On a dreary, grey Saturday with reoccurring bouts of rain in London, you could be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing worth going out for until Halloween; hiding away in your house with the heating on and the Summer’s soundtrack of soulful thumping hip-hop to try and escape the impending winter. Or maybe that’s just me most winters, but whatever! Last Saturday I found inspring, uplifting shelter in the Sackler space at Camden roundhouse. Sackler is the smaller, downstairs part of the roundhouse and tonight the audience and artists alike are sprawled across the floor together. The atmosphere is friendly but it crackles with electricity in the presence of some serious secret talent. This is UnFold, produced in partnership by Lyrix Organix and Roundhouse Rising, and it is something seriously special.
Roundhouse Rising is one of the Roundhouse’s many youth-orientated projects. It exists to teach and allow young creatives to learn about festival production as well as put it into practice. Lyrix Organix is a project focused on story telling though live music, visual art and poetry. It’s also a crowdfunded project primarily populated and arranged by young artists. The fact that 75% of the room is under the age of thirty doesn’t mean that it’s amateur, or feels like a cring-worthy school play with tearful mothers going “oh bless ‘em, bless my little Danny- he writes he does” Nooo. This is quite an overwhelming showcase.
Supporting the Lyrix Organix outfit are Spit the Atom, who offer lingering, otherworldly bars. This young collective are as bright as they are mysterious. I caught up with them for a quick chat about why they think spoken word is important. Gabriel told me that he feels:
“Spoken word has really come up… I think its partly because we [young people] are frustrated, in terms of looking for a form of expression. Each generation has had their artistic movement and their kind of way of expressing whatever is angsting them… spoken has been around since before written poetry, and I think their acceptance into mainstream/popular culture is a testament to our need to… articulate something with meaning.”
Another member of Spit The Atom, Kit, agrees:
“everyone who gets on stage automatically has a mic on stage is equal and can tell their story, and it happens in back rooms of pubs and above cafes, as an art form its accessible and its portable…” Spit the atom put their own night on at Slam, a new venue in Kings Cross, every second Friday of the month.
Like a lot of hip-hop fans, I’m fond of a bit of music alongside my poetry, not always but at times finding the silence a bit awkward. Lyrix Organix share this perspective, because the showcase, starring Sarah Eliza and Toby Thompson features not just their vocals and bars but a full live band, complimented by London String Collective… jeez! Thompson lights up the stage as soon as he walks onto it with a stage presence bigger than the space that holds us, spitting bars that tell a tale of a woman who he fell in love with …
“except, she wasn’t a woman. I mean, she wasn’t a man, either. She was more of a woman than anything else. Really, she was a tiger.”
Sarah Eliza is no less special, switching one minute between a giggly blonde to an accomplished Wordsmith and Singer. Her piece All These Words is combined with a projected animation for next level spine chills.
Lyrix Organix, Camden Roundhouse, Spit the Atom and all involved- thanks. It’s been a pleasure.