Reggie Watts at The Arches, 15/12/14

Reggie Watts is one of the smartest and funniest musical comics of the last few years.

He’s a discordian dissector of tropes and genres, gleefully culture-jamming his way through our expectations with equal amounts of self-aware tongue-in-cheekedness and surrealist absurdity.

 

He opens with an “ignorant American” shtick, mispronouncing “Glasgow” several times, and comes back to this every once in a while by telling us how exited he is that we “passed that healthcare bill” and “got our independence” – a comment that elicits a collective wince from the largely young and Yes-voting crowd (“whaaat? They told me to say it!” he says, pointing backstage).

Another bit of ‘local flavour’ comes with a song about haggis (“whose your daddy, whose your tattie?”… you get the idea.)

Some of the musical highlights include a gangsta rap about towels, a prayer to the pagan goddess of spring water and a soulful piano ballad about genital hygiene.

Reggie is an effects-pedal wizard, manipulating loops and echoes with expert timing, while maintaining a sense of improvised spontaneity.

On top of this is the physical comedy of the performance, as he mimics the movements and mannerisms of RnB divas, Shakespearian thespians, vacuous hipsters and a whole host of other cultural characters.

This slippery shape shifting ability is a huge part of the appeal, but as well as breadth there is depth—the detail in each song and skit makes it obvious that we’re dealing with more than smug irony, and that underneath the jokes is a performer who sincerely loves the music he plays.

Words: CR Sanderson
Photos: NGP

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