Monday, 11 May 2009

Live: Ghostface Killah in Manchester

Ghostface Killah
Manchester Academy 2
May 10th

A leading member of hip hop legends Wu Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah (real name Dennis Coles) is a prolific album maker, with an eighth solo outing set for release later this year.

Live, he’s erratic; at a recent London show he was reported to have stopped rapping to hold a Del Boy style sales pitch to shift a few t shirts onstage. Tonight he’s half an hour late but starts strongly, firing hip-hop rhymed bullets to a Wu Tang adoring crowd.
Ghostface’s onstage presence is as big as his extra large DJ, and he continually bigs up the assembled crowd. Unfortunately his impassioned shout outs fall largely on deaf ears, as the three quarters full Academy crowd fail to drum up an atmosphere to suit the machismo-fuelled energy onstage.

As well as the best bits of his own solo career, Ghostface serves up off the cuff versions of hip hop staples such as ‘Pass Me By’ (The Pharcyde), ‘Method Man’ (Wu Tang Clan) and ‘If I Ruled The World’ (Nas). Like a well stocked human iTunes library, Ghostface talks up, then performs 90s classics, as well running through his own back catalogue, with ‘Ice Cream’, ‘We Celebrate’ and ‘Be Easy’ making for a smoking hot opening.

Flanked by two, sometimes three MC’s, Ghostface doesn’t hang around; bashing out expletive ridden snippets and rhymes at a frantic pace. There’s little let up until a hasty talent contest finds the best MC in the audience (local Hit & Run promoter Chunky won, X Factor style) and sadly, the shows momentum disappears as young females are tempted onstage to writhe with the MC’s. Occasionally majestic, Ghostface and friends left most of the crowd craving a little more, rather than meeting their high, Wu Tang Clan referenced expectations.

Written originally for Manchester Evening News / City Life.

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