When I woke up on Sunday morning, I should have been pissed. I lost an hour of sleep to daylight savings time and the baseball game that I pried myself out of bed for was cancelled, thanks to some good old fashioned Dutch rain. The funny thing, though, I wasn’t pissed. As far as I was concerned, my day could take an endless amount of blows and I’d still feel great, as long as I would eventually end up at DB’s in Utrecht for a rock show provided by none other than The Midnight Ghost Train. If that happened everything would be fan-frickin-tastic.
Before the guests of honor took to the stage we were first treated to a slew of support acts. Sativa and Udarnik started the afternoon off, trying really hard to warm up the crowd. Ultimately, Orange Maplewood, the last of the support acts, did the trick and turned the matinee into an evening show. So now the crowd was finally warm and in the mood for something a little tougher. Enter The Midnight Ghost Train.
Their set started with a Tom Waits song, “Make it Rain,” and was quickly followed by “Along the Chasm.” This one-two punch concluded with the ringing out of guitars, cymbals, and glorious feedback while the crowd welcomed the evening’s headliners. Singer Steve Moss then flailed his arm around like the band’s director, to which drummer Brandon Burghart answered by rolling in “Gladstone.” By this point bassist Mike Boyne was already dripping with sweat; within a short ten minutes of taking the stage, The Midnight Ghost Train had turned the place into a sauna.
There were a couple more songs from the band’s newest album thrown at us before a dip was made into some older material. Of these songs, “Southern Belle” did the most damage by being delivered with so much enjoyment that it’s almost hard to believe Moss when he sings “since your death will come from my hand, I want to know how much should I make it hurt.” Then, in stark contrast to “Southern Belle,” came a cover of “Feeling Good,” which I can’t describe any other way besides saying that it was really, really cool. Three more blasts of stoner rock goodness followed to prematurely close out the set. Even though the band had dispersed, the crowd was still bouncing up and down to the echoing sounds of set closer, “Foxhole.” More was wanted, that was obvious, and within a minute the boys from Kansas were back for a three song encore that ended with an Acapella, “Aint it A Shame.”
This may have been the last set of their tour but it didn’t show. All cylinders were burning and there was no shortage of enthusiasm or vigor as the band put their hard working rock and roll ethic on display. Genuine passion was at the core and as a member of the audience this was felt. A Midnight Ghost Train show therefore makes for a real good time with real good guys playing real good tunes and its one helluva way to start off the festival season.
Words by: Victor Van Ommen