By Thomas Johnson
July 5, 2018
CALGARY — There’s a certain, and perhaps necessary, element of unease that comes with a truly successful hip-hop show. When a rapper steps on stage to perform, they must generate the required tension between performer and audience, an edge-of-your-seat intangibility that pits your senses against your instinct. This tug-of-war is what makes rap one of the most compelling art forms to see performed live. The energy expected from the auteur is nothing without the reciprocal kinetic power expected of the audience. An imbalance on either end is liable to throw off the delicate equilibrium of the show. Unfortunately, this was the case with Ghostface Killah’s recent Marquee appearance.
Starting his set with promise, Ghost swaggered out with the shoulder-swinging chutzpah befitting one of the greatest rappers of all-time. The swordsman hewed through an anthology of some of the slickest talk ever committed to mic; “Ice Cream,” “Mighty Healthy,” “4th Chamber,” “Chess Boxin’,” “CREAM,” etc. However, his bravado was stymied by an apathetic crowd that seemed more intent on mingling than appreciating the Ironman in their midst. After a brief 40 minutes, Ghost sheathed his mic and, seemingly in defeat, abruptly trudged backstage. Fade to black.
Ghostface Killah, live review, Marquee Beer Market & Stage