Tuesday 23 October saw the launch night of Twisting Tongues: A spoken word evening. For those unfamiliar with what ‘spoken word’ entails, it is essentially rap music but without the music. To be more precise, it is free verse poetry which, on paper, might be mistaken for prose if it were not for such regular use of alliteration. ‘Spoken word’, however, is called precisely that because so much hangs on its delivery: the varying tones, subtle inflections and well-timed pauses (to name but a few) help deliver the poet’s message (which is usually satirical in ‘spoken word’).
The event took place on Duke Street opposite Selfridges (not to be mistaken with ‘Sell Fridges’!) in Après London (a venue which is usually used as a nightclub). Tickets were £5 and you were given a complimentary glass of champagne.
Getting to the champagne, however, wasn’t an easy task. The small room was choc-a-bloc with people and manoeuvring in the room was difficult, let alone trying to find a seat. All that aside, I was excited about the evening which had much promise, prima facie. The event advertised David J ‘The Vocal Pugilist’ as their feature act. David J is a well-known name on the scene and his career spans back over two decades. In 1992 he won Choice FM Battle Rap Competition and he has performed at Latitude and Glastonbury Festival.
He kept the whole room mesmerised…
David J turned out to be the first act and he didn’t disappoint. He kept the whole room mesmerised with his vocal skills. He was somewhat reminiscent of a beatboxer (someone who makes a beat and sometimes sings at the same time, with just their voice): his use of tone, tempo, sounds and impersonations were masterful. I would certainly recommend going to see him: it’s a real experience.
David J was followed by a spoken word competition. There were four contestants and, from what I saw of them, they were fairly good (although I must admit I began to find the incessant satire a little repetitive and even preachy). I ended up leaving part of the way through this competition and, no doubt, there was a lot more to be seen and enjoyed (David J, for example, said he was going to make another appearance, at some point). I didn’t leave because of the acts or even because I was awkwardly perched on the side of a sofa. The first problem was it was too loud. The second problem I found was the two people introducing the acts were trying to put on a performance themselves and their over-energetic intervals became quite tiring and childlike, particularly the games they tried to play with the audience. It was all with the best intentions, however, and evidently their aim was to entertain and keep spirits high.
…the potential to be a great night…
Overall, I think the event had a few areas in which to improve but it certainly has the potential to be a great night. As I said, the acts themselves were very good and for a debut night they didn’t do badly.
You can find out more about Twisting Tongues on their website.