Dates Sep 15 @ 21:15
Venue: Spiegeltent in Wolfe Tone Square
In several interviews, Mx Justin Vivian Bond has expressed a strong preference for the use of “v” as an alternative pronoun to “he/she” or “him/her” in relation to people who are trans. This review will attempt to pay heed to that preference. Bond arrives on stage with long, blond, straight hair, reminiscent of Marianne Faithfull in her early days, a black tuxedo-like elegant jacket with the cuffs rolled back, underneath a black top with around v’s neck, a striking pink, long tasselled fringe, v’s legs encased in tightish black satin trousers which finish just above the ankles. On Bond’s right thumb there was a ring; on v’s left arm a couple of bangles dangled. Bond wore black flatties because v explained one of v’s heels had just broken. Flatties or stilettoes, v personified svelte, sophisticated elegance.
Bond introduced v’s two long standing collaborators Thomas Bartlett (piano) and Brad Albetta (bass) and new-to the-troupe viola player, Aoife from Crash Ensemble. Aoife had asked earlier what should she wear. Bond had replied something “black and sparkly” and Aoife had.
Bond introduced each of the songs with v’s own inimitable patter about what odd happening had inspired the song or in the case of “American Marriage” some information about Essex Hemphill, the African American poet, who had died in the early nineties from AIDS related complications. Bond spoke as if the audience were friends and acquaintances who v had known for yonks. There was an intimacy, a sense of belonging.
Each of the piano, bass and viola players combined together to create the most energised and energising music. Each is a master of their instrument. However there is something butt-movingly magnificent in the sounds that Bartlett, with great physical bravura extracts, coaxes and proclaims from his hard worked piano… no part of it is safe from his probing and dexterous fingers.
Mx Justin Vivian Bond is no tourist when v visits Ireland. V gets involved. In part of so doing, v had spent some time in County Monaghan at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig. There v had encountered an extraordinary, young Irish singer-song writer Aoife McAtamney, whom v invited as v’s special guest artist. She performed a song she had recently written accompanied by her own pianist.
The late Mary Holland, a perceptive columnist of the Irish Times, said after the legislation had been passed decriminalising homosexual acts, that the air was cleaner. The passing of the Marriage Equality referendum was a further act of making the air cleaner. Mx Justin Vivian Bond’s performance last night in the Spiegeltent, with the musicians whom v had chosen to perform, added to the process of making the air cleaner in Ireland. It was also great FUN.