The first thing that really struck me whilst stood in line outside Nottingham’s Bodega, queuing to get into the Ghostpoet gig, was the sheer diversity of people that had turned up to see the 30-year-old singer and producer.
Stood in front of me were a pair of giggling girls that couldn’t have been older than 16, clearly enthralled by the anticipation of seeing the London born artist; whilst behind me, a balding man, probably in his mid-forties, stood presumably on his own. Considering Ghostpoet’s music could fall into categories and sub-genres from British rap, grime and chill-out to experimental, synth-pop and perhaps even trance, it was really refreshing to see the sheer range of fans Obaro Ejimiwe has managed to secure.
Their tentative and encapsulating sound makes it easy to see why they were chosen as an appropriate support act for Ghostpoet’s short UK tour, and they certainly managed to set the tone for what was to be an intimate and powerful gig.
After a few ‘technical difficulties’ that delayed the onset slightly, indie-rock, dream-pop support act Mt. Wolf took to the stage. In a performance that I overhead one guy describe as “totally experimental”, front-woman Kate Sproule’s haunting and sombre vocals seemed to have everyone hooked. All eyes were on the London-founded, celestial sounding foursome. Their tentative and encapsulating sound makes it easy to see why they were chosen as an appropriate support act for Ghostpoet’s short UK tour, and they certainly managed to set the tone for what was to be an intimate and powerful gig.
Shoulders were swaying and heads nodding.
Ghostpoet and his band, made up from an acoustic drummer, keyboard player and guitarist/bassist/(multi-talented)/synth player appeared and opened their short but sweet set with popular song ‘Garden Path’ from his debut album Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam, by which time the floor space of Bodega’s upper floor had well and truly filled. Shoulders were swaying and heads nodding as ‘Cold Win’ was crooned in Ejimiwe’s half-asleep, baritone vocals, before he took a short time out to very humbly introduce his band and thank everyone for turning up.
With a stage-presence as intense and brilliant as his own, it’s hard to believe anyone could think of him as anything below brilliant – even himself. However, Ghostpoet’s modest and unassuming demeanour was obvious throughout the whole set, which, in turn, seemed to make everyone appreciate him even more. “I never know if people are gonna turn up”, he joked to the crowd – the comment was met with dismissive jeers before transforming into cheers of approving gratitude throughout the whole room.
Ejimiwe was quite happy to loiter around afterwards to meet his fans and talk to everyone and anyone he could.
The room had well and truly livened up by the time ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’ was played, and typically, when it came to the 10pm curfew and the concluding song – ‘Us Against Whatever Ever’ – the finale was met with earnest roars of “more!” What was even more gratifying to experience is the fact Ejimiwe was quite happy to loiter around afterwards to meet his fans and talk to everyone and anyone he could – I even managed to sneak in a cheeky photo together!
Overall, the second leg of Ghostpoet’s UK tour really has to be seen as a success from every perspective, and his sheer musical talent, passion and sincerity stand him in good stead to be The-Next-Big-Thing… so watch this space!