Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 90: The Turtles Enter An mc chris Costume Contest

I am unbelievably tired today. We went to an mc chris show last night, his last show at the current Emo's location, and didn't get home until around 2 this morning. Combine that with the late night from the Andrew Jackson Jihad show the night before and I'm not sure how I'm awake right now. But that's OK, because, as usual, mc chris made it worth while.

I won't go into a big long story about all of my dealings with mc chris like I did for AJJ. I've been listening to mc chris a lot longer than I have Andrew Jackson Jihad and I already did a fairly sizable post about him a month or so ago. Remember? Instead I'll just tell you about last night's show and then I'll pass out from exhaustion.

Most of the time when mc chris comes to Austin he does a screening of a favorite movie at Alamo Drafthouse. In the past these have mostly been midnight screenings and throughout the years we've seen Ghostbusters, Temple of Doom, Cloak and Dagger, Galaxy Quest and probably a few more I can't remember right now. This time around he did a showing of Starship Troopers a few hours before the show. Sadly we couldn't make it to the screening, but I'm sure it was an awesome good time like always.

Before I talk about the actual show, I should mention that my wife and I were in our Casey Jones and April O'neil costumes again. In the past it has never been unusual to see people in costume at an mc chris show, but this tour he is holding official costume contests at each stop. After the tour is over he's going to pick a grand prize winner for a four day four night stay in either Disney World or Disney Land. We're planning on going to Disney World in February so my wife can run the Princess Half-Marathon so that trip would have been amazing, but we weren't holding out hope. Nerds are damn good cosplayers and we just wanted to be a part of the costume contest because it's fun.

Unsurprisingly the show was sold out. mc chris usually plays the Emo's outdoor stage which is a significantly bigger area, but because they already closed that section of the venue he was forced to play inside. We got to the show a little late so that my wife could go to rehearsals beforehand. We barely missed Adam WarRock which is a shame because I was curious about his live show.

Shortly after we got to Emo's Random aka Mega Ran took the stage. I honestly had no idea who he was or what he was about other than I strongly suspected he raps about video games. One of the most entertaining parts was when he did a freestyle by stringing together one or two rhymes about whatever the audience was holding up. By the end he had rapped about hand lotion, a baseball cap and a 10% off coupon to Best Buy among other things. I was seriously impressed. He has a very old school hip hop flow and a huge amount of talent.

To be perfectly honest I don't really listen to nerd core rap. I know that sounds weird since I'm such a big fan of mc chris, but I just can't get into a lot of it. Most of the time I get the impression that the artists are trying too hard to be as obscure in their references as possible and you lose a feeling of anything real or personal coming out of the music. I got the opposite feeling from Mega Ran. His music is super nerdy, but it comes from a very personal place. Mega Ran gets my vote for bets opening act of this tour.

After his set we went outside to get some air. By this time we had gotten a few compliments on our costumes. My wife was more recognized, but she also got someone shouting "Kill Bill!" at her when we walked past. I was pleasantly surprised with the general reaction to my costume. On Halloween almost no one recognized me, even the people dressed as Ninja Turtles, but at an mc chris show surrounded by other nerds who grew up on those cartoons and movies I got quite a few high fives.

While we were standing outside I got a tap on the shoulder and turned around to a guy giving me a closed fist salute with Casey Jones' battle cry, "Goongala!" We struck up a conversation with him and his two friends and found out his name was Raphael. I forget his friends' names because I'm terrible with names, but it would have helped if they had also shared a name with a turtle. We talked about our love of the Turtles and about the Casey Jones fan film I blogged about several weeks ago. I had to admit shamefacedly that we had only seen the first season and a half or so of Venture Bros. and, following a stiff recommendation that we catch up, we went back inside to watch MC Lars.

I don't know why, but I had it in my head that I didn't like MC Lars. I don't know when I thought I'd heard his music, but for some reason I really didn't care about his show. Well, turns out I'm an idiot because it was actually pretty damn good. Mega Ran still wins for favorite opener, but MC Lars was close behind him. More even than his rapping I liked his concepts. He writes a lot of stuff in a style he calls "lit-hop." To give you an example of what that means he did a rap version of the story of Moby Dick, the story of Hamlet and two Edgar Allan Poe poems. In one of the poem/raps he used a line from the ICP song "Cemetery Girl" which, being an old school juggalo, I instantly recognized. Before I could lean over and tell my wife he said "Yeah, that's an ICP reference." I'm glad we got to see him perform because it was definitely entertaining.

After MC Lars was the main event. We waited inside and tried to get a half-way decent spot. The inside stage of Emo's is not very big so there isn't really a bad spot, but we wanted to be fairly close. We saw mc chris' roadie/merch guy, Sully, come out and start the music and the entire crowd went crazy. Little did they know we would have to wait through about three and a half minutes of an epic piece of music we all recognized, but I can't quite place. When he finally came out he started the show off with "I Want Candy," the song he wrote and recorded for his character MC Pee Pants on Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I think it's hilarious that he's been making music for 10 years, he's got 7 albums and a Honda commercial and everyone still loses their minds for a song we heard 20 seconds of on a cartoon years ago.

After the song he went into his normal semi-stand up bit. This time was about playing Dead Island and being an RPG completionist and item hoarder. It was hilarious as always and definitely hit close to home for me. At some point while discussing the eminent closing of Emo's, which has been his Austin home base for most of his shows, he started singing "Think of Me" from the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. This somehow turned into an mc chris acapella Phantom of the Opera medley. Again, hilarious and close to home since I just finished reading the book and I listened to the soundtrack about a hundred times while reading it.

Most of his set was made up of newer stuff from the last few albums. There were a couple old classics like "The 'Tussin" and of course "Fett's Vette." The entire show was centered around ridiculous audience participation which is always part of the fun.

About 45 minutes into the set he called everyone in costume up on stage for the costume contest. There were probably around 20 people on stage and I was pretty happy when he didn't even bother asking us who we were as he had done with the other contestants and just announced us as "Casey Jones and April O'neil!" We got a much bigger response than I thought we would and we actually ended up getting third place, which doesn't really mean anything except that I can blog about how we got third place in the mc chris costume contest. The finalists were Lilu Dallas in the white strap outfit (complete with multi-pass) and Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon won which is fair because her costume was awesome, but it takes some guts to walk around in basically nothing but white strips of fabric. Well done, Lilu.

Before his last song he got serious for a little bit and talked about his dad who is battling cancer and who he's afraid he won't get to see again before the end. He thanked everyone for being such great fans and allowing him to leave his real-life behind for a little while every night and do the things he loves to do. It was pretty touching to see him so sincere and it's obvious he really meant it.

After the "last song" he tried to hide for his encore. The inside stage at Emo's doesn't have a backstage area; bands enter and leave through the crowd. So this means that after the song mc chris tried (unsuccessfully) to hide behind a speaker stack and then jumped back out about fifteen seconds later. His last song was "Popcorn Frog," a song about not being able to wait to get to your seat in a movie and licking up your popcorn with your tongue while you walk to the theater.

After his set mc chris always hangs out by his merch booth to meet the fans. We decided to go out and wait in line with everyone else just to say hi and shake his hand. When we got up to him he told us he liked our costumes and that Casey Jones was a favorite character of his. I didn't expect him to remember me since it had been so long and he meets a billion people every night so I just mentioned the guitar I made him a few years back and told him it had been a while. Whether he remembered us before I don't know, but he remembered us then for sure. He just smiled and said, "Man, you guys have been here for a lot of different parts of my life." That is definitely true because at last count we've been to 8 or 9 shows in the last 6 years or so. I told him as long as he keeps going we'll keep showing up. I dropped some money in his CF bucket and we left.

Before we headed back to the car we decided to go down 6th Street and see if there was any place open to grab something to eat so we wouldn't have to settle for Whataburger again. Luckily Hoek's Death Metal Pizza was still open and we got a couple of slices. Walking around the mostly dead downtown we got some pretty enthusiastic responses to our costumes. While we were ordering pizza we were approached by a very excited tattoo artist who I guess was a big fan of Casey Jones and was also a little drunk. We walked back to the car and the perfect ridiculousness of the situation hit me. I turned to my wife and said, "We're walking through the city dressed as two characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at night eating pizza. How awesome is that?" It was a pretty spectacular end to the night.


I'm sorry this post turned into such a long story, but a lot happened in a short amount of time and I wanted to remember as much as I could. As usual I'll leave you with a couple of songs. Enjoy.