Monday, August 22, 2011

Critical Hit - MC Frontalot Concert Review

When I heard that MC Frontalot was coming to town, I was so excited.  I've enjoyed his music for years and I'd wanted to see him for quite some time.  Front was the first nerdcore act that I came in contact with through the GeekDad Hiptrax podcast.  The song was "Wallflower".  After that I soon found "This Old Man" and "It's Pitch Dark".  I quickly became a lifetime fan.

My wife agreed to go with me, which turned out to be totally awesome.  She was great company and enjoyed the atmosphere and the music.  We got there early and waited at the Spring Street Tavern (the club was in the basement).  We spotted Front walking around, which was cool and unexpected.

As the door time approached, I got more and more excited and the bar got more and more crowded.  They started allowing people down the stairs and Janice and I were second in line.  We paid our entrance fees (only $7 each!).  Right in the door was the merch table and I bought Solved! (before it's official release!).  I was excited to listen to it.

The first act came on a little later.  It was a band named "Trendy Trendy Space Vegans".  I originally thought they were called "Trendy Tranny Space Vegans", which fit into their attire (the sax player wore a bra on stage).  Their sound wasn't bad, and they did have a sax player, which I liked.  The lead singer had a lot of vocal range.  I'm not about to go out and buy all their music, but I'd listen to a couple of their songs if I happened upon them.

The next act was called "Valley Meadows".  They were an unlikely rap duo.  The shorter gentleman is a substitute teacher (I know because they rapped about it).  We didn't get much information on the other guy (except that he's divorced, they rapped about that too).  I thought their flow was pretty good, but they were rapping over borrowed beats and didn't write enough lyrics to last the entire song.  A couple of times they had to ask the DJ to cut the beat off after they'd finished their rapping.  I liked their rhymes and if they get their act a little more polished, they could put on a really good show.

The next act was Brandon Patton.  I'd heard the name before, but I didn't really remember where.  It struck me though when he took the stage that Brandon Patton was none other than Bl4k Lotus, MC Frontalot's bassist.  He was the real surprise of the concert too.  He played a set with an acoustic guitar and it seriously rocked.  He got the crowd into it with a Paula Abdul song of all things.  When he played a drinking song by the Pogues, the place practically vibrated with energy.  It was amazing.  I don't know how he did it; he played his own set and then went on to play a full set with MC Frontalot.  The man must have a ton of energy.

Front's set started out with a high energy version of "Tongue-Clucking Grammarian".  The way that the entire band got into the music was hypnotizing.  It was clear that the four of them are doing something that they love and truly enjoying performing the music.  They played three or four songs from Solved! after that with an older Front song or two mixed in.  I don't stay up late all that often, so before the MC Frontalot set began, I was getting pretty tired, but all of that melted away when they took the stage.  The band's energy was contagious and the whole set was a lot of fun.  When they played "It's Pitch Dark" and "Goth Girls", the crowd (me included, of course) really got into it.  It was truly amazing.  They finished their set with a two song encore featuring "I Heart Fags", which was dedicated to Minneapolis because we were recently named the gayest metropolis in the country; and the PAX Theme.  They merged in some elements from another theme quite popular with the geek crowd, but I'm not going to spoil it for those of you who might be attending PAX this year.  Let's just say that it sent shivers down my spine when they started playing it.

I've been to concerts before, but mostly in large venues with larger than life bands like Metallica and Megadeth.  The smallest venue I've seen a band in was when my wife, a friend and I went to Reel Big Fish at the Quest club in Minneapolis.  It was a two-story club with a large stage and large floor.  It was also a great concert, but none of the other concerts I've been to had the intimate feeling that the Frontalot concert did.  My wife and I managed to stand front (no pun intended) and center.  I have no trouble in saying that this was the best concert that I've ever been to.  I don't think that I'll ever go to another coliseum or festival show again, but I'd happily go see any of my favorite bands at a small club again.  MC Frontalot definitely scored a Critical Hit against Minneapolis last Friday.

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