After going to sleep around 2:30am, I woke up at 6:00am, took a shower, threw on some clothes, packed everything I needed for the weekend, and waited for my ride to show up at the front door, while some Nickelodeon played on in the background. My ride showed up so Blazercake(s) and I crammed into a packed Nissan Altima with our friends who were driving down to Los Angeles with us. We left around 7:00 and got dropped off at Union Station in L.A. around 2:30 or 3:00pm. Since we had a while until Genoboost and his crew could come pick us up (because Mikey got into a car accident of sorts), we wandered around Chinatown and a Mexican area, feasting on snacks of horchata and mochi. It was and interesting experience. I thought we'd never get picked up at one point as cake(s) and I sat listening to Mexican mariachi music while watching a woman swoon over a cop in the park. It was entertaining. I got a call from Anthony that they were stuck in traffic.
Anthony, Mike, and Herbert showed up with a sign that said Legendary Wizard on it, written so elegantly with a sharpie I could hardly tell it was not a font, so it would be unmistakable who they were trying to pick up, unless another wizard like Gandalf the Grey or The Wizard Lakimir decided to climb in the car for a free ride. Anyway, we got picked up, headed back towards the highway, and eventually made it to Herbert: Fully Loaded's house, where we proceeded to play Bubble Bobble on one TV while Blazercake(s) played Megaman 9 on the other. There was also some Super Smash Brawl happening at some point, but I'm not really any good at the game so I didn't partake.
Eventually we decided it was late enough that we should head towards illGill's house (known as The WarpZone) for the Gundam Deathsythe show and we all piled back into the car. I was nervous because this meant that I was actually going to perform soon, and I hadn't performed a hip hop song since September of 2007 at Nerdapalooza BETA. Needless to say, that is a very long time, and I was getting stage fright before I even got there. Driving around LA would have been awful had it not been for the wonderful music we blasted the entire journey. Constantly, there was some sort of awesome music coming out of Herbert's stereo (which happened to be of a very high quality, I might add).
The WarpZoneWe arrived at the WarpZone at some point near 8:00pm, though it could have been later than that. I met ZombieK (again), illGill, Luzid, D-Form, Drunk C, Kid Creation, A_Rival, and some other cool cats who were there at the beginning of the night. Everybody was kind of wandering around drinking beer and chatting it up, getting to know everybody, since for a lot of us this was the first time we'd ever been in the same room. It was a lot of fun meeting everybody, and we sort of lounged around for an hour before the webcam was available and the stage was prepared for music.
The stage of the WarpZone was the floorspace in front of illGill's TV in the living room of his apartment, next to a PA speaker with three microphones plugged in and the PS2 running CDs of beats through the TV, which was hooked up to some decent speakers. It was awesome. I felt very at home, as I had been to house shows in Davis, just never for a hip hop show. Everybody gathered around and The World Famous Chubby Chasers took the stage.
The Chubby Chasers, the trio of D-Form, Drunk C, and Kid Creation, really blew me away live, though there were mess-ups here and there. Since I'd heard all of the Chubby Chaser music before, I was stoked to hear live renditions of some of the songs, including my favorite, Met Her on Craigslist, which was just as catchy as the rest of their set. Not surprisingly, Drunk C was drunk. They rocked the stage and got everybody pumped up.
Then Luzid took the stage. I'm not gonna lie, I didn't expect the guy to be able to rap. I hadn't heard his music beforehand and my expectations were low, which is exactly what I like about nerdcore hip hop. Luzid looks like a classic nerd, but damn, the guy had some killer flows. Aside from a couple of trip-ups and being too quiet for my liking, he ripped the mic up with some of the coolest beats ever. All during his set, though, I was fretting because my set was coming up next and I couldn't stop sweating. I donned my outfit (a yellow shirt, sweatband, jeans, and a water polo player's jacket with yellow lining) and got ready to spit rhymes.
Standing in front of everybody I felt very awkward and uncomfortable, just KNOWING that I was going to mess up all of my lyrics, lose track of where I was, not be able to freestyle the rest, and look like a damned fool in front of everybody. I started sweating profusely and couldn't think straight. My hands were visibly shaking and I think I looked like an idiot. Nonetheless, everybody gathered around and as the beat for the first track came in, I performed Please Insert Coins fairly well, messing up at a part that I was shaky about anyway, and then the power went out when someone slammed the door. It was during the last chorus and at first I was stunned, but then I finished the song strongly with no backing beat and everybody chimed in. It was amazing. Blazercake(s) joined me for the other three songs of my set and we totally ripped it up, despite skipping on the beat CD here and there. I was surprised by our reception but at the same time I felt like we had earned it. Honestly, our set closer, Mean Creek, has some wicked rapping in there. It was an accomplishment and honor to play in the presence of some of the people there and I'm glad illGill invited me to the show. Between my act and the next act, Anthony interviewed me outside in the fresh and cold air.
MC Mega came up next and was totally nuts. I used to dislike the guy for no reason, 'cause something about his rap didn't sit well with me, but then I got to see him live and it totally changed my mind. I thought he was going to be mediocre but the man has so much energy when he raps and he did a damn good job on every song. He kept the crowd going and pumped up the volume, a significant increase from our crowd reception, but what can I say? It was nuts.
A_Rival, with his brother DJ Circut on the turntables, had the most incredible set, blowing everybody away with solid rapping, catchy tunes, live turntablism, and great choruses, including the entire crowd in the chants. It really changed how I thought of a stage performance and inspired me to pick up my crowd interaction. They had it down so well. I was elated.
To close the show was illGill, the man of the hour, and the owner of The WarpZone. He was drunk and ridiculous, but entertaining nonetheless. For some reason, people kept taking the mic and freestyling over his beats, but he showed them who was who and threw down a couple of freestyles of his own. A freestyle session that lasted over an hour between A_Rival and Trip Vomit ensued, and I came in for a brief moment to diss both of them and consequently get ripped to shreds like wet paper. I need not say that this was embarrassing and I got what I deserved, but we all had a good laugh about it and nobody was too worried.
For the next few hours, Trip, MC Mega, myself, Blazercake(s), and some other people kicked it in illGill's roommate's room, freestyling and talking about everything ranging from racism to hip hop to politics to living a DIY lifestyle to video games. It was an incredibly poetic display of distant minds joining together to formulate thoughts on a wide variety of subjects. There's no other way to put it, it was just plain badass. We all got to know each others' views on everything and hung out. At some point we ate chips and salsa and illGill's roommate played a bunch of Team Fortress 2, which I haven't yet gotten my mits upon.
Everybody went to sleep around 4:00am all over the house. The living room was crammed with bodies and everybody slept the booze off. I made a bed out of two water polo jackets. The insides are lined with a towel-like fabric which made for an almost-comfortable bed.
Coffee and Bagels
Everybody started waking up around 10:30am, despite the serious lack of sleep. illGill came into the living room and announced that he was going to walk to the bank and pick up some coffee, so everybody decided to tag along. Half the people in the house were hungover and we all threw on whatever clothes we had, brushed our teeth, gathered a little stamina, and headed out. It was hotter than hell outside and the sun was ungodly bright.
We walked about two miles to a strip of downtown that had numerous eatieries, coffee shops, and little stores. I got a coffee at some place where illGill went into and it was pretty delicious. It hit the spot, however, and woke me up, which is exactly what I wanted it to do. I was tired as all hell and not ready to start the day still. We saw illGill's roommate at the bank and he came into the shop to get some coffee so I talked to him about how he should get a propeller on his biking hat so he can look like a kid. We got bagels, which tided me over unitl 7:00pm, so they must have been really good.
We checked out this store that had wicked shoes but I couldn't afford anything because I needed to save my money, but it was cool nonetheless and we eventually wandered back to illGill's house, where people took showers and readied themselves for the day in full. I was waiting for Mikey and Herbert to take me to a warehouse which had been converted almost into a mall, full of booths like a trade show. Everybody was chilling out playing Tekken 5.
Super VG Brothers!
Blazercake(s) and I were picked up at some point by Herbert and Mikey and we headed down to the warehouse trade show place, where we met AppleMonkey (I don't remember his real name) who owns the Super Video Game Brothers shop, which is pretty much the coolest shop in the world. The SuperVGBros shop sells primarily NES and SNES games, but also all sorts of games from older systems and some memorabilia too! The warehouse was very cool though, and had everything; action figures, video games (both old and current), tee shirts, card games, sports memorobila... it was nuts. We had a bunch of flyers that Herbert had done up for the show and we split into groups and proceeded to give them to anybody who was passing by. I don't think anybody from the warehouse came to the show, which is a bummer, but at least they've been schooled in nerdcore. Hopefully they'll take that flyer home, check out some of the acts, and fall into a genre they've never even heard of before. Or something cool like that. I'd like to think it made a difference.
When we were going around giving out flyers, we asked if we could drop a stack off at this guy's booth where they were selling newer video games. They were playing the new Mortal Kombat vs. DC game and I gotta say, being a Marvel vs. Capcom fan, the style of that game really blew me away. I was surprised to see very, very clean animation and what could have been an interesting story mode. Either way, it looked good. So, the dude who owned the booth asked what we were promoting, and being a jerk, Mikey told the guy that I was rapping at the show and both of them look at me.
"Spit somethin'," Mikey said.
Thinking quickly and trying not to make the show sound like a crappy one, I replied with "Drop a beat!"
So Mikey dropped a beatbox and I rapped the second verse of Please Insert Coins for the man and it sounded surprisingly good on such short notice and over a different tempo. The dude loved it, and from that point on, our main goal was to get people to understand what we were trying to promote by walking around handing out handing out fliers while Mikey beatboxed and I rapped. We handed out dozens of flyers with Blazercake(s) and Herbert in tow.
At some point we ended up at a hat shop, and Blazercake(s) got a wicked fedora (which was intended to be cooler than illGill's hat) and I got a $6 pair of '90's style glasses, which I wore all night, including on stage at the show. We kicked it at the Super VG Bros shop for a while longer, talking about the upcoming show, video games, and how cool the warehouse was/is, and Blazercake(s) and I did a rendition of Mean Creek which was really rad, over a couple of beats that AppleMonkey had on his iPod. Anthony filmed it and the video will be available whenever he gets around to it.
We said our sullen goodbyes to everybody (but not after I picked up a copy of Shadowgate for the NES) and headed out to the venue to prepare for the show.
WEST COAST WIG OUT!
When we got to the venue, we thought we would be late but luckily the traffic wasn't too bad. When we got to The CIA I can say that we were pretty shocked by how ghetto it looked. It was really dark and weird and didn't look open. It was 7:00pm and Blazercake(s) and I were hungry, so we walked down the street to a burrito place and picked up a couple of delicious burritos. Somehow, however, in our rush to get back to the venue in time, as we were supposed to go on at 7:30pm, we took a wrong turn and got lost. I turned to cake(s) and said, "where the hell is the venue?" and then we took another wrong turn down a different street and started to panic. Luckily, cake(s) had his wits about him and figured out where we were and where we needed to be, so we ended up getting to the venue around 7:25pm, but the sound guy still hadn't shown up. We later found out that he thought the show was starting at 8:30pm, which gave us time to prepare, eat, and introduce ourselves to everybody who was now chillin' out in front of the venue.
When the sound guy showed up, he let us into the back and Blazercake(s) and I got ready to do our set. I was fretting about remembering my lyrics, even though I was doing a five song set and I had practiced everything thoroughly. I was mostly nervous because my sister had driven down several hours to come to the show from San Luis Obispo and I didn't want to let her down with a crappy set. I was just happy she could make it at all, since she had previously cancelled on me for this show. In the end, she was able to get time off and came down to cheer me on.
Around 8:30pm, Anthony said a few words about the show which he had worked so har dto organize and the curtains opened, revealing a very uncertain Legendary Wizard standing on the stage unsure of what to say. I'm sure I stuttered in my opening talks, but we went into the first song and I felt surprisingly comfortable on stage in front of everybody. Though I prefer the feeling of being on ground level with everybody at a show, there's a certain sense of greatness doing a show on a stage, above everybody. It's a lot more intense.
The adrenaline pumped through my veins and I did the set almost flawlessly. When Blazercake(s) rocked the stage with me, the crowd went wild, and we closed the set with a perfect rendition of Mean Creek which blew some people away, since they'd never heard me rap like that before. I don't know what to say about the performance other than I feel that I did a great job, and I was nervous as hell, despite what I kept telling cake(s).
After the set, the two of us, now certified hip hop superstars, joined the crowd, saying hellos to our friends and aquaintances, and watching the rest of the show. Up after us was GOSHone, who I'd never seen live before, and he debuted his new album ctrl_alt_ego and rocked the stage with a bunch of new material. He was pretty awesome, since I didn't know what to expect. Good stage presence.
Um... it's all a blur, really, from that point, going between kicking it with people in the crowd between sets, hanging out on the back porch where there was a projector playing ridiculous violent and disgusting videos all night (The CIA is a weird place), and watching the acts. If I've forgotten somebody's act, I'll feel really bad, but I remember DevoSpice was hilarious, A_Rival rocked the stage like a pro AGAIN, this time even better than the last, The Megas blew me away with their show, which I didn't know what to expect of, and illGill closed the night with a ridiculous set and very good rapping, which didn't translate well during the WarpZone show, but impressed me this time around.
DevoSpice was something else. All of his songs were sufficiently hilarious and I didn't know that he was that funny. I'm crossin' my fingers for the guy, hoping that he gets the nomination for best comedy album of the year 2008 (that's the Grammy's!), 'cause he really deserves it. In fact, he flew from New York to LA for just one show. That's determination, I gotta say.
During the Megas, illGill showed up to start a mosh pit and everybody got way into it. I remember this vividly because I was minding my own business, entertained fully by the band's incredible tunes, and then I look to my left and illGill is literally grabbing me and throwing me at somebody. I stumbled into what became a pit and we battled to hard rock renditions of Mega Man songs, which, if you ask me, is one of the best things to battle to.
illGill closed the set to a show of almost nobody, because everybody who came for The Megas, which was the bulk of the crowd, left to go do something much less interesting, I'm sure, as illGill's set was both full of good rapping and a great storytelling session at the end, which everybody missed out on. At one point, he had five or six of us on stage with him and then he went offstage and walked around on the floor, which was occupied by only a few people walking around. We all felt really awkward up there dancing. Mikey did some breakdancing, but it wasn't as awesome as with DJ Circuit was breaking during A_Rival's set (not that his wasn't good). The show was incredible.
After the show there were many pictures to be taken with everybody available and we loitered outside of the venue for a good hour talking about stuff. A_Rival suggested we hit up this burger place called Fatburger, which provided the most brutal huge burgers ever, and we were there for another long period of time. I sat at one end of the giant table next to Anthony, IKilledACat (from the RT forums, who is an awesome guy and I'm glad we got to kick it), ZombieK, Blazercake(s), and Herbert. Anthony, IKilledACat, and I talked for a long time about the state of nerdcore hip hop; who's who, what's coming out, the great music of the past month, more releases, planning more shows, album art, etc. It was a productive conversation that led to me starting the planning of my own Wigout-style show, but up here in lovely San Francisco, but that's an explaination for another day.
The night ended with a journey back to illGill's apartment, where we proceeded to sleep on the floor in roughly the same configuration as last time, and when we woke up in the morning, everybody packed up and got ready to go. I have to say, as I got into that car when our friends came to pick us up, I really couldn't stand it. I had so much fun with everybody that I had met down in L.A. that I didn't want to come back here to Rohert Park, but it really did leave me with a newfound urge to get the music scene more active in this town.
And next year... at West Coast Wig Out 2... oh boy. It's on!