Thursday 28 January 2016

I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like to dance: Review of House of Verse at Music Café on Saturday 16 January 2016, by Jodie Hannis

‘Fields, green grass and weeping willows
Take me to see sea and the jungle
Look at each other and communicate
The places you will take us.’

I have a very vague memory of writing this in a barely legible scrawl during House of Verse, Leicester’s eclectic variety-style performance event which brings together poets, musicians, artists, comedians and anyone else who cares to join. New collaborative project Mythym had encouraged us to write down what came to mind as they played, and though they conjured many flickering sensations in me, this was what dim light and limited powers of articulation allowed. I had been struck by Mythym’s wordless exchange of ideas as duo Hibword and Carise kept calm eyes resting on each other while they wrapped themselves and the audience up in creeping tendrils of musical persuasion. It was just one of the many contented and slightly scattered thoughts I managed to scribble down.

Jenny ‘Hibword’ Hibberd and Carise as Mythym

Here’s another:

‘I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like to dance’ – An epiphany had during Velvet Exit.

In the clear cold light of day I think perhaps this is a little unfair, though it should be stated that I value willing far more than skill or even any clearly defined sense of rhythm. It’s more of a reflection on the euphoria I felt inserting myself into the group of loose-ligamented roisterers and more demure loiterers, a feeling which is often hard to come by.

It was, however, in abundance during musician and composer Jim Ghedi’s set. His sound is as accessible as it is intricate but don’t think it is anything but extraordinary. Musicians in the room glaze over as he plays and his introspective intensity is irresistible. He had us, completely, and we all arced forwards in our seats towards him.
Jim Ghedi ‘Forgive me for what I possess’

There was no break for the spell-bound as Frank Sparrow and Hibword leant into atmosphere and held us tight for a little while longer. In a way, they are antidote to Jim’s complexity without slipping from charm and joy. We were invited to ‘colour them in’ and I think in that moment we were all desperate to try; to find the brightest pieces of ourselves and offer them to others to help fill in the gaps. If that’s not why we’re all there, I don’t have much of a better explanation to offer.

 Hibword and Frank Sparrow

To be taken from here to what followed encapsulates what this evening is all about. Energy flowed and transformed as naturally as our breathlessness was inspired and we were stirred back to revelry by master crowd-manipulator Mr Shay. #GBH was embraced as anthemic if somewhat unnecessary as negative vibes or dead energy were not to be found here in the face of his boundless enthusiasm.
Mr Shay #GBH

The titillation continued with not one but two poems about genitals from Daniel Webber then Leanne Moden. I’ve seen Leanne perform before and was gleefully anticipating watching the unsuspecting crowd’s jaws drop as her vitriolic vagina verse burst forth from her otherwise diminutive stature. She was in good company with the night’s other performative poetry-makers. Brian Sin sounds like honey sliding over gravel and Poetman gave us a digital rendition of 21st century wage slavery through accomplished use of a loop pedal. Rich But Not Famous dropped a dizzying display verbatim, grandmaster gabbling through a whirlwind of words. He either has vertiginous memory wizardry or rhyme and rhythm just fall out of him like teeth fall out of children.

Leanne Moden and Rich But Not Famous
Perhaps he’s a distant sound-cousin of Shuter whose beatboxes are tightly packed in the store cupboard of cacophony. He drew House of Band into an electrifying freestyle which was more collaboratory than competitive; each irresistible increase in tempo and tightness felt like a helping hand being swapped back and forth between them.

Compelling cooperation carried on with our last performers of the night Hayche Griiim & Kiron Hanna who invited House of Band and Ex & Wye to join in creating an elated hip hop, tripping mosh of bouncing bodies to be delivered straight into the waiting spin-hands of our House DJs for the rest of night.

Collective magic from Hayche Griiim, Kiron Hanna, Ex and Wye

With the end not yet in sight, I wrote in my notebook:

‘I’m only cynical about the sinister’

House of Verse makes many things melt away. Such an energised and supportive place to perform and absorb could only have you leave any negativity at the door. By doing so, we unravel some of those cool, distant, protective layers and instead open ourselves to beauty, inspiration and friendship. Don’t you want a piece of that?

Keep up to date with House of Verse happenings here:

About the reviewer
Jodie Hannis chases after words at every opportunity. If you have some, chances are, she’d like to hear them. She also occasionally runs away from ones she puts out into the world herself:

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