My personal exploits range from playing baccarat with European royalty to bedding a parade of glamorous women to hunting big game in Africa … bare-handed. So, personally, I don’t really get the whole dork thing. But in order to maintain enlightenment, it’s healthy to see how the other half lives.

The Beat

The pop-cultural phenomenon that is Dethklok landed at Hard Rock Live on June 30. For those not in the know, the name probably sounds both ridiculous and über-metal – and it should. It’s the moniker of a fictional death metal band from the Adult Swim cartoon series Metalocalypse. As marginal as you might think the demographic would be for a grown-up-ish cartoon steeped in heavy metal lore, the following was strong enough to sell out the big venue. It’s clear that metalheads have an admirable sense of humor from the way the cartoon parodies the subculture. To be so utterly metal yet make such open fun of it at the same time: Therein lies the genius of Metalocalypse; high-concept, lowbrow and completely brilliant.

The music was played in sync with projected video by a real band featuring cartoon co-creator Brendon Small. They played in front of the big screen but were never illuminated, keeping the focus squarely on the visuals. The cartoon clips were essentially animated music videos depicting all manner of heavy metal fantasy: blood, mutilation, murderous mermaids. Y’know, the usual.

Despite frequent comic relief, though, it was a bona fide death metal show. Never thought I’d witness zealous headbanging and drinks flying through the air, all for a cartoon band. Seriously, let the idea marinate for a minute. These strange modern times; you gotta love ’em.

But even that couldn’t out-nerd this year’s Nerdapalooza Southeast, held over the July Fourth weekend at Taste, which catered to the more traditional, less burly species. Again, don’t underestimate the niche: The two-day, two-stage nerd music fest took over the restaurant all weekend, supplanting its meal services altogether.

The highlight was the interactive multimedia segment dubbed the Unlimited Enthusiasm Expo ’08. Helmed by Boston’s Harry and the Potters, Providence’s Math the Band and Brooklyn’s Uncle Monsterface, the performance was a blur of costumes, skits, film shorts, sock puppets and, yes, wizard-rap. The impressive gathering of such imaginative uncoolness made our scene that much cooler. Here’s hoping that Orlando becomes the annual event’s permanent home.

Speaking of music festivals, the less dorky I-4 Fest at Austin’s Coffee on July 4 was also a great event. Then again, how can you go wrong celebrating two worthy things like the good ol’ U.S.A. and our city’s DIY community? Two stages, 30 mostly notable indie acts, five dollars – you do the math. The event is burgeoning into one of the indie scene’s most beloved traditions.

Fireworks were popped on the Fourth (mostly by members of Kingsbury) but bombs were dropped the night before at the Social when Japan’s Boris plugged in. Their avant cyclone of noise, sludge, doom and punk played like wild guitar-shredding set to explosions. Bracingly loud and tricked out with the melodrama that can only come via fog machines, white gloves and a gong (bonus points!), Boris’ performance was a mind-blasting sensory overload.

But I don’t care who you are, a carnival of camel-toe and ass-clapping is pretty difficult to outdo. And that’s what was at Club Firestone on July 5 when legendary porn-rappers 2 Live Crew dropped the bass while their immodest female entourage simply dropped to the floor and busted advanced-level stripper moves. Stupid? Completely. Fun? Duh! Especially when one of the girls in my crew wound up booty-dancing on stage.

The Bao Show

To make your life that much easier, I comb through shitty bands to find local diamonds. The best of those buried gems are then put on display at The Bao Show, my semi-regular, personally curated music series. (Because I love you, that’s why.)

The next edition is going down July 12 at Taste and will feature the gritty experimental folk of local act Crutch & the Giant Junshi, Tampa shoegazers Giddy-Up, Helicopter! and resurrected local post-hardcore band Watch Me Disappear. Between sets, DJ Smilin’ Dan and I will be spinning.

C’mon, it’ll be like the musical version of going through my underwear drawer. Naughty monkey!


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