Live Music: Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton Live
I had the opportunity to see The Godfather of Geek Rock, Jonathan Coulton, live in concert last night at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Va. Coulton lived up to his nickname, playing Don Corleone to a sold out crowd of geeks both young and old. His witty banter helped string together songs with topics as diverse as maniacal evil geniuses in love, the noisy solace of a Shop Vac, how zombitude affects office politics, and the romantic difficulties caused by a futuristic robot war.

The evening’s best songs came with the aid of opening act Paul and Storm. Scary mood lighting brought new depth to “Creepy Doll“, Poe-esque tale of a possessed toy. And injections of Eagles and Beatles covers made “Soft Rocked By Me” the comedic high point. But the true highlight of the show was the the Plushie Angel:

Apparently JoCo’s rabid fan base organized some sort of mass stuffed animal gifting for the show, as he was pelted with plushies several times throughout the night. At the end of the show he had so many he actually attempted to make a plushie angel out of them. Wackiness ensued.

In all Coulton put on one of the most fun concerts I’ve ever been to. Go check out Coulton’s site and for the love of all that’s geeky BUY SOMETHING!

(Sorry for the fuzzy picture. I forgot my camera, so the only picture I have is from my brother’s phone. Gracias Blair.)

UPDATE: Here are some more clips from the show

A bit of “Hey Jude” embedded in “Soft Rocked By Me”

“Still Alive”

3 comments

Not organized, and only slightly rabid, actually. I’m just one person, but because Jonathan Coulton actively shares his music with the fans by using the Creative Commons approach instead of copyright, we end up with this wish to Give Back to the artist, which means recruiting other fans, making art & videos with his music, spreading word about his performances & products, and generally acting like a volunteer Publicity Department in whatever way we can dream up.

I took about 30 monkeys out to the Vienna VA coffeehouse he played at about a year ago, and maybe 50 or so to the last Birchmere concert in August, passed them out and suggested the best moment to throw them. Each time, the throwing worked just fine, although the timing was a tad chaotic. This time I brought just over 100 monkeys ‘n’ things, and about two-thirds of the people got the timing right.

The whole point of the exercise was to create a Flying Tip Jar — there was a safety pin on each plushie, to which you could attach money or a friendly note. The animals are simply the vehicle by which the tips are delivered. My dream was that if the idea caught on, people would bring their own plushies to his concerts, and as the audience size got bigger, the effect would be an impressive plus for JoCo’s income.

Bottom line — when an artist supports his fans, I think the fans should figure out new ways to support the artist. :)

Ahhhh, now it all makes sense. From where I was sitting (the veeeeerrrrryyyyy back…damn traffic) I couldn’t see the safety pins. So I just figured it was some kind of inside joke I wasn’t privy to. Thanks for the explanation!

Well, I know what I’m doing at the next JoCo show. Money pinned to plushie monkeys. Sadly, I’m serious :)