“An ice-cream wept on the steps of the church.”
What do you call these poem-songs? Pongs? Soetry? Whatever they are, they’re properly good, and they’re properly performed. What may be missed in Simon Armitage’s words is brought to life by the soundscapes behind him: at times techno, at times ambient. Poetry with a chorus skirts the line between spoken word and lyric, the Land Yacht Race impossibility the band strive to achieve.
He tells stories of Urban Myth #91, the man who lives on the tightrope of a motorway’s central reservation. He tells of an obsession with lessthan100g.com, makes his own list: clouds, paper cuts, dreams. He stands like a poet an an open mic, coat still on, hands still jammed in pockets. The stage lights reflected in his glasses make him look permanently misty-eyed. He does not move, even as the four behind him turn the air into an ocean, does not move as the bass and floor tom beat the waves into a tsunami.
They’ve got a clever knack for making songs you recognise after hearing once. “Never Good With Horses” is one such song: more a calm sea than a tidal wave. The musicians know it and they use it to play with the audience: building a set, a movement, a season. They’ve played for 45 minutes when they leave the stage, the crowd wanting more. We linger, hopeful, then turn and head back out. This is a new band making some serious soetry waves.
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