Music and poetry go hand in hand. The art of capturing a single experience or moment in time, and creating and sharing it in a very visceral way, is as close as humanity comes to a direct expression of the soul. We see this self-expression in music and visual arts all the time. But watching a performance of music and poetry combined is something that’s new territory for me – an experience that was fascinating, valuable and exciting.
Tuesday night at the Fly By Night Club saw a fusion of music and poetry featuring five solid performers. I went in having no idea what to expect. It was my first poetry night and the vibe was very different but positively fun. The Fly Trap room filled up quickly; an intimate sit-down atmosphere illuminated by candlelight which provided the ultimate setting for the show.
Saeed started the performance by warming up the full-capacity crowd on the tomback, crafting smooth and relaxing drum beats to set the scene perfectly for what was going to be an unusually inspiring evening. Tineke took the stage after, rolling in and out of well-articulated rhymes as Rachel backed the words up with delicate soundscapes. The mix of cultures, words, languages and music were established quickly, and as the show went on we heard multiple tongues being spoken including French, Spanish, Italian and of course, English.
Kate’s Alphabet poem was a highlight, as she expressed her frustrations as a wordsmith being shackled to only the 26 letters of the alphabet and craving more to work with. Hessom followed with a heartfelt poem about Fremantle, highlighting its unique culture and renowned features in a different and personal light. The rhyme was turned into an entertaining rap version subsequently much to the audience’s enjoyment, after only coming up with the idea that day. Spontaneity was an engaging poem and showed Kate’s highly intelligent play on words as she captivated the crowd. Tineke and Kate joined forced for Bush Tucker, a charismatic rhyme. Stranger Blues saw Kate bring up a participant from the audience to resemble saying hi to a stranger on the bus, but the conversation not going any further, and Tineke’s vivid recollection of Becoming Australian after migrating here from Berlin was moving.
Name the Date closed the first half of the set as Hessom delved deep into the meaning of Australia Day and how you would feel about the stereotype celebrations if you were Aboriginal. It’s poems like these that challenge your thoughts in a positive way and reveal new perceptions to the reality we may be living. Something that isn’t always achieved in a typical live music show, and a refreshing change at that.
Weaving in and out of personal experiences and tales of travel stories, love, lost and everything in between, the similarities to that of a live music performance were there – but wrapped up in an entirely new and rewarding format. There were creative expressions, hooking rhythms and insightful emotions; all the trappings you get in a classic live music show. As someone who digs deep into the lyrics of songs, it was intriguing to sit back and take it all in. Through poetry, the words are highlighted even further and this descriptive and captivating experience had meaning that flowed beautifully, dabbling in moments of humour along the way.
The live sounds continued to add depth to the poetry throughout the show and it was fantastic to see how responsive the crowd were to what was on offer. The subtle flavours of different backgrounds helped to craft a mix of entertainers that were expansive and absorbing.
Dare I say it, but hearing words in poetry as a performance made you stop and listen more than you usually would with live music. You find yourself getting caught up in the different parts and experiences and really taking in the words. As a writer and word lover, it was a sensory overload at times – intense but effective. There’s something special about spoken poetry that grips you. It’s not what you would expect at all either, but this underground subculture many wouldn’t even know existed is something every dedicated music lover or wordsmith should experience first hand.
The audience for WO(L)DS Poetry and Music was at its peak. And it just goes to show that the Fly By Night Club is well and truly still alive since its location chance. For upcoming shows at one of Fremantle’s best live music spots, make sure you check out their gig guide or follow the Fly on Facebook for all official updates.