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August 28, 2006

Nerds Rock Kirkland

So when I heard about the All Nerdcore Hip-Hop Show at the Shark Club in Kirkland last night, of course I had to go. I enlisted my friend Matt, a fellow Microsoftie, and off we went to check out the "gig" (as someone who linked to my previous article put it, "Microsoftie discovers nerdcore, adds to the litany of bad pun-based hip hop").

The first act was some dude called Monzy. Monzy is evidently locked in a nerdcore battle with MC Plus+, so he performed his latest salvo in the feud. I might have to pick Plus+ in this one just based on his name, although Monzy had a good sequence of ridiculous lines like "You're tertiary storage, I'm an L1 cache."

After Monzy came Ultraklystron, who definitely puts the funk in malfunction; his hastily burned CD kept skipping and looping, leading him to lose track of his lyrics. Despite this he gave it his best shot and whatever you may think of him talentwise, he's in showbiz and I'm not.

Following that we had Rai, a female nerdcorer. At least I think she was nerdcore; it's hard to tell because she was rapping in Japanese (or the mostly-Japanese, occasional-English-on-the-chorus that you get in J-pop songs). Rai was certainly the sartorial champ of the night, with knee-high platform boots and a kimono tied with a giant red bow (she also claimed to work at Microsoft).

After Rai we had a bit of a jump in quality to Beefy. Beefy is a largeish fellow who IMHO has some decent performing skills and music. He had a nice love song (to the Internet), and then the aptly titled "Internet Celebrity".

After that came probably the most popular act of the night, Futuristic Sex Robotz. I say "most popular" because they seemed to have the most people who actually came to see them -- about half of the crowd of 50 moved forward and thronged (well, perhaps "thronged" is too strong a word) the stage. Plus they were selling t-shirts. FSR had some microphone problems but they did a great job on the crowd-pleasing stomp "F**k the MPAA", which was the musical highlight of the evening. What are the chances that MPAA, RIAA, BSA, and DMCA would all rhyme? It sure makes writing a chorus easier.

The final act was Ytcracker, along with his Spamtec crew of phlow and eGod. The jury is still out on p and eG, but Ytc definitely has the most charisma of any of the performers, and the best chance of crossing over into non-geeky hip-hop. After one song he doffed his shirt to show off his excellent "Nerd Life" tattoo (although he kept his Power Glove on), and performed most of his songs with a progressively emptier bottle of Veuve Clicquot in his hand. He also has his own "hype guy", who was responsible for getting the crowd warmed up before the set by yelling "This is %$#@^&*ing Ytcracker with the %$#@^&&*(%$#ing Spam-*&&%%##$$-tec Crew so @##@$%^$$ your %$$#&@!@@% until it ##@$%%#^$s."

Incidentally, having now see all these people perform, I can now identify the pictures from the bottom of the show advertisment. The 3 guys who look like they're about to get arrested are the Spamtec Crew, with Ytcracker in the middle; next to them is Ultraklystron dressed as a magician. On the bottom you have a closeup of Beefy, then Futuristic Sex Robotz kicking it with the chopper (one of the Robotz is missing from the photo), and then Rai looking pensive while sitting on a rock.

So, what to make of nerdcore? It certainly was an interesting experience. A week ago I had never heard of this stuff and now I own a t-shirt (from Spamtec). And no doubt these people really are performers; the fact that FSR had their Wikipedia page yanked for lack of notability is ridiculous, as has been pointed out. I don't begrudge Ytcracker his nice page (which persists despite annual attemps to delete it) but if Monzy has a page, then FSR definitely belongs.

If you're a card-carrying propellorhead and you get a chance to check out some of these bands, go for it (and despite Matt's prediction that he would be able to count the number of women on one hand, the audience was actually something like 30% female, so he would have needed both hands and at least one foot). Matt like the Robotz the best; although I agree they had something going on, my vote goes to Ytcracker. He may have to ditch his two sidekicks, but I think he has the best chance of being the subject of an "I saw him way back when" story I tell my grandchildren. Nerd up!

Posted by AdamBa at August 28, 2006 07:24 PM

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