Last night lordaerith and I went to see Paul and Storm and Jonathan Coulton at the Cactus Cafe on campus.
We got there at about 6 for the 8:30 show and there was already one person in line ahead of us. Soon after we got there, apryl_knight called and let me know that she was there, but slightly lost. I went to meet her outside the Student Union and as we met up, we saw Jonathan Coulton outside. So we did what any two fangirls would do...we grabbed hands, squeed loudly, and ran away giggling.
A little while later, inside, Jonathan Coulton (or JoCo as he is sometimes called), came out to the lobby to set up his merchandise. There was much staring, until Aerith finally talked to him to a) ask him to play First of May and b) warn him about April and I. We, of course, did more giggling and blushing.
Being that we were second in line, we got an awesome seats at a table right next to the stage (most people had to sit in rows...and actually, it was so packed that there were some people who had to stand the whole time).
Paul and Storm came on first. They started with Opening Band. I wish I had heard that song before because then I would have had panties to throw on stage, like all of these other people have.
Paul and Storm were really amazing and really really funny. I wish I could remember everything they did/sang. They gave out prizes to people, sometimes it was a moonpie and sometimes it was stuff from their grab bag (one person got Wrath of Kahn on VHS). Some of the songs that I remember them singing were: Count to Ten with audience participation, The Easter Song in honor of the high holy week, If Bob Dylan Were Hiding at the Bottom of a Well and others from the "If" set, Randy Newman's "Theme from 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'", and a number of their faux commercials including Kleenex, Domino's Pizza, and Fresh Step Kitty Litter.
The two best moments from their set were:
1. when some guy's cell phone when off. They stopped the show and had him get the phone (it was his mother). They had him say Hi to his mother and then hand the phone to Paul. Paul then took the phone onstage and talked with the guy's mother, letting her know that her son was at a concert. He asked her to tell her son when she saw him next that he should "turn off his goddamn cellphone" then next time he was at a concert. Then Paul had her say "HI" very loudly while holding the phone to the mic, so we could all hear her and then we all got to say "Hi [guy's name] mom." back to her.
2. when they sang The Captain's Wife's Lament. Before the song they mentioned how exciting this week is for geeks because of it being Talk Like a Pirate Day this week. They then said that they needed us to all go "ARRR" when they cued us. They had us practice and April and I made the sign for "R" on our fingers and held them up when we said "ARRR". At first Paul thought that we were making a hook sign, but when we corrected him he mentioned that the audience was getting meta on him :). At one point we all had to be sad pirates and Paul stopped the song to mention how everyone tilted their heads the same way with the sad "ARRR" and we even dipped our signed "R"s in that direction. Even into JoCo's show, every once in a while the audience would react with "ARRR"s
After the Paul and Storm set, my cheeks were hurting because I was laughing/smiling so much. I went and played with the RobotSpinArt which combines spin art with video games and rock & roll. I made my art to JoCo's Ikea.
Jonathan Coulton comes on stage (well, actually, he'd been on stage already to help Paul and Storm with a song) and there was lots of cheers and squeeing. Near the beginning of his set he talked about the RobotSpinArt and showed us the one that he made, commenting that he had used too much red. So I showed him mine and said that it had too much blue. But he liked it better, so I offered to trade.
This is the spin art made (and signed by) Jonathan Coulton on Sept 18, 2007 in Austin, TX
JoCo's set was amazing. He played a lot of really really great songs, such as I Crush Everything - a sad squid song, Make You Cry, Creepy Doll - which is very creepy, and You Ruined Everything - which is about having a child. At one point he started talking about Scientology and then mentioned how he noticed there was one down the street (at which point we all pointed out the direction that it was in). Of course this was a lead in to Tom Cruise Crazy.
Sometimes Paul and Storm came up be backup singers/musicians, they were especially funny during Baby Got Back . There was one time that he called them on stage and Paul didn't come so Jonathan and Storm tried to make small talk...first about guitars and then they were moving on to the weather when Paul showed up (which was a good thing).
When he played Code Monkey pretty much the entire audience sang with him, especially the chorus. After he was done with that song, he turned to Paul and Storm and said that if all audiences were like us then he would become obsolete at his own concerts :)
(Concert pictures from Sektormedia's flickr set)
One of the coolest moments was when he was playing Mr. Fancy Pants because he brought out a ZenDrum. The ZenDrum was hooked up to his computer (a Mac Book Pro) and used it to control the beat of the song. He also had all these little sound-bites from the song programed in, most of them with the word "pants". As he hit the different buttons the different sound-bites would play. He could make it do all sorts of nifty things and combos depending on what he pressed. It was really really really cool and totally hard to explain more than that.
Another cool moment is when JoCo started playing Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine." Paul and Storm picked up on it and they started to sing it. When they got to the crazy guitar parts, they all sang in those bits. It was really funny/cool.
The cutest bit was that there was a little girl who for a couple of songs, Code Monkey was one and I think that Skullcrusher Mountain was the other one, came up to the edge of the stage and sang/slightly acted out the songs. She totally reminded me of what my parents told me I did when they took me to concerts when I was young. I'm not sure if JoCo saw her, but I know that Paul did.
The last song in the set was, of course, Re: Your Brains. JoCo had the whole audience practice singing the "We all want to eat your brains" line. Then he told us that while we sing very well, zombies don't. So then he had us sing like zombies, which was totally hilarious. At one point, during him singing the song, Aerith and I just started singing "Brains, brains, brains" or yelling "grrrrrr" (in a zombie fashion). At the end, the three of us all clapped like zombies, which JoCo even commented on. :)
For the encore, he did Mandelbrot Set - yay math, First of May - the audience was shouting out for it (I hadn't heard before...OMG funny), and when straight from that into Sweet Caroline, which had the whole audience singing the "Bum bum bum" parts.
After the show, we hung out for a bit. Aerith and I got tee-shirt. He got the Skullcrusher Mountain and I got Re: Your Brains. We got JoCo to sign them for us. I also got him to sign his RobotSpinArt (as seen above) and the offered to sign the one that I gave him. He took me up on the offer and had me make it out "To Jonathan", so I did. :) We also talked with Paul and Storm for a while, because April was wearing her Serenity tee and Paul is a Browncoat. We eventually left around midnight because we had to go to bed to get up this morning and they had to pack up to drive to Dallas where they are playing tonight.
So, overall, it was a fabulous night full of geekyness and laughter and I am utterly exhausted, but totally glad that I went because I had such a wonderful time. A huge thank you to tisana for introducing me to Jonathan Coulton in the first place.