Sunday, 22 June 2014

Chapter 18: Kate Tempest, The Girl's on Fire, with I am Fya.

"Our fear pickles us, living in jars 'cos it's safer."

Sometimes you come slap bang against a voice so real it leaves you speechless.  So raw that your own words feel tinny, fake, artificial, laboured, the product of a relentless consumer.    Kate Tempest is an Author.  Roots in Authenticity.  Speaks with Authority.  The voice of a prophet of our time. Declamatory.  The voice quivers with strength and conviction. Her poetry is epic.  Check out Brand New Ancients, Part One, for starters.

She keeps words on their toes, one of a generation of poets who belong to the age-old tradition of bards duelling verses, and who now fight for survival in the quick-fire rounds of slams, exchanges of verbal bartering and battering in open mic evenings.  

"Them things you don't show I can see, them things you don't say speak to me."

That's what Kate does.  The album "Everybody Down" peels back the layers, gets under the skin to the broken hearts, wasted, lives fragmented, interconnected.  She has a vital way of nailing characters like Becky "eyes full of morning,  spent without sleeping", Harry, after Becky "heart opening up as like it was blinking", Marshall Law "wanking on about his artwork", and David, well, "even David's enthusiasm is boring".  I feel for David.

On stage at the Hootananny she radiated happy.  The biggest grin, sharing jokes with her crew.   I am Fya is touring with her,  and her video "I'm a girl" strikes out against the living doll, our surgery-obsessed age that rams the perfect woman down our throats until we regurgitate it.

And it makes me think of that aerial gig "Expectation", part of The Roundhouse's CircusFest 2014.   What body are we as women constructing?  Do I train in circus to have the perfect body or a strong one?  I tell myself it's the latter.

Back to last night, there was a sense of the home-girl, home-coming.   Somehow I ended up at the front with the French girls I'd met in the loo queue.  If the accent wasn't a dead giveaway, the flags on their cheeks were for sure. France had just thrashed Switzerland.  They were high.  The audience chorussed along and Kate got us sing back at her, something she said she'd avoided 'til now as naf.  She was having fun. She's great live.  With her band.  Voting is open here at Songkick: Best Live Act 2014.  It's in the can, right?!

"Once I set myself a task, there ain't no going back"

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