Date: May 03 2012
Henry Rollins at the Powerhouse, Brisbane
There’s a touch more grey on top, and he’s just ticked over to 51 years of age, but Henry Rollins's spoken-word is as compelling as ever.
Opening his three-night stand at Brisbane’s Powerhouse last night, Rollins didn’t stop for one glass of water as he relentlessly spat bile at US politicians, rattled off touring tales, relayed his concern for the planet and revealed his personal masturbation technique.
Rollins has perfected the ability to switch tone and voice.
Leaping from drill sergeant to excited schoolboy, from humour to polemic rants, he never loses your attention.
Part of his appeal is he approaches every topic with thoughtfulness and enthusiasm.
Yes, he has an opinion on everything. But it’s been agonisingly pared down, challenged and crafted.
He doesn’t subscribe to bumper sticker gospel.
Rollins's The Long March focuses a lot on his travels outside the US, revealing what terrifies him about North Korea and what makes Iran so endearing.
It also sees him talk fondly about Australians. Too fondly at times.
His constant referral to the audience as “you sexy Australians” is easily dismissed for its triviality. And during his tales about travelling around Australia and his brutal verbal dismantling of America’s military industrial complex this country gets off too lightly.
He seems to see Australia through rose-tinted glasses.
It might help to win an audience over to his way of thinking but also sells them a bit short.
When he talks about universal issues such as inequality, political hegemony and the environment, momentary lip service to the manifestation of these issues in this country is sorely absent.
His genuine affection for Australia is undeniable though.
And going by the audience’s appreciation, the initial warnings he was given about Brisbane crowds on his first visit more than 20 years ago were ridiculously wide of the mark.
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