Rapskallion @ Idolize
11:30pm, Thu 8 Mar 2012
An unintended gap in the schedule leads to a last-minute decision to see Rapskallion, who – despite the précis promise of music laced with junkyard and romance – were relatively low on The Shortlist. Still, with the timeslot open, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity of RushTIX… only to belatedly remember that the Garden’s ticket office doesn’t use the FringeTIX system. Full price it was, then.
Green ticket in hand, I park myself in the queue that’s only about forty deep at the nominated start time… and the previous show was still playing. I get a comfortable leaning position and start sketching out the route the eponymous vehicle took in Back of the Bus, and start jotting down a few notes. The queue builds behind me, but I’m trying to focus on dumping my memory; suddenly I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn and look at the tapper – a somewhat familiar face, but I can’t place him.
“I want to thank you,” he says with a smile.
I’m still drawing a blank. “Oh?”
My face must have given away my lack of recollection. “Yeah; you were the only other guy there last night…”
Last night, last night…
“…at the GhostBoy show. There was no way I was getting up on stage, so thanks for that.”
The memories flood back in. “Oh! You’re the grumpy guy!” He grins, and we start chatting, swapping show stories and recommendations, and checking the cricket scores for the benefit of his son. It turns out he’s reviewing for one of the street mags, so we talk about that process until the line starts moving.
Once inside, the reviewer and I have different priorities, so we go our separate ways. My limbs are tired and aching, so I grab a booth with a good view of the stage; Rapskallion take to the stage, and it’s a pretty big complement of players: drums and double bass, squeezebox and trumpet, guitars and violins, and vocalists of both genders. Their songs… well, they’re not so much songs as they are seedy stories with musical accompaniment.
And the music… well, it’s kinda-sorta one part folk, one part cabaret, one part blues, and one part filthy Lithuanian vodka. Drunken rhythms lurch along, tempos stay up to keep the dancers happy (hey, I almost got up for a jig myself – and that is saying something), and – for some bizarre reason – I found myself fascinated with the punctuation of muted trumpet in the songs. The fact that I felt like I was revisiting a drunken, sloppy Crooked Fiddle Band (from much earlier in this Fringe) should only be considered a positive thing.
Look, there’s not really much else there is to write about here. Whilst I’m not sure I’d be prioritising a repeat viewing of Rapskallion’s seemingly sordid act, I enjoyed their performance enough to warrant buying a couple of CDs… and certainly didn’t decry their win in the Fringe Awards a week later.