City Hall Sheffield
2nd October :
The Bard of Salford and genuine national treasure John Cooper Clarke returns to the steel city tonight, but not alone. Tonight he warms everybody up for New Wave veterans Squeeze, resulting in a much older audience tonight, rather than the recently acquired Artic Monkeys fans following their 2013 collaboration.
He gives this crowd a mix of brief stand up and the old classics. He kicks off with a few dad jokes and light hearted one liners; ones that you’re sure you have heard before. ““A guy goes to the doctor, the doctor says, ‘You have to stop masturbating’. The guy says ‘Why?’ The doctor says ‘Because I’m trying to examine you’.” It’s what Clarks does with these familiar quips that works so well, he uses them as a platform to position this mature audience in the firing line for his original material. His northern barrage of classic build ups combined with silly punchlines creates belly laughs throughout.
The classic “Beasley Street” and the follow up, the ode to gentrification “Beasley Boulevard” goes down a treat. Both are delivered with that classic Clarke rapid fire delivery, along with the mix of vivid imagery and bleak undertones.
When not delivering his classic breed of verse or brewing another comedic tale, the chit chat and bazaar mix of impromptu Sopranos impressions and odd accents fall flat. But these quiet spots don’t faze Clarke one bit as he provides a string of hits to close his set. “Fallen In Love With My Wife”, crowd favourite “Twat” and “Evidentially Chickentown” are fired through before lengthy praise to local hero Alex Turner for his re working of the encore “I wanna be yours”.
Clarke is one of a kind. He has remained the same gothic, almost two dimensionally thin, Poet genius for over 35 years (not counting the lost narcotic years.) But every aspect of his life is referenced, form the dark and hilarious “Get Back on Drugs” to his nose dive into old age with “Bed Blocker Blues.” With his first collection of work “Antholgia” out October 16th and combined with the confident set he has shown tonight, John Cooper Clarke proves he isn’t going anywhere yet!