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HENRY ROLLINS - London Hammersmith Apollo 24 March 2006   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Tuesday, 28 March 2006

...add this to your list of Things To Do Before You Die


He never stops. An infamous workaholic, who averages over 100 shows a year, and barely has a second off, Henry Rollins is back. Again. With his eighth UK tour of the decade, Rollins is tonight parading his “25 Years Of Bullshit” round the country once more.


And by God, can he talk. These days, expectations are lowered by mediocrity and bullshit. With nearly three hours of conversation, he unzips the can of his life, and gives us Yet Another Strange Year Being Henry Rollins. But this isn’t the intense, or troubled thirty something I saw in 1993. Henry Rollins has – dare I say it – mellowed.


Once it was all an urban fuck-the-police former singer in Black Flag carving out a niche against a world of Sting Fans and Republicans. Nowadays, whilst still holding onto his ideals, he’s obviously changed. He’s almost happy in his self-reliant-I-me-mine-this-man-is-an-island world. And despite what you have read, tortured artists are often more fun.


For 2 hours 48 minutes, Hank is our Sherpa Tensing leading us up Mount Universe. And he never stops. Unlike comedians (hence the phrase ‘spoken word’) he’s a pisspoor Amusement Engineer, but an intruiging and interesting storyteller and orator. This is not a night of hilarity : more an evening of wry smiles, political agreeement, and occasional unexpected laughter. The typical matters are brought to bear; travel, politics, war, and Henry just tells us what he has done the past year. Travel, go to war torn countries, get propositioned by men. C’est Le Change, after all.


If you haven’t seen him in a spoken word arena before, then add it to your list of Things To Do Before You Die (alongside driving a giant weiner down the Freeway). But if you have, then you’ve seen it all before. What he does provide is excellent value : £16.50 for 168 minutes? That’s only 10p a minute baby!


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