Monday, December 08, 2008

On Paying Dues

Saturday night, my pal Seamonkey and his lovely wife Nikki Nefarious drove down from Charlotte to check out the local MC Frontalot/YTCracker show with me. It’s kind of interesting that they made the hour and a half drive down to Spartanburg given that Front, YT, and MC Lars (who had double-booked Saturday and was instead in NH) were all playing a Charlotte show mere minutes from their home the following evening, but they’s my peeps and that is, indeed, how we roll. The gig in question was at Ground Zero, the same venue that hosted the inaugural show of Front’s first tour, so it was a lopsided homecoming of sorts.

Sadly, much like his Front’s previous expedition into the upstate, the club was sparsely populated. Still, there was a nice nerdy vibe amongst the crowd, an excellent local opener – The Dreaded Paranoids, please give them some love – and, of course, our esteemed headliners put on an amazing show.

The relaxed atmosphere and relatively low attendance served to make the night more intimate, and I’d go so far as to say that everyone had ample opportunities to meet and mingle with the talent. I personally shot a horrendous game of pool with Blak Lotus (after he shed his cue of a distasteful hanger-on), listened to Nikki talk shop with Sturgenius, and enthusiastically annoyed Mssrs Case and Hess throughout the evening. At one point I even found myself minding the merch table, which was a little odd. But I did sell a copy of Nerd Life, so I reckon I pulled my weight.

Seamonkey and I had caught YT and Front this summer at Nerdapalooza, and the significantly larger crowds at the event did serve to give their performances a more epic edge. Yet even in the dingy setting of a more-than-half-empty dive bar in rural SC, they played/rhymed their hearts out. Moreover, the on-stage chemistry they’ve cultivated over the tour’s preceding weeks really showed.

The tour itself has been fraught with misfortune from auto accidents to booking woes, but when I asked the guys if they were disappointed by such a mediocre turnout in its waning weeks, particularly after playing such nerd-friendly locales as Orlando, they simply laughed it off. I was assured they were merely "paying dues."

Yes, the men who have been the subject of documentaries, have been featured on MTV and G4, have been profiled in magazines internationally, are still paying dues. And they’re fine with that.

The Internet has become a bit of an echo chamber with regard to nerd culture, particularly nerdcore. Because of this it’s easy to lose one’s sense of pure relativity. PAX, Nerdapalooza, Rhyme Torrents, hell, even lesser conduits of geeky culture like this very blog make it easy to forget that, despite our pride and our growing numbers, we constitute a small pond.

It’s nice to know that the biggest of our fish, guys like YTCracker and Frontalot, don’t get sucked in by this ego-inflating (but undoubtedly toxic) sense of entitlement. It truly makes their successes all the more rewarding.


funky49 said...

You played pool with them huh? Cool! I played a game of Magic with mCRT. Blak Lo' took over for me (because the show was starting) and beat down Rob!

Nice job earning your keep! Those guys are great and nice!

Z. said...

They are, indeed. And like Hex said, the whole experience made me miss the Nerdapalooza bunch.

colonel panic said...

When they were down here for the New Orleans show, I hung out with the three of them at the venue for a bit, shooting the shit, and basically telling them how awesome they are. They're the most humble and modest people I've ever met. When my girlfriend told Lars we already had the Christmas EP after he said we should get it, he couldn't have been more shocked and excited.

Stand up bunch of guys, they are.


antisoc said...

I don't know what you are talking about, the show they played in Dallas was jam packed. I did get to chat a bit with the holy trinity of nerdcore before the concert (although YT was preoccupied with his cell phone). I also helped them unload the uhaul. Also talked a bit with Ian (the monkey aka DJMCDDS) of Rivercity Yacht Club.

antisoc said...


DV said...

The Marrietta show was likewise fantastic! It was in a venue they had never played before. My videos and pictures are posted.

Rob said...

Orlando was pretty crowded for a tiny little warehouse and no advance publicity time. And Jacksonville was slammin' too. I suspect they are breaking even, and if I had to guess I would suspect they're in the black ink.

Z. said...

I got that same reaction form Lars when I told him I’d bought the Xmas EP on launch day, Colonel. Lars (like Front and YT) is good people.

I think you misunderstand me, Soc. I’m not saying that the tour has been poorly attended, I’m saying that even when the guys find themselves in a tiny venue in front of a meager crowd they are still happy to be there. And I’m totally jealous you got to see Rivercrest live!

Are you in the Atlanta are, Don? If so we totally need to meet up the next time someone good and nerdy comes to town.

I agree, Rob, even with the run of bad luck they had on the road, I still think the guys are doing alright. And I’m glad to know that FLA treated them well!