The Ghost Inside’s bus accident on November 19 shocked the music world. The drivers of the bus and a vehicle it collided with tragically lost their lives in the crash, and at the time of writing, all band and crew members were still being treated for their injuries.
Bassist Jim Riley wrote in a recent update that ‘there were some serious injuries’ including ‘broken legs and ankles, cracked pelvises and fractured vertebrae that require screws’, but added that ‘procedures had been completed successfully’ and offered his condolences to the families of the drivers that lost their lives. A GoFundMe account for the band was $2000 shy of its $150,000 goal, and on Friday December 11, fans gathered in The Underworld for a benefit gig masterminded by You Me At Six’s Josh Franceschi.
“I first heard about it when I was on a train back from rehearsals with my managers,” he tells TeamRock. “One of them was scrolling through Twitter and saw the news. For the first time in my life, outside of family stuff, I felt completely gutted. I was trying to get hold of them and left Zach [Johnson, The Ghost Inside guitarist] a few very panicked voicemails. I just knew the next day that we had to do something.”
Josh made it clear to his managers that he wanted to organise the show himself.
“I don’t want to take credit, because I haven’t done anything special,” he says. “What I wanted to create was a moment that would show The Ghost Inside how the scene can come together and do something amazing.”
He tells us that he’s been in regular contact with Zach, and that the band are already talking about getting back out on tour once they’ve recovered. “They’re already saying, ‘We want to go on this tour, and that…’ I know for a fact there are a lot of bands waiting to take them out and support them in any way they can. I couldn’t live with myself if I stood by and did nothing.”
Here’s what we learned from The Ghost Inside’s benefit show…
DEAF HAVANA HAVE BEEN MINING THEIR ARCHIVES
Norfolk’s biggest Springsteen fans are treating the full-to-bursting Underworld to a trip down memory lane, punctuating their set with tracks from their second album Fools And Worthless Liars. They kick off the set with Youth In Retrospect, and the crowd responds raucously. There’s hardly room to move – the crowd spills off the dancefloor and up the stairs, and sings every word back at James Veck-Gilodi as he tears through newer tracks Mildred, 22 and Boston Square. The biggest cheer, though, comes when he namechecks The Ghost Inside, and it’s not the only time during the evening that crowd unites in support.
EVERYONE REMEMBERS WHEN THEY USED TO BE A VERY DIFFERENT BAND
There’s a moment of excitement when James teases the crowd with the intro of Friends Like These. There are a few fans here who remember the days when Deaf Havana used unclean vocals fondly: “That’s the best track they ever did!” exclaims an excitable shirtless punter. “That’s about as far as we go with that song,” James laughs, stopping after the first line. Still, it’s good to know he could scream if he wanted to.
WE REALLY NEED DEAF HAVANA TO RELEASE THAT FOURTH ALBUM SOON
Deaf Havana are clearly in their element when playing their newer songs, and the recently-revealed Cassiopeia is no exception. It’s a big driving ballad, but with a bit more grit than the melody-led offerings on Old Souls. It works surprisingly well in a small venue, too; James even says that ‘these kind of gigs’ are his favourites. Album four isn’t due out until 2016, so we’ll have to wait and see if there’s more where Cassiopeia came from.
YOUR DEMISE STILL HAVE SUPERFANS
The St Albans hardcore troupe are back on the very same stage that hosted their farewell show in 2014, and they definitely haven’t been forgotten. Zoe, a fan who’s come to the gig alone, can hardly contain her excitement. “I only bought one ticket, because I just had to see Your Demise, I love them,” she explains. She’s in good company; the set is accompanied by a near-constant mosh pit, and for the forty or so minutes they’re on stage, it feels like they never left.
YOU’D NEVER THINK ED MCRAE WAS FED UP OF HIS BAND
“We never wanted to play another show,” says the Your Demise frontman of their split. But here they are, playing with all the gusto they did back in their heyday. When we asked Josh Franceschi if they took much convincing to reform, he reveals it was actually guitarist Stuart Paice who contacted him with the idea. “Stu called me and said, ‘This is what we’re thinking of doing, do you want to be part of it? It was a no-brainer,” he says. Don’t be fooled into thinking there’s a chance of a comeback, though. As he ends the set with a passionate rendition of The Kids We Used To Be, Ed reminds the audience that it’s the last time they’ll get to see them, and they don’t need reminding to take the opportunity to crowd-surf.
THIS WAS JOSH FRANCESCHI’S FIRST TIME PROMOTING A SHOW
“A lot of people would be surprised to hear that You Me At Six do stuff on a DIY level,” says Josh. “But we’ve always been very in control of our own destiny. I told our managers and agents to stay out of this, and that we’d sort it, and I called up a bunch of venues in London to find one that would host us for free or next to nothing.” He admits there was some trepidation from his team when he announced that he’d be organising it himself. “[They] had some concerns, like the fact that we’re off-cycle, we’ve gone away, and we’re making a record,” he admits. “I understand all of those things, but we still had to do something, and this was the outcome.”
ROCK’S COMMUNITY SPIRIT IS IN RUDE HEALTH
Although it’s commonplace for The Underworld to sell out when a popular band is on, there’s something different about tonight. The audience chants The Ghost Inside’s name more than once, and the merch stand is doing swift business. “It’s a beautiful thing to see everyone coming together,” says Josh. “Their first incentive might be to come and watch bands and be entertained, but subconsciously, they know what they’re doing. They’re donating to something good, and it’s great to see this level of solidarity.”
THE UNDERWORLD IS ONE OF THE GHOST INSIDE’S FAVOURITE VENUES
Despite Josh telling us he asked around a few venues to find a place to hold the gig, The Underworld was always his first choice. “I spoke to [bassist] Jim Riley and he said they’d played The Underworld a bunch of times, and it seemed to be the London venue they kept coming back to. I thought that was really important, as it gives this [gig] an authenticity that embodies what they’ve done.”
ZACH JOHNSON’S FAVOURITE YOU ME AT SIX SONG IS NOTHING TO LOSE
“You might find it weird that a band like us likes heavy music,” Josh muses to the audience, referring to his relationship with The Ghost Inside. But it seems that the admiration goes both ways – he dedicates the singalong anthem Nothing To Lose to guitarist Zach, explaining that it’s his favourite You Me At Six song.
THEY RAISED A LOT OF MONEY
We’re still waiting to hear exactly much was raised, but the potential sum – if every t-shirt, sweater, and album on the merch table was sold – is a hefty £20,000. Josh tells us that the money won’t just go towards The Ghost Inside’s medical bills, but their living costs like rent and food. “Their bread and butter is touring,” he tells us. “They’re missing out big time financially. The money we raise tonight won’t change the severity of the situation, but it’ll give them some relief. The reaction I’ve had from the guys is great - they can’t believe anyone would do this. It’s a great outpouring of love.”
Couldn’t make it but want to help? Visit The Ghost Inside’s GoFundMe page.
Photos by Sandra Sorensen.