The Damned launched their move to Q Space with another stellar line up – Philip Cairns hosted, his bejeweled emerald outfit brought out the Irish in him for sure. A jam packed open stage ran the gamut of 15-year -olds getting on stage for the first time to tired old bald guys, like myself. It’s good to see so many new, to us, faces on the open stage.
First feature Shawna Dimitry give us a set of emotional and romantic pieces some dealing with mental health – ‘the pills are dissolving, so am I’ ‘handcuffs and stomach pumps aren’t the luxuries we wished for.’ Her powerful, direct images connected with us all. She mixed in some tender love poems – ‘you cracked my fear with a kiss.’ A strong set delivered with a sense of humor and acceptance of the issues many deal with ‘I’m sorry I didn’t live up to your expectations/ stop looking at me as if I were dead.’
It’s been a few years since I last heard second feature Phlip Arima. His set was polished and emotionally complex. Reading from ‘Breath Now’, and from his new collection ‘Pin Pricks’ – I enjoyed the multi-layer images that sometime seem random but with theme and variation new resonances are set off as images contrast, collide then add up. His narrative piece Be Quiet ‘there’s something different about the house,’ captures a child’s fear and need to understand and yet be protected from that understanding. He summed up the paradox of Facebook: ‘why do we play alone when our list of friends gets longer.’
Music feature Matt Gerber was a delight. Accompanying himself on ukulele, tin can
ukulele, kazoo he channeled the fun and politics of Pete Seeger, Jim Kweskin – made the 60’s folk style fresh for this decade. His spelling song about the difference between US & Canadian spelling was hilarious ‘there is no flavour without u.’ Even if he is Mr Furious he brought us a set of bright summer-perfect music.