Jazz Emu's Pleasure Garden

When I saw the playbill for Jazz Emu: You Shouldn’t Have, I couldn’t get my hands on tickets fast enough. I imagined it would be some surreal musical take on love and geekery, and I was keen. Unable to get tickets however, I settled for Pleasure Garden, his late-night standing set at Assembly George Square, hoping some of the billed magic might be found there too.

Neither pleasure nor garden for this late-night parody jazz act

What I found was a tongue-very-much-in-cheek variety show headed by Jazz Emu, the viral comedy character played by Archie Henderson. Fans of Jazz Emu and his self-described “unpretentious pseudo-comedological proferrings” will delight at the opportunity for an intimate arrangement, but I was left wanting for both pleasure and garden in this late-night parody jazz act.

What is offered is some very on-brand musical comedy that toes the line between nonsensical and silly. The enthusiastic audience, perhaps too young to have heard of Flight of the Conchords or Tim and Eric, keenly attempt to dance to a song about the pagan origins of Christmas while others stand at the edges wondering where the melody lies.

To say the best song of the set was one about a tiny snake perfectly sums up the surface-level appeal of Jazz Emu, while the flat-viewing song for musical nerds showcases the band’s niche comic taste.

Aware of his own privilege and playing off it, Jazz Emu uses his platform to mock a scammer with the song My Brother, and to riff off the fact that he has a lot of money with a song about money that he forgets the lyrics to. Credit to the band Cosmique Perfectión who may not seem overly enthused to be there but play well to prop up the ego of their complacent frontman.

Towards the end of the performance, Jazz Emu thanks us for supporting experimentation in the arts but this ultimately feels like an apology for making us pay for something so under-rehearsed.

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The Blurb

Jazz Emu and The Cosmique Perfectión invite you to attend a live concert in their Pleasure Garden: a luscious, verdant Arcadia that veritably throbs with life. Each night they'll be performing a series of Jazz Emu's finest songs, along with sets from some special guest comedians. Expect smooth grooves, wild solos, HSA-approved stage-dives and a set-list executed by unforgivably talented bandmates. Jazz Emu is 'improbable, clever and very funny' **** (Guardian), 'a work of genius' ***** (Telegraph) and 'one of a kind' ***** (Times). Please note this gig is standing only. Dancing is advised.

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