Taken from Rave magazine 11/10/2011. View the original article at the Rave site here.
INFORMER ARTS: Australian Poetry Slam 2011
|TUESDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2011|
JOSH DONELLAN reviews The Queensland Finals of the AUSTRALIAN POETRY SLAM.
If you ever needed proof that the library is the coolest place in the known universe to hang out on a Friday night, then here it is. Yeah, that’s right, the library. You know, the place where they keep those collections of squashed dead trees covered in ink that people used to look at before they invented the Internet? That place. The State Library tonight hosts a multifarious crowd (hipsters, hippies, suits, hip hop heads) that is outdone only be the diversity of the performers. Tonight’s poetry slam finalists are gathered from all over Queensland and represent sufficiently varying demographics wide enough to cause a marketing consultant to need a quick lie down and a sip of fashionably overpriced bottled water.
Hostess Tessa Leon exudes enough charm and energy to power a small village as she introduces the first of three rounds of finalists to a warm and receptive audience. The first portion of the evening sees a few slightly nervous performers take the stage, primarily favouring traditional ABAB rhyme schemes and sweating a little in front of the spotlight. It’s not until the final performer of this round, Anaua M., steps up and unleashes a rapid-fire verbal assault that things get really interesting. His blistering analysis of social and political issues is the first in an array of jaw-droppingly good performances.
Following the first act, Ghostboy With Golden Virtues step onto the stage and begin an action that could be more correctly described as large-scale aural seduction rather than performance. Using an impressive array of instruments the band weave a series of stories over dark sonic landscapes. They certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like your tea drenched with hallucinogen then this is a band that will keep you wanting more. Ghostboy spends perhaps more time off the stage than on it, stealing hats, performing lascivious dances and generally causing marvellous mischief.
The second round of performers are potently impressive, perhaps the best single line of the evening belongs toCandy B, who proclaims: “I too have thought / ‘your body is wrong and the pants are right’ / do not believe the hype.” Darkwing Dub’s yelled ‘maximalist’ piece takes the cake as the most hilarious performance of the evening and Mark Lowndes’ vitriolic political poetry is artfully executed, resulting in an explosive round of applause.
Following a second set from Ghostboy With Golden Virtues the third and final round commences. Standout performances include 14 year-old Georgie, who takes the microphone with prodigious confidence and skill, as well as Mantist, who provides the most hip hop-influenced piece of the evening in the form of a clever dissection of modern materialism. Tessa announces tonight’s winners – Anaua M. (runner up) and Mark Lowndes (first place) – before an enraptured crowd disperses into the evening armed with poetry letters found in the bathroom and badges proclaiming ‘Bring Back The Art Of Seductive Conversation.’
The Queensland Finals of the AUSTRALIAN POETRY SLAM were held at the State Library of Qld on Friday Oct 7. www.australianpoetryslam.com