Mouth & Music Valentines Special- Boars Head, Kidderminster

The Boars Head is ideal for Mouth & Music. The upstairs room is self contained and big enough to take a good size audience, but compact enough to create atmosphere. The landlord and staff are supportive, the prices reasonable, and the piped music is unashamedly hip retro, Lou Reeds’ Waiting for the Man,New York Dolls’ Personality Crisis, Television’s Marquee Moon and Talking Heads’ Burning Down the House set the tone for an evening of diverse, original entertainment.

A full room turned out for a theme loosely based on love, it being Valentines week, and we certainly witnessed the full spectrum. It is to the credit of organisers Sarah Tamar and Heather Wastie that several of the performers were new to me. Familiar faces are good, but any successful event requires that new performers regularly appear to keep the regulars guessing, and coming.

Newcomer Alistair Knowles caught the ear with an irreverent tirade on growing old disgracefully, John Morris delivered his trademark laconic measured fare whilst Andrew owens read a strong short story entitled Dancing Apart. Holly McGill posts a popular blog , her live performance is now catching up with her written missives, Toads and Love I particularly enjoyed, as I enjoyed Suz Winspear’s customarily assured performance, although you can be assured that when Suz writes of In my Dreams those dreams are likely to be as comfortable as a pair of her platform boots. Closing the first half were musical duo Michelle Reynolds and Kim Lowings with an eclectic traditional range of songs performed with affection and panache.

Damon Lord started the second half with some short poems I had not heard before which were particularly effective before William Shatspeare appeared as Johnny Gash with his band the Bleeding Catfaces. They were superb. He combines the demeanour, wit, and appearance of Jarvis Cocker, with the melancholic madness of Morrissey, in an unholy alchemy of the absurd;”If you promise you will be my wife, I promise that I will put down the knife”- you get the picture?!

Johnny Gash with Chrissy Velveteen (small guitar) and Chris Ryan (big guitar)

Johnny Gash with Chrissy Velveteen (small guitar) and Chris Ryan (big guitar)

Ian Ward boldly allowed the audience to select his set by asking them to shout out random numbers which corresponded with specific poems. Normally the poet surprises the audience, I an chooses that the audience surprise him! A seasoned collection ensures that although the pacing is at risk, the quality is not. A newcomer, Io ,gave an enigmatic performance taking in a poem about childhood racial segregation in the United States and an homage to Janis Joplin. She frustrated me for the right reasons. There was clearly an interesting personal story to be told and a back story to her poetry, but we never had the chance to hear it- maybe next time.

Co -organisers Sarah Tamar and Heather Wastie rounded off the open mic, the former with I love to love ( but my baby just loves to dance?), the latter with a trio of new pieces of which Brief Encounter (pull up to the bumper?) stood out. The musical denouement came fromThe Very Grimm Bros, Adrian and John Grimm, who had lowered the drawbridge from Grimm Castle to offer their customary satirical wisdom. Frankly Chris Huhne was a sitting target! They are always a joy to watch, only their Manorial duties preclude world domination.

Adrian Grimm ( left) practices his "Kung Fu Fighting", Carl Douglas, routine,John Grimm (right) plays something else.

Adrian Grimm ( left) practices his “Kung Fu Fighting”, Carl Douglas, routine,John Grimm (right) plays something else.

Myself and Amy Rainbow rounded off the evening, common sense dictates that any critical assessment is best made by others. In any case Amy’s lawyers always check that anything I have said about her is “fair”, a word which has given the legal profession, our psychotherapists and Relate, an inordinate amount of work. Is “difficult” spelt with one f or two?

Gary and Amy upon realising that they actually have to perform together

Gary and Amy upon realising that they actually have to perform together

A fine evening, and one which Amy and I enjoyed hugely. Mouth and Music next plays on Tues 12th March, at 8pm.

Gary and Amy reconciled

Gary and Amy reconciled

Pictures by kind permission of Geoff Robinson.

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4 Responses to Mouth & Music Valentines Special- Boars Head, Kidderminster

  1. cassosborn says:

    Great report, Gary, It was an inspiring evening. Thank you for your report and apologies for the frustration…I will review your comments in future!

  2. All the best for the wedding this weekend Gary xx

  3. What a corking night and you bring it all back to life with the flick of a pen / mouse.Johnny Gash and the Bleedin Catfaces were a revelation. I thought I was in a Manchester pub on Whitworth Street West. The joys, the joys. Thanks for writing it down and so succinctly.

  4. Thank you as ever for your considered comments Gary. Was a privilege to read on such a wonderfully eclectic occasion! I feel like I learn a little more every time…. Oh and pleased you liked the toads!

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