Ah, people of London! Were you aware that ‘a new counter culture is rapidly developing’? A counter culture that have found their Messiah in the form of Kieran Leonard – ‘a poet’ as many are describing him.
He performs songs ‘focusing, dissecting and meditating on the most immediate and pressing of current issues; from the economic downturn, to media manipulation, consumerism and a loss of spirituality in modern Britain.’ The counter culture of ‘new devotees, turning up in their droves’ to hear their Voice of Reason, their beacon of hope in these dark, dark times, ‘the instigator, origin and vanguard of the movement’ are inspired by the ‘uniquely visionary songs the likes of which haven’t been seen since the days of the sixties beat and protest movement.’ With true grace and humility, ‘knowing that he speaks for so many of his “lost generation”, he delivers his lyrics with blood, grit and a wild look in his eye, comfortable in the assurance that if he is speaking it as he finds, his message is unassailable.’ Straggle-haired, heavy-booted and swathed in a Withnailesque long coat, he puts on a revolutionary show of ‘love, black dogs, visions and traditional troubadour balladry’ with the ‘swagger of an early Dylan’. In the shadowy corner beside the stage, his gimp-on-a-lead accompanies him on the harmonica, lovingly and sickeningly gazing into his master and leader’s spotlit face. Spotlit, that is, by a desk lamp placed on the floor by his spellbinding feet. When not breathing heavily into his harmonica, the gimp mouths along to the thought-provoking, cerebral lyrics of ‘Harold Pinter is Dead’, ‘Oedipus Rex’ and ‘Freudian Marksmen’.
A guy named Jerome, a drunkard channelling a distorted Vince Noir and bellowing out a ramshackle cover of ‘I Smell a Rat’, supports the great Messiah. In a bit of pre-performance banter he informs the crowd that he hasn’t slept for three days, he’s that rock’n’roll. He is later called on stage for a collaborative impromptu crucifixion of some Bob Dylan blues. I stumble out of the basement into the dazzling light. And straight into Carl Barat. He too has come to pay homage to the Messiah.