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JOHN ROBB

JOHN ROBB LIVE IN SALE – WHAT HAPPENED?

Thursday evening was all about a rainy ten minute drive down the road to the beautiful Waterside Arts Centre in Sale. As it’s name suggest, the venue sits alongside the Bridgewater Canal, however I was not here this evening to appreciate the scenery, (not that I could as it was pissing it down and I was struggling with google maps to try and exit the multi-storey).

Tonight was a chance to catch the legendary author and musician John Robb talking all things rock in the appropriately titled tour ‘Do you believe in the power of rock n roll’?’ From the painfully cool dress sense of the audience, in line with the North’s very own dedicated follower of fashion (when does John Robb not look cool?) I could sense that the answer to the above is yes, we are all believers.

This evening we merely scratched the surface of Mr Robb’s incredible career/journey through the decades of punk, rock, post punk and indie. Ninety minutes is nowhere near long enough, but he gave it a bloody good go, putting the punk into powerpoint (and what an impressive slide show it was!) I did not expect this evening to take so many unexpected turns, from a Blackpool rock injury, to dinosaurs, Pam Ayers and Noddy Holder.

My limited musical knowledge barring only learning about what I really really like and not exploring enough into other genres was put to shame, but also sparked a huge urge to go out and listen to every single band Robb mentioned and had been associated with in his career to date. At times when we had to move on, I was left wanting to know more, from breaking up fights with the Gallaghers, to sharing a room with Nirvana, interviewing Patti Smith and talking at length about the characteristics of Mark Lanegan and the Monkees.

It would be unfair to give away any spoilers, as this is a talk you NEED to attend if you have ever listened too music – any music. I could not possibly summarise in words the quality of the delivery or the passion. The first hour just dissolved with the audience hanging on his every word. The first hour ended with Robb discussing how much he enjoys interviewing people, and lucky for us, after a short interval we were privy to one of these…

I first met Tony Walsh about six years ago and since then I have had the privilege of building up a friendship through a shared love of music and poetry. RGM have covered his shows and followed his career on the spoken word scene. When I found out that he would be a special guest this evening and knowing his passion for music, I could not miss an opportunity to see him in conversation with John.

Walsh joined Robb for the next part of the evening in an interview/conversational set up, informal, warm and very very funny. The two bounced off each other, with Robb showing off his incredible talent for asking all the right questions, but most importantly allowing the guest to speak at length. As much as I enjoy watching Walsh perform, it was just as inspiring to hear him talk about what makes him tick creatively.

From writing poetry for his grandma who would keep all his poems in a little book, to an armed robbery which made him consider his career choices and ultimately became a significant life event that led him to his first spoken word performance at the Briton’s Protection at the age of 38, (a late starter in the poetry world, but let’s be grateful for a tragic chain of events that led to Walsh getting his words out in public.)

We did get to see Walsh perform one of his pieces which fit in perfectly with the theme of the evening, some audience participation was required with the tag line “Brothers and Sisters do you believe in rock and roll”. We do Tony, we do, because in a time when it often feels like the world is going to shit, people turn to the arts…(tempted at this point to go off on a tangent about how the arts are neglected in education and frequently devalued, but on an evening like this one my slowly dwindling faith is somewhat restored).

A poignant moment came later in the Q&A when an audience member asked where all the cool people were, all the lovers and the punks…well this evening readers, they mostly in Waterside Arts Centre listening to two icons of their craft talk candidly and reassuringly about the industry we all lean on when everything else becomes unstable.

The arts have a lot to answer for…

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS TOUR AND JOHN ROBB HEAD HERE

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TONY WALSH CLICK HERE

FOR MORE ON THE LATEST RGM NEWS AND LIVE MUSIC CLICK HERE