Aug 062012
 

I’d first like to thank Nerdy Show  for putting on another great Nerdapalooza. It continues to be one of the best music gatherings in the Southeast. Orlando was pumped up from the very beginning. Friday’s FREE pre-party at the Social was so packed there was a line around the corner. At one point people were coming out and telling us that the club was at capacity and that we were pretty much going to have to wait in line for a while. Unfortunately this caused us to miss a few acts, but after waiting three hours we decided to just get some rest. Saturday was going to be huge.

 

Once parked, we needed to find a place to eat. The two venues were right in the middle of downtown, so we had plenty of places to choose from. Friday night we were told about a legendary taco place, and that was our target. We found Gringos Locos and perused their menu. After eating the best Fish Tacos I’ve ever had, we were ready to rock.

It was early in the day, so the line wasn’t that long yet. This year Nerdapalooza was held in two clubs, adjacent to one another. These were The Beacham and the Social. The Beacham was a large room with two island bars, a balcony, and great sized stage. You could tell right away this room was going to be the setting for some serious rock. In fact, we walked in on some right away, with Sci-Fried just finishing their set. I could tell they were a metal band who wrote songs about nerdy type things in pop culture. The next act up was in the Social. The cool thing is, these two places had a path leading between them which made it possible to navigate both clubs to see each alternating act.

The Social was a bit smaller but had a comfy feel to it. While the stage was smaller, it had a pit in front of it which was nice. This was the place to see some great nerdcore. We were not disappointed as The ThoughtCriminals blew it up! One of the guys dressed sort of like Ness, which was awesome when they did their Earthbound song.  At this point it dawned on me that with all these awesome performers in this one location, there were bound to be some awesome collaborations, which turned out to be absolutely epic.  During an Earthbound song, Adam WarRock and Dual Core came up to rap with them. It was magical. All the Nerdcore acts seemed to get along and were joining one another on stage for what appeared to be a seriously good time shared by all the artists.

ThoughtCriminals

ThoughtCriminals with Dual Core and Adam WarRock

After The ThoughtCriminals, we were thrilled to see Captain Dan and his Scurvy Crew, one of our favorites, enter the stage in full Pirate Garb. I had seen them before, but this was new to Noel. Without skipping a beat, Captain D and his crew jumped right into their brand of pirate hip hop. They brought true Buccaneer technique and were as sharp as a cutlass. Sometime in the midst of their act we started a friendly cheer of “Fuck Howard Stern,” which was in response to their recent SHORT appearance on America’s Got Talent. Dan then joined in and told us of his distaste for Howie Mandel. It was great. Then it was back into great Maritime rhymes about large Chests and Booty.

Now, the nerdcore guys  aren’t the only ones who can team up, and that was soon proven to us as we made our way to the Beacham to see Random Encounter.  I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about them before, most recently at Ancient City Con 6. When we got to the stage we noticed they had some company. Descendants of Erdrick was up on stage with them for a sound check. This was just a taste of things to come. They left the stage so Random Encounter could get to kicking everyone’s ass, and that is what they did. Each time I see them, they just get better and better. Careless can play the HECK out of an accordion. He has some great energy and charisma, and it shows on the stage. His song King of the Ocean is also pretty amazing. Kit and Konami shredded their guitars in amazing fashion, while Rook stood there strong as ever slapping the bass like a mighty sentry. All while Moose was banging the drums like a wild man. These guys are GOOD. No one else can mix Final Fantasy and Jimi Hendrix like these guys.  Near the end of their set, they were joined by Descendants of Erdrick once more for a really great song. There must have been ten people up there, including four guitars, two basses, accordion, flute, and two drummers, and since my mom told me I had ten fingers, I do believe that amounts to ten. It was almost like seeing the Protomen up there. It was beautiful chaos as the bands melded together to form a giant monster of awesome rock. Following that, Descendants of Erdrick had their own set, which was great as well.

The Megas  were coming up soon, another of my personal favorites. Going off topic for a moment here, can I just say how nice it is to see bands performing on time. At a music festival like this, it’s a sure thing that the bands will be starting when they are scheduled, otherwise they will miss their precious slot of very little time.  Therefore, we didn’t wait too long before they came out on stage with beacons of blue light shining down upon them, like gods of video game music.  They just released a new album, so their set was primarily drawn from that. It was beautiful and intense, like it was meant to be. The re-imagined Megaman 3 music with storied lyrics came alive as they rocked their asses off. There was only one thing off, and this actually goes for all the rock acts that played in the Beacham, and that was that the vocals all sounded a little lower than everything else, which made it difficult to understand the words. Only a minor gripe though.

After The Megas we raced over to the Social to see Schaffer the Darklord.  We almost didn’t get in, it was already packed. We finally found a spot where we could see and we took our spots. STD was giving the Independence Day speech, and it was awesome. Then, as expected, he busted out some great Nerdcore. This man, when on stage, looks like a demonic preacher and has the charisma to pull it off. His stage presence and energy is explosive, but at the same time warm and soothing. At one point he was joined by STP, a puppet version of himself to help him to perform “Other Devil.” The puppet was pretty creepy, but definitely funny in that STD fashion. Soon after that a member of TheThoughtCriminals joined him on stage, wasted and stumbling. Luckily he only had the chorus to remember as STD went into the appropriate song The Bender. It was a wonderful set that even included the fan favorite Cat People. This man can RAP!

At that point we took a little break, as this was all very hard on our feetsies. We sat down and listened to the sounds of Metroid Metal.  It was almost time to see The Protomen.  We positioned ourselves directly in front of the stage, held our ground, and watched them set up. KILROY came out and gave his usual opening to hype the crowd, inviting us all to fight, and of course we obliged. Then it was time and as always, in true Protomen fashion, It was face-meltingly epicly awesome. They started with Will of One and Vengeance, warming the crowd up and getting people jumping. Fists were pumping, people were singing, feet were stomping, everyone was having a blast. The Protomen blew the socks off of everyone. These guys have some amazing talent. I’ve said it before, but they could definitely bridge the gap between gamers and music lovers. It seemed like it was over too soon, (one of the bad things about music festivals- shorter slots) but it was time for the night to come to an end. Definitely wish we could have stuck around for Sunday, but there’s always next year.

However, I was able to enjoy the rest of the shows in the comfort of my own home, while feeding my daughter, thanks to NerdyShow, who was streaming it over the internet. This was their first time doing something on this scale so there were a few kinks, but overall it was great and I suspect it will only get better throughout the years. BrentalFloss and the Cartridge Family  (Descendants of Erdrick) were pretty hilarious. No More Kings  played one of my favorite songs, Sweep the Leg. That’s right, it’s about the Karate Kid. Go take a gander at their music video.

MegaRan also performed one of my favorite songs, AVALANCHE (feat. Barret Wallace) from his album Black Materia. His act was solid. Then it was time for The NESkimos,  and as expected, they did not disappoint. It’s been a while since these guys played to a big crowd like this, and I gotta say, they made quite an impression on a lot of people. We got Norfair, which still amazes me. They ended their incredible set with their Super Mario Bros 3 medley. Pretty sure this floored a lot of people, since you could hear chants of “HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT!” echoing throughout the venue. Following the NESkimos,  Koo Koo Kanga Roo rapped about friendship and fuzzy animals. They are an interesting act for sure.

It was getting close to the end once again, but it wasn’t over yet. The family all huddled around my computer and watched The Protomen do their Queen covers from their most recent album. They definitely do justice to the source material. Raul Panther can sing his ASS off. The whole band is tight as ever as they bring these songs back to life. We did lose sound for a couple of minutes, which was disappointing since we were really looking forward to this part. NerdyShow was all the while working to find the problem. I guess something just came unplugged, so they found it, plugged it back in, and without missing a beat we heard The Protomen sing “The Show Must Go On!” Such an epic moment.

Nerdapalooza was a very well put-together and enjoyable event. I had concerns about the venue hopping, but it was much easier than I imagined. They did a great job of staggering the performances so we didn’t miss one moment of nerdy goodness. Another fantastic thing was that the venues were actually cool, like, you could feel cool air blowing down on you at all times. Most of the time when you go see a concert in a club, it gets all hot and humid sweaty and stinky, but I can honestly say I don’t think I broke a sweat once. Hats off to whatever wacky sorcery The Beacham and The Social were using to keep the place cool.

Jul 222011
 

Unfortunately I was unable to attend this years Nerdapalooza, but luckily for me, immediately after that the PVP Tour stopped in my town. The PVP Tour included Brentalfloss, Random Encounter, The OneUps and The Protomen. This was quite the lineup of Video Game rock and a steal at 10 bucks!


Brentalfloss was hosting the event. He played a few of his songs. You will see a portion of his Tetris song in the video below. He also did something really awesome with crowd participation. Basically, he had a mad lib about a certain afternoon cartoon where the crowd had to choose nouns, verbs, and the like. You know how mad libs work. Anyway, what we got was the Pokemon Theme song filled with trolls, dicks, porking, and skull fucking. It was truly magical. A friend of mine recorded that bit, so as soon as it’s ready I will update everyone to check it out.

Random Encounter took the stage and blew me away. I must admit, hearing their stuff online and seeing them live are two different experiences. Their live performance was amazing. The hot bass player didn’t hurt either. They opened with the Mortal Kombat theme which led into a Legend of Zelda medley. When they started Song of Storms, the crowd went CRAZY! I mean, if you are going to have an accordian in your band, you better play Song of Storms. They then busted out Gerudo Valley which included a tiny bit of Guile’s theme (Street Fighter) in the middle. Which proves Guile’s theme goes with ANYTHING! They did some more great stuff including Vampire Killer, Terra from Final Fantasy 6, Big Blue from F-Zero, and a wonderful cover of HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY. They ended the show with the 80′s classic “Take On Me”. I look forward to seeing them again.

Next were the OneUps. These guys are a more laid back video game band. They all wear sunglasses and have a very bluesy feel to them. Also, as you will see in the video below, they use a projector showing various footage from the games. They started with Super Metroid and Contra which were very entertaining. Following those two classics, they went with something new school with Angry Birds. I was very impressed when they played a song from the legendary ToeJam and Earl: Panic on Funkatron as well as Sonic the Hedgehog. They put on a very solid performance.

Finally the main course: The Protomen. Last time they came to Jacksonville they had called the tour “The Protomen break all their shit tour” because everything was breaking. Their snare stand actually broke and they had to try and fix it half the show. The ironic thing was they had an extra stand in the bus. The bus however was broken down in Orlando. This year was different and nothing broke. They set all their stuff and did the most amazing sound check I have ever seen. They played the hell out of Journey’s “Separate Ways, Worlds Apart” for a solid minute and a half just to make sure everything sounded good. If that wasn’t excellent musical foreplay, I don’t know what is. They retreated to the back and KILROY came out to introduce them. From then on it was perfect. Will of One was followed by Vengeance as well as their other heavy hitters. They left the stage and after much cheering, KILROY came back to give us the news: The Protomen were not going to play one more song, they were going to play four more songs! They started the encore with an amazing version of Ballroom Blitz, featuring everyone’s favorite TurboLover.

This concert was easily the most fun I’ve had in years, accompanied by close friends and a great energy filled crowd. More proof that video game music is much more important than the average gamer may think. If you enjoy great rock and roll and happen to like video games, check these guys out. If they come to your town, take the time out to see them. You won’t regret it! Enjoy the mini compilation below. (The sound quality might not be the best, as I recorded it with my Flip.)

Jun 242011
 

 

Nerdapalooza is coming up next month on July 15-17th. You might be asking what exactly it is, so allow me to educate you. Nerdapalooza is a big music festival in Orlando, Florida that features some of the best nerd-related music around. Nerdcore, chip-tunes, and video game rock will all be represented in some fashion during the festival. With the amount of talent that will be there, the $50 price for the entire weekend is well worth it. To get you up to speed, please allow me to introduce to you several of the acts that will be there.

My Parent’s Favorite Music
The first Nerdapalooza I went to, this guy really blew me away. Full of talent and energy, let’s check out one of his songs.

Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew
This is a nerdcore group that really surprised me. Who were the first thugs and gangsters back in the day? Pirates of course, holding their blunderbus sideways, wearing baggy clothes and hats crooked way before it was cool. Basically, it’s hip-hop about pirates and performed by pirates. It’s really quite the experience.

The OneUps
A more mellow sounding video game band. They do all sorts of great renditions, including this gem i just found from Toejam and Earl: Panic on Funkitron.

Random AKA MegaRan
This guy is pretty badass. He’s even worked with Capcom. He does all sorts of Nerdcore rap. One of his most recent releases was the album Black Materia, in which he took Final Fantasy VII music and added some mad rhymes that meshed with the game’s story. He has a lot of material out there, so this merely scratches the surface of what he is capable of.

BrentalFloss
Famous for his “What if this game had lyrics” songs, he is pretty funny.

Arm Cannon
Until I saw them announced for Nerdapalooza, I had no idea these guys existed. Now I wonder how I ever lived without them. These guys freaking rock and do some songs from games I thought were highly unexpected. My dad even shed a tear as he heard their rendition of the song from Tecmo Super Bowl, complete with the “Hut hut hut hut hut” followed by the music to which I would curse Bo Jackson.

I Fight Dragons
Great nerd inspired rock, they also cover the occasional video game theme, or hide chip-tunes in their music. I can’t wait to see them for sure!

Schaffer the Dark Lord
Great great great Nerdcore “rappist”. Great songs about proper grammar, Supervillians, and cloning himself for sex. Oh and he raps about cats too, and Jesus being a Zombie.

The Protomen
Aww, of course, the greatness of The Protomen. I have written about these guys before, but man I tell you what, these guys rock. I’ve seen them about six times already. They are amazing live. Their Megaman themed rock opera is intense and for this festival they will be doing Act 1 on Saturday and Act 2 on Sunday.

There you have it. While this is just a mere taste of what to expect, you can clearly see why you should be looking into a trip to Orlando. If not, then at least look up more info on these artists and broaden your musical tastes that shall appeal to your nerdy soul. If you do, and want some killer Chinese food, check out Ming Court too.
For more information on Nerdapalooza, visit http://nerdapalooza.org/

Aug 232010
 

The Original Members of the NESkimos

Growing up, music was always a big part of my life. My parents were very passionate about rock music, and it shows. As you flip through one of my mother’s photo albums, you notice the pages are filled with various rock stars posing backstage, most of them including my parents. They passed their love for music down to me with the aid of road trips filled with name that tune pop quizzes. The importance of music was engraved into me, and I was taught how it can affect moods and even tell stories. Continue reading »