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:



11 thoughts on “THE ROCK REPORT: NERDAPALOOZA: ORLANDO, FLORIDA”

  1. The Emergency Pizza Party set on Sunday was cut by one song. Thanks for pimping Benjamin Bear’s song “Scientistik”! He rocks!

  2. I completely agree…while I think Nerdapalooza was awesome and overall a success…the utter lack of organization and quality sound guys was a dissapointment…especially for fans that wouldn’t normally have the chance to see their favorite artists.

    I think the biggest dissapointment was the sheer disregard for responsibility by the organizers…yeah…this is supposed to be fun….but don’t goof around when you’re so far behind.

    But hopefully this is just a learning experience and next year’s event will be another leap forward!

  3. I think you’re right Whiz.
    Like I told Trevor…if this is something Hex wants to keep doing he should volunteer at some longer running festivals/weekend long concerts in Florida this summer and see how they work with times and organization…

  4. Nerdapalooza is far from a normal convention, even farther from a normal show. Each group that performs barely shows up in time to perform, let alone each get their own sound check.

    This means that when everyone has different equipment that they plan on using, such as a guitar, the levels are never given proper time to be set, and have to be done on the fly.
    This isn’t a fault of anyone other than the culmination of time and how it’s used.

    If group A flies in 3 hours before they perform, but there’s group B performing before them in that slot there is no time for a sound check.

    All in all, 1 hour behind for 10 or so acts during a 3 day period is pretty good, as no one is truly a professional.
    These are literally kids fresh out of the box, putting on an amazing show that captivates as well as stimulates, and it gets better every year, as the numbers insist.

    Thanks for checking out the show, and if you took away some good memories, then the job was done. See you next year!

    -chozo

  5. Mostly in agreement. While the Protomen set certainly suffered from bad mixing (where were those awesome female vocals?) their sound is definitively noisy and I love it. Didn’t put me off at all.

    Schaffer’s set was absolutely fantastic (which I expected) but for me the highlight was Guest Appearances. It was great to see so many of the artists mixing it up with each other. After catching some of the freestyling going on outside I would’ve been disappointed to not see any collaboration on stage too.

    Kabuto’s silence was massively disappointing, but I’m sure it’s received enough coverage by now. No need to belabor it further.

    Also disappointing was having to leave before mc chris took the stage, but because of how late things were running, we didn’t have a choice. It’s a long drive back to St. Pete and Monday waits for no man.

    Another thing that impressed me was how professional and engaging the performances were overall. And it was good to see the performers having so much fun themselves, on stage and off.

    Overall it was a great time. I’m really looking forward to the next one and seeing some of the performers again in the meantime!

  6. This means that when everyone has different equipment that they plan on using, such as a guitar, the levels are never given proper time to be set, and have to be done on the fly.

    this is not unique to nerdapalooza…almost every. single. show or festival that goes off has the same issue.

    Here is an easy way to fix it: Give Band A 15 minutes of setup then hold them to their time….if Your time is from 5:15 to 6:15 then you’re done @ 6:15…regardless of how many songs you did or didn’t play.

    Sound issues can be fixed on the fly…it’s done in a million bars in America every night.

    These are literally kids fresh out of the box, putting on an amazing show

    I agree 100% but that doesn’t mean folks shouldn’t point at the shortcomings. Hopefully, next year will run smoother…and the year after that smoother…etc.

  7. what most people fail to realize about the kabuto set is that his mic was working just fine. the reason that it seemed like you couldn’t hear it was that his rhymes are so dope that they are filtered out as white noise before reaching the part of the brain that deciphers sound. it’s sort of like the brain’s surge protector. i was just happy to be in his presence. double-glad that my brain didn’t explode from over-exposure to dopeness.

  8. That is the best explanation yet.

    So, what you’re telling me is that I wasn’t drunk Sat. night…My head was woozy because of Kabuto.

  9. Hi, Im MisterB, one of the emcee’s of the event. I think the complaints you had are widely accepted and agreed with. Nerdapalooza08 was free of many of the problems you described, and I suspect a return to two different stages for 2010. It would solve nigh everything, hah

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