Norwich Sound and Vision is a great music and culture event, lots of great diverse music crammed into a small and beautiful city where medieval architecture crops up on every corner and for a weekend music seeps out of very unlikely looking pubs and churches.
Tonight in the Arts Centre, Ghostpoet is cranking a real electricity with a very 21st century mix of music and styles that is thoroughly effective and stunningly hypnotic.
Basically a four piece band built around Ghostpoet himself, born Obaro Ejimiwe, a tall, bespectacled charismatic figure who lays down complex and very English raps over the seething backing of an excellent drummer (who sits stage front and sideways on), a keyboard player and some dude at the back who pays guitars and samples.
Ghostpoet himself is not just content with his rapping, he also mixes his own dub effects into the sound which spin off into the distance adding a deeper, darker depth to the sound that already marries a hypnotic dark, melancholic undertow to the neo-jazz & occasional dubstep, a whiff of rock and a very English take on the smarter end of hip hop, creating a very modern, very urban, very British take on the form.
His debut album was nominated for a Mercury Award and his second has been critically acclaimed, but he transcends all this media love with a genuine connection to his audience and a groundbreaking take on a multi-facetted music that has a real connection beyond the rarefied atmosphere of good taste and into the real world.
The packed audience react by moshing and even crowd surfing, making it feel more like a rock gig than a strict hip hop session, and this is very apt as this cross-border music, a music that refuses to be boxed in and a music that perfectly matches these unsure and eclectic ipod driven times, adds a real positivity in spirit to its dark undertow and an optimism to counter its melancholy.
Ghostpoet can be found on Facebook.