Thursday, 5 February 2015

Stewart Lee / Richard Dawson

The diary's been looking a bit threadbare recently, but last Sunday, Stewart Lee's latest stand-up show, 'Room With a Stew', became my first gig of 2015. Lee is a master of the demystification of live comedy. For example, when a laugh failed to arrive from the audience at an expected moment, he pressed pause on the performance, stepped out of character and walked us through the elaborate verbal scaffolding he'd erected to take us to that point, castigating us repeatedly for not sufficiently appreciating the quality of the humour. After reaching an apparent crescendo of rage, verging on a nervous breakdown, with the subtlest of movements he revealed that this too was all a device. The tension was released and a huge roar of laughter followed. The show really was a masterclass of a performance, thought provoking and very, very funny. I'm picking up the tour again in May.

When I briefly caught up with Stewart in the foyer after the show, we took a moment to share our mutual enthusiasm for the brilliant Richard Dawson. Dawson's musical palette is broad, from Faheyesque instrumentals, to cacophonous drones via unaccompanied traditional ballads. Sometimes there aren't adequate words to do justice to such a prodigious talent, so here are three examples of his work, I urge you to seek out more. This live show (here) is a good place to start.







5 comments:

Singing Bear said...

Richard Dawson? Never heard of him. He's brilliant. In fact, today I want to BE him. What talent. Yes, obviously influenced by John Fahey but great all the same. Why haven't I heard of him? Where can I steal his albums? No, it's OK, Richard, I won't do that. If only I could play like that - t'would make you think you could save your sanity. GReat that you have a chat with Stewart as well. He's another fine talent. For a moment I thought you meant you'd chatted about Richard DAWKINS. As much as I respect Dawkins for HIS views he seems to find it hard to respect others for theirs, so I was about to kick off! Thank GOD for Richard Dawson. I bet old Stew has some time for Dawkins too, though. Ah well. Thanks for the post. I needed this beauty this morning.

The Swede said...

Really glad you enjoyed these SB. Richard's music is a bit hard to access at the moment as he's removed his Bandcamp page, but there are a few bits and bobs of songs and interviews on YouTube. That concert I linked to is particularly great. Some of his stuff was only ever released on CDR or in very limited quantities, so, frustratingly, I only own a small percentage of his output myself.

Scott said...

Having been a fan of Stewart Lee's work for many years somehow this year will be the first time I have actually seen him live at the Glasgow Comedy Festival. Can't wait to see him perform on stage.

The Swede said...

You're in for a treat Scott.

Anonymous said...

I'm seeing him on his Sheffield dates in June when I fervently hope he'll be turning his guns on a Labour led government.

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