Bloody Lips (words of passion spoken and sung) was my first experience of Performance Poetry. Held at the Monster Kitchen and Bar at NewActon on Sunday afternoon, I’m not sure what drew me to it, but it seemed like a pretty cool thing to do.
The event was MC’d by 2013 Australian Poetry Slam Champion, CJ Bowerbird, who also shared some of his own poetry, which was my favourite of the night. For a girl who grew up in the 80s, reference to Pretty in Pink, the Breakfast Club and ‘pashing’ after school formals took me to a happy place.
Local poets Andrew Galan and Amelia Filmer-Sankey did a set each, showing the variety of performance poetry out there. Andrew was loud and fast in his performance. Amelia was fluid and paced.
The headliner for the afternoon was Buddy Wakefield, a three-time international performance poet, touring from the US. Although he claimed to be nervous and a bit ‘out of sorts’, his performance was captivating. His poetry was interwoven with his own views of life and politics (from god to marriage equality). He was fierce in his opinion and at times he almost stared the audience down in a challenge of our own assumptions. He did comment that he felt like he was very alone up on stage and insinuated that he was facing a hostile audience. I didn’t get that impression, but do know that as Canberrans we can take a while to warm up. He almost appeared to buzz on stage and I couldn’t help watch him.
The afternoon was inter-twined with fantastic music from Moochers Inc. A band that oozed hipster cool and almost seemed to be making up the words as they went along. Part of the audience were up dancing, with some fairly nifty swing on display, the band gave a humour to the affair and provided a nice interlude to the more intense poetry.
For the enjoyment of the poetry and music, I would challenge whether the venue is right for the show. Monster is all hard edges and cement. I wonder if Bloody Lips would sit better in a softer space; one with comfortable seats and welcoming staff. There was also an unfortunate drill (or similar building sound) going on in the background for part of Buddy Wakefield’s set, which was distracting.
The next Bloody Lips is on the 30th of November. It’s well worth a look if you enjoy poetry, a few drinks and some good music.
Photos by Adam Thomas