LIVE: Ghostpoet – Band on the Wall, Manchester

Far Out headed back to Band on the Wall in Manchester to catch the final leg of the most recent tour by one of the UK’s shining lights.

Obaro Ejimiwe (more commonly known as Ghostpoet) has developed as an artist markedly over the last four years or so, managing to bag two Mercury Prize nominations after just a trio of album releases.

The latest, Shedding Skin, represented a little bit of a shift towards a more guitar-driven sound, rather than the beat-heavy hip-hop that was a common theme on his debut, Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam.

With that change, the live show has also evolved. Ejimiwe has become a proper frontman of a proper band – as opposed to taking on much of the responsibility for the backing track himself, as he did in the early days.

However, proceedings kick off with an encapsulating version of ‘Garden Path’ – one of the more subdued numbers from Ghostpoet’s debut LP.

The reaction from the sold out audience on this grim and blustery Thursday night could be accused of being a little flat early on.

During ‘Survive It’, Ejimiwe encourages them to join in and help out on the track’s trademark chorus. Enough accept his offer to bring the atmosphere up a gear, but there is a slight feeling that there are a few coffee table Mercurite chin-strokers whose hearts aren’t fully in it.

But on the whole this does nothing to quash a wonderful occasion, assimilating cuts from Shedding Skin alongside bangers like his debut single ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’ with consummate ease.

Now Ejimiwe is three records down the line he’s bolstered with enough show-stopping material to demand an encore. He leaves the stage after ‘Off Peak Dreams’, but no one is entertaining the idea of leaving.

Ghostpoet returns for a rave-charged rendition of ‘Us Against Whatever Ever’ and finally bows out with the always anthemic, ‘Liiines’. His next move is to head out on an enorma-dome tour with friends Alt-J. If there’s any justice he’ll return with an army of new fans.

Patrick Davies

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