Archie Henderson: Jazz Emu


“Music is predictable” is the mantra repeated throughout the debut show from bedroom musician/comedian Archie Henderson. A statement he backs with continuous parody of musical styles, ranging from the comedic nature of Baroque classical, to modern day pop. Musical comedians share the same traits with their serious counterpoints in many ways, including lazy comparison. And whilst there are elements of Bo Burnham’s anxiety driven humour, Marc Rebillet’s sample driven backing tracks, or Flight of the Conchords’ absurdity, what Henderson is crafting is truly unique.

For a start Henderson is keen to throw the audience out of their comfort zone, one early skit seeing a funk track devolve into a bizarre maraca related sacrifice, before launching into a diatribe about how every pop song is based on bird noises. There is very little cognitive narrative holding these sections together, and this unpredictability eschews the repeated mantra, as Henderson displays a very impressive skill set. 

His relationship with audience members is remarkable, especially for a debut show. His combination of musical bravado and the nervous nature of his spoken delivery allowing for a curious, sympathetic appearance that plays to his favour. It is however the music that is the main draw here, what Henderson achieves with a fairly minimal synth setup is both experimental and playing off familiarity with musical motifs and callbacks to pop phenomenons that ensure you don’t have to be an expert to get the implicit humour in the show.

At the end of the show Henderson thanked everyone for making to his first show, and that the money would go toward more synthesisers that he “needs”. It’ll be fascinating to see what he achieves with a larger arsenal, because in the minimal Jazz Emu he has crafted a consistently funny, technically impressive hour of musical comedy that isn’t to be missed.

★★★★

Patrick Dalziel

Archie Henderson: Jazz Emu 18:45 Gilded Balloon at The Old Tolbooth Market

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