Monday, 11 March 2013

#ESPspotlight Review: 'Chill Pill Connects...' The Albany, Deptford, 28th February


The last day of February found me firmly ensconced in a  small performance hall at The Albany in Deptford, South East Londres, for an evening of Spoken Word, Poetry and Improvisation unlike anything I've ever attended before.

Chill Pill Connects... is a forum that offers a welcome opportunity for up and coming artists to showcase their talents alongside seasoned pro's; domestic and International. A great venue choice first and foremost; the intimacy of the standing room only setting lent well to the energy in the room. The arrangement of the running order, giving the Open Mic section a dedicated spotlight alongside the billed artists allowed the momentum to flow the prose we were hearing from the lineup themselves.

If awards were going out for most heartwrenching performances of the night, then Ben Hayes would take the big one. His piece, which I believe was entitled 'I Am Not My Stammer', was a lyrical celebration of and testament to, his struggle from start to finish. The bravery he demonstrated to stand on that stage and fight his way through his own descriptive monologue, full of image-filled lines like "my shoulders are shelves bearing the weight" had every person in that room rooting for him, every step of the way. Keep your eyes peeled for this guy -  he's beyond inspirational!

Storyteller Anthony Hett's 'Cancer cliffhanger' - taken from his one man, spoken word show 'One Lump Or Two (scratch)', successfully managed to turn a scary moment into a comical one, without once detracting from the serious nature of the topic. His suspense timing was perfect - to the point that I wanted to go to his show, just to find out what happened next! Stellar talent.

Kristiana Rae Colón
Now I could try to sum up Chicago Def Jam alum Kristiana Rae Colón, but by no means could I do it as well as when she described herself as "juggling and rapping stanza lines" during her first piece, which she launched straight into as soon as she took the stage. From that moment on, the entire audience were all left in awe. When I tell you that the woman recited a movie without skipping a beat - it is, hand on heart, no exaggeration  I, personally have never encountered such a jawdropping spectacle. Omega 3 is the vitamin that boosts your memory, right? Well not only must she be on a daily transfusion of the stuff, but she made me want to bulk buy some from Holland and Barrett. A+mazing.

'Instructions for the Next Heartbreak' was raw, emotional, self-destructive pain that you cannot help but relate to if you've ever had your heart broken. Taken from her award winning book 'Promised Instruments'; Colón journeys to self-healing reminds you that you're not crazy for the grief stages that you pass through - you are in fact the victim rebuilding yourself; claiming your rightful title as Survivor - and "It's ok". Speaking with her briefly after the show, it was refreshing to find that she was warm, welcoming and happy to chat in-depth with her audience. No heirs or graces - my kinda gal.

The great thing about Adam Kammerling, is that whether you have or not, he's the type to make you think you're seeing him perform for the very first time. Absolutely hilarious when I saw him open for singer Alex Mills back in November, the display was like that guy amplified, in Dolby 5.0 Surround Sound. Naturally funny, you can never quite be sure where his conversational flow ends and his performance begins. After that display, I've come to think they're one and the same.

Adam Kammerling
'Break Your Heart' is a raw and realistic Simon Cowell moment to all the wannabes who think flossing fly gear will also dress up their mindless, nonsensical lyrics. Hey - if it's charting, it  must be good, right? Wrong. So very, very WRONG. Bravo Adam for the bravery to say what I personally have been trying to for a long time! Let me get back to his performance though before my tangent goes stratospheric. The 'tamest' of his three track set, like the next, came from last September's The Letters EP; a collaboration with Hip Hop Producer Cuth.

'Hold That Note' was an ode to reminding those in this music game to remain trueoriginal and individual. Though boisterous and larger than life with the delivery giving it a comical gloss, the underlying message is actually quite serious food for thought that you need to spend some time thinking about with no distractions to cloud your comprehension.

His freestyle end was bigger and more braggadocious than you would have thought possible judging by the knit jumpers which,  though he may have fooled me with the first time, I'm now fully convinced he uses as a Jedi mind trick to lull us, his audience, into a false sense of security. A solid performance, Adam outdid himself at the showcase, securing a new fan in the shape of Yours Truly.

David J
Headliner David J closed the show with his one of a kind form of phonetic Improv comedy. Absolutely hilarious from start to finish, he took the audience somewhere else - Pied Piper style, with his unusual acoustic trademark. A complete 'slight of hand' performance; by the time you've caught up to what he's doing with his use of words and sounds, you don't cotton on that he has you unwittingly laughing at a murder case currently dominating the news, that has had half of the world incensed from the moment the story broke.

His range of topics, from Current Affairs to life (and death) lessons about the consequences of messing with the wrong woman left my mascara streaming, and earned Mr J the only standing ovation of the night. That my friends, is what you call A  Closer.

With funny theme tune snippets introducing each artist, DJ Mista Gee was the shine on each set.

Celebrating their third birthday, the next event - Chill Pill Connects...The Big One takes place on Thursday, 23 May. Early Bird tickets are now availablevisit the Facebook Event Page for full details.

Stay tuned for today's 'Lost In Music' Competition question this lunchtime, where you can win yourself a FREE #ESPspotlight Review of your album, mixtape or EP, by answering one easy Music-related question by 20:13 tonight. Trust me, you won't want to miss this one - it promises to be the most Notorious yet....

Until the next!
ES ;)