Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Last Poets -- Blues Alley - july 19 2010

The Last Poets - This show goes in the category of "legendary artists I need to see before one of us dies". This poetry/music collective formed on Malcolm X's birthday, May 19th, 1968. Their words and musical style speaks of life in that time period, but is no less relevant today. They consist of two poets that have been with this group a long, long time and a guy playing congas and assisting with backing vocals. There were a couple very short opening acts tonight with a nice female singer/poet and a streetwise poet/rapper who roused the crowd, but was kind of cliche. That point was really brought home by the Last Poets whose material was up to the ultimate challenge by being personal, yet universal. The rhythms were wonderful and the cadence and style of the vocal delivery which featured a mix of singing and talking was dead on all night. Each piece was piercing and strong. One poem brought a woman to tears near me which was touching considering the amount of shows I go to with people yammering away in unimportant conversations or checking for that latest email which could easily wait 12 hours, let alone for the 45 minutes it would take to pay attention to someone's set. So this show really did take me back to different times. No, that is not it. It actually brought those times to me in the here and now which was exactly their point and speaks to their artistic strength. I received high class music, literature and theater all in one short set. As they left, one of the Poets stuck out his hand for me and thanked me for coming. No, thank you for continuing to bring you art to the wider world.
Quote of the Night: "You folks know what a shooting gallery is? Well, back in the day it was a place where everyone would be shooting up. They'd be sticking needles all over their bodies in search of that fresh vein they could shoot into. It was rough, but when I saw one guy pull out his dick and shoot into that, man, that was too much for me."


James said...

Nice review and a great show. I caught the first set sat centre and front. Powerful stuff.

David Hintz said...

And that was me a couple of tables over from you sitting by a table the size of a manhole. Power is the word. I think I would have been at full attention, on the edge of my seat even in the furthest corner.