Ergo Phizmiz at Rough Trade East
Ergo Phizmiz introduces himself to the world as “Writer, Composer, Collagist, Radio-Producer and Thrower of Naughty Shapes” on his well-kept blog, and his music is just as indefinably scatty. His debut album Things to Do and Make was received with generally positive, if not slightly bewildered, reviews and new album Eleven Songs is surely set to go the same way.
Addressing the sparse audience at Rough Trade East as “Princesses of Delight”, Phizmiz’s set is rusty and unrehearsed, yet he has a certain theatrical charm that makes his crowd smile, in whimsical confusion if not genuine joy.
His first track of the evening is a gothic ode to Edgar Allen Poe, Devil in the Belfry, which sees him singing into a megaphone, testing out different voices and dancing in a ghoulish manner. Everything about him is shambolic, from his creased shirt to his arrangement of instruments. This would be annoying coming from any other artist, yet Phizmiz manages to create a laid-back environment; the atmosphere is more like having a cuppa with a close friend rather than giving a performance.
Phizmiz tinkers on a children’s toy piano for Bernard the Genie, a Bowie-esque tune about Lenny Henry. His brain is a fanciful wonder to the crowd; images and stories are spilled out at random, with whatever inspiration takes his fancy.
Another standout of the evening is the upbeat Celandine; Phizmiz throws in some Jarvis Cocker-like moves, proving that he has a multitude of influences as well as talents.
With so many claims to eccentricity in today’s pop-culture, it’s hard to differentiate talent from cliché but Phizmiz’s art places him as the real deal. It’s often difficult to tell whether his music is serious, and if he is playing the musician or the comedian. However, whether it’s slapstick, sarcasm, satire or genuine music, Ergo Phizmiz is definitely worth a watch for his laid-back sensibilities and quirky humour.
For further information and future events visit Ergo Phizmiz’s website here.
Watch the video for Bernard and the Genie here: