Ghostpoet: Queens Social Club, Sheffield

It’s only been fourteen or so months since Obaro Ejimiwe, better known as Ghostpoet, last brought his show to Sheffield.  Since then he’s released his critically acclaimed sophomore album ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ which seems like the perfect natural progression from his debut. It’s no huge departure, but it boasts bags of confidence and maturity in which ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’ only showed signs of. Thankfully, it has lost none of the edge and intensity that propelled him to medium-sized stardom in 2011, but his live show has evolved into something completely unalike.  Perhaps it’s the glimmering back-drop of Queens Social Club or his new-look backing band, but said edge and intensity has been replaced with an air of tranquillity, aided by hypnotising echoes, rumbling basslines and the often dulcet tones of the female keyboardist; there’s real togetherness with the band.  Where darkness once was, Ejimiwe has brought light by the bucket load.

Despite the laid-back nature of Ghostpoet’s recorded work, the band breathes life into his songs to bring them to the stage.  ‘Plastic Bag Brain’ is the perfect example; “take me to a place I’d rather go” pleads Ejimiwe over an infectious afrobeat swing which the crowd can’t help but move to.  ‘Sloth Jam’ furthers the philosophy of the recording as it builds around simple chords; not more so when Ejimiwe picks up a guitar to assist in bringing everything into climatic swaths of noise.  New album lead single ‘Meltdown’ is as unearthly as its recorded counterpart; Ejimiwe’s trademark faux-apathetic vocal plays off the female-led sultry chorus hook, both floating upon clanging beats and shimmering keyboards.

The set finishes like the album with slow-burner Comatose; reversing organs and delayed vocals are soon replaced by striking violins and brash Atari-bleeps, before Ghostpoet answers the crowd’s demands for an encore with the urban keyboard stabs of live favourite ‘Us Against Whatever’ capping off a triumphant evening. The ever-humbled Ejimiwe thanks everyone for the best night of the tour so far, and leaves the stage still none-the-wiser that he really is as good as everyone says he is.

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