A satirical musician; witty, unorthodox and incredibly charismatic; lyrics infused with ridicule; context- brilliantly outrageous. 28th September, 7pm- Chris Tavener @ 3 Minute Theatre.
On the 28th and 29th of September 2017, Chris performed his very first Live Album Recording at the Three Minute Theatre in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. ‘I’m Sorrdy Bi’m Drunnk,’ which was released early 2016, has been heard continuously in Manchester bars, sung loudly by gig-goers, memorised by open mic regulars, made visual into music videos and is now heard with the nitty gritty realness of live recording.
In 2016 alone, Chris played 351 gigs in 209 different venues, made five self-produced music videos and completed 2 six- week tours in 12 cities across the UK. With the scope of his musical ventures, it is clear to see how Chris gained such popularity over the past year, filling the venues of both gigs and leaving his audiences in puddles of laughter or at least feeling slightly tipsier than anticipated. Above all, Chris undoubtedly succeeds to captivate his audience with a truly unique style.
Chris performs as both a comedian and musician – a paradoxical doubleness as it were; a loud, confident, suited and booted musician from the past, juxtaposed with a nervous, slightly less confident, slightly more ‘human’ double captured through voiceover.
His image- particularly juxtaposing; confusing even; quaint, charming and polished- a real gentleman flair which lies in contradiction with a set-list riddled with satire and vulgarity- deceiving right from the offset.
Chris’s musical style offers a modern twist to folk-pop as we might recognize it; with simple chord sequences and lyrics narrating stories of social division, heartbreak, and festivity, Chris utilizes and subverts traditional folk conventions in return for a satirical spin on modern culture.
His tone- particularly easy on the ear- solely focused on the comedy of matters trivial and epidemic; from festival experience, iphones, the end of the world, to modern dating, Chris’s content covers just about anything. This merging of the two realms is how Chris inflicts the shock factor in his work- the ‘head in the hand, shaking of the head, with a shameful grin on the face’ round about response.
This doubleness; as a performer and in his writing style marks the style of his performance throughout.
~The Night itself
The venue was small and interesting; an ancient mini auditorium with sinking chairs, out-dated furniture filling the outer walls- and a fish-tank plonked at the back for good measure. A peculiar choice of ceiling decor too; randomly jotted posters and half moulded breasts right above me. I knew I was in for an unpredictable evening the moment I sat down.
The evening opened up with a seemingly nervous voiceover of Chris contemplating whether or not he would go on stage- “Ahh they’re there. What if I just don’t go on. No come on, come on. They’re waiting for me”, only to be swiftly juxtaposed with his alter-ego reassuring the audience of a night full of entertainment. “It’s gonna’ be a great night! (Pause) “I said it’s gonna be a great night!” (Audience cheers)– keen to see where this was going.
The set-list started with ‘Praise Him’ – a song about celebrity worship, featuring Harry Styles as the pinnacle of discourse, shortly followed by ‘Let’s All Go To A Festival’, ‘Fakin cool’ and ‘Apocalypse prediction.’ The humour behind all things serving as the common link between each song.
With lyrics such as, “Let’s all go to a festival, we’ll piss and shit in a hole”, to “I’m smoother than play-doh, I’m harder than hard boiled sweets”, even as far out as, “I’ve had a premonition, a sneaky superstition that the world is gonna end today”, Chris takes any situation and makes it into a laughing stock leaving an audience on the edge of their seats.
Halfway through and the tone now taken a more serious turn, Chris introduces the next song with reference to a great “division within society.” With Brexit, inflation, and immigration being at the forefront of current political debate the audience could only assume the usual- or rather a song relating to phone war: iPhone vs. Samsung.
This playing on traditional folk conventions with modern dialogue is replicated throughout, applying humour to the norms of youth culture; solo-traveling, heartbreak, modern dating…the list goes on.
A song about traveling? “This song is delicately and indirectly written to the older generation.” (Pause) “Dear old people… life’s for living and doing malibu shots on the back of a hippo…Yours sincerely, all of the traveling millennials.”
Heartbreak? “If you see her, tell her to go fuck herself…’ quite the opposite to Dylan’s “if you see her, say hello.”
Modern dating? “I reckon we were made to be. It couldn’t be random we dry humped in tamden and we both smelt of beer, sweat, and weed. She’s so drunk now, and I’m so drunk now, she’s violently keen to have me. We’re in love, and we’re both delving in this modern romance.”
And amid the gasps and laughter, Chris’s double act certainly didn’t go unacknowledged. (Chris fetches a glass of water from off the floor and sips.) “They think I’m thirsty. More water, less songs”, leaving audience members laughing – musicians feeling slightly more normal.
The show finished with a song which seemed to summarise the overarching message of the evening. “You glue your boss’s laptop shut, and you draw some cock and balls. Cling film all the office phones, and you leave a few missed calls… When it’s time to go, inside you know, you must do something first, to test if you can see the funny side.”
And indeed, he certainly does just this!
Through his songs, Chris creates a sense of commonality between everyone in the room which encourages us to laugh at ourselves and anyone else for that matter.
The show finished with a long round of applause and a very proud home crowd either smiling or laughing… or falling hysterically to the floor.
10th December – The Thirsty Scholar, Manchester
19th December – The Whiskey Jar, Manchester
21st December – Ye Olde Kings Head, Chester
28th December – The Bowling Green, Northwich
31st December – The Limes Sandbach