Ghostpoet at Reading Festival

August 27, 2013

After impressing us on his tour a few months back we were keen to see Mercury nominated Ghostpoet once again to see how his nocturnal musings work at 2pm in the afternoon. Before the set has even begun, Ghostpoet’s drummer is already playing along with the tent’s resident DJ (Madam X) and a massive guy in a red shirt is shouting “YES OBARO” whenever he sees the upcoming performer.

The ghostly poet takes the stage in a hooded black leather jacket. There’s a drum kit and three synth-like set-ups (we’re not going to get technical) are dotted around the stage.

The mystic arpeggios of ‘Plastic Bag Brain’ act as an excellent gateway for the unfamiliar to work their way around this often distant sound. You know you can dance to it, but not how you’d normally dance. It’s something that has to be felt and not thought about, something that marks it out from a lot of the more obvious offerings on show by the bigger dance names on the bill. At one point a mosh-pit starts in the crowd, a brief one mind you, and a few inflatables are tossed around. It’s slightly incongruous given the vibe of the music that’s actually coming from the speakers, but with almost any other artist in the dance tent it wouldn’t seem remotely out of place. The important thing is that they’re having fun and not leaving.

Nor should they leave, because soon afterwards Ghostpoet begins his wonderful ascent of ‘Survive It’, ‘Liiines’ and ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’ that we harped on about so much in the last review. It’s a steady reflective build through the first two tracks, then we glide into the slice of Ghostpoet’s catalogue that one would probably associate most with Dance. But it’s all in his flavour; this isn’t some clubland beast, it’s a lost stagger way after your mates have ditched you. We’ve all been there, few of us are proud of it and shining an honest light on it is a bold move.

We’re then taken through the mildly sinister ‘Msi Musmid’, which sounds like a predatory sewer monster. After shaking us to our bones, a smashed up version of ‘Us Against Whatever’ chimes out as smoke drifts through the tent. It’s almost completely hiding the stage at one point. And with that, the phantom is gone.

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