After having a blast seeing Elaine and a whole bundle of other friends today for Easter Egg dyeing (haezle
wields a mean wax crayon, by the way), we went to a Jonathan Coulton
concert, and it was awesome
Coulton plays to an audience full of nerds. What other concert could you go to where, during Paul and Storm's opening act, you have the audience enthusiastically mimicking pirates? They asked us to call and answer "Arrrr": "The ship sailed in to town, and every inn was full. Dejected Arrrr here! (Dejected Arrs come in).
"You guys are great. Who's your favorite robot?"
"Arrr2D2!" (This was practically loud enough to shake the room)
"The area of a circle?"
"Pi Arrr squared."
"Your favorite ancient mathematician?"
"Arrchimedes!" "Pytharrrrgarous!" "Mandelbrarrrrt?"
"Who yelled Mandelbrot? He's not ancient!"
(to which everyone giggled)
Later on, Coulton introduced Code Monkey
"I used to have a much worse job..." he began, only to be interrupted by an audience member:
(JoCo looks at his six-stringed guitar) "No, I mean, like... the bass has four strings. That's like only 2/3 of the work I currently do! I meant, I used to do software design. Code has a lot more strings than four."
(Universal audience groan)
When JoCo played "Mr. Fancy Pants" (a silly song about a man whose sole cheer in life is about having the most fancy pants), he played with a crazy looping/recording instrument, and he briefly segued into a looping theme for Super Mario brothers, which made everyone cheer. Hardcore geeks, we were.
Anyway, the high nerd contingent meant that we were fairly assured of sitting next to other nerds -- in this case, a pretty likable couple who happened to be visiting from DC, who both appreciated silliness and were bright. Friends for a night!
But the best thing about the concert is really that Coulton is good at humorously portraying the outsider's perspective, while still making you feel for his characters. He closed with "Skullcrusher Mountain," "I Crush Everything," "The Future Soon," "Re: Your Brains," (and then a totally awesome cover of They Might Be Giants' "Istanbul" for the encore).
"Skullcrusher Mountain" is a song about a Dr. Frankenstein-ish character who tries to woo a girl by making her a "half monkey, half pony... you like monkies, you like ponies... maybe you don't like monsters so much? Maybe I used too many monkeys."
And the thing is, with "Skullcrusher" and with his other songs, you often sit there both laughing and
genuinely feeling empathy for the terribly lonely, socially isolated genius. Basically everyone who's been nerdy and ahead of the rest of the class knows that feeling of social isolation at some point. It's nice to bond over laughing about it.