MC Lars - 1/12/2016 @ Mama Roux's, Birmingham
I've never been to this Rainbow venue before. Mama Roux's is just beautiful. It's got a New Orleans kind of theme, with building fascias and a bar upstairs (that's closed off) that has a voodoo kind of vibe to it. You feel like you're in Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" but without the raping and casual racism. Anyway, I'm here to watch MC Lars do his thing.
Before that, I have to watch 3 supports. The first of which is MegaRan, the only rapper licensed by a major label video games company. Can you guess which one? Here's a few hints. His favourite character is MegaMan. Said company own the aforementioned character and the game surrounding it. You still don't know? Mate, it's Capcom. The guys who make Resident Evil, MegaMan and countless other massive franchises.
He originates from Philadelphia, but currently resides in Arizona. He was once a teacher who rapped. He's a huge wrestling fan, video game - he's a nerd who is massively into hip hop. His take is layering hip hop beats over 8 bit tracks (called "chip-hop") and the lyrical content is mostly about video game tropes, characters and cheat codes.
Without any fanfare, he takes to the stage, and works the crowd within the first 10 seconds of being there, with "rap hands" being thrown on command, across the venue. This continues throughout his set, and he's just so casually appreciative of it all. Having seen him before supporting B. Dolan in the "standard" Rainbow venue (the Courtyard?), I was coming into this quite excited to see him with a different crowd and how he'd go over. He did it with ease. Can't wait to see him again.
Next is a duo who (again) I've seen before. They supported Frank Turner (who I reviewed last week), and split the crowd. It's Koo Koo Kanga Roo, hailing out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. These two are incredibly energetic, with an enthusiasm that is unrivalled by some of the best live bands around. Their music is totally family friendly, and incredibly catchy. Like a disease, but without the bad bits. You will get sweaty as hell, and you will not be able to stop yourself from getting involved with their "dance-along", highly aerobic workout.
Songs about Unicorns, Dinosaurs, Cat based parties and friendship bracelets are easily accessible by anyone, old fan or new. They own the crowd and the stage instantly, and absolutely slay you with their humourous banter between and during songs.
Honestly, go and see them. You will not be disappointed.
Then comes MC Chris, the complete opposite in content. He raps about Weed, climbing trees and defecating from them, Boba Fett and just an array of things. His approach is a much more aggressive variation of the Nerdcore on show tonight. He has the crowd just going mad for him, and it's wonderful to watch and surreal to listen to. He picks up where Koo Koo Kanga Roo left off, and has everyone warmed up for tonight's Headliner.
MC Lars is effectively the king of "indie rap" and Nerdcore artists. For a lone man and his laptop to take this stage and make it feel both huge and intimate at once, it's another level of interaction. For the uninitiated - like me - this is a next hype. It's a new experience, and it's an amazing one at that. The man has toured with the likes of Bowling for Soup, Suburban Legends and more, and a lot of those types of bands are represented in this crowd. But they're joining in with Lars, which just shows his diversity. He has a song about American chain, Hot Topic, and its juxtaposition towards the individuality they promote, which samples a bit of Metal.
He brings MegaRan on the stage to rap about Nerdcore. It's absolutely brilliant and followed by a brilliant coffee/java/basic joke. MegaRan has an incredible flow, and it contrasts and compliments Lars' brilliantly. I'm lost for words at how good this part of the show is. There's a freestyle part where they try to include things that the audience have on them, which includes MegaRan reading and replying to a text, and MC Lars calling the lucky Lucy.
All in all, this tour is nerdy and proud. It's fun, and actually beats my expectations. I'll definitely be seeing all of these guys again if I get the chance.
I apologise about the lack of photos, I messed up.