Abandoman - Pic ‘n’ Mixtape
Destined to be among the Fringe’s most popular draws, rapping improvisers Abandoman have to be seen to be believed. Jay Richardson testifies.
This article is from 2010.
‘It’s lovely when a hip hop audience sees us,’ says genial frontman Rob Broderick. ‘Two lads wander out, one with a guitar, the other with an Irish accent, and you can tell they’re thinking, “this is going to be a disaster”. But then we start and they really get into it.’ Crafting eloquent, on-the-fly rhymes around the contents of the audience’s pockets, creating unlikely romantic scenarios from the front rows or reimagining the early songs of Rage Against the Machine from random suggestions, seasoned compere Broderick and folk musician James Hancox have performed at music festivals, cabaret nights, celebrity birthdays and even the occasional stag do. Their last Scottish appearance, at Rock Ness, saw them mistakenly billed as ‘Abandon’.
‘As in, “leave it!”’ chuckles Broderick. Otherwise though, they’ve had an exceptional first year, from their earliest (hastily-blagged) gig supporting US hip hop act Atmosphere to winning the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year and Musical Comedy Awards. With sometime third member, percussionist Camilo Tirado, absent for their Fringe debut Pic ‘n’ Mixtape, they’re nevertheless keen to add drum machines and loops, and are eager to exploit the festival’s diversity to bring in a female vocalist, trumpet section or even a bagpiper to supplement their sound. With a nod towards Kanye West’s Late Orchestration album, they ultimately perceive Abandoman as a theatre show with a huge ensemble of musicians and dancers.
‘The reason I got involved was this idea of magic,’ explains Hancox. ‘What Rob does is like an illusion, and with every gig, we’re just trying to increase that magic on stage.’ Broderick adds: ‘If ever there was a script, I don’t think I’d enjoy myself half as much. The point of Abandoman is we genuinely never know where we’re going with it.’
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 7–29 Aug (not 17), 9.45pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50). Previews 4–6 Aug, £5.