Preview of Kate Tempest's Irish premiere at the Set Theatre
Back in 2011, Electric Picnic’s Mindfield line-up featured a young and upcoming performance poet from south London. This was my first introduction to Kate Tempest. It was the summer of the London riots and we were both taking part in a panel discussion on that subject. As I and the other panelists opined on some of the issues involved, Tempest instead turned to the audience and asked if they would mind her responding with a poem. Her words were pithy and her delivery powerful, and the poem expressed more than any of us could.
Fast forward to June of this year – I’m standing at the back of the Jamaican-themed Rum Shack at the Glastonbury festival. A crowd of 800 are packed into the venue, with several people literally hanging from the rafters. An MC is on stage building the excitement and anticipation:
“I say Kate, you say ‘Tempest’ …Kate”
The crowd repeatedly and emphatically returns the call of “TEMPEST!” as the young poet from south London arrives on stage with her band to perform songs from her new show Everybody Down.
With her debut novel set to be published by Bloomsbury next year and a Ted Hughes Award for innovation in poetry under her belt, Tempest is a multi-talented proposition. Everybody Down is her first album, and is released on the Big Dada record label, making her label mates with the likes of Speech Debelle, Roots Manuva and Young Fathers.
Tonight is the Irish premiere of Everybody Down and likely the only chance to catch her in Ireland this year. Come 10.30pm, the Set Theatre will go off – if you’re wise you’ll be there, though swinging from rafters is not to be advised.