The Acid Cabaret

The Acid Cabaret is a brand new, off-kilter series of variety nights!

Join us at our launch night on 24th June for a genre-smash of brutalist poetry from Stephen Durkan and The Acid Commune, hypnotic electronica from Aku Aki, ethereal Clarsach loops from Grace Stewart-Skinner and a very special spoken word guest.

We’ll create a utopian space of collective joy, bringing together all people from diverse genres and making sure artists are paid their fair share.

The Acts:

Stephen Durkan and The Acid Commune:

Stephen Durkan is a spoken word artist from Glasgow who delivers gritty poetic monologues that dive deep into our collective unconscious and sets them to a soundscape of cyberpunk blues. The Acid Commune band brings these existential rollercoasters to life with a genre-bending live show that leads the audience through the whole spectrum of human experience.

Find Stephen Durkan and The Acid Commune @:

Aku Aki:

Aku Aki are Lyosha Sibikin and Joe White. They are two drummers who play interlocking grooves, mixing live and sampled vocals with atmospheric electronic textures. Spectres dance and weave between them, stuttering and spilling from their machines. Aku Aki will release their debut E.P this summer, before shows in Glasgow and beyond throughout 2023.

Find Aku Aki @:

Grace Stewart Skinner

Grace Stewart-Skinner is a vibrant up-and-coming clàrsach player and composer who has been surrounded by Traditional Scottish music her whole life.  She always strives to create meaningful connections through her performances and compositions. Being a proud Highlander, she is a Gaelic speaker and the language is very close to her heart and an integral part of her identity.

Find Grace @:

More about the Acid Cabaret:

The ‘Acid’ component of The Acid Cabaret evokes an event of communal consciousness-raising. It gestures to the idea that live art has the power to change how we perceive the world – that it can be so much more than just another consumer product. 

The ‘Cabaret’ component offers something radical, tearing down the walls between genres. Those involved encourage spontaneous collaborations between the artists that create ephemeral one-off moments that can’t be packaged and sold. Our vision is to incorporate as many different types of artistic expression into one night as we can imagine.

The idea was born out of the frustration of both the rigidity of normal gigs and the unfair state of the creative industries as they stand. The organisers are poets, musicians and artists who understand producing a show from an artist’s perspective. The Acid Cabaret will offer fair pay to play: every individual involved in the production will get an equal share of the ticket sales. 

A sliding scale ticket system will be implemented so that people can support the artists in whatever way they can. There will be four options: £5 – Low Income, £10 – Recommended Price, £15 – Support Low Income Audiences, £20 – Legend. This is a way of making the shows more accessible, but it is also a prompt to get people thinking about how they value art and live performance.

One of the organisers says “I’m old enough to remember pay-to-play, where promoters forced bands to cough up in order to perform. Even now performers are losing money, they are being penalized for pursuing a creative passion. If things keep going the way they are, people who aren’t fortunate enough to come from a rich background will be completely shut off from an artistic life. That’s why we are making our even a ‘Fair Pay to Play’ event. Things need to change.”

Looking to the future, we are looking to produce events that explore how to create spaces of collective joy in a society that seems to have lost a sense of community:

“We’re using these events to remind ourselves that every single human being has the capacity to create art. The well-told story in the back of a pub is as much an artwork as the Mona Lisa. We want to construct a space of freedom, of imagination, of possibility; a space in which we can carve out a little slice of utopia amongst all the dystopian stuff that’s going on in our world.”

We hope that producing such events will create fertile ground for something new:

“The cost-of-living crisis has made it even more difficult to be an artist. If we want to keep listening to transcendent music, awe-inspiring poetry and all artistic creations then we need to change the way we do things. We want to create a genuine creative community of like-minded people striving towards different ways of living.  Maybe the Acid Cabaret can develop into a sort of mutual aid platform for the creative arts in Glasgow – we have big ambitions!”

From the 24th June The Acid Cabaret is its doors to Glasgow – to the glam neds, the gallus lassies and the working warblers and so many more besides. Join us!

“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible”. Bell Hooks.