If you have been to St George’s before, you’ll know that it is a beautiful venue. If you haven’t, add it to your to-do list. The seats were set out in rows - it felt like pews in a church, or maybe a gathering in a village hall. That said, the performances of the night definitely brought a sense of community and togetherness with them.
The musician CW Jones opened the night with a set genred as ‘gutter soul’. Even though his tracks such as ‘Dig Yourself a Grave’ had sombre lyrics and tones, CW Jones’ performance came with a light-hearted demeanour which relaxed and settled the crowd.
Followed by a short break, MC Dizraeli made his way onto stage. He began with some crowd activities to relax the audience. He cleverly demonstrated the power of words by, instead of projecting powerpoint slides, describing the images he wanted to create. Sharing experiences in his life that have inspired his art of words, from losing a close friend, to realising your younger brother is emotionally stunted thanks to raut toxic masculinity. What was great about Dizraeli’s speech was his ability to seamlessly slip between conversation and verse; it was hard to distinguish what was planned poetry and what was improvised discussion, as if everything said both by himself and the crowd during the talk was part of a bigger piece of work.
After another intermission, the spoken word performances truly began. First on stage was Kieron Rennie. Rennie’s performance was elegant and composed. As the poet Sophia Thakur later described it, Rennie’s stage presence is one of stillness, which is entirely captivating. He read three pieces, concluding his performance with that of Snow Leopard, accompanied by hypnotising visuals.
After Rennie was Sophia Thakur, who gave a performance that was equal parts energetic and compelling. Like Rennie, she finished with a piece that was accompanied by visual art, Dance.
Solomon OB concluded the night with a set of another 3 poems, finishing on the undeniably powerful ‘Patterns of Behaviour’, which confronts finger pointing in race relations saying he is ‘accussed of accusing someone of being racist’.
As one of the poets put it, the addition of music and visuals really elevated the performers voices to a new level. The music made me wriggle in my seat, wishing the crowd were stood up instead of seated so I could move to the beat. Chemistry between the poets and the musicians was so strong you could almost see sparks flying. Overall the night was fun and a fresh take on the more sober spoken word performance some may be used to. This is not to say that the evening was less potent or serious than other performances, but instead more dynamic and engaging. I look forward to Lyrix Organix returning to Bristol, hopefully in the near future, as I am sure to get a ticket. If you still have the chance, catch them at their last performance of their national tour at Kings Place, London on December 6th.