Paul and Storm bring the Squid to Birchmere.

Mar 13, 2010

Earlier this week while the usual suspects were at the Birchmere for Henry Rollins, I noticed that a couple of musicians that I wanted to hear, namely, Jonathan Coulton with Paul and Storm would be playing later this week. Unfortunately, inquiring at the theatre I found out that the show had been sold out for some time, but that I might have gotten lucky if someone would be selling their tickets. It was Lyssa and Mika who heard on the Net that someone locally was selling off his tickets to the show, and Mika jumped at the opportunity to pick them up. Long story short (for a change) we fumbled around a bit coordinating plans due to the rain (which means that people in DC suddenly develop temporary procedural amnesia), got stuck in traffic on the way there, and eventually met up outside of the Birchmere. Mika drove to the Birch right after work while Hasufin gave me a lift to the theatre because I wasn't sure that I was able to make it.

Unfortunately, there were only two tickets, so it was just Mika and I last night. Dinner at the Birch isn't too bad - the food's a little expensive for a concert venue but you get what you pay for. Up first were Paul and Storm, half comedy duo, half geek folk singers, renowned for being one of the least sucky opening bands in existence (just ask them). They really are funny, I have to admit. In between their on stage banter and jokes about fictional cover bands that they've both started they regaled us with hilarious geek filk. They played such songs as Frogger: the Musical, Nun Fight (done as plainchant, of course), The Captain's Wife's Lament, and Opening Band (of course). It's safe to say that they kept us in stitches the whole time, from the moment that ten pairs of panties (and a pair of longjohns) arc'd onto the stage during their opening number to the back-and-forth that filled the spaces between songs (liminal comedy?)

After a short intermission spent in the restroom and admiring the autographed promo glossies hung in the hallways of the Birchmere (Steven Segal has a band? And they played there? Whoa.) the time came for the amusing and sometimes self-depricating Jonathan Coulton, whose claim to fame came from the Thing A Week Project, in which he went for the gusto by quitting his job as a programmer and publishing one song a week on the Net under the Creative Commons by-attribution/non-commercial/unported v3.0 license in an attempt to make it big. It seems that it worked, because Coulton is now making his living full-time as a geek troubadour. JoCo has a knack for hitting geeks squarely in between the eyes with songs like Code Monkey, Shop Vac, Mister Fancy Pants (which is really an excuse to jam on a Zendrum), and The Future Soon (which hit kinda close to home, I have to admit). While Paul and Storm go for comedy, JoCo tends to focus on the gawky, nervous side of geekdom. It's always heartening to know that there are other misfits out there, but Coulton really knows how to get the point across about such things as being painfully shy. Paul and Storm came out to play and sing backup on a couple of songs, including The First of May. Unfortunately, the cake was a lie last night.

I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long while. If, by chance, any of you hear that JoCo will be playing a gig within, oh, thirty miles of where you live, drop everything and buy tickets. Sell a kidney if you have to. They all put on a good show and you they're well worth the time to see live.