mc chris with Powerglove @ Varsity Theater
August 9th, 2012
Early shows always get me. I think they are wonderful, as all ages do deserve the right to live music. Especially when it comes to nerdcore, a subgenre of hip hop loosely described as one characterized by subject matter considered to be of interest to nerds (video games, Japanimation, comic books, table top games, film, and so forth). I remember mc chris being one of the first performers I saw in the greater metro at an all ages venue, so naturally, when I discovered he was performing just up the street at the Varsity Theater, I had to attend - despite being well of
Working, it's hard to get to an event that opens at five PM, so we strolled in a little late. At the entrance, I noticed that one of my favorite nerdcore rappers had a merchandise table set up, Mega Ran (aka Random), even though he was not mentioned on the official tour list. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform at a hometown geek convention called No Brand Con (kind of a tradition with me and some friends) just a few months earlier. After a quick talk, he informed me that he opened the show - something I wish would have been better publicized, as his newest release, "Language Arts Vol. 1" is a huge hit in the college radio scene, debuting at 34 on the CMJ charts. If you get the chance, check out his live show - so much energy - and he raps about Mega Man, Final Fantasy, and teaching English.
Metal was playing during this realization. Odd, for a hip-hop show. Aside from causing brief confusion, this got me pretty stoked. I enjoy my metal. And after noticing the band was shredding a theme track of "Final Fantasy VII," one of my all-time favorite video games, I got especially stoked. Upon walking onto the floor, which was much more full than I had expected for a niche genre and an early weeknight concert, I gazed up to find four gentlemen dressed as what my companion referred to as, "GWAR's younger brothers." They shortly thereafter introduced themselves as Powerglove, and continued to play some wild riffs. My favorites included the theme song to the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," to which they brought up a member of the crowd dressed as the Red Ranger to dance along, and the theme to "Pokemon," to which literally the entire crowd sang kareoke with. It made sense why they opened.
Having voiced a number of cult-hit characters from Adult Swim's programming block, including Hesh from "Sealab 2021" and MC Pee Pants on "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," mc chris has garnered quite the following in the nerdcore realm. Despite conflict between user sourced website, Reddit, and mc chris via Twitter throughout this tour, his following had not died down as expected, and many eager fans were fidgeting as the filler music died down. mc chris walked out and immediately commended a moment of silence for the victims of the recent Aurora, Colorado Dark Knight Massacre, and the shooting of the Sikh temple in Milwaukee. Afterwards, he stated, "I know not everyone holds these beliefs," but urged the audience to remember that the shooters themselves are also victims, whether of society, or their own mental illnesses. Obviously a bold statement, but one that resonated well in nerd subculture. mc went on to play quite a long set, filled with mostly remixes of hits from his eight studio albums and various mix tapes. About halfway through, mc chris drew the crowd's attention to a four year old audience member, sitting on the stage in the arms of her guardians. He stopped, and took a picture of the crowd with the child as a focal point, that you can now find online.
Highlights of mc chris's set include two particular tracks. The first being the song, "Geek," off of 2003's "Knowing is Half the Hassle." The song's content discusses issues of school shootings, the result of nerds being bullied. While this content is clearly sensitive following the Dark Knight Massacre, mc chris paused prior to inform the patrons that "Geek" was in the set list prior to the shooting, and that we should never allow "a terrorist's act of terror to influence our behavior." Another track, "Part One," off of 2011's "Race Wars" is entirely about The Batman. Again, before performing, mc chris paused to tell the audience that the last thing the victims of the Aurora shooting would want, given they were eager fans at the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," would be for us not to watch, read, and love Batman.
After performing for about an hour, mc chris came back for an encore, thanking the crowd for urging him back on ("Not every audience does this."), and discussed his upcoming project for a mc chris animated television show, and went on to perform fan favorites, "Fett's Vette", and "The Tussin."
Written by Morgan Luther, Radio K volunteer