The roads are closed and services terminated all over the country due to some flurries of snow, and Manchester is no exception. Luckily, the crowd seem to have braved the harsh weather to cram into Gullivers for tonight’s sold out show. Ghostpoet is doing two dates of warm up gigs “Down South and Up North” in London and Manchester before his proper UK tour. He also announced today his support shows with TV On The Radio. Gullivers is only a 100 capacity venue… tonight could be quite special.
Fews are the only support tonight, after joining him yesterday at Chats Palace in London. Each member of the band has their own clear style, their mix of interests and influences really seems to add to the making of great new music. A mix of classic Reeboks, skinny jeans, vests and necklaces adorn these four lads and, despite not having a similar image in any way, there is a sense of unity and friendship portrayed by their presence onstage. Ghostpoet himself is nestled within the impressively big crowd to see his chosen support band. Fews are the Swedish answer to DIIV (in music, not opposing views about feminism – that we know of). Tracks like ‘The Zoo’ and ‘Ten Things’ show off their skill and musicianship. Animated, falsetto-like guitar lines with the energy and spirit of old Peace tracks such as ‘Bloodshake’, Fews are certainly on the right path.
After some very odd and frankly unpleasant experimental background music (sorry Obaro presuming it was your playlist) Ghostpoet squeezes through the packed crowd and onto the stage. He is accompanied by a new and full band. This progression to recording and performing with guitar, bass, keys and drums is refreshing and exciting for Ghostpoet’s sound and style. He is dressed in all black, hands emblazoned in gold rings as he grips the microphone amplifying his beautifully deep voice around the room. The set is, unsurprisingly, full of new songs. Luckily for us, this is no “difficult second album” – Ghostpoet releases his third album Shedding Skin on the 3rd March.
Ghostpoet feels the need to consistently apologise for his “stupid song titles” like ‘That Ring Down The Drain Kind Of Feeling’ and ‘Yes, I Helped You Pack’. These tracks make up for their, if anything, odd titles, the former being a chilled soul like number with his female band member providing the chorus’ slow beat tempo vocals: “I’m back where I started… I’m broken hearted, maybe my hearts on the mend”. Ghostpoet’s talent is simply undeniable as he rattles through amazing new track after amazing new track. His unique sound is something totally irreplaceable, such is his distinctive vocal and song structures. His rapping style is recognisable from the very start, lyrics flow quick and fast, not pausing to take a breath, all in ease.
As well as the new songs, Ghostpoet treats us to some old classics like ‘Cash And Carry Me Home’, ‘Survive It’ and ‘Meltdown’. The first few rows are getting down, copying Ghostpoet in feeling free to dance and have fun: “Enjoy yourselves, it’s a Thursday night!”. As the stage is about two inches off the ground, Ghostpoet takes a few trips into the crowd to boogie the night away with us. His cheerful vibe and his enjoyment of the performance creates a wonderful, calming sensation for the crowd and everyone just lets loose. Ghostpoet finishes his incredible set with ‘Liiines’, after giving up on the idea of an encore as the backstage area is through the crowd itself and not particularly impressive. Shedding Skin is undoubtedly going to be a record of the year… the man is unstoppable.