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Review: Luka Lesson ‘The People’ Tour

Saturday night saw the launch of Peyote, a new venue and ex-Mexican restaurant with enough tequila to fog half your memory of a spoken word event. On an unrelated note, there was a spoken word event in celebration of Slam Poem luminary Luka Lesson being in town for the first time as a part of his The People tour. The underlying concept was relatively simple – to connect with as many people as possible. Through grass-roots organization and love for the scene, this was done so by Sam Knows who pulled off an event filled beyond capacity of all sorts all eager for a night of stories, laughter and that inexplicable silence when a poetry piece is perfectly performed.

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The night was hosted by the ever-graceful Odette Mercy, who contributed several pieces interspersed throughout the night, leaving gasps of awe in her wake.

Opening the night was local Slam poet and Nodes emcee Jakub Dammer, or JDMC, who roused the crowd with such heartwarming poems as I Would Like to Eat Your Pussy, Square One off the Nodes EP, and ending with All Talk – a brief piece on the nature of Slam Poetry. Mr. Dammer was also nice enough to contribute his photography skills for the event, so check out him out and give him your loving here.

Once the ball was rolling, Marksman was called to the spotlight. While most may know him as a solo performer or member of the live outfit UPNUP, few may know that Marksman cut his teeth on the spoken word circuit having represented Western Australia years earlier. With a rolling delivery and consistently-positive content, not unlike a young Brother Ali, Marksman’s music has always resonated with me – and his spoken word is no different. Opening with his Slam-winning Big Girls, he eloquently dissects the fetishized body image prevalent in our youth. Following this are a slew of social commentaries, ranging from issues of ADD/ADHD to immigration to homelessness, each as apt as the next and each offering moments of self-realisation. To describe the particulars would detract from the meaning, so you’re better to check out his material – I’d suggest starting at Of Mice and Men. 

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Last and far from least was the man of the evening, Luka Lesson. Far from a stranger to the spoken-word circuit, Luka has been trotting the globe for the past few years and has a decorated resume to show for it. Having just released his sophomore album Exit, he was brimming with new content to show the world. Opening with a brief introduction to the history and etiquette of Slam Poetry, Luka had the crowd on-side from the get-go as he charismatically invited them to interrupt his performance with proclamations of admiration such as ‘fuck yeah’. Moving to his 2011 Slam Championship winning piece, the politically-fuelled The New Crusades, Luka Lesson articulately dissects the current power structures within society.

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The orator captured the now-merry crowd’s attention throughout, with a subject matter ranging from the old faithful love poems to an ode to the budding artists and writers (who seemed to make up the majority of the audience). Luka also affably drew life lessons his Grandmother’s basil garden, a head-nod to his Greek roots and an indication of the versatility of the artist. The undeniable crowd favourite however was A to Z, and Alphabet Aerobics-vein piece working through the alphabet with an otherworldly sense of alliteration and at a pace that would defy simple cognition.

Deliberately delivering didactic detonation.

By Ollie Read

Photography by Jakub Dammer

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