This Dogstar’s got fangs!

A packed house turned out Saturday night at the Crest Theatre to see Ghost of the Robot, the Willknots and Honeyspot. A certain frenzy, reminiscent of the kind of mania that accompanied such rock icons as the Beatles or Elvis Presley, was detectable among the audience at the nearly sold-out show. Throughout the night, you couldn’t help but notice swarms of teenage girls clutching photographs for members of Ghost of the Robot to sign. Some even sported T-shirts spelling out the band members’ names—Aaron seemed to be quite popular. That’s impressive, considering Ghost isn’t signed and hasn’t played many shows; it doesn’t even have a full-length CD out yet.

So, what exactly causes a relatively new and unknown band to generate so much frenzy? Ghost has been making noise as a fresh, solid, stripped down-to-basics rock band. What does that mean? Basically, that Ghost doesn’t sound like 10 other bands you hear on radio; the band doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t. The buzz that has followed Ghost in the past few months has helped it to sell out nearly every show it has played.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt when your singer is James Marsters, whom fans of the beloved television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer know better as Spike—the platinum-haired, cigarette-smoking vampire with a bad attitude and a whole lot of swagger.

But Marsters is more than just a pretty set of fangs. His swagger carries to the stage, and any doubts that the actor could make the transition from actor to musician have certainly been slain. He sings kinda like Charlie Sexton meets Leonard Cohen. His band—bassist Kevin McPherson and drummer Aaron Anderson, both locals, and guitarist Charlie DeMars and keyboardist-guitarist Steven Sellers, both ex-locals—hit the stage as the crowd erupted into cheers and frenzied screams. It was surprising to see how many people were singing along to such songs as “Goodbye” and “David Letterman” from the band’s forthcoming debut CD, Mad Brilliant, which will be available on February 2. DeMars had girls swooning with a turn as vocalist on “Sounds Like a Personal Problem,” demonstrating that he’s quite the crooner. McPherson’s thundering bass lines and Anderson’s powerful drumming complemented each other nicely and provided the groovy backbone for the band’s sound. Sellers went back and forth from the keyboards to guitar, adding a progressive arrangement of layers to the sound. Each member seemed to be completely engrossed in his own little world, but united, they created something very refreshing.