“Brighton-Every time I come back I wish that I could live here.” Obaro ‘Ghostpoet’ Ejimiwe made his feelings about the South East clear on Twitter a few hours before his gig at Digital on Saturday night.
The London-based Coventry boy has had an impressive year. His debut album “Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam” has received critical acclaim and a Mercury Prize nomination, and whilst some appear bemused by Ejimiwe’s sluggish delivery (“We can’t understand a damn word he’s saying!”) a growing number of people are clearly starting to “get it.”
It is an eclectic mish-mash of musical influences; trip-hop’s slow and heavy rhythms are central, as is a beat-driven nod towards dubstep and at times an irresistible slide into the steady momentum of an indie anthem. The real appeal however is grounded in Ejimiwe’s lyrics. They are incisive, brooding, often self-deprecating, yet infused with a heartfelt playfulness – “Round and round we go, when’s it gonna stop? I ain’t been paid and I ain’t got a lot. It’s us against whatever babe.”
Saturday night didn’t disappoint. After a quick pep talk with the guitarist and drummer who joined him on stage (along with, of course, his MacBook) Ejimiwe began; “Let’s sing some ditties by the seaside!”. Whilst maintaining his charming introspective delivery, Ejimiwe’s voice is clearer live, infused with energy in anticipation of a mass of dancing bodies. Unrelenting rhythms delivered through Digital’s notorious sound-system were absorbing, and there was a real sense that the crowd was utterly captivated by Ejimiwe’s unassuming yet enigmatic presence.
Highlights included “Survive It”, “Garden Path” and of course “Liiines,” tantalisingly sustained to satisfy an audience who were hugely appreciative in return. Glimpses of new material were instantly likeable and showed Ejimiwe is really carving out a unique bluesy-electronic corner of the MC world; people stayed to listen rather than rush to the bar in the usual “oh-no-it’s-a-new-one” panic.
Brighton danced, participated in some shameless copy-cat rapping, and when Ejimiwe asked where to eat after the gig, we recommended a sit-down meal at Buddies. And we don’t share that kind of information with just anyone. Maybe it was the trademark trilby and glasses combo. Maybe it was those endless bear hugs he gave out so patiently post-show. Maybe it was all those compliments; “I love you Brighton!”, “Brighton, honestly one of my favourite places to play!” Do you reckon he says that to all the girls? We certainly hoped not. Ghostpoet adores Brighton and Brighton was more than happy to reciprocate. It’s a full blown love affair.