Captain’s Rest 24.09.11
Hotly tipped trip-hopper Ghostpoet brought his ethereal beats and unique vocal delivery to the good ol’ Captain’s Rest, his first headline solo slot in Glasgow. Following his acclaimed debut album Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam, Ghostpoet (real name Obaro Ejimiwe) has been hailed as a distinctive, trend breaking artist in an arguably stagnating UK hip-hop scene dominated by the likes of Tinchy Strider (who incidentally was playing in Glasgow on the same night; I know where I’d have rather been). Obaro even managed to snag a nomination for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, an award which largely neglects the alternative hip-hop scene. His album appeared alongside established acts such as Adele and P.J Harvey, whose entry Let England Shake was the eventual winner.
Captain’s Rest proved to be the perfect venue for Ghostpoet; small and quirky enough to be cool, but with a rather unique, grimy atmosphere, helped in no small part by the capacity crowd who were mostly in advanced states of inebriation, this being a Saturday night in Glasgow after all. He took to the stage with a stripped back band (just a guitarist and drummer), with most of the wonderfully atmospheric beats and keys coming from his laptop. His stage prescene was surprsingly unassuming; onstage banter was kept to a minimum and projected a certain self deprecation and modesty, a refreshing change in attitude from most modern hip-hop artists.
Opener Survive It, one of the lead singles from the album set the tone perfectly. A sombre lament to a life misspent, the dark rhythms and lyrical content were a great introduction to Ghostpoet’s sound. The set trundled on, with Obaro all of his album. Cash And Carry Me Home was the highlight of the show, lyrically outstanding with a memorable chorus; surely the best song of modern times to address Brit youth and their preoccupation with binge drinking.
I had only one real criticism of the show, that the songs are rather samey. This bites both ways of course as if you love the style he’s created, an original mish-mash of hip-hop and trip-hop with a dose of socially aware lyricism for good measure (as I do) then more of the same is probably appealing. Probably not for everyone then, though I do think Ghostpoet could eventually come to be an excellent argument against those ignorant folks that still consider hip-hop to be a dumbed down and overly commercialised genre. [Jonny McAra]