Well guys, I survived California. I honestly had the time of my freaking life. I mean, come on, chilling on a beach surrounded by some of the best of friends while listening to some of the best music out there, yeah, it really doesn’t get better than that. All that being said, it was nice to come home and after a night off to just sleep and get my apartment back in order, it was time to get back in the swing of things. Full disclosure, it wasn’t easy to leave my couch for the show. I’m still exhausted and trying to get sand out of everything I own but if there was one guy that could sway me to get out and jump back into a show bender, it was MC Lars. Just my luck, he was in town last night with some of his friends so, although exhausted, I headed downtown with a smile on my face.
I was unfamiliar with opening act Schaffer the Darklord but there was something so friendly and inviting about the show that I didn’t really care. Although the crowd was modest at best as STD (yes, he copped up to not quite understanding how acronyms worked) but that didn’t stop him from giving the crowd a truly entertaining set. After putting on his black latex gloves (which gave my photographer the creeps), it was off to the races and the audience was taken on a ride that was one of a kind. From metal to hip-hop to straight up comedy, STD’s set was constantly moving and keeping me on my toes. Regardless of the song, his lyrics and quirky onstage mannerisms had me laughing nearly the entire time. This opening act just solidified the thought I had had that, if I had to leave my apartment for any show at my current level of exhaustion, this was the only show worth it.
Following Schaffer was a man that I truly adore, MC Lars. Where do I even begin with him. Beyond his dorky raps about video games and Edgar Allan Poe is the pure brightness that seems to follow him around. I’m not quite sure how else to describe it other than, when watching MC Lars perform live, there’s something just so positive that takes over even the darkest room. Playing a set that did a great job of spanning his impressive catalog that dates back to the late 90’s. The audience was eating up every single word of every single song. It didn’t matter what was next in the set list, the growing crowd was clearly just excited to catch this truly positive force live. Have you ever been to a hip-hop show where instead of just put your hands in the air to vibe with the music you do it with “Spock hands”? Well now I can say I have and although that’s something I have never thought of let alone thought I’d be proud to say, I’m truly proud to say it today. Quirky and fun, MC Lars could have played the rest of the night and I don’t think you would have heard a single complaint from the audience.
Raheem Jarbo (better known as Mega Ran) was up next and having seen him once before, I knew I was in for a treat. Focusing on the video game aspect of “nerd-core rap” (yes, that’s a thing and yes, that’s what last night’s show was), Mega Ran connected with the geekier members of the audience in a way that was magical. Rapping about his favorite video games while using music from said games that he cut up and made into beats, there’s no denying the creativity behind this man. Although majority of the lyrics made no sense to me because Guitar Hero is about the only video game I ever really got into, you could feel the passion as he sang. Add the way he was able to relate the video gaming world back to real life and I was completely sold on everything this man was doing. A larger than life character with a larger than life heart, Mega Ran’s set was short and sweet but definitely packed a punch.
Closing out the stellar night was the godfather of nerdcore himself, MC Frontalot. Looking more like an insurance salesman rather than a rapper, MC Frontalot took the stage to a roar of applause and wasted no time jumping into a hilarious set backed only by his DJ/ computer- DJ CPU. He may be the “old man in the van” as he put it (he is the oldest person on this tour), but that didn’t diminish the energy that he brought to the stage. His quirky movements matched his insurance salesman-like outfit. Although the set was full of laughs, there’s nothing funny about this man’s talent. A true voice for hip-hop and a way with words (no matter how geeky said words are), Frontalot proved that, although older than the rest of the tour, he is still king of the scene. Frontalot’s set, like the three sets before his, moved fast and seemed to be over in the blink of an eye.
Clearly I had a great time last night and each act brought something different to the table whether it be rapping style or lyrical content. Beyond all of the creativity that was laid out on the stage, my favorite thing about last night was the sense of family and love. Collaboration was the name of the game and, by the time the night was done, I don’t think there was a single combination of musicians that hadn’t been on the stage. Mega Ran with MC Lars, Schaffer the Darklord with MC Frontalot, MC Frontalot with Mega Ran– you get it. It all came to a beautiful end as all four of these innovators took the stage together. To people outside of the scene, this moment would have meant very little but to the people in the audience that have connected to the nerdcore genre in a way they just couldn’t connect to mainstream music it meant absolutely everything.
It’s back to the concert grind for me and although still recovering from vacation, there wasn’t a better show to kick off a bender that currently has no end in sight.