It’s been almost six years since the LA-based hardcore/metalcore act The Ghost Inside had their lives changed forever when their tour bus got into a horrific accident with a semi-truck. The collision killed both drivers, left vocalist Jonathan Vigil with a fractured back, ligament damage, and two broken ankles, guitarist Zach Johnson with a fractured femur requiring 13 surgeries, and took drummer Andrew Tkaczyk‘s right leg above the knee.
For any other band, this probably would’ve been the end of the road, and things weren’t certain for a while as to whether they would continue. But they persevered–fans, the band’s peers, and their record label (Epitaph Records) stepped up to help raise funds to help with medical costs, and the band took time to recover physically and mentally. Eventually, they returned with a performance in July of 2019 at The Shrine in Los Angeles—a recording of which entitled Rise From The Ashes: Live at The Shrine was recently released this past summer and is available here. The band was planning to do their next big comeback show on the East Coast at the new outdoor space at The Palladium in Worcester, MA in July of 2020 after the release of their new self-titled album in June of 2020–but of course, this was derailed by the pandemic.
After two reschedulings, the show finally happened this past weekend on August 28, 2021, at the Palladium Outdoors and was absolutely stacked with support from the band’s peers and friends Every Time I Die and The Acacia Strain, and openers Currents and Great American Ghost. That the show was at the Palladium—a historic venue that has been instrumental in the heavy music scene in the northeast and nationally as well was just so fitting—it also coincided with TGI bassist and Massachusetts-native Jim Riley’s 40th birthday.
So, there were lots of things to celebrate about this moment, as thousands of fans arrived in droves despite the dreary overcast weather. Although rain was not forecast for the day, any fan who caught The Ghost Inside at one of their many Vans Warped Tour performances in Massachusetts can attest that it ALWAYS downpoured there. So it was fitting too that the rain came in with little warning during the sets from Great American Ghost, Currents, and The Acacia Strain.
Boston hardcore band Great American Ghost got the night started off right—with a crushing performance that whipped the crowd into a frenzy of moshing and crowd surfing. The band played a set comprised in part of songs off their latest record Power Through Terror, released last year. This was the band’s first show back performing live and frontman Ethan Harrison wasted little time, hopping from the stage during the start of the set and climbing the barricade to get up close and personal with fans who piled up atop each other to get a chance to yell into the mic. Harrison and his bandmates were impeccably tight, I can’t wait to catch this band again live!
Up next, progressive metalcore band Currents picked up where GAG left off, playing a set that featured several tracks from their 2020 release The Way It Ends, none of which had been played live before, including fan-favorites, “Kill the Ache” and “Monsters.” Much like GAG, this was almost a hometown show for the band, which hails from Fairfield, CT, so even when the rain really got going during their set, the crowd was undeterred, moshing away as if it was nothing. The band put on a fantastic set for what was probably one of the biggest crowds they’ve played for. They embark on a tour with Ice Nine Kills and Bad Omens later this fall, so be sure to keep an eye out for a date near you!
As The Acacia Strain were making final preparations to start their set, the skies opened up even more, leaving some scrambling to cover rain-sensitive equipment and delaying their start time. In the interim, frontman Vince Bennett passed pool noodles out to the fans in the front rows of the crowd that would be later utilized in the mosh pits. Finally, as it lessened just a little, the band took to the stage and unleashed a brutal set of hits like “Dr. Doom,” “The Hills Have Eyes,” and “The Beast,” and several tracks off of their last release Slow Decay, including “Crossgates” and “Chhinnamasta.”
Bennett, at one point, opened up about dealing with depression during the pandemic. He explained that not being able to play shows for more than a year made him realize how crucial performing is to his sense of purpose. saying that having this show to look forward to was what kept him going for the past 5 or 6 months. The band gave a hell of a performance, and despite the absolute monsoon that ensued prior to and during the set, the crowd gave all that energy back at them, circle pitting and moshing and crowd surfing like mad. It felt like the rain might’ve cut their set a bit shorter than it should have been, but it was a really good time nonetheless!
After some stage changeover during which the rain finally ended, Every Time I Die emerged and launched straight into “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space.” Understandably, the crowd completely lost their minds—really putting security to work for the first time tonight, catching crowd surfers for much of the set, one after another. ETID just announced their next full-length due out later this fall entitled Radical (you can preorder it here), and fans got to hear the first single “Post-Boredom,” that’s been out for a few weeks for one of the first times live.
ETID always puts on a great show and tonight was no different, they were immaculate, performing almost like a machine. Guitarist Jordan Buckley was in his usual wild form on stage, thrashing and jumping around like a maniac. Their set too was full of fan-favorite hits, including “No Son of Mine,” “Decayin’ With The Boys,” “Thirst,” “We’rewolf,” and “Ebolarama.” They closed the set out with a rousing performance of “Map Change” that saw a last surge of crowd surfers yelling along to the words as they rode their way up to the front.
At last, it was about time for The Ghost Inside to take to the stage. The TGI logo appeared, projected on a black curtain that had been put up during the changeover. As the opening notes of “1337” played and the drums kicked in, a light from behind Tkaczyk made his outline fill the space on the curtain before it dropped to a massive confetti blast! The band was all smiles as they kicked into “Still Alive” and “The Outcast” from their 2020 self-titled effort. It was wild to see Tkaczyk ripping through every song effortlessly, despite losing his kick-foot in the accident. In the months after, he had said defiantly that he would drum again, despite the injury, and here he was, making good on that promise still!
Although this show was smaller than the one they threw at the Shrine back in 2019, TGI didn’t skimp on production—with full pyrotechnics, CO2 cannons, confetti and more—it was quite a spectacle to behold! Things didn’t go perfectly—there were some technical issues with the samples, and the pyro misfired at least once, failing to go off when it should’ve, but it was so cool to see the outside of The Palladium transformed into this giant celebration of The Ghost Inside. It wasn’t lost on the fans in attendance how special this day was, and how it almost didn’t happen—at times there were few dry eyes in sight.
Performance-wise, the band’s set was very well thought-out, containing songs from every era of the band’s existence, even several they weren’t playing as much anymore prior to their accident. Fans were treated to throwback hits like “Faith or Forgiveness” off their debut album Fury and the Fallen Ones. Then the band was joined by Mat Bruso of Boston metalcore “OGs” Bury Your Dead for “Chrono,” and by Great American Ghost’s Ethan Harrison for “Between The Lines”—both from their 2010 record Returners.
There were definitely a lot of us older folks in attendance, but what was surprising was how many younger fans were there, headbanging and moshing to the old stuff but belting their lungs out to songs from 2014’s Dear Youth and the self-titled record. If TGI can keep up the momentum off this comeback there will hopefully be more massive sets like this from them! The night ended with an encore performance of “Avalanche” that was likely the night’s biggest sing-along followed by “Aftermath.”
If you missed your shot at seeing The Ghost Inside this time around, they will be performing with A Day To Remember, The Devil Wears Prada and others in Newport, KY on September 10 and at Blue Ridge Rock Festival on September 12.