Henry Rollins – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Fri 13 Jan
Prolific punk-rocker gets gut laughs on his three-hour rant
Few people can make a decent living out of talking on stage for two hours. Henry Rollins, on the other hand, has it down to a fine art. An honorary punk rock graduate having earned his stripes fronting S.O.A. and Black Flag in the 80s, and later, his own Rollins Band, Henry Rollins is now very much the creative everyman – traveller, author, actor, presenter, musician … the list goes on.
But therein lies the key to Rollins’ appeal: he talks about everything he’s ever done. Now, stick the average Joe on stage and you’d probably cringe yourself into a coma, but for a compulsive traveller, ranter and seasoned punk rock veteran like Rollins, eager to teach as he is to learn, you’re rarely bored, even if like tonight’s stint at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall he nearly hits three hours without a pause.
It’s his travels that dominate the subject matter, from his painfully funny account of the social insanity of North Korea and the bizarrely restrictive baggage checklists at Indian airports (‘no hand grenades’) to his harrowing observations in Haiti, post-earthquake, Vietnam and the Sudan, each one riddled with tales of humanity and more often than not, many a gut-laugh inducing moment with the locals.
He often goes all punk rock encyclopaedia on us too, and scores a lot of points when he churns up tour stories, most notably having two pints of piss thrown at him in Glasgow before even hitting a note. Considering he talks at great speed and at great length, it would be a chore to list every topic, every funny quip, every heart-warming but darkly humorous human encounter, but needless to say, but it’s probably not even necessary. You might not agree with everything he says, you might not even like his music, but in terms of sheer entertainment, I’d be damned if you left disappointed.