THE ROCK REPORT: NERDAPALOOZA: ORLANDO, FLORIDA

As I said with my last post about Nerdapalooza, I wasn’t really familiar with the whole genre (or its fan base) until mere weeks before attending the festival, but I had a short list of people I wanted to see as Trevor and I shoved off from St. Petersburg on Saturday morning.

Now, I’m typing this a little under 24 hours after getting home from the festival. Showered, rested, and fed, I’m still not sure how I want to cover the festival. There was plenty of disappointment, such as Kabuto The Python (the #1 thing I wanted to see) not thinking to try the rapping with a mask thing out before stepping out onto a stage, which resulted in Kabuto the Mime. There was The Protomen‘s set so mired in feedback that you would have thought they brought it along as their special guest. Then there was the most frustrating of all, the festival’s complete and utter inability to stay anywhere close to the schedule (more on that later).

But this isn’t meant to be a diatribe from some outsider coming in to point at the nerds and talk about how shitty their convention was. And as I drove I reflected on some of the cool shit we saw. The first band we caught, Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew, were quite entertaining both sonically and visually as they took the stage in complete pirate garb. Kabuto aside, the rest of the Scrub Club showcase was phenomenal. As a “crew” they seem to embrace a “hiphop first, nerd second” approach to their music and stage show that really appeals to me. Then there was the out of left field “holy shit I am gonna talk about that for months” set of Schaffer The Darklord. I’d listened to his material on myspace in preparation for the festival and was lukewarm to it at best. However, live…live is where it was at. Those lazy beats and rhyme delivery were pushed aside for an uptempo, high energy tight stage show that captivated the entire room. Watching him on stage I kept thinking, this dude is like nerdcore’s version of Col. J.D. Wilkes (for those who don’t know, read about JD here). I don’t think there is any doubt that Schaffer stole the entire festival with his shortened performance.

As a whole, I’d say Nerdapalooza was wildly successful, especially for true fans of the genre. Hell, I’ve become an avid fan of Schaffer and the entire Scrub Club crew. The organizers said attendance was larger than they were expecting, that they managed to recoup their original investment and will apparently be making a sizable donation to the Child’s Play Charity, so all signs point to a third Nerdapalooza coming to Orlando next year.  On that note I’d like to offer the festival itself some friendly advice (constructive criticism). Now normally I try to avoid too much criticism, especially for shows that have long passed, as it falls in the ‘too little too late’ category. However, this thing will probably happen again so I feel it’s criticism that could bear fruit. So…

Hex and crew. You need to put a greater focus on keeping the festival running on schedule, or at least close to it. There are a ton of ways this can be achieved, but already being an hour behind 5 bands into the day is terrible. Furthermore, when you see that you need to make up time, condense the sets of your afternoon performers…not your headliners.

Captain Dan & The Scurvy Crew – From The Seas To The Streets
Captain Dan & The Scurvy Crew – Flintlock Glock

Dr. Awkward – Geekquilibrium
Sinister Six – Roll The Dice
Sinister Six – Scientistik

Nerdapalooza theme song?: MadHatter and Duyahn Walker – Nerd Party

Schaffer The Dark Lord – Nerd Lust:

Schaffer The Darklord – The Bender: