Happy November, folks! For this month’s interview, I talked to a multi-instrument & multi-alias chipmusican & event curator friend of mine. This cat’s done quite a bit over the last handful of years (even more than I realized!), and shows no signs of stopping any time soon!
Welcome Lars Shurilla aka The Laohu/Immortan of SLC Chip!
Lars Shurilla aka The Laohu; photo by Neil Jarvie.
Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie here, happy to provide you with a handy, dandy list of all the chiptune festivals happening within the next few months! Gonna play this fast and loose – give y’all the fest names, locations, dates, flyers, & links – and let you find out more by clicking away. In chronological order, here we go!
You’re all pretty hip to the cool stuff going on in the chiptunes world these days – ‘course you are, or you wouldn’t be here, reading this, would you? So of course you know that Anamanaguchi has been on tour promoting their swagtacular new album Endless Fantasy, and you probably know that they’ve had a bunch of fantastic folks on tour with them. For the Richmond stop, they featured none other than the rap stylings of Kitty Pryde and fellow chiptune/rock dude Paul “Chipocrite” Weinstein (now featuring Roger “Rekcahdam” Hicks on drums!).
A collection of shots from Strange Matter’s website.
The last time these guys were in Richmond, they rocked the house at Strange Matter, so it was no surprise they’d return. Strange Matter’s a pretty rad place, and lends itself to being a haven for most of us nerdy-types and/or hipsters: there’s an arcade in the back stocked with classics (I will personally wreck your face on the MvC2 cab, that is an open invitation to everyone unless you’re actually tournament level in which case you’ll make me cry and run home), there’s all sorts of custom videogame art on the walls, they’ve got a decent selection of beer, and they make a DAMN good hamburger. Point being, this place is literally equipped to be the perfect place for this kind of show. The only “downside” to the venue is the fact that the standing/thrashing/moshing audience space is mildly limited – but I mean, if you’re doing any of those, you probably don’t care that you’re all up on people.
Chipocrite and Rekcahdam, photo credit Kira Wilhelm.
The pre-show energy was really high, which given the small space inside the bar, seemed magnified. There couldn’t have been more than fifty or sixty people, but it felt like two hundred. Most of the performers were out mingling with the crowd – Chipocrite was grabbing a beer, Rekcahdam was posing up on the wall and relaxing, Kitty was outside doing a photoshoot, but the ‘Guchi boys must have been hiding (or maybe they just blended in really well). The bar was swamped with people prepping for the show, and the arcade was hopping with people grinding other peoples’ faces to dirt in Mortal Kombat and Marvel vs Capcom 2.
The show got started when Chipocrite and Rekcahdam took the stage. Now, I’ve seen Paul perform on his own before (anyone remember 8-Bit Invasion 1?), and Rekcahdam was at PAX backing up Disasterpeace, but this performance was well beyond anything that I’ve seen them do before. As such, I think it was a great introduction to Chipocrite for newcomers – and I’m hoping that Rekcahdam becomes a permanent part of the act, because a live drumset adds so much to the music. Also, he played one of the tracks from his Big Lebowski cover album, which was an instant S+ Gold Rank performance, so I’m fairly sure if anyone in the audience was not yet won over, they had no choice but to abide and jam along with everyone else.
Kitty Pryde: Still unsure if she can phase through walls, but she can definitely rap and fight off the haters.
Then we have Kitty Pryde. Kitty wasn’t what most people were expecting as part of this gig, but that being said, I know a good handful of the audience were there specifically to see her. I’d certainly never heard of her – not that I’m the end-all be-all reference for modern music or anything, but her turnout left me rather surprised. Musically, I feel Kitty is the rap version of Lily Allen – her raps are mildly humorous, even when they’re about being spurned, and it was a good chillmode intercession between two high-energy acts. If you’re not familiar with her, here’s the one song that all my friends who knew her were waiting for.
And then the main event. Their set design was fantastic – if you saw the Jimmy Fallon performance, you should be familiar with the basic layout: Two projector-cubes, a bunch of lights, and a screen in the back. The visual effect was quite striking, having things being projected in so many places at once – if you had even a touch of ADD, it was almost a nightmare, but in such a good way, with so many different stimuli going all at once. I also feel that unlike some of their previous albums, their live performances sound a lot more like what you get on Endless Fantasy, which is awesome – I really enjoy when the live performance enhances that what you’ve heard on the album, instead of being entirely different. The only song that deviated wildly from the album was Meow, which they didn’t seem to have the cat keyboard for – but that didn’t matter after the entire audience sang along the missing meows in sync (it was simultaneously hilarious and scary, but more the former than the latter).
Anamanaguchi, photo credit Stephen Roberts
To explain the title of this article, though: at one point, right around when they were passing around their glowtube into the audience, I felt some water trickling down on me. I looked up, and it seemed as though water was materializing and dropping from right above the ceiling. And that’s when I realized – people were rocking out so hard that the humidity in the room had raised to such a level that there were literally rainclouds forming from sweat evaporating off of everyone. It was a surreal (and honestly, mildly gross) experience, but I guess the boys can say they rocked so hard they quite literally made it rain on the crowd.
It looks like there’s still one more stop on their tour, so if you haven’t seen them, and you’re going to be in New York now’s your chance!
And remember kids: Haters gonna hate, playas gonna play, and rhombus gonna rhomb.