The Gig: Henry Rollins
Where: Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Ontario
When: Monday 19 November 2012
In One Word: Compelling
I’m not sure anyone else on this planet is capable of holding an audience for two and half hours straight, let alone without barely a breath between sentences, and with absolutely no gulps of water: There is no chair, no glass of water, no props. It’s just a room full of people with Henry Rollins standing on stage with a microphone for two and a half hours of such ass-numbing but soul-charging intensity. A lesson in public speaking, as much as how to be punk rock, down to earth, straight-talking, clean-living, world-travelling, funny anecdote-telling, cool guy.
Hank is as insightful, opinionated, prolific, out-reaching, good humoured and pissed-off as ever. One of the coolest humans to ever walk the planet. Ultimate respect. And for two and a half hours at least, I find myself in a room full of attentive, awesome people I could ever hope to share a narrow arm-chair rest with. A Henry Rollins spoken word show is like a United Nations summit for the punk rock, underground kids.
Testament to the strength of his performance and his spoken word routine, is that you can genuinely walk into a Henry Rollins show without having a clue who the guy is but then leave the show smiling and recounting the last few hours. I know this because the Italian girl who sat beside at this show nudged me at one particularly quiet moment to ask me in not so hushed words, “What’s the name of this guy’s band again?” Amazing. Cue gasps of shock from the people sitting in the rows behind us, half of whom probably have Black Flag bars tattoos.
I have a five minute presentation to give at my Businness Communication class on Wednesday night at Ryerson University – if Hank can speak for 150 minutes straight without a break, I can damn well handle five minutes talking about Paywall systems.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
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