Gig Reviews

Henry Rollins + Bruce Griffiths, Seymore Centre – 28/04/2012

Despite a late start due to hiccups with the ticketing system and cues of epic proportions, the room was eager to have their mind tickled and turned by the antics to follow. Bruce Griffiths immediately had the room in uproar with his dry delivery of zany one-liners that obscure the everyday into the twisted and comical. Then Rollins. What to expect? If you read the promo you know you’re in for a high-energy rant (don’t be misled by the term ‘rant’, this was well thought out, structured and at times hilarious) by a seasoned punk rock musician with a self-confessed curiosity addiction that leads him to travel extensively and share his fiery views and quirky tales with punters around the globe. That’s pretty much what we got.

What you can’t get from promo or reviews is the total rock star persona. Commanding attention immediately, the silver-haired, black-clad, tattoo-covered figure strode onto the stage to excited applause and launched into a two-and-a-half hour solo speech, barely pausing to take a breath and certainly not taking a sip of water the whole time. Impressive feat for anyone, let alone one leaning towards the more distinguished era of his life (but yeah, he’s still got it).

Rollins imparts his vision for the world as a ‘blue green mardi gras fun ball with P-Funk and pizza Ramones’ rather than a war-torn, poverty-stricken planet, embarking on tales of old and new travels interspersed with disdain for past and current governments and a call to arms for the ‘shepherds and stewards of this century’. The amusing antics of his punk rock origins pave the way for the more serious rants on education, modern slavery by minimum wage, and the appalling disparity of wealth distribution.

Much of the show was probably preaching to the choir (does anyone go to a Rollins gig not knowing the kind of views that will be expressed?). That said, it is refreshing to have ideas that may have been brimming in the back of the mind so clearly articulated, passionately delivered and best yet, immersed in humour.

Driven by a fear of failing the audience, Rollins creates an intimate and sincere atmosphere with a room full of strangers, entertaining and educating with a rare intensity that leaves the audience a little tired, a tad numb in the bottom and extremely appreciative of the laughs and insight into what can only be described as an extraordinary life.

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