Ghostpoet arrives in Leeds with his unique brand of beautifully crafted electronica combined with insightful lyricism and a musicality that has shined through since his debut album 'Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam' back in 2011. With the Belgrave Music Hall brimming with excitement, Palace take to the stage to start their support slot. The four piece band fill the room with dreamy, reverb drenched guitar tones and intricate lead lines. The packed crowd leave a fair distance between themselves and the stage, but that doesn't stop Palace's frontman giving passionate vocal performances, and the Leeds audience are definitely receptive. The tempo varies throughout their set; Palace keep a real groove with solid drumming and atmospheric textures. The catchy melodies and nice tom based playing of 'Bitter' make the hook incredibly memorable and effective, and 'Veins' slows the mood with a 6/8 time signature filled with bluesy solos, both picked and with a slide. This London band, with a very current sound, start the evening off in tremendous fashion, before Ghostpoet himself takes to the stage donned in a leather jacket looking cool as ever.
The crowd fills to the front as mysterious smoke clouds the stage as the band walk on. Instantly demonstrating his deep vocal tone on 'Better Not Butter', Ghostpoet opens with a bang, and the frantic percussion gets the whole of Belgrave Music Hall vibing. 'X Marks The Spot' follows, and the four to the floor kick, heavy riffs and fantastic backing vocals create a powerful soundscape for Ghostpoet's unorthodox and instantly recognisable musings. Following this comes 'Survive It', another track from the Mercury nominated debut album. The 32-year-old's own kind of poetry is fascinating, and his strong London twang comes through the microphone in an endearing way. With basslines and synths reminiscent of the 80s, the performance is infectious and sweeps through the room as Ghostpoet reassures the crowd that it's OK to sing along.
The slow tempo and deep groove of 'That Ring Down The Drain Kind Of Feeling', from Ghostpoet's new album 'Shedding Skin', combined with powerful, charismatic vocals, show his diversity and musical growth. Hearing tracks from each of his releases tonight shows the range and consistent quality of Ghostpoet's music. His attention to detail in terms of what his band are playing makes the performance run so smoothly, and this is evident with the variety of textures displayed in 'The Pleasure In Pleather', where the sparse arrangement builds before overdriven guitars join, giving great impact. Ghostpoet continues playing with textures to maximum effect on 'Be Right Back, Moving House', with a tense, emotional build up. He creates continuously captivating pieces of music that are expertly translated to the stage, and the ability to go from hard hitting, loud songs to intense, hypnotic tracks keeps the interest level at a consistent high.
The grungy vocal delivery on 'Yes, I Helped You Pack', combined with sharp, crisp and tight drumming make this upbeat, rowdy track a stand-out, and it's swiftly followed by 'Sloth Trot'; the intense bassline, vocal manipulation and guitar solo all add to the on stage charisma displayed by Ghostpoet and his band. Tracks from 'Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam' still go down a treat, and 'Cash and Carry Me Home' is a perfect example. After leading the crowd in a rousing sing a long to 'Meltdown', which is a truly remarkable heartfelt tune, Ghostpoet delivers 'Off Peak Dreams' like a true professional with a consistent and catchy uptempo groove. The crowd refuse to accept that as being the last song, and after calling for an encore, Ghostpoet provides one. The tranquil piano chords of 'Nothing In The Way' fill the room, and the bassline shakes it, before Ghostpoet closes the show with 'Lions', and it's an anthemic, resounding finishing track to a wonderful set. As soon as he finishes he leaves the stage and heads straight to the bar, and I think he deserves it.
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