Concert review: mc chris, Whole Wheat Bread and I Fight Dragons at Crowbar (with video)

“mc chris” is not capitalized. Googling him I found he is pretty adamant about it. He also doesn't capitalize song titles.

Whereas some bands put on lackluster performances and call their concerts “shows” for the sake of monosyllabic brevity, I Fight Dragons put on a spectacle of a performance worth the term “show.

The band started off as any good mix tape should—with a fast paced, hit-‘em-with-the-best-you-got opener. (“Don’t You”) The song set the tone by showing the band’s appreciation of musicianship as well as showmanship.

As clips from Metroid and Super Mario Bros. played on a projector behind them, the band showed that they could write catchy pop songs with songs like “No One Likes Superman Anymore.” On “The Faster the Treadmill…," The band sounded surprisingly like Owen, a side project of Mike Kinsella that has similar electronic noodling and emotional lyrics.

8-bit blips and bloops, video game controllers as instruments and shared costuming were all part of the fun of the night’s show. For example, each of the six members of the band had on a symbol of a superhero on their chest (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern). That is, except for Laura Grene, a singer and Nintendo player for the band who we will forgive for continuity because she was cute. That’s right—she played a controller. And the controller wasn’t the only converted instrument the band had on stage. In addition to normal guitar, bass, drums there was a converted Power Glove, Power Pad and Rock Band Guitar—all of which were completely playable.

Godspeed to I Fight Dragons and their newly formed band. What a show.

Here's a clip of them at Dragon*Con in Atlanta.

Whole Wheat Bread perpetuated bullshit in their set following I Fight Dragons. The band, a rare African-American punk band, used the same old tired themes of money, bitches and pimping in their sets. These themes are what make mainstream hip-hop today so boring. It’s as if these same four or five elements are recycled in every song. (Fuck tha police! Where’s the weed? Bitches ain’t shit!).

The only difference with Whole Wheat Bread is that they rapped and sang about these topics in the context of fast-paced punk rock music. The band had the swagger and bravado of mainstream rap with the general destruction advocated by punk rockers. Fittingly, they call their style of music “Dirty South punk rock.”

The group’s large collections of fans thoroughly enjoyed the concert and expressed themselves as such by careening into one another with general abandon. Or, to use more punk rock terms, they went apeshit in the pit. However, the music was nothing remarkable—generic, trite. Or, to use more punk rock terms, it was the same old shit.

Here's a clip of them at the Afro-punk festival in Brooklyn.

mc chris came on stage with three notable accoutrements: a white Mac laptop, a microphone, and an amazing annoying, high-pitched voice. For the unfamiliar, the rapper who became famous for voice acting on Adult Swim sounds like a pipsqueak on helium.

During the set, mc chris did his brand of high-pitched speed rap for an appreciative crowd. He played tracks from 2009’s Apple Tummy with tracks like “fett’s vette” and “white kids love hip-hop.” It sounded about what you expect from someone with only a microphone and a laptop—dude rapping on a stage while there are beats behind him. The fans loved it, many of whom cheered loudly whenever any Adult Swim references were made.

But the speed of his rhymes were his downfall for anyone trying to figure out what he was saying since the rapid clip at which he was rapping is faster than the processing system of people’s brains. IwentotthestoretogetsomewaterbuthenI…Ahh! Slow down!

He played tracks like “wiid,” a song about how marijuana has always been there for him; and “hoodie ninja,” a song about, uh, being a ninja in a hoodie. The fans in the crowd were mouthing the lyrics along, especially on a song called "pizzabutt," which had the crowd singing along to nearly the entire first verse.

The banter between him and the crowd was very amusing. He started telling a joke, probably with more than a little bit of irony, about our current President, Barack Obama. He said that pigs would fly when we elected a black President. When someone shouted out the punch line to the joke (Swine flu!), he called them upstage and pretended he was going to kick him out. (He didn’t, citing that since the guy had a beer he was contributing to the economy and was probably an alright guy.)

Overall, it was a pleasant set—even if my ears are still ringing from that helium-high voice.

Here's an interview of mc chris with clips of him live.