mc chris brings Nerdcore to new levels in Philadelphia

Bryan Sheehan ('13)/ Eastside Underground Editor

Tuesday night at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, fans of Nerdcore music were treated with performances by Richie Branson, Powerglove and mc chris as part of the latter’s “Monster Hunter” tour.

The night got off to a bit of a rocky start. Richie Branson, a Nerdcore rapper based out of San Antonio (not to be confused with Virgin Mobile CEO Richard Branson), came on at about 8:30 p.m. to rap about Anime and old school video games, and was generally well received by fans. However, about halfway through his set, headliner mc chris walked onto the stage and stopped Branson’s performance.

“Who’s Mike Taylor?” mc yelled into the crowd.

Once the confused looking Taylor raised his hand, mc chris began berating him for smack talking Branson on Twitter and ordered that he be ejected from the show. “Nerds stick together,” was mc chris’ rationalization for the ejection. The incident, documented on Reddit by Taylor himself, and then later on Twitter and Facebook by the headliner, has already gained some publicity on the internet. According to Taylor, a diehard mc chris fan, he was able to have his ticket price refunded and received an apology from both Richie Branson and the manager of the “Monster Hunter” tour.

After the ejection, Branson finished his set, highlighted by a song he wrote to try to bring back the anime show “Toonami” (which was sent to Adult Swim and was ultimately successful).

Next up was Powerglove, a heavy metal band dressed in outlandish costumes a la GWAR or an extreme LARPing match. While I bought my ticket to see mc chris and not necessarily his opening acts, I was pleasantly surprised by Powerglove. Their set was one of the highlights of the entire night. Though heavy metal doesn’t seem to mix with rap, especially Nerdcore, the genre and themes of Powerglove’s songs engaged the crowd; a mosh pit even erupted. Working well with the crowd, Powerglove had the entire venue singing along to their covers of “Mighty Morphing Power Rangers” and the “Pokemon” theme. Proving mc chris’ words that “nerds stick together,” the crowd enjoyed Powerglove, even if their style of music was far from what fans came to see.

Finally, mc chris arrived on stage and started talking with the crowd. After a few more negative words about Michael Taylor, and a few more people in the audience: “Get some sleeves, hipster,” he remarked to one fan, he complemented the fact that one girl had entered the rough mosh pit during Powerglove’s set. Once he jumped into song (he opened with “Pizza Butt”), the whole crowd sang every word until the end of the night when he closed with “The Tussin.” The atmosphere was electric, and despite mc’s efforts to argue with more fans (one fan was sweared at and told to move to the back so shorter people behind him could see) the crowd stuck together as one.

The crowd went to show that the Nerdcore community is a close-knit one. Even though mc chris’ decisions to yell at people that he thought were being unkind may have been a little misguided, his intention was only positive energy amongst the friends who had come to see him. Halfway through his set he stopped to wish someone a happy birthday, and performed the “Birthday Rap” from “Sealab 2021,” a TV show with a cult following that mc chris had a role in. He also performed some requests, despite a sore throat (he asked the crowd to sing the chorus of “Tasty Face” because he couldn’t hit the notes). When he flubbed the lyrics of a new song, he apologized and restarted to get it right.

All in all, the show was a great time. All three acts exceeded expectation and are worth seeing in concert. It helps to know some mc chris songs beforehand, but his choruses are easy enough to learn as the show goes on. His East Coast tour runs through August 19 and dates can be found on mcchris.com.