Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Watts up at the Bushwick Starr

It’s difficult to take your eyes off of Reggie Watts.

It’s not just the giant afro, or the way he comically moves it about. The Williamsburg-based performer has a way of captivating an audience, keeping listeners hanging on his every word, waiting for the punchline.

Part of it has to do with the fact that the punchline isn’t delivered in a wrapped box with a bow, but through his meandering delivery that, with little exception, is always new — improvised in a stream-of-conscious-like manner.

“You never know — Reggie works with whatever’s out there in the universe. He’s a true improviser,” said Sue Kessler, managing director of the Bushwick Starr, which hosts Watts as part of its summer music series on Aug. 7. “He’d bang on anything that’s around.”

What can be sure, the performance will be a mix of Watts’s monologuing, singing, beatboxing, funny voices, and experimenting with his loop machine. He doesn’t need a band, just the machine and some time to add the layers — sounds of beats, cymbals, and nonsensical words that combine for an out-of-this-world sound (see evidence below). If there’s a piano, he’ll sit there, too, and play an ironic ballad. Anything goes.

Reggie Watts at Bushwick Starr [207 Starr St. between Wyckoff and Irving avenues in Bushwick, (212) 868-4444], Aug. 7 at 8 pm. Tickets $8 at the door. Also with Sharon Van Etten and Mike Visser. For info, visit


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