In Part One, I spent the entire article writing about the perennial favorites, those artists that have been to most or all of the Nerdapaloozas. This time, I’ll take a look at returning artists: those that have been, but not every year. In addition, I’ll mention bands that I’ve seen before, but not at Nerdapalooza (some of whom have been to Nerdapalooza, but not when I was there).
I have a feeling that Professor Shyguy would have become a perennial favorite if there were more Nerdapalooza. He puts on such a great show. He’s energetic and musically very talented. And he has some great tunes. I saw quite a few people wearing his t-shirt around, which is hopefully a good sign that he’s gaining popularity. I really loved his set, which included a surprise cover of Tool’s “Forty Six & 2.”
Another returning artist that I hadn’t yet seen was Beefy, last at Nerdapalooza in 2009, the year before I discovered it. Needless to say, I was super excited to see his set, and I was not disappointed. In fact, he even brought out Shael Riley for a couple of Grammar Club songs! So great!
I wasn’t quite sure whether to put MC Frontalot in the last category or this one, since he’s been to a few Nerdapaloozas. I mainly decided to put him here for the sake of space; the last list did get pretty long. His set was awesome as always (and included yet another iteration of “Yellow Lasers”), and I managed to get so close to the stage I could feel the air from the speakers. This also gave me a great vantage point for the pre-show game of Magic: the Gathering between BL4k Lotus and someone from the audience. I have no idea who won, but it was really great to see it happen!
Artists I’d Seen Before, But Not at Nerdapalooza
This category came about because so many artists fit into it. Since I’m not narrating chronologically, I needed a place to put them. Seemed like a good fit. First up in this category we have Jesse Dangerously who I caught opening for mc chris about a month before Nerdapalooza in Gainesville. What can I say? He’s a “Halifax Rap Legend.” And he inspired me to drink many pumpkin spice lattes at the Starbucks in the hotel.
Technically MC Lars is a returning artist, but I haven’t seen him at Nerdapalooza before (since The Day After isn’t really an official Nerdapalooza concert). I was hoping for lots of songs from the Edgar Allan Poe EP, and I was not disappointed. In fact, I even showed the videos to my students since we were actually studying Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.” I really love the whole lit-hop genre that Lars has created. It’s so great for teaching, and the students really enjoy it.
I first saw Powerglove when they opened for mc chris here in Gainesville (a different show from the one with Jesse Dangerously). As I mentioned then, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of heavy metal versions of video game music, but Powerglove puts on a phenomenal show. This year’s performance at Nerdapalooza was no different. Their set included not just video games songs like Zelda, Final Fantasy, Mario, and even Tetris, but also cartoon and TV themes from the X-Men, Pokemon, and Power Rangers. I especially love hearing the audience sing the lyrics for the latter two.
And of course also included in this category would be the big draw, They Might Be Giants. I arrived relatively early on Saturday in order to catch 9K1, and while waiting around, I happened to hear snippets of what sounded an awful lot like a TMBG song. I sauntered into the main ballroom and discovered the band sound checking. They played “Rhythm Section Want Ad” in its entirety for pretty much nobody, and only maybe one or two other people besides me seemed to even be paying any attention. That was probably the highlight of the entire weekend. I never would have expected to hear them play that song live. Actually, during their full set, they played plenty of unusual songs that I wouldn’t expect. I think Marc with a C put it best when I was talking to him: they played about 1/3 new songs (e.g., “Nanobots” and “You’re On Fire”), 1/3 hits (e.g., a duo John and John opener of “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”), and 1/3 stuff you’d never expect to hear (e.g., the first encore “Number Three” and the final song, “James K. Polk”). I would have to say this was the best set I’ve seen from them ever.