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Rock Out with Your Pocket Protector Out: Nerdapalooza 2011

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We have a lot to get to today as we get ready for one of the biggest festivals in the south, Nerdapalooza 2011.

Hold on, I hear you ask. What on earth is a Nerdapalooza? Well, for the long answer, you’re more than welcome to read this. It will give you a detailed feel for the festival and overall atmosphere involved therein. For a shorter answer, allow me to present that to you via the Nerdapalooza website: “Nerdapalooza is a Nerd Music Festival in Orlando, Florida. A place for anyone who is proud to be a nerd. It is a two-day concert/party for everyone who is a fan of nerdcore hip hop, chiptunes, comedy rock, video game music, VG remixes, and more.”

That may require some more explanation in and of itself, for the uninitiated. We’ll start with the terminology: “nerdcore hip-hop” is exactly as it sounds – rap music presented by those of the nerdier persuasion. Names such as MC Frontalot, MC Lars (to a lesser degree), Schaffer The Darklord and Random (aka MegaRan) would be perfect examples of representation. Chiptunes consists of using 8-Bit “Nintendo” sounds to compose music, either in part or in full. VG Remixes is a shortened form for Video Game Remixes, taking compositions from video games and transforming those via a different musical genre into something familiar yet altogether different.

If that sounds like music made by and for a bunch of nerds, you’d be 100% correct. That’s exactly what Nerdapalooza is – the biggest nerd music festival in the country. This year, the festival is hosted by the Epic Win Burlesque crew. Imagine a full-on burlesque show with themes such as Ghostbusters. Or Batman. Or one of Epic Win’s biggest shows, Star Trek vs. Star Wars. Those are the sort of burlesque shows Epic Win performs, those with a bent toward more popular sci-fi/comic themes. This year, they will not only perform at the festival, but they’re also hosting the entire gig.

So, aside Epic Win and a general description of musical styles, what else can be expected at this year’s installment? Who’s showing up this year to help the nerds rock out? Below is just a taste of some of the performers to appear at Nerdapalooza 2011. There are over 40 total acts over the two-day festival on July 16 and 17, and to feature all of them would require a book; certainly more time than you have to read and more than I have to be able to write it. Nonetheless, here’s a cross-section of some of the music to be heard at Nerdapalooza this year.

The Headliners

I Fight Dragons

Chicago’s I Fight Dragons would be the most popular example of chiptunes, although that’s only part of their arsenal. The band employs 8-bit notes and sounds combined with pop-rock flavor to produce a high-spirited sound. They also have a propensity to veer off the beaten path, such as throwing in Kool Moe Dee covers mid-track. The band returns to Nerdapalooza this year, having appeared there before in 2009.

Metroid Metal

One of the acts I’m personally excited to see, having been a fan of Stemage and Metroid Metal since 2007. Their music should be fully explained by their name – heavy metal versions of music from Nintendo’s “Metroid” series (my favorite track being their version of ”Brinstar”). Metroid Metal has a reputation for being a tremendous live act, and I finally get to see that for myself this year.

The Protomen

The Protomen will be performing both nights of Nerdapalooza 2011. The band is set do their album Act I on Saturday night (July 16) and Act II on Sunday, July 17. The album titles would refer to their ongoing musical storyline of the Mega Man games, re-imagined with much more dystopian style and imagery. As for the music itself, The Protomen specialize in epic arena bombast that should shake the Orlando Airport Marriott once again with a terrific stage show.

Featured Performers

The Bossfights

2010 saw two of nerdcore’s finest, ZeaLouS1 and Dr. Awkward, not only join forces but bring a full band into the mix as well. No one knew what to expect, but the Bossfights had annihilated the house by the time they were done. This year, on the strength of their first full-length self-titled release and with no element of surprise like last year, the pressure is on the Bossfights to lay waste to the crowd once again – and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

brentalfloss

brentafloss has the propensity (and amazing ability) to put lyrics to classic video game themes, often to riotous result. On the heels of his newest record, What if This CD…Had Lyrics?, brentafloss is bringing his show to Nerdapalooza for the first time this year, and is a featured performer at the festival (despite being a first-timer) because of his entertaining catalog and stage presence.

Schäffer The Darklord

Schäffer The Darklord is one of the performers of Epic Win Burlesque, acting as emcee for their shows. Beyond that, Schäffer could very well be one of the best rappers on the planet, bar none. His live shows are guaranteed to move butts and get heads bobbing, and the verbal feats he is apt to pull off (live and on record) are breathtaking. He is set once again to dominate the stage at Nerdapalooza.

Other Performers of Note

Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew

They’re a crew of pirates with costumes, dialect, and all the trappings of being a full-fledged 17th century pirate. They rap with all of that going, putting on an amazing performance each time they take the stage. Do you really need to know more than that?

MC COOL WHIP

Cool Whip blew the Pre-Party crowd away last year. Since then, he’s gone from being a virtual unknown in this community to being featured on tracks with Schäffer The Darklord and graduating to the main stage at this year’s show. Look for Cool Whip to light up the crowd once again with songs like “Helen Keller In Space” and possibly another cover akin to last year’s rendition of the Spice Girl’s “Wannabe” that he took out into the crowd.

Rappy McRapperson with MC Wreckshin

Rappy McRapperson is an offbeat but infectious MC that now calls Orlando home. Wreckshin is one of the generals of Emergency Pizza Party. Together, they joined forces to release The 2nd Best Mixtape Ever, which shattered genre stereotypes while being one of the most hilarious recordings to come along in a long time. Put all of that on a stage at the same time and this duo could pull off the most irreverent and hilarious performance of the festival.

Krondor Krew

Last but by no means least, the ninjas of rap – Shinobi and Masurao – always bring an amazing energy to the stage. Veterans of Nerdapalooza, they’re looking to strike again this year. The Krew is always a crowd charger and will be bringing their manic mic weaponry and much more to the table this time around. Hopefully this year I can pick up one of the (toy plastic) swords they hand out at each performance.

Once again, the performers listed above are but a handful of the acts scheduled to be a part of Nerdapalooza 2011. Others such as column favorites Marc with a C and Sci-Fried (both part of a “Power Hour” performance to happen on Saturday), Random (aka MegaRan), Adam Warrock, Random Encounter and so many more will also be a part of the festival July 16 and 17. It should be a great time for anyone, really; Nerdapalooza is certainly a themed event, but anyone is more than welcome to come to the party. I’ll certainly be there, which means I will be taking a week off from being here. Thanks again for reading and I will see you in two weeks.

 

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About Michael Melchor