Loud Poets are a Scotland-based collective of poets who perform together. The show is a slick, no-nonsense conveyor belt of spoken word characterised by tightly crafted poetry and high-quality performance. There is no unnecessary preamble between performances, no one reads their poems off bits of paper or their phones, and no poet hogs the stage for more than five minutes at a time. Instead, the poets take turns on the mic and present a high-octane set of rambunctious poetry including some collectively performed pieces.
A slick, no-nonsense conveyor belt of spoken word
On the night I saw them, the Loud Poets were Kevin Mclean, Doug Garry, Agnes Török, MiKo Berry and Katie Ailes. Accompanied by their live band jamming on stage, they also welcomed guest poet Freddie Alexander. Each poet’s work is distinct but black clothing and a consistent fast pace ensure they come across as a package.
Poetry highlights from the night included MiKo’s poem about the lost innocence of childhood, Kate’s moving tribute to her troubled dance teacher and Kev’s heart-rending and brutally honest poem about the experience of losing a loved one. Whilst MiKo’s work is characterised by buoyant optimism, Kev’s is darker explaining how it is hard to write at all when struggling with feelings of despair.
Performances are interspersed with video clips and backed by a musical trio of violin, keys and Cajon. Each poem is accompanied by music that complements it, the choices that the band make perfectly in harmony with the rhythms of the poem and the sense of the words. Doug’s poem about the amorphous meaning of home is accompanied by a gentle but noticeable beat whilst MiKo’s poem about first kisses has a jaunty pop-tune backing track.
Guest poet Freddie Alexander was enthusiastic but his enunciation wasn’t clear enough at times. His poem I’ll Love You Like a Comic Book is good though, taking something that he loves intimately and applying this same level of interest and attention to a person. The Loud Poets will welcome different guest throughout the run from the eclectic spoken-word scenes of Edinburgh and beyond.
Agnes presented a poem on the subject of budget cuts and what it is like to be a student that has recently gone viral on YouTube with 190,000 hits. The poem is impassioned and angry ensuring she deserves the title ‘loud’!
The best-received poem of the night was a double act between Kev and Doug, Nerdlove. Again performed loudly and enthusiastically they riff off each other, swapping lines and saying key phrases at the same time. The poem, which eulogises on the potential for nerds to make the best lovers, is absolutely hilarious with punchlines including Harry Potter references, Elvish quotes and unadulterated hatred for trendy folk.
The night ended with a collective piece Why Do I Write? Performed largely in unison and demanding audience participation, it was an excellent way to draw the evening together, waxing lyrical on the many and varied reasons to be a writer.