Birmingham born Ed Geater has gradually been gaining momentum in the past year, developing and showcasing his signature combination of beatboxing and sensitive lyricism, and attracting a sturdy local fanbase and respect across scenes. As we all gathered at Mama Roux’s, a unique little venue in Digbeth originally designed to recreate the cool vibes of a New Orleans dive bar, it was clear that this was going to be a very special evening: the launch of Ed’s Unseen EP, with support from Alex Rainsford (a soulful alternative rocker reminiscent of sixties Cali, who has been steadily working towards his own EP launch, now set for next month) and Lady Sanity (a Hip Hop and Grime MC, who absolutely tore it up at this year’s Glastonbury Festival as a BBC Introducing wildcard and newcomer). An eclectic mix of support acts to pay tribute to Ed’s unique blend of soundscapes and tastes, and the audience (made up of fellow musicians, family, friends and fans) couldn’t wait.
Alex Rainsford was up first. Stopping the audience dead in their tracks as soon as he opened his mouth, his beautiful blend of acoustic guitar and resonating vocals cascaded across the three-tiered venue to set the atmosphere for the rest of the night perfectly. He admitted early on in his set that after a “wild year” he had considered quitting writing, but as he got closer to giving up, the lyrics and melodies started to pour out of him. Thank goodness!
A seemingly ‘old soul in a young man’s body’, Alex has humility, commerciality and emotion in his music, which lends itself to a real connection with the audience. To hear more of Alex’s music, check out his website and look out for his forthcoming EP release. He has been steadily making his mark and is an artist to definitely watch out for.
Round Two; Ding Ding! - Lady Sanity to the stage. With infectious energy, smiles throughout, conscious lyricism and a vocal delivery overbrimming with rhythm, this young lady is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. With Tracks like, ‘Keep it alive’, a positive anti-violence anthem and ‘The Blueprint’, a cool and joyous ode with nods to old school Hip Hop, Lady Sanity is making her mark as a relevant, outspoken artist worthy of attention, and it seems like she is getting it. “You shall make our past but you can’t make our future”, is a lyric which sums her up perfectly. She’s a messenger, poet and role model. This lady is the voice of sanity and deserves the national acclaim she is gradually harnessing.
As the star of the show and the essence of this musical melting pot of an evening takes to the stage there is a palpable excitement. Ed Geater’s opening number leaves the audience whooping and clapping for such an extended amount of time that it is difficult for him to start his second track. Clearly overcome by the crowd reaction and the camaraderie of the support artists (who were constantly making reference to each other and thanking him for this special night throughout their sets) the choked-up star of the show has to take a second or two to compose himself.
His second tune,Scatter eventually starts, an emotional serenade with a beatbox anchor, with building layers and dynamics helped along by his loop peddling, followed by Gracia, his ode to Barcelona, Don’t Think, a drum n bass driven crowd pleaser and more. His covers of Ain’t No Sunshine and an absolutely stonking version of Karma Police, were intertwined with tracks which saw him collaborate with his brother Charlie (sibling harmonies are always unbeatable) and Lady Sanity.
His Rainbows Round the Sun track was magical, with Lady Sanity providing a harmony for the lyric, “Found a place to keep from all the pain”. Other standout tracks were Steady Strides, and Symmetry, both of which showcase his signature sound perfectly.
The standout feature of the evening’s entertainment was the celebration of Birmingham music, mentioned by all artists involved. “Birmingham has so much talent at the moment...as I look into the crowd there are so many good artists here tonight...we need to shout about them”, beckons Ed. To which the crowd start chanting, “Bir-ming-ham!” repeatedly.
With loads of artists turning up to support, as well as bloggers, pluggers and a network of music fans, this was all about unifying, collaborating, celebrating and cultivating what this city has to offer. Respect to Ed Geater for bringing it all together. It’s clear he is working hard on his craft and making a positive impact that is rubbing off on those around him. The venue, sound people, crowd and artists all helped make this a gig to remember. Birmingham should feel proud.
Header picture taken from Brum Notes Magazine