Goblin w/Secret Chiefs 3: Chicago IL

Fall 2013 Flashback Review: Goblin w/ Secret Chiefs 3 – Metro, Chicago, IL, October 13, 2013.

I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have your life suddenly turn into an Italian horror film, but I got the chance to find out at Chicago’s Metro on October 13th when Goblin played there during their first United States tour.

Goblin (Massimo Morante on guitar, Claudio Simonetti and Maurizio Guarini on keyboards and synths, Bruno Previtali on bass, and Titta Tani on drums) are a progressive / horror rock band form in Italy in the early 1970’s.  American audiences mostly know them as the guys who scored director Dario Argento’s best-known horror films – Deep Red, Suspiria, and Tenebre.  They are beloved by horror film and prog-rock fans alike and are all accomplished musicians.

They also, for some reason, had never toured the United States until now.  I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to see them.  It was a sold-out show and one of the best I’ve seen in a while.

Opening band Secret Chiefs 3, clad in monks’ robes, played a good set of weird prog-rock that bounced back and forth from horror music to almost free-form jazz sets.  They even ended with a song that would fit into any spaghetti western.

I knew we were in for a treat when the stage darkened before Goblin’s set and was only lit by eerie reds and blues.  The sounds of panicked breathing, creaking doors, women’s screams, buzzing insects, and dripping filled the Metro as a lovely ballerina danced onto the stage and performed a beautiful ribbon dance while the chilling soundtrack wrapped around her.

Goblin emerged with “Magic Thriller,” a prog-rock gem from one of their earliest records.  They then went into “Mad Puppet” from Deep Red (or Profondo Rossa, as it is properly known) with footage of the infamous “mad puppet” scene playing on a giant white sheet behind them.  The fans were in horror heaven.

They played many tracks from their excellent album Roller, including the title track, “Dr. Frankenstein,” “Aquaman” (which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with one of the founding members of the Justice League), and “Goblin” (a fan-favorite).

They sprinkled “E Suono Rock” (which shreds) and the title track from the film Non Ho Sonno  (also known as “Sleepless”) in there, and then came the second half of the show…

After playing “Goblin,” they announced they were going to play “some more soundtrack music.”  What followed was a plunge into the world of Italian horror and giallo cinema.  The Metro swirled with music for zombies, witches, psychopaths, gorgeous, stalked women, creepy crawly insects, and terrified victims.

The set began with the theme to L’Alba dei Morti Viventi, also known as Zombi, which is also known as the Italian version of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.  The zombie fans went wild as scenes from the film played during the song.  The band introduced itself after that, and they expressed how happy they were to finally be touring America after being around for 41 years.  They then made the crowd just as happy by playing the theme to Suspiria.  The ballet dancer returned for this song, which was a nice touch since the film takes place in a German ballet school.

The themes to Tenebre and Phenomena (with the sounds of insects flying around the venue) followed.  Then came the always-creepy “School at Night (Lullaby)” which flows into the theme from Profondo Rossa.  It was a great end to the set and the crowd was in high-pitched fandom by then.  They performed “Zaratozom” from Zombi (a personal favorite of Morante) as their encore.  It was a nice salute to the horror fans that have worshipped them for so long.

I hope the entire tour sold out so they will be encouraged to return to the States.  This was one of the must-see tours of the year, in my opinion.  I hope you got to experience the joy…and the terror.

~ Nik Havert



Nik Havert is a writer, DJ at WSND 88.9FM University of Notre Dame, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man. He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer. Visit his web site at http://www.picklepress.net.

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