Auckland’s Studio The Venue was host to a rare and exclusive evening of cutting-edge experimental hip-hop last night as Ghostemane brought his Australia and New Zealand tour to town; with the fierce Dana Dentata in support, it was a wild and unforgettable night!
Anything goes with Ghostemane. If you’ve clicked through to read this review then it’s likely you’re familiar with Ghostemane and his style. But for the uninitiated; Ghostemane is part of the rumbling swell of unique and uninhibited “SoundCloud rappers” that are rising and enticing the ears of youthful angst that needs to be quelled and for old heads that know an intriguing spike in the culture when they hear it.
The rules are gone, they’ve been buried...
Dispensing with genre and categorisation, Ghostemane and the likes of Pouya, Shakewell and Fat Nick are creating beat soundscapes that invoke a multitude of emotions and atmospheres. Predominantly for Ghostemane, a horror or occult aesthetic or sensibility accompanies his cuts which make for an intoxicating fusion for a horror movie fan. After all, this is the streaming generation, where any influence you want to research is yours and you can manifest your interpretation how you see fit. The rules are gone, they’ve been buried.
Launching the bill for the evening was rapper Dana Dentata, an incredibly commanding and masterful performer delivering her tough, alternative hip hop with a varied palette of flows and styles.
Dana Dentata is confident in her performance exuding total control while her manifesto of self-love, command of your sexuality and not settling or selling yourself short, was empowering. As was Dana Dentata’s striking stage outfit, that put proof to the claim that she is “a grown ass woman, making grown men cry.”
Theatrical but not overdone, Dana Dentata displays elements of industrial, nu metal and electronica. A Hip-Hop Punk Dominatrix, Dentata did not disappoint.
After a short but no less energised set by DJ Parvo, Ghostemane descended to the stage and killed the house lighting, plunging Studio The Venue into a frenzy of strobing lighting as the man of the evening delighted his ultra-hyped fans.
Immediately opening a circle pit, Bonesaw set the mood for a night fevered crowd participation which included mosh moments, walls of death and the entire crowd crouching down on one knee and springing up in unison. Ghostemane’s setlist was a great mix across this catalogue to date with Trench Coat, Ballgag, Mercury: Retrograde, Squeeze, Gatteka, Andromeda and Kali Yuga all getting an airing tonight, accompanied by plenty of the audience helping out on vocals.
Ghostemane requested that the crowd pull out their lighters and camera torches as we experienced an acoustic interlude from the brand-new Opium EP released last week, treating us to the track Acrylic. Florida subversive hip hop and Pouya fans were in luck, as Ghostemane blazed through renditions of 1000 Rounds and Stick Out. You know, for all his heavy content and lyric though, by the pure joy and way Ghostemane is feeding off of the audience; it’s clear that he is a thoughtful and genuine young Gentleman humbled to be touring New Zealand, as he said he always wished he would.
A striking and underground bill resulted in a warm and inclusive gig as both Dana Dentata and Ghostemane highlighted the welcoming and genuine response they’ve received in New Zealand; and although Ghostemane encouraged the crowd to go nuts on the last track because “he doesn’t know when he’ll be back” – from the excitement and catharsis witnessed from both of these performers last night, I’m sure we’ll be seeing them again and hopefully quicker than we all expect.