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REVIEW: John Cooper Clarke, Toria Garbutt & Mike Garry at Bridgewater Hall

in Live

The Bard returned to Manchester.

John Cooper Clarke came back home to tour ‘The Luckiest Guy Alive’

Whilst poetry may not be something that not everyone is into, it’s fair to say, JCC is one of the most important people, and highly overlooked people to come out of the Manchester scene. His poetry isn’t laced with love and fairytales, and instead is real and his collection has something in it for everyone.

The night started with a quick performance from Toria Garbutt, who set the mood perfectly. She is a newer version of Cooper Clarke, and it’s good to know that someone will be able to fill the boots of Cooper Clarke when he puts his poetry-laden books on the shelf for good. Then came the turn of Mike Garry, whose work isn’t as punk-poet as JCC or Toria, but it still speaks volumes to those that listen, especially his touching tribute to Tony Wilson. That poem went down perfectly last night, and you could hear a pin drop as each word was spoken with true feeling, paying respect to an icon of Manchester. Geoffrey Allerton closed the first half with his wonderful poetry, which was the icing on the cake, and lifted the mood before JCC took to the stage.

The interval was soon over, and as the lights went down, The Bard graced the stage at the Bridgewater, donning his skinny jeans and signature shades, with his wispy jet-black hair poking out from under his hat. He started with some interpretations on the songs he had grown up with, and that were key to where he is now, before charging into his poems. Rattling off poems quicker than a machine gun chucks out bullets, it really makes you wonder how, at the age of 69, he still manages to perform the same way he did when he was starting out.

A collection of classic, and new material filled his set, including a new one about the mystical land that is…. Oldham, for which he brilliantly imitated the accent and performed, ‘Trouble at t’mall’. There was also an adaption of the poem that has become attached with any mention of Thatcher, that is of course, ‘Beasley Street’, or as it is now known, ‘Beasley Boulevard’. However, it really wouldn’t be a night of JCC poetry without ‘Hire Car’ or ‘Get Back on Drugs…’ Two poems which made everyone laugh, and are the best examples of his fine work.

 

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