Gig Review: John Carr & Mark Raffills @ the Outspoken Festival


Mark Raffills ON stage at Bistro Gentil.  PHOTO: Simon Darby - Wanaka Photography

Mark Raffills ON stage at Bistro Gentil.         PHOTO: Simon Darby – Wanaka Photography

SIMON KING shares his thoughts after ‘Never Too Late’, the penultimate gig at the Outspoken Festival of Words & Storytelling last Tuesday.

An almost full house were well entertained by poet Mark Raffills from Golden Bay and self-styled ‘geriatric rapper’ John Carr from Auckland at the Bistro Gentil as part of the Outspoken Festival.

It was a game of four halves as each performed a set before the interval and another after. Mark’s performance had a touch of Sam Hunt in his delivery as he covered a wide range of the usual concerns of poetry, from love to death, reciting from memory. His tribute to a young woman lost to the world after she was found dead at the beach down the road from his home was particularly moving, and the extended metaphor about the weatherman in a poem for his son’s twenty-first birthday was very successful. A more considered order of the poems delivered would have avoided some awkward changes in tone.

By contrast John had the audience in fits of laughter with his raps about the trials of getting older including one in which he was stuck to his biomag underlay by all his medic alert braces. For the benefit of the Australians in the audience there was a long tale about the son-in-law who almost had his budgie confiscated from his green and gold budgie-smugglers by bio-security at the airport, and organiser Liz Breslin did not escape inclusion in an entertaining rap about Kiwiana night at the Otorohanga Pub.

Both performers made the finals of the NZ poetry slam and it easy to see why with their confident and relaxed delivery and sharp turns of phrase. Search them out on YouTube if you missed their performance.

Up this week at the Outspoken Festival, ‘Slam Champions’ with Ali Jacs and Tourettes.

Read our gig preview online.


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