Sunday Morning Coming Down News Report: 07.25.10
Posted by Michael Melchor on 07.25.2010
Tonight: The Nerds Will Rock
The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.
Are you a hi-fi, sci-fi VIP? Look in this mirror and see, you're a lot like me. (Don't worry, that quote will become evident a little later on.) Hey there and thanks for checking - for a special edition! I'm almost expecting to lose a couple of my faithful six readers because of this (although I shouldn't because this is gonna be a fun time.) However, I warned you guys last week:
In fact, in seven days, you'll know exactly how much fun it was. In great, gory, nerdy detail. There's so much going that I've decided that this column, next week, will be completely dedicated to the Nerdapalooza aftermath. Including possibly a couple exclusive scoops and interviews. You've been fairly warned.
Now, off the bat: no interviews. Didn't get to any because of some slight miscommunication and because there was some other stuff going down. (Get to that later on, too.) BUT...everything else is covered. Because of work constraints (BOO!) and the fact that, even if I'd spent the entire weekend at the Mariott where it happened there was ENTIRELY too much going on to recap EVERYthing, I'm limited to the point where this will have to be done in sections and I won't be able to get to everything. By the time this is all said and done, however, you'll know all about it.
Enough blather. After getting some pimping (does anyone else on the site even call it that anymore?) out of the way for our usual social networking hookups, we're radically altering the usual format outright to get in to this...
(Oh, and if you're really curious about any follow-up to the bit about MIA last week, I'll direct you here. But you're welcome to back after that for a great time!)
Okay, This Is Boring – What Else Is There To Read?
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...and, for the pure, unadulterated hell of it, me again!
And now...a word of explanation before we go any further...
Exactly What The Hell Is A " NERDAPALOOZA" ?!!?
It dawns on me that I'm writing for a mostly uninitiated crowd. So, to keep this simple, I'll refer to Wikipedia. Cheating? Probably. I'm sure shit-ton of videos I'm about to throw in will certainly lend itself to that theory, and that's fine with me right now. Many others have alreadcovered thisin betterdetail, anyway - to the point where any grand essay would sound redundant. Besides, if a picture is worth a thousand words, I'm about to write a bloody novel using video.
Anyway, we have a LOT to get to without boring expositions, so take it away, Wiki:
Nerdapalooza is an annual music festival, the first of its kind to invite all genres of the nerd music movement under one roof, including nerd rock, nerdcore hip hop,chiptunes, and video game music. The idea for Nerdapalooza was conceived by John "hex" Carter, who hosted a nerdy music themed radio show through KRFH, the student-run radio station at Humboldt State University. The word is derived from nerd and palooza, slang word for all-out crazy party, and is a reference to Lollapalooza.
Basically, it's a festival celebrating and featuring all types of nerd music. Much of it terrific in its own right, since the only limitation here is subject matter, not style or type. Think TNA's X-Division before TNA took the piss out of it and you have the idea. You'll have much more of one once you see all the performances.
But we can't do that unless we actually begin, huh?
All The News That's Fit To Post NERDAPALOOZA 2010
Part One: What I Saw
--starting with the Pre-Party at A Comic Shop. The performances happened outside the shop, but there was a party inside as well:
Rapper B-Type from Britain opened up the whole thing - and was a fill in. No pressure, you know. But he killed it - then he wound up doing a guest spot with rap crew Magitek form right here in Orlando. Great set from all involved.
After those two were MC Cool Whip - and I TOTALLY wish I could find video of his set aside from mine, which was shot on a mobile phone with a small little mic that's very easily overpowered. I wish I'd had the good camera on hand, then, because Cool Whip took the unofficial challenge of the weekend to all of the artists to break out cover songs. Cool Whip put his ass on the map right off the bat by popping the crowd for the first time over the weekend...with a cover of the Spice Girls' "Wannabee". Seriously. And that's why I wish I had better footage of this, because describing it defies logic. Best explanation I can come up with to justify this to the skeptical: that was the first time ever I'd seen someone light up a crowd by doing something they absolutely hated. That was an impressive feat to behold from one hell of an underrated performer. I really hope next year he's on the main show, because he's earned that step up the ladder.
Two of the bigger names in the nerd music scene followed - rapper Kabuto The Python and rockers extraordinaire The Megas (named as such because they're fond of doing tunes about Mega Man and his enemies, natch).
These, I can let the video do the talking for me...first with this guy:
, aka Kabuto The Python:
And then, with The Megas:
The only thing wrong with that video was that Random (aka MegaRan) wasn't on stage with them - but that will be corrected later. First, after an excellent warm-up bash, it was on to the festival proper...
Started out, I walked in Saturday evening (July 17) with Sci-FriedandMarc (with a C) setting up to go on. Very cool. I already knew this was going to be a blast, because Lord knows Marc can bring a house down and I'd been excited to see Sci-Fried ever since I'd heard about them.
Trouble was, I was going to have to wait a little longer. Due to technical difficulties (and a sound guy that could barely be bothered to know what he was doing), their set was put on hold. Nerdapalooza organizer "Hex" made this known by taking to the opposite stage to announce that our next act would, instead, be Schaffer The Darklord.
This was my first exposure to Nerdapalooza proper - a guy that could go that quick, not miss a single beat or word, and have the crowd in the palm of his hand - and this was his first two songs! The rest of the set went off without a hitch (rather impressive considering Schaffer wasn't actually scheduled until later in the evening), and featured what was apparently already a Nerdapalooza staple (for this weekend, anyway): guest stars!
Two great tastes that taste great together - yeah, that would certainly continue--
--once Sci-Fried and Marc overcame adversity. Especially Sci-Fried; Marc was a welcome veteran here, but some people questioned why Sci-Fried was even playing here (Really??), much less how they would do live. Sci-Fried was in a tough position of proving their worth here AND they had to follow Schaffer?
That they did. On all accounts. Step one was this:
Step two was bringing Marc on with them:
I'm REAL glad I have this footage of Marc playing the festival now for reasons that will become rather clear later.
Step three: ?
Step four: Profit.
By the time Sci-Fried were done, they had become only the second act of the festival to leave fans clamoring for an encore (which the guys graciously gave them). They not only proved why they were invited, but had more than likely secured their spot for next year. Two in a row had knocked the crowd senseless; could we go for three?
Killer Robots were...I'm just gonna be honest here - they weren't my favorite act of the night, by any means. To be fair, though, there's another way to look at it - and that's from the crowd's perspective...
The audience was totally in to their returning heroes and had a great time with it. That's all anyone can ask for.
On to Sunday (July 18), two things caught my eye immediately. First was the sense of humor from the FuMP crew:
Second was a notice about the Protomen:
Why were they playing again? That would be one of the things brought up in the next segment..
Before that, however...The Megas returned!
...and this time, Random was in the house, too!
Totally sold on these guys. Whoever discredits them as talented musicians and performers can hit the "Back" button right now and, honestly, you wouldn't even be missed. That's a total shoot. That goes for The Megas and Random, who may well be able to kick the living bling out of most mainstream Hip-Hop artists on the radio today, "Nerd Music" label or no.
And then...the headliner...the main event..."The Godfather" of Nerdcore (as I heard him called during a conversation outside the building)...MC Frontalot:
The man is called "The Godfather of Nerdcore" for a reason, apparently. Totally knows how to work a crowd and keep them glued to him and the band. Yeah, wait - he performs with a live band. Not many rappers, "nerdcore" or not, have the balls to do that nowadays. Frontalot can pull it off AND not even make you realize it's going on. "Accomplished" doesn't even begin to describe.
And to cap it all off...man, if the WCW Six-Man Tag Team Championships were still around, the Freebirds...or Big Josh, Dustin Rhodes, and Tom Zenk...or whoever the hell...would have to watch out for these guys:
MC Frontalot would have been an awesome way to end this...but that's not to say the festivities didn't end on a high note. Remember seeing the sign about the Protomen earlier?
The Protomen come off a lot better live than on record. Which is not at all to say their recorded music is bad or anything of the like; it's very theatrical, bombastic, progressive, and...well, epic. It's just that sort of thing, you can imagine, comes off better in a performance setting where the full impact can be heard.
Besides, we all know how this song sounds on record...you can compare for yourself how it is here:
Now THAT'S how you cap off a music festival and save face from the night before - with a dominant make-up performance.
Part Two: What I Heard
Wait, save face from the night before?
I--yeah. And bear in mind this is not the band's fault at all because they had no idea what was going on...nor what was in the cookies they were innocently offered and partook in. While they were futilely recovering, the crowd was waiting for them to take the stage...and performed their own cover doing so:
The Protomen finally went on (minus their lead singer and another couple members, who were beyond the point of no return), played anywhere from 2 to 6 songs (reports vary), and then made their exit for the Epic Win Burlesque Show.
Because some (probably well-meaning) fool decided to attempt to imbibe the performers - and in the Protomen's case, succeeded - Night One was nearly completely ruined. The pressure was on the Protomen to make that up, and they did in spades. Hats off to them for overcoming that and a broken down bus (that almost prevented them from showing up at all!) to tear the roof off the place.
Now, as for why I'm glad I have the footage of Marc with a C performing above...son of a bitch, this sucks.
Marc took the stage Sunday afternoon and lasted two songs before the stage gave one way and he gave another. Marc wound up falling - and tearing his ACL on the way down. BADLY. His guitar landed afterward - on his head, causing him to take a Jeff Jarrett Special on top of all of this. There's no video of this (thank God) or of what happened after - which is beyond my comprehension.
On the ground, Marc felt his kneecap shift away from the center position it belongs in and, going on pure instinct, pushed his dislocated kneecap back in to place. He then finishes his alloted set time (albeit first on one leg, then seated in a chair) before heading to the hospital.
Man...I love Low-Ki--woops, Kaval and all, but that is a fucking warrior. When an entire crowd watched him badly injure himself and, in all likelihood, would have not have held it against him at all if he stopped right then and there given the circumstances, Marc soldiered on.
And he did it for the coolest of reasons, too. Not to get attention or to get his name mentioned above all else at the festival...but because those that attended were counting on him. Marc explained, "I know that a lot of people had come just to see my set, and even more folks had flown from all over the world to be there. I did my best not to let you all down, and I hope that you enjoyed the show despite the very, very obvious setback."
Guts. Pride in your work. Respect for the fans that came from all over to see this. And the ability to still pull off an entertaining set. I wish I had seen all of this, because, to me, this kind of comeback from this kind of adversity is so much more telling of what the festival - and those that perform at it - is about than any single note of music or nerd reference could provide. Get well soon, Marc.
Before all that happened, apparently Emergency Pizza Party made an example out of their timeslot.
EPP was relegated to...well, not one of the best slots in the world - Sunday. At noon. So, inspiration struck.
They came out dressed in church clothes carrying a cross made of...pizza boxes. As for the pizza that was in them...well, that became communion. They bought pizza for the entire crowd and distributed it during their set - which, by all accounts, kicked about 19 different kinds of ass.
I totally wish I could find video of the beginning of their set, but it's almost immaterial. EPP made their statement with their performance and dared the organizers to put them on at such a time again. Not because of anything they would do to retaliate, but because there was no way, after their 2010 appearance, that the fans would settle for a lesser slot.
See the dude on the left in the priest's robe?
And speaking of next year...
Part Three: What I Found Out
I hate to say this but, out of loyalty to the source(s) that swore me to secrecy with this info, most of who almost played this year - and who very well could next year - I am not at liberty to talk about. Yet.
Let me just say...if you're listening to "modern rock radio" or are more of a rap fan than what's on urban FM radio...chances are, you could be listening to next year's headliners right now.
The group I can talk about - because they made it public themselves by starting an internet campaign to play this year's festival - are three brothers on the comeback trail. The Fat Boys.
Oh, they sure did:
The small problem with this: they started their campaign five days before the event was to happen. Logistically, there was absolutely no way for it to happen. Damn shame about the timing, because that place would have popped HUGE.
However, there's certainly hope for next year...
...and if you don't think I'm going to be there for that...along with seeing all of the above all over again (hopefully, in some cases, much healthier and ready to rule the roost), as well as the afore-unmentioned artists, then I'd suggest checking the lost and found desk, because you done lost your mind.
Nerdapalooza 2010, despite some pitfalls and pratfalls, was still an incredible success. Many say that the festival is at a stage of growth now and ready to take off. For its sake, I hope that's right, because a show of this magnitude - and this much comraderie, mutual respect, and plain-out fun - deserves to be an event. The big corporations can have SDCC - make mine Nerdapalooza.
And, who knows? Somewhere down the line, you might hear more about next year's festival. A LOT more. Rest assured that the 2011 festival could may well make this year look like a Saturday night D&D party at your buddy's house - and that's a story I plan on keeping up with very closely.
Next week, we're back on track with more of the regular news and opinions. Thanks for hanging in there and hopefully you found a couple artists to check out from this. If you have, then my work here is done for another seven days.
L8. Thanks again for reading.
For more interesting reading, click here. And/or here, for that matter.
Special thanks to Nina Talley (who made the coverage possible and was a total sweetheart doing it), John "Hex" Carter (for putting himself through the wringer putting all this together) and to Alison Gianotto (a great lady who assembled the YouTube Playlist that most of these videos came from - and where much more can be seen).