Last night I went with a friend to see famed musician, Henry Rollins, do his one man, spoken word show at La Zona Rosa, Provoked. I had seen Henry perform live on TV, caught a few of his shows on the Independent Film Channel, and watched a Punk Rock documentary, that he had hosted. I can't really say I was a big fan of his music, but he always left me with the impression that he was an articulate and a deep thinker. His viewpoints were often anti-authoritarian and contrarian.
We arrived around 7:15 or so and there was already a respectable crowd of approximately 200 people. It was surprising to see a merch-table with multiple books for sale, rather than just the normal fare of T-shirts and CDs. I picked up one of his books and realized that we were exactly the same age, both from the Baltimore/Washington area, and listened to a lot of the same music in the late 70's (such as Devo). My expectations for the night had been elevated.
Henry walked out promptly near the advertised 8PM start time, and launched into his monologue which lasted close to 3 hours. He spent the first few of minutes talking to the crowd like his friends, and about his great love of Austin with its unique quirkiness and the number of kindred spirits. This praise seemed very genuine, and he claimed that he didn't hand this type praise out very often or lightly.
He covered a lot of politics and the action in Iraq, his invitation to fill-in as leader singer for a reunion of the Ruts in London, his USO tours, and travels in the Middle East to Iran, Syria, and Lebanon (He seems to target places he's not supposed to go to). In all the 3 hours went by way too fast, and nobody left early. He is very engaging, sometimes self deprecating, and extremely humorous.
Great show. I will gladly go see him perform Music or Spoken Word again, when the opportunity presents itself. Will also have to look and see if his IFC show is available on DVD, from Netflix.