There was a lot going on the night of Holy Ghost!’s first headlining show in Boston, to say the least. The Red Sox were battling for the World Series championship, mega-rapper Drake was in concert over at the TD Garden arena, President Obama had spoken at Faneuil Hall earlier in the day, and of course, Halloween was right around the corner. But none of the above stopped a young, PBR-guzzling crowd from gathering at Cambridge’s The Sinclair to catch electro-pop duo Holy Ghost! on Wednesday evening. Some even arrived in costume — glammed out in tutus, glitter dresses, colorful tights, and other zany getups — perhaps in the spirit of Halloween, perhaps just to match the synth-soaked vibes of the Brooklyn band.
Holy Ghost! is billed as a collaboration between Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser, who last month put out the album Dynamics as a follow up to their 2011 self-titled debut. With their crisp, 80s-inspired synthpop, you’d expect the pair to recreate their sound on stage from behind a computer, DJ style. The audience came to dance, and that would have easily gotten the job done.
Instead, Holy Ghost! rolled onto stage with a full six-person band and so much equipment that band members had to watch their step when moving from instrument to instrument, lest they knock something over. Not to any detriment, though — this gave the show a casual, jam-session feel that suited a band influenced by disco but not at all wrapped up in the era’s showiness (despite the platform of multi-color lights at center stage). It was all about the community, and the infectious pop streaming from the stage certainly brought on the dancing and good times.
The band’s hour-long set was unsurprisingly rife with upbeat crowd pleasers, including favorites from both Holy Ghost! and Dynamics. Although it took a few songs for the crowd to really start grooving, the opening stutter-stop to “Do It Again” elicited cheers and tangible excitement. Frontman and singer Alex Frankel’s solid vocals, the occasional robo-voice droning in the background, and slick beats took hold of the night from then on, continuing with the newer “Bridge and Tunnel” and “It Must Be the Weather.” (“This song is not about baseball,” Frankel joked before launching into the latter.)
Adding yet another band member on stage to man a theremin, Holy Ghost! returned for an excellent encore with “Dumb Disco Ideas,” the catchy eight-minute single off Dynamics. This funky, slow-building track was only more hypnotizing when performed live, closing out the show with its sing-along chorus and buoyant splashes of synth. The band — exchanging laughs with one another mid-song — seemed to be enjoying themselves just as much as the energized crowd, and it was this type of laid-back ease that encouraged everyone to open up and let loose.
“You’re winning 6-1 at the top of the eighth… Congratulations!” Frankel announced before bidding his last thank you and exiting the stage with his crew. World Series champs or not, though, the Boston crowd was all smiles. There was a special feeling of unity in the air, and it really had nothing to do with baseball.