On the last evening of Venn I was chatting with friends at the back of the Trinity centre. Euros Child had just played a pleasant set, easy to listen to, not too intrusive. A loud voice broke the after set silence. I assumed it was some lary drunk but it continued and I realised it was someone singing. I took a few steps to see who it was and then saw the young man in question. He was skinny, any shirt would hang loosely on his shoulders but his voice could have filled 4 bodies. Loud, in tune, his voice was straight of Depression era America, he was a crazy man Steinbeck would write about, a man possessed with the sorrow of each inarticulate man, woman and child he came across and some of them would be too fearful to listen to him, it would show their own anguish with crushing clarity. But we werenâ€™t in that time and this is another reason why Men Daimler was so compelling. His raw emotion was an anomaly in this slick digital age. But I digress too soon. This body appeared in view, racked with singing and clapping and foot stamping. He jerked across the hall floor, each step originating from the very music he was making. He finally reached a small area that had been set up for the support performers in between the advertised acts, the sideshows I suppose they might be called. I hesitated before using that phrase; Diamler was a fully embodied performance and I guess some punters were viewing him as a spectacle. I donâ€™t want to portray him as being that, it simply isnâ€™t the point. Anyway, pretty much immediately he sat on a crappy chair and took up his plugged in acoustic guitar and began singing about a dead dog.
â€˜Well, I hope youâ€™re in dog heaven
And youâ€™re barking on a cloudâ€™
Jesus, he was wrestling his guitar in grief and couldnâ€™t keep still on his chair. Every cell in his body was belting out this little song. The very absence of ironic posturing convinced me that it had to have that kind of irony whereby the performer knows that putting so much into a piece like this is kind of funny but nonetheless means it so badly. In another song he shoutcried,
â€˜I know Iâ€™m gonna feel better one dayâ€™
Both he and the audience believed and doubted this lyric- he was brutally mocking the parental mantra that nothing lasts forever. It was one desperate near insane despair that contorted his body to fling out those bludgeoning words. My friend Barryâ€™s face expressed all that was feeling when listening to this guy- wonder and excitement. We just looked at each other, incredulous this mesmerising happening that was makng both us remember and feel things from our barely known pasts.
He introduced each number in a distracted emotionally exhausted but strangely affected way but I canâ€™t fault the guy on that, I donâ€™t know how one could speak normally after doing what he does. I heard that he performed with a paper bag over his head in the gig before this and I can understand why. He was naked up there. At the end of his set the audience didnâ€™t move. We were stunned: didnâ€™t know where to move or what to say. Diamler suddenly jumped up and, arms waving, he ran over to the other side of the room yelling that he wanted to finish his set on a particular chord which he duly struck on a piano that happened to be lying about. I didnâ€™t see him after that, and I donâ€™t think I would recognise him now. He looked like an everyday sort of bloke you might pass every morning on your way to work.