Thursday night.

Audience: Small but really excited to be there. About 2:1 male to female and one honest-to-goodness cowboy.

Overheard: "Massimo Morante kind of has a Ronnie Milsap thing goin' on."

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