Reggie Watts Phillips Backyard Weekender, Victoria BC, July 21
Published Jul 22, 2018How can you assign a rating to Reggie Watts? His irreverent, surreal style of whatever-the-hell-it-is-that-he-does is beyond classification by, or the comprehension of, normal human beings. There is beatboxing and looping, sure, and there are jokes, kind of, but it all blends together in his unconventional stream-of-consciousness style until it doesn't really matter anymore what it is. It's Reggie, and he is his own kind of genius.
Most performers who come to Canada are lucky to get the city names right, but Watts based most of his set around highly localized material. On a larger scale, he sang an ode to cannabis — which was apparently perfected by our Sunshine Coast wizards — to the tune of "O Canada," with the proper delivery of an opera tenor. He celebrated our country's legalization of heroin, which means the return of grunge is imminent, and expressed admiration for Bryan Adams as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, which he proved in earnest when he accidentally coaxed the crowd into singing the hook from "Heaven," but his focus went much narrower than that.
Watts incorporated Victoria into multiple freestyles, later going on to recite an absurd history of the city, which he claimed as the birthplace of spareribs, and launched into a few poutine jokes since there was a poutine truck right near the stage. He also gave a shout-out to the border guard who interviewed him on the way to the show, who was actually there in the crowd. Those were just the words you could decipher.
Otherwise, his beatboxing was as insane as ever. Mid-set, he threw down something I can only describe as turkey-death-metal-step, then claimed it would be on the next Metric album. The hardcore drum & bass track he created near the end of his set just about dislocated all of my limbs.
Trying to take in a Reggie Watts set is like Daffy's speech from The Beach, where he said, "It was too beautiful, too much input, too much sensation. I tried to keep it under control, but it just keeps spilling out, and spilling out, and spilling out." Watts is too much, man.