14th November | Marble Factory
Norwegian born Anna Lena Bruland aka EERA stands centre stage. She is petite in frame but her defined jawline, deep red lipstick and incredible vocal range dispel any appearance of vulnerability. Her performance is melancholy but powerful with heavy guitars, juxtaposed against her high voice. She stands abreast with her three band members making herself appear as a collaborative project, and perhaps an accurate depiction of the live performances of this solo artist? Her set climaxes in a suitably cinematic fashion with a instrumental section of rockier guitars and dark tones before they disappear in the fading lights.
When Ghostpoet (also this month’s cover star) takes to the stage it’s amongst an anxious excitement laid out by several minutes of low tones not dissimilar to white noise. He kicks off with ‘Many Moods at Midnight’ from his latest album Dark Days & Canapés with emphasis placed on ‘I am calling out to you, sent from overseas.’
He stands tall and thickset, stark after EERA’s appearance. His performance is intense and atmospheric as he tilts his head hunching over the microphone, letting this extension of his limbs be the focal point. At other points he would turn away from the crowd, animatedly using his hands to orchestrate the band members as if he were a conductor.
The four members that he shares with the stage with are at times looking uncomfortable but not at all impacting on their strong supporting role, perhaps complimenting the atmosphere of the show?
To perform with such intensity even more starkly reveals the darkness of Ghostpoet’s fourth studio album. These tracks performed live are builders, growing with pace and depth as they come to the close.
His deep and breathy voice is complimented by the heavy guitars and the occasional addition of female vocals by EERA and one of the band members. The latter member fills the big boots left by Nadine Shah on X marks the spot beautifully.
Ghostpoet chats little; clearly preferring his lyrics to reveal his views. At one point this transcends the music when he pulls the brakes on ‘Woe is Meee’ in order to berate a individual near the front for filming claiming he wanted ‘a connection with you guys,’ a comment entirely fitting with his narrative on social media and the modern world. He restarts the track with stylish slickness. The chat he does give is to acknowledge his emotion at coming to the end of this tour.
The crowd are relatively stationary but entirely respectful, entirely in-keeping with Ghostpoet’s messages.
As if the whole show was an analogy of his tracks, it builds, culminating with Freak Show, a performance which encourages fans to move along.
His encore harks back to past times with renditions of ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’ and ‘Off Peak Dreams’ demonstrative of the changes this artist has made in style, toward a rockier, darker and more intense performance.
Check out the video for ‘Freakshow’ below.