Luka, Alia and Joel launch their spoken word tour with a huge crowd

There is always something impressive, and usually surprising, about arriving to a poetry gig and finding a long line and a large crowd full of new faces, non-poets, all eager to hear poetry and spoken word. Though, it probably shouldn’t be surprising when it is to see Luka Lesson, Alia Gabres or Joel McKerrow. And less so, if it is all three in one night.

Luka LessonTonight, the impressive slam trio launched their national tour, Please Resist Me, on home turf, in Melbourne’s Revolt Artspace in Kensington. It’s an impressive space. Large and looking very underground, DIY etc. perfect for the scene but large enough that it fits the growing audience the three are beginning to command, and hopefully introducing to spoken word in a way that will encourage them to check out the other poets around Melbourne.

Alia GabresWe saw the first glimpse of this last year, during the Overload Poetry Festival, where they brought some impressive slam poets from North America to new Melbourne audiences, as part of the Centre for Poetics and Justice. It is their talent and commitment that allows them to project a powerful and wide spotlight on the scene that shows others that we can find these audiences if we deserve it and work hard enough.

Joel McKerrowTheir words and voices speak for themselves. So is hard to describe them or evaluate them with my own in this post, so I’d recommend you buy their CDs, read their books, YouTube them or even turn up to one of their gigs to see it for yourselves. All three are unique in their own way, but are connected by the level of the art, with rich metaphors, nimble tongues and a passion that is infective. And all three present a commitment to social justice and human rights, which I deeply respect, alongside their personal and creative themes.

Tonight, they pushed it further, adding music and backing vocals to some pieces and polishing the whole lot with a professional performance, hosted by Omar Musa, and accompanied by Meena Shamaly, among others. They move on to Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney and Brisbane, which are shows definitely worth going along to if you’re in the area. More info at cpj.org.au.

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