Vivid Arts #2 Lancaster Library 7.3.09

The second Vivid arts event was a big step up from the first. That had been free and not all to my taste, this time it seemed better promoted and a stronger looking bill, but they charged a small amount to attend.

Mikey Kenney kick-started the evening in his One Chip Potato guise.  Many there seemed to be experiencing OCP’s wild folk blues for the first time, but their sheer enthusiasm, musical dexterity and particularly Mikey’s voice with its rich vibrato made an instant impact.  Mixing OCP songs with those of his other band Ottersgear gave the set a varied dynamic, climaxing in the pychedelic pop classicism of Sunflower Man.

Library  staff were fussing about things starting to run behind, but few would complained if OCP had played all night.  “What a voice!” was one comment, “they stole the show” said another.

Fortunately After Dark Theatre Co were equally capable, few others could have stepped up straight after OCP.

Presented as a seminar about surviving the forthcoming Zombie Apocalypse (“and it is coming, any day now”) AD had the audience in stitches as they mercilessly skewered the pompous American style smig, uber-slick presentation.  Improvising from audience cues they also took pot shots at horror stereotypes and dispatched hecklers with relish.

The full version of this show is on tour before Edinburgh.  If you fear the Zombie Apocalypse (“and you should”) and need help, or just a genuinely funny night out, then watch out for After Dark.

As with the first event there was a photographic display alongside the live performances.  Credited on the posters to Charlotte Forsdick but actually a collaborative work PR2 was more effective for its contextualization.   Taking its source material from a number of famous (and less-so) Pre-Raphaelite paintings PR2 reproduces them photographically in a dark, social and very contemporary context.






Hence Ophelia drowned in her bathtub seems to me to reflect Millais and Emin.  The interpretation of Bacchus as a young man clutching a bottle of deliberately cheap wine.  PR2 made its debut at Vivid Arts, a coup indeed.  More can be seen at their website   Just a thought though, as Charlotte was present perhaps there was a missed opportunity for her to say a few words about PR2?

Well-established local poet Sarah Hymas got the second half underway.  Sarah’s short imagistic verse is harder to judge in reading than on the page, unlike much comic verse.  Where she succeeds is with her lissom presence, literally dancing her poems.   Sea imagery predominates but the sustained metaphor of The Midland Hotel as a glamorous, sexy movie starlet was effective.

Some of Sarah’s poems took an askew glance at love, so it was perhaps unfortunate for Silent Mark that he followed her onstage to ‘talk about love’.  His observations lacked profound insight, raising smiles more than belly laughs, but his assured presentation helped.  A long, carefully structured tale of adolescent infatuation lead to a partly-signalled punchline, but the best laughs were en route.  You can catch Silent Mark on DiversityFM (103.5FM or ) three mornings a week.

I was looking forward to closing act Uncle Jeff after hearing good things about them from a friend.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Their geeky indie pop stylings belied a punchier sound and strong riffs and beats.  If they’s had a raised stage I’m sure people would have danced, even to the song inspired by the TV series Threads.  Credit too to the sound man who got a crisp clear sound for both bands and the spoken performers too.

Unfortunately the library’s refurbishment plans may impede Vivid Arts momentum slightly, though Storey Institue could be stepping in.  The children’s events in the afternoon were packed, I’m told.  The evening was less full but fantastic value for £3. 



One Response

  1. thanks for the words, Kevin – glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

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