You will see nothing else like it at the New Zealand International Comedy festival.
Hedluv and Passman are two young English rappers from Cornwall who've been brought over to the festival by Rhys Darby and his wife, Rosie.
The gag? They think they're musicians playing a festival. They are without doubt, initially nuts.
Rapping about Doing it Dreckly (dreckly is a Cornish word meaning later on) and getting caught in a riptide off a beach in North Cornwall, to say they're a bit bonkers is an understatement.
But yet, with just a casio keyboard, the duo are geniuses. Lyrics fly past at such speed occasionally, it's hard to keep up (though album sales at the end offer a chance to dive deeper) but once you get used to them (taking all of five head scratching WTF moments) their sounds are incredibly catchy and their wordplay deft and dry.
Their on stage banter is relatively minimal but the shambolic nature of the live show (which is intentional) means they have time to talk here and there as they set up. Comments like "What are we going to do? Rap at you?" as an audience member goes to the loo show a quick wittedness that goes beyond the words they've put to beats.
But it's the energy on stage from the wiry Passman who resembles a lanky fair haired version of Freddie Mercury on a pogo stick as he bounds around the stage like Tigger on V that's contagious. Equally, a more sullen and dialled down Hedluv, who's a cross between actor Lee Ross and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys as he stands behind the keyboard, makes a perfect foil to his mike-throwing manic OTT stage compadre.
A mental version of Black Hole Sun is a highlight, but the finale is an utterly addictive and totally infectious blast of bubble gum synth pop cum rap as the duo get all the audience up, jumping around and dancing to a song called The Future, (see at the end of this piece) which has the refrain of "turn left, turn right, go right round the roundabout." It's totally high energy addiction and an ending that leaves you grinning ear to ear - I'm still humming it hours after I heard it, a true testament to an earworm of a song.
Hedluv and Passman are a real breath of fresh air in among the stand up of the festival; a chance to catch something quite unique in these circles which is not really derivative or comparable to anything around. Defying and confounding expectations, they offer a comedy musical epiphany which marks them for either greatness or the looney bin.
Either way, I'm along for the ride.
Hedluv + Passman are bringing something a little different to the NZ International Comedy Festival. Represented by Rhys and Rosie Darby, who first watched them at the Edinburgh Festival, this is your chance to see the most original act of this years line up.
Two Cornish Rappers and a Casiotone is an hour of craziness that will unleash your inner rap star and get you head nodding and foot tapping at least, if not taking part in a full on line dance.
This show is not about audience banter or interaction it’s about lyrics, beats and performance and there is no shortage of these core ingredients that make up a truly entertaining hour.
There’s crazy moves and crazier lyrics as these two rap about Cornish Pasties and Tetley tea. A hedonistic explosion on stage of clothes removal and electronica makes this a show you either embrace or hide in the corner from. You will have a lot more fun embracing it though so you can absorb some fun lyrical wordplay and energetic dance.
I particularly enjoyed their cover versions reinventing one of my old school favs, Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun, which was a definite highlight. However Doin’ it Dreckly will be the lyric you leave singing, a Cornish phrase meaning do it later. It’s a catchy anthem from this dynamic and original act.
After two weeks of sit down comedy this is a truly refreshing and spirit lifting event.
Two Cornish rappers and a Casiotone keyboard – that was pretty much all I knew when I got to the gig at Cassette Nine last night. Why not, I said to myself, particularly since we’ve recently seen big balls, classical music hooliganism and mesmerising mime mania, why not Hedluv + Passman?
We thought safety in numbers would be appropriate so we invited a few workmates along to check out this ‘experimental’ experience. The result was shock horror, a great deal of hysterical laughter and general light-heartedness all round in response to this “quirky” and “irreverent” duo.
It was not long before we were introduced to Casio rap, a genre where lyrics are laid over simple homemade beats. In fact the best way I would describe them is akin to the famous 1980s English electronic pop duo Pet Shop Boys on acid. Passman is very similar to a manic Neil Tennant who provides main vocals, and this case occasional percussion while Hedluv is more like a gormless Chris Lowe on keyboards providing deadpan occasional vocals. The contrasting characters on stage really worked giving the whole show its tongue-in-cheek tone.
To quote their manager Murray Hewitt aka Rhys Darby “I haven’t seen this much talent since The Conchords and even then I never saw that much talent.” To be honest I had no idea that Rhys was their manager. The idea of life imitating art i.e. him acting as their manager, like Murray, really tickled me pink. No wonder he was all attentive and jumping up and down throughout the gig. In fact at one point he even went up to them on stage and advised them to use the crappy microphone which he said “works better than the good one”. All was explained when I came home and watched the Seven Sharp (TV1) excerpt featuring the duo introduced by Rhys.
The best thing about the entire show was its chaotic, unpredictable nature. Not knowing what was next, left you gagging for more each time they took the 30-second break between songs, for Passman to catch his breath. We initially sat there gob-smacked, witnessing this absolutely inane performance but then upon reflection it dawned on us that the comic duo was totally genius. I must admit I felt my hubby and I enjoyed the show a tad more than our mates, mainly due to the age difference. Memories of music, with the Casiotone sound of the 1980s, came flooding back – something I believe some of our mates were a little too young to appreciate fully. No they can’t be stereotyped or you can tick a box to classify their genre but who wants to be stereotyped? To quote the dynamic duo “We’re just two musicians doing our best” and that’s all we as audience members could ask for.
Isn’t it better to push the boundaries and experiment rather going to a show that only does what it says on the tin? Which makes Hedluv + Passman the perfect combination for a Festival act.
So my advice is get down to Cassette Nine before Sunday (show closes on Saturday) and be brace yourself for an hour filled with silliness and unconventional ‘comedy’. Oh and a few bevvies to wash down the yummy Cornish Pasties beforehand can only enhance the experience even more.
Musical comedy would seem to be sewn up in New Zealand by Flight of the Conchords, but if you head down to Cassette Number 9 this week, I'm sure you'll find that there are sounds from elsewhere in the world worth listening to. Especially if you like pasty British white guy 90s-style rap.
Hedluv and Passman seem to have been brought up on a solid diet of lo-fi computer games, nature documentaries and a fascination with the sounds of a Casiotone keyboard.
Their Cornish roots come out strong in the deadpan lyrics and droll observations – they lay rhymes about everything from Richard Attenborough to finding your way home in the car to the most recognisable of their local foods: the pasty.
The beats are most definitely more lively and the contrast is where most of the comedy lies in the music.
Passman is a frantic, over-energised rocket, who works himself into a lather as soon as the first beat drops and barely stops for the entire show. Clothes are shed, shapes are thrown. He screams, rants, scats and makes excessive use the stage space. Absolute bedlam from a single performer.
On the other hand, Hedluv is the straightest of straight-men in this oddly mis-matched duo. He seems to have much of the musical skill but, as is common in clubbing circles, is reluctant to let his cool show. There's almost an awkward air of embarrassment at Passman's over-doing of it, but he still makes many of the lyrical moments his own and absolutely tears it up on the Casiotone.
Maybe it's opening night, maybe it's their natural Cornish style, maybe it's the unusual acoustics of Cassette Number 9, but both seem a little reticent in the between-song patter early on - almost like they feel they're ‘dying'. However, the opening night Auckland audience seems to lap up their comedy stylings, even if some of their localised references are a bit over our heads.
Highlights of the night: a double-speed clap-along cover of Soundgarden's ‘Black Hole Sun' that nearly tears the roof off and Passman's lunatic running the length of the bar in only a pair of y-fronts.
Well worth a trip down the pub to catch these two Cornish rappers and their Casiotone “doin' it dreckly”.
Click here to add your review
Yvan J DrakeHedluv and Passman are an interesting duo, that are able to quite successfully blend the stylings of rap, with the excessively Caucasian stereotype associated with the segment of England that is Cornwall.
An electric interlude of gyrating, with significant input from a Casio Synthesiser, and rugby shorts leave the audience in absolute no doubt as to the uniqueness of this performing duet. The hour long performance seen at their NZ Album Launch in 2013 introduced Live New Zealand viewing public (the beginning of the performance was simulcast on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp) to a group, the likes of which have not been seen in this great country before.
This band will appeal to a very niche audience, with the ability to be enjoyed by all with an open mind. For a rap group, there is very little pimping, and lots of upper thigh. Towards the end of the show the whole crowd was interacted with and very energetic. I believe this band will be a breakthrough in New Zealand, and while they may not get signed by Snoop Dogg, Lion, Antelope, whatever he’s calling himself these days, they are without question the best Rap performance I’ve seen, and I think they’ll fit quite nicely into their venue for this year’s NZ International Comedy Festival.
For their performance, Hedluv and Passman get themselves, three and a half Casiotones.