In The Vortex
I’m in Soho, Enterprise studios, to rehearse with shlomo. Check him out on youtube where Salif Keita and Pete Doherty can clearly be seen enjoying The Shlo sounds on “Later With Jools Holland”. I’ve researched the band and memorised their names and the instruments they play. I’ve chosen the two poems that may work. I’ve got myself up to speed. The deal is this: There is a gig tonight at The Vortex in Hackney It’s a Shlo gig with his band and I’m invited as a guest and this is the first rehearsal. I walk in.
“All of the band can’t come to rehearsals or do the gig” says Shlo with a cheeky smirk He then takes me through the various ailments ranging from “fingers won’t work” to the unavoidably debilatating “Jet lag”. But Shlo and his dad (on guitar) got a group of musicians together. “the gigs sold out lemn – sold out within a day of the announcement”. He then introduces me to the new members found at the last minute. I love it!
We rehearse for thirty minutes and there’s something there. Shlo knows it’s there. Some kind of something is what it is. I knew that if we locked into it then something would happen at the gig. He knows it too. We’ve started cooking. To over cook this first part of the process would make the final dish either overly sweet or bitter. There’s a whole lot of music to rehearse and with my part firmly placed in the oven I check out. I’m back at home by 4pm. By 7pm I’m In The Vortex.
The night goes thus. Shlomo performs alone for twenty minutes. It’s the first time I’ve seen him live and he’s clearly talented and has a star stage presence. There’s a break and then shlo plays with the band. The gig is gorgeous to watch. I meet variouspeople I know and it’s like a gig should be – everyone should feel they’re at a happening. It’’s all down to the Shlo movement. In fact it is so good that I am convincing myself that I should not go on stage.
I haven’t eaten today. I haven’t eaten a thing. It’s ten thirty PM. I realise that I m shattered. Everyone is drinking and concentrating on the sounds pouring from the stage and the mouth of Shlo. I’m starting to feel stressed and woozy. I dive to the bar and orderwater. I’ve wound myself up through not eating. I should go home. I really should just go home, I tell myself. Home is ten minutes from the vortex. It’s just ten minutes away. Thisis a great gig, no need to mess it up with an under -rehearsed poet guest type. The thoughts turn around and around. I hear Shlo talking to the audience and the audience are laughing and enjoying his between music banter. There is actually no need to behere. I’ll only ruin it. Go now
“Ladies and gentlemen please welcome on stage a suprise, special guest Mr lemn Sissay”.