By Rachel Watts
For Little d blog
From beat boxing to speaking in an English accent, spinning around in circles to meandering to the back of the stage, Reggie Watts put on a dizzying show.
Taking the stage in his proverbial black shirt and red suspenders, Reggie Watts began his Hot Wet Mess experience by speaking deadpan lyrics to Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” into his microphone during sound check. It was a tell-tale sign this was going to make for a promising show.
“Thank you all for coming to the workshop,” Reggie Watts and his enormous afro said. “Increased productivity is something–oh, what?” The crowd laughed.
In true musician-who’s-not-from-Texas fashion, Reggie appropriately named his first jam “Hey Man, It’s Hot.”
He began by beatboxing, creating impressive sounds with his mouth and voice, then added sporadic synth and beats using his surprisingly simple setup–simple, considering you can always see any number of complicated Franken-setups in Denton–then recording them randomly for a chorus effect.
Reggie’s set was abound with Denton love and local shoutouts. “Hey, there’s the band Atomic Tanlines. Denton’s very own,” he said as he pointed into the sea of sweaty pink faces. “I saw a band last night called Deep Throat. That was ridiculous.” He then thanked Denton for producing the type of art like local band Deep Throat.
“It’s nice to come back to a place where people are doing it just to do it.”
This time around, Reggie’s set was full of R&B vocals and high notes, interspersed with everything from demonic voices to throaty, bluesy sounds to imitations of rappers. The catalog of topics included the following: farming fresh eggs, representing your hood, rubbing grease on your thighs, seeing beautiful people at festivals, Tom York’s studio effects, converting food into energy, technological manufacturing and much, much more.
“The man has such range,” said showgoer Rachel Babb. “You truly never know what he’s going to come up with next. Sometimes he misses, but when he hits, he really hits.”
During an impromptu poetry session (spoken in a woman’s voice mind you), Reggie told the tale of a small village named Denton that was at one point defeated in battle after summoning an evil force called Grevlar. The whole village was laid to waste, although its maps and blueprints were stored safely on a cloud server, so it was easy to rebuild.
During the final song of his set–an upbeat tune the whole audience began clapping to the beat of–Reggie sang about “smoking up the joints,” describing the different techniques one could use to do so, including bongs and vaporizing THC crystals.
“It don’t make you dumb,” Reggie sang from stage. “Your thought processes are super, super sped up. Some people do yoga, some people climb cliffs.”
Reggie’s final message to the crowd at Hot Wet Mess was clear: you gotta do what makes you feel good.