May 6, 2012
Live: Ghostpoet @ Southampton Soul Cellar, 04.05.2012.
“You and I wear things like pork pies, and eat things like pork pies” goes a line in Ghostpoet’s ‘Us Against Whatever Ever’. However, the characteristic headgear is missing tonight; the lethargic-voiced Londoner hatless and bald under the Soul Cellar’s roasting lights.
The past year has been a vintage one for Ghostpoet (real name Obaro Ejimiwe), beginning with the release of debut album Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam last February and continuing through a summer packed with touring and festivals. His set tonight consists largely of tracks from that debut, supplemented with the occasional slice of older material and one structured “jam” written during soundcheck at Ejimiwe’s previous Southampton show last June (lazily titled ‘Hampton South’).
Along with the ponderous, self-examining lyrics that make him perfect broadsheet fodder, perhaps Ejimiwe’s greatest strength is in the inventiveness of his dark, off-kilter productions. Tonight, those beats are fleshed out by the addition of live guitar and drums, beefing up the tumbling rhythms of ‘Finished I Ain’t’ and ‘Survive It’’s more optimistic bent.
Popular single ‘Liiines’ finds Ejimiwe’s voice layered with exasperation as he attacks the building chorus, before turning to his small bank of samplers and effects units to tease out some oscillating wails. The occasional calls to “make some noise” don’t seem congruent to the languid prose and spacious, dubby beats Ejimiwe and his band employ, but the crowd are more than happy to indulge him with raucous enthusiasm, especially during a rhythmic encore of debut single ‘Cash And Carry Me Home’.
After a curt but gracious “thank you”, he’s off on his way to a DJ set at another of the city’s clubs, promising strictly punk cuts until the early hours. While this isn’t a set that leaves a desire to catch any further Ghostpoet live dates in the near future, it does serve as a timely reminder of the quality of Ejimiwe’s recorded material, of which more is promised for later this year.
Read this review in context over at THE STOOL PIGEON