Opening the night was the ever-brilliant John Cummins. The spoken-word artist was rhythmical, flowing and animated with each turn of phrase and twist of raw narrative. Most interesting was the introduction of a musical element to his performance. Accompanied by Niall Thomas on guitar, the poet made the transition from spoken-word to music in a way that felt natural to his specific style. It will be interesting to hear how Cummins elaborates on this new aspect of his art in the future.
Always the most intriguing section of Culture Vultures, host Tony Clayton-Lea’s public interview with Rory O’Neill was one of the most captivating conversations to have taken place at the monthly event. Speaking about creating his alter-ego Panti Bliss, his influential speech at the Abbey Theatre and the insidious nature of homophobia O’Neill was frank and strikingly honest about his experiences in a way that simply exuded charm from start to finish.
With the intimate atmosphere of Culture Vultures, and indeed the Odessa Club itself, closing act Ham Sandwich seemed quite at home in the candle lit ambience of the night. Recent years have seen the band grow in terms of the size of venues they play, but their ability to create an inclusive and attention grabbing set in a relatively smaller environment had lost none of its potency.
Introducing new tracks from their forthcoming studio album including the stand-out single ‘Illuminate’ while also performing material from their acclaimed L.P. White Fox (‘Ants’ & ‘The Naturist’) Ham Sandwich were the perfect act to bring the night to a close.
Culture Vultures’ growing popularity was not stemmed by the brief two month hiatus. Returning with the same eclectic approach to the arts that made previous nights so engaging, last Thursday’s show was entertaining, interesting and irrepressibly vibrant. A welcome comeback from one of Dublin’s most unique culture based events.