Friday, 24 January 2014

| 11th Annual Poets Vs MC's | Thursday 16th January 2014 |

Arriving at Concorde2 you could straight away see the diverse range of people waiting in anticipation to enter the venue. As this was my first spoken word event in the Brighton area I was very eager and curious for the event to start.

Upon entry crowds were met by hip hop beats spun by ‘Tyny’ getting people in the mood for the night’s events. The hosts of the night Rosy Carrick (Hammer and Tongue) and Hinesy Hines (SlipJam:B) stepped to the stage to introduce the night. Straight away insults were fired back and forth to warm the crowd into what’s to come.

The first section of the night was demonstration of each of the word smiths work. Each member of the poets and MC’s took it in turn to perform a rap or poem. First up was the host herself, Rosy Carrick who performed a poem about Michael Douglas using witty similes comparing bad sex to a broken kettle which had the audience laughing. It also brought a lot of surprised faces to the newcomers of the Hammer and Tongue events, who’s only connotations of poetry were from a year nine English class.

Next from the MC’s was Gramski, who performed a rap only, using words beginning with M and C. If witty poetry didn't already get the crowd going, then this clever word play definitely did. The speed of which Gramski was rapping had the crowd cheering for him and already siding with the MC’s before the battle had even begun.

The poets brought Mike Parker to the stage next who performed a poem about Primal Scream. The poem itself was incredibly well written and the energetic performance alone captured the audience. But for those that were there that didn't like or didn't know Primal Scream looked very confused with the references.

Next on was the comedy MC, Professor Elemental. The professor invited the crowd to each get on their invisible horse whilst he did the same and hopped around the stage whilst rapping about his horse. Looking across the audience you could see heads bopping up and down still pretending to be on a horse enjoying his performance.

To calm the audience down the poets introduced Robin Lawley who described himself as the poet’s antidote the fun the audience had been having with Professor Elemental. Despite the negative introduction, Robin Lawley managed to keep the audience in high spirits with his witty poetry.

Jon Clarke joined the stage yet to really show off the skills of the MC team. He brought a long a beat boxer to keep within the spoken word rules. For his freestyle he placed Gramski in the crowd to get questions from the audience to ask to him and he answered in freestyle. He was asked a range of questions from his most embarrassing moments, to his views on feminism and if he could freestyle by rhyming orange. Non of the questions really seemed like a real challenge to Jon, everything that came his way was answered in a clever and entertaining way. With Gramski rhyming the questions to Jon the whole performance had brilliant flow that the audience really enjoyed.

With the crowd in high spirits from all the previous acts Tommy Sissons took to the stage. As soon as he started his poem the crowd were captured. Not because of Tommy jumping around the stage or any sort of costume, but because of what he was saying. The poem was about his difficulties of been young and about his single mother. It was clear that Tommy was extremely switched on and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and the audience were engrossed by this. The only time you heard even a whisper from the crowd was when within the poem Tommy said that he was sixteen and everyone in the audience were in shock. Tommy’s performance was definitely a highlight of the evening for me, and, from what I could tell, the rest of the audience too.

After a poetic rap performance from TJ, A P Staunton took to the stage and dedicated his poem to Steve Pybus (Dirty Harry’s owner) who had passed away a couple of weeks before the show. The style in which the poem was written was almost like a story. With Staunton’s clever rhyming skills the audience cheering and clapping so loudly that he had to pause for a minuet to let the crowd calm down for him to finish the poem.

Chris Parkinson presented us with a poem playing on the Gil Scot-Heron song/poem ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ adapting it to the revolution will not be on social media. The sheer energy of Chris’ performance alone captured the audience but the poem itself was incredibly well written.

To finish the first round off the MC’s welcomed on stage Harley Alexander-Sule from Rizzle Kicks to the stage. For those that only new Harley from Rizzle Kicks seemed pretty shocked at his ability to MC.

The next part of the show allowed all the MC’s to really show off their skills with group freestyle. Tyny spun beats for the MC’s and they took it in turns to freestyle. For this they welcomed anyone up from the audience who was willing to join in. The only two that took the MC’s up on the opportunity were two 13 year olds who weren’t shy in performing in the slightest. It was refreshing to see the openness that that the MC’s had to giving people a chance to show there talents, no matter how old. It was a brilliant and extremely entertaining performance from everyone that was involved.

It was now time for the moment everyone had been waiting for, the battle. As before the MC’s and the poets took in turns to slate each other. It would appear that the audience had already chosen their favourites performance from the introduction round with some performers getting louder cheers than others. For me the performances that really stood during the battle were A P Staunton’s poem about everything he would rather be than an MC, which had the audience laughing throughout.  Tommy Sissons poem about why he preferred the poets and everything that was wrong with the MC mentality. Gramski’s freestyle rap which can be seen below. And the surprise performance from Spliff Richard who was originally on the Hammer and Tongue team before Tommy took his place for this show. Spliff Richards rap slated the poets for not letting him in and how he felt the MC’s were more of a family. His flow and clever wording really topped the evening off.

Overall it was an extremely enjoyable evening that the MC’s had won. I would recommend attending any event that you can by the SlipJam:B or Hammer and Tongue teams and I look forward to the 12th annual battle.

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