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Jonathan Coulton, Live! - Elf M. Sternberg
Jonathan Coulton, Live!
So, after all the angsting, not only did Yamaraashi-chan and I get in to see Jonathan Coulton at the Triple Door, but we were first in the "standing room only" door, which meant that when they got news of a no-show, we got seats. And not just any seats, but seats up front near the stage.

Actually, I arrived at the venue about 4:00pm. The box office opened at 5:30pm for the SRO tickets (they don't actually use tickets; it's a guest registration system, they have your name, you must show ID, etc.). I was the only person there; shortly thereafter, a slightly heavyset woman in a blue top and jeans sat next to me on the railing next to the theater. I read from Justina Robson's Natural History while we waited. While I waited, Coulton himself showed up, getting out of a van and walking into the theater with a big duffel of stuff and his guitar case, which had a Creative Commons logo on it.

After paying for tickets, I raced home-- or tried to. It turns out there was some kind of game going on at the football stadium. It took esoteric driving maneuvers to get out of there.

I grabbed Yamaraashi-chan and we went back to the theater for the show, which started at 8:00pm. The same parking lot where I had first parked to get tickets refused to take my credit card, saying I had "reached the limit of my stay." WTF? I gave the stupid machine my other card and it happily accepted that. Apparently, it didn't believe I'd left and come back.

As we were shown to our seat, I heard someone cry out Yamaraashi-chan's name. Her mother was seated right next to us, with only one pair of seats between her and her date, and Yamaraashi-chan and I. I sent Yamaraashi-chan over there to give her hugs, and then the concert started.

The opening act was Paul & Storm, a musical team that actually was screamingly funny. They did mock ads; impersonations of other singers, and had two songs, "We are the opening band," and "Your town," that make fun of being on the road a lot.

They made fun of being in a truly geeky town. They have a schtick of throwing Ding Dongs and Twinkies and other snack cakes out into the audience. "I'll give a Ding Dong to the first person who can produce a 20-sided die." Frighteningly enough, someone had one. Their last song was "The Captain's Wife's Lament," which is just a long pun, but the audience was having so much fun they couldn't make it through the song without laughing. It had audience participation: we had to go "Arrrrr!" a lot in different tones. Paul led us through dejected pirates, happy pirates, mysterious pirates ("Arrooo?" "What, Scooby Pirates?), and finally Paul said, "I love a town where I can do this! Give me a dyslexic pirate!" "Raaaaa!" "See? This town gets it!" I spotted quite a number of people in the audience making the Alexander James "Arrrr," with their hands, too. Very cool!

Then Coulton came out and did his thing, singing a lot of stuff we knew. At one point he made this poor college-age girl named Molly (aka Sweetafton23) come out and play her version of "Tom Cruise Crazy" on ukelele, with Jon on accompanying guitar and Paul & Storm doing backup singing, and then she stayed out and sang along with them, and they even left her on stage for her to play her own song, "Road Trip", about the astronaut who went nuts and threatened her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend. She needs to learn more stage presence; she was good when talking to the audience, but slouchy and slow to interact moving on and off stage.

Coulton sang everything we knew, and a few I didn't. The audience chanted the Mandelbrot equation along with Jon, was encouraged to a-capella "Skullcrusher Mountain," and cheered at "Re: Your Brains!" At one point, Paul and Storm came out to do backup singing and Coulton started into the familiar chords of "Baby Got Back," only to shift at the last second into "Never Gonna Give You Up," effectively rickrolling the whole audience, which loved the gesture.

On the other hand, it had a definite "what have you done for us lately, Jon?" feel to it. The audience was truly geeky; when they started singing his new song, "You're Gonna Be Softrocked By Me," which features every bad softrock hit we know in a mash-up, people held up backlit PDAs, Nintendos, and cellphones and waved them back and forth the way we used to do with lighters at a Styx concert. He also has a song, "Mr. Fancy Pants," which requires that he play a weird electronic mixer board, which allowed him to do all kinds of nifty techno mixy things, and the audience was suitably impressed by his geekability. On the other hand, I had mixed feelings about his song to his kid, who's now three. It's called "You Ruined Everything."

Toward the end of the concert a waiter brought a huge banana split to Yamaraashi-chan, and pointed back at her mother and the boyfriend. Since she'd already had one of the creamscicles (a rich concoction of orange juice, vanilla syrup, and cream), she didn't eat much of it, but I thought it was a nice gesture all the same.

Coulton's last song of the evening was "First of May," which is a rock riff on the old song, "It's May, it's May, outdoor fucking begins today." I kinda winced at that; the language was pretty rough for an all-ages show, and there were a lot of kids there.

Anyway, as we left I bought her a Code Monkey t-shirt and myself a copy of the opening act's album, "Gumbo Pants," which looks amusing enough.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: Paul & Storm, The Captain's Wife's Lament

8 comments or Leave a comment
bolindbergh From: bolindbergh Date: April 27th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
While some snacks are to die for, Ding Dongs are to dice for?
whipartist From: whipartist Date: April 27th, 2008 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)
That sounds a lot like the show in SF a few weeks ago. We didn't get rickrolled, but we did get a cool encore-- they brought out Rock Band and a few local technorati and did Still Alive.

The whole audience also got free cake after the show.
From: norikos_author Date: April 27th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I assume that was to prove the cake was not a lie?
elfs From: elfs Date: April 27th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dammit, I still have not played that game!
From: norikos_author Date: April 27th, 2008 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's okay, neither have I. It's just inescapable these days, apparently....
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 28th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)


I have to say that aside from Coulton himself, Molly was the best part of the show. It was dork-central with Paul & Storm. They prattled away by playing to the geek humor all show long and it dragged on towards eternity. I gotta give Molly some appreciation--she's got a great voice and great talent.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 28th, 2008 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Molly's still in Highschool, too. Awesome skills!
turkeyanne From: turkeyanne Date: June 26th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I do slouch. I'm working on it.
8 comments or Leave a comment