There’s nothing quite like live…
Last night I had the great privilege of experiencing English poet Harry Baker live at a house concert. Yep, that’s World Champion Slam Poet Harry Baker in a lounge room around the corner from my place.
One of my son’s mates is a mad HB fan, and reached out to him when his Australian Tour was announced. So, the arrangements were made – gig on Tuesday night, lounge room recital Wednesday night, gig Thursday night, fly out to China Friday. Such is the life of the international poet.
After I received my invite, I resisted the temptation to gorge on HB on-line. Once I found his TED talk, it was enough to hook me – he’s a maths nerd who is into words, my kind of guy. I decided to hear the poems fresh and live for the first time.
And so …
About thirty people – mostly friends of the teenage host and his sister – assembled in a family home for the experience of a lifetime. There were many HB fans, and plenty who were there to find out what the fuss was all about. They didn’t have to wait long.
Like most things, YouTube just doesn’t do justice to the force of nature that is Harry Baker live. He’s smart, witty, unassuming and engaging, while his poetry is all at once gentle, sharp, challenging and inspiring. He held the crowd’s attention for an hour that flew past – no one wanted it to end.
But end it did, with HB spending the rest of the night talking to the fans who are mostly back at school or uni today, inspired not just by his rapid rhyming words but by the journey he has chosen – to work hard at his passion rather than take a course that others might have expected.
Everyone threw some cash in a tin to finance the night – Harry is a full time poet, and no one could argue with the value.
House or Lounge Room concerts are a “thing” in music, and the model has grown in popularity, with one of the Australian pioneers being Deb Conway (see article here). Artists can easily end up making more money playing in a backyard for 20 people who pay $20 a head and buy a CD than playing in a “venue” where the money is tight and a sound engineer needs to be paid.
I’ve hosted, been to and played at a lounge room concert – they are thoroughly brilliant, and you should give one a go.
Meanwhile, here’s my favourite poem from the night – Real Men
Or it might have been this one . ..