We were excited to hear that Rue Morgue would be holding a Dark Carnival Expo in Hamilton this year. We were even more excited to hear that Toronto’s Blood Ceremony would be performing at the Expo’s evening Shocktail Party event.
The patio of This Ain’t Hollywood was well-populated when we first arrived but inside seemed a bit like a ghost town at first. That changed once things started happening on stage, luring people out of the warm evening air into the dark, intimate club.
The first attraction? Monsters of Schlock performers Prof. Burnaby Q. Orbax and Sweet Pepper Klopek. The weak of stomach mostly stayed back from the stage as various objects and substances penetrated skin amidst a kind of synchronized choreography. The climactic feat was a record-challenging weight-lifting stunt, witnessed and recorded by those nearby and on hand, as you can see below.
After the Monsters of Schlock performance, but before the costume party, Blood Ceremony took to the stage. If I’m not mistaken, this was the band’s first live appearance in Hamilton. Both the venue (This Ain’t Hollywood) and the event (the Dark Carnival Shocktail Party) provided an ideal atmosphere for Blood Ceremony’s eerie balladry.
We were treated to some tracks that are clearly already live favourites as well as the odd rarer selection, such as one song from The Eldritch Dark (2013). Fittingly, the band’s latest, Lord of Misrule, got some heavy airing as well.
Blood Ceremony perform as a well-coordinated unit, each member shining with virtuosic energy when the moment is right, but easily slipping back into collective harmony to produce a cohesive whole.
And they finished with my favourite Blood Ceremony track, “The Magician.” What more could a fan ask for?
Photos by Adam Wills.