Saturday, 12 May 2012

Henry Rollins at the Astor Theatre, May 11 2012

The lobby was crowded.  There were bits of cheap smelling popcorn crushed into the floor.  Waiting audience members ranged in age and style from twenty-something year old hipsters (the norm in Mount Lawley) to middle aged men in denim and women who wear probably wearing more eyeliner on the night than they'd worn since the eighties.  Then there was us.  Mournfully under-dressed, or thankfully normal?

We were about to find out that it didn't matter.

Let in half an hour late, we finally took our seats.  Around ten, the lights went down and Henry Rollins came jogging onto the stage, looking very much like Californication's Hanky Moody minus the whisky bottle and sunglasses, and with considerably less hair.  This was what everyone had been waiting for.  And so they shut up.

Henry talked in his usual fashion- sounding angry but actually speaking words of optimism or at least keeping to a tone of uncomplaining truth.  He began by talking about Obama's stance on gay marriage.  Then he moved on to reminiscing about Australian shows.  Punching someone in the mouth and ending up in hospital with an infected hand.  Secret men's business with a twist (literally).  Nature.  Ohio turning into a giant safari.  Rent boys versus urban cowboys.  North Korea.  His fiftieth birthday.  

He spoke like this for near on three hours.  Never once did the microphone leave his right hand.  Nor did he lower his arm to his side.  In fact, he spent the entire show standing in a power stance.  At one point, someone placed a bottle of water on the stage, and while he acknowledged it HE DID NOT DRINK THE WATER.  All this while talking, making sound effects, doing cool accents and generally being awesome.  

I think it's safe to say that Henry left a lot of people wanting to go out into the world experience more things and more people.  At one point, he cited George W. Bush as his travel agent, saying that whenever Bush said a country was bad, that was the next place he would go.  

While here for the Perth International Comedy Festival, Rollins cannot technically be classed as a comedian.  Some audience members may even have been taken aback by how political and anecdotal Rollins's message was.  As for me? I was captivated.

Five stars.

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