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19 May 2008 @ 05:51 am
No one expects the spanish intermission!  
A couple weeks ago ceph very kindly informed me about a show Jonathan Coulton was doing today (well, yesterday technically) at the West Hollywood House of Blues.

Shelleycat said she was interested in going to, so friday night i bought two tickets. Which took far longer than it should have because the House of Blues interface for Ticketmaster is busted if you need to update your credit card information. After trying to fix it four or five times i had to load up the Ticketmaster homepage and figure out how to update my account info there. It also doesn't help that they give you 2 or 3 minutes per page to fill in all the information before they release the tickets =P I'm also confused about their captcha check, which included two words and claimed "By entering the words in the box, you are also helping to digitize books from the Internet Archive and preserve literature that was written before the computer age." So does it check one word and just assume that if you got that one right you were probably correct about the other one?

Anyways, i got the tickets and shelleycat planned to come over to my place around 4 or 5 so we could head off to the club around 6. We were going to meet ceph there, theinated had decided not to go, at least in part i believe because the house of blues website stressed that it was a standing room only event/venue, which didn't sound like it would work very well with crutches =/

Unfortunately shelleycat got sick on saturday and was still feeling bad today, so she called and let me know she couldn't make it =/

So left to my own devices i ended up running a little late and got out of the house right after 6:30.

I was a little worried that traffic would make me late, but it wasn't too bad and i got there right after 7:30, when the doors opened. I'd earlier pondered trying to find parking elsewhere rather than pay $15 for the valet parking, but since i was running late i decided to just do the quick and easy thing, despite the fact that i _hate_ valet parking. I don't know why i dislike my car being out of my control so much =P Anyways though, there was already a pretty long line there, and it was immediately apparent that it was a very geeky crowd, including lots of cute female geeks :)

I went to the will call booth and got my two tickets. If i'd gotten there earlier i would have hung out by the box office to give away my ticket to someone else, but as it was there was already a long line that was slowly moving forward and i didn't have anyone else to save my place in line, plus there weren't very many people going to the box office, and the few that were seemed to be other will calls anyways.

So i got in line and it slowly inched forward, because it turns out they're a little overambitious with their security stuff. They have you dump the stuff out of your pockets so someone can wand you, then you go to a second person who checks your id, then gives you a hand stamp, and _then_ gives a you a wristband, which seemed rather redundant.

Once i got inside i was rather surprised to see that there were in fact quite a number of chairs setup, despite the "standing room only" claim on the website =P I was A: annoyed because theinated might have been interested in coming if they hadn't made that claim and B: i was kinda looking forward to a more... rock concert like venue? =P

In any case though there were seats, a big chunk right in front of the stage, some more along the quasi-balcony things on the side, and although i didn't realize it till later, some more up on the real balcony. Since ceph was still on the way i decided to see if i could find two empty seats together and save one for her. There weren't any pairs of empty seats in the quasi-balcony area, but there were actually a couple pairs down in the main chunk of seats up front, so i went and grabbed two of those and killed time people-watching until ceph got there.

We sat and talked and people-watched together for a bit, then noticed the merchandise stand they had set up. We figured the prices would be outrageous since it was in the House of Blues and it would be better to go to the website to buy stuff later, but ceph had the bright idea that i should go check out the prices in the stand while she checked the internet prices on her cellphone. When i got back it turned out that the CD prices were the same either way while the t-shirts were actually _cheaper_ there than online! So ceph went to look to see if there was anything she wanted and was kind enough to take some money from me so she could get a large Skullcrusher Mountain t-shirt from me along with her stuff while i guarded out seats. She actually ended up deciding not to get anything but since there was practically no line she grabbed the t-shirt for me anyways, and it turns out got the very last large one. Yay ceph!

Ceph had asked if there was an opening band earlier and i had no idea, but it turns out it was, and of course it was Paul and Storm. They opened with "Opening Band" and when to they got to the part about "And, sad to say, as of today, no panties have been thrown" a couple people, including a cute girl sitting in the row in front of us, ran up to the stage and tossed some panties up there. Or rather one pair of panties, and one box containing a chocolate thong :) They followed that up with "Your Town" which given where we were included the incredibly hilarious lines "Yeah we love to come here to your town/‘Cause your town has so much awesome stuff/Not like the queers in the neighboring town/Yeah, they all suck because they don’t live here in…/Your town."

They went through a couple more songs (including an amusing pirate song :) and actually had Coulton come out early to perform with them for one of them. They then segued into some parody product placement jingles, and finally some "what if" scenarios, the last and most memorable of which was "what if They Might Be Giants sold ice cream?" All of this was interspersed with random prizes of "snack food that sounds like a sex act," which was thrown out to people who did particularly amusing things, occasionally accidentally hitting the people by accident instead of being intercepted properly, including one time where he accidentally nailed the sound technician while trying to throw to someone past him. There were a couple other times where the prize was completely fumbled during the catch, leading to one of the many jokes about how geeky/nerdy the audience was. (Another was when they were telling us to shout out "Arrrr!" during the pirate song as audience participation, and during the practice they said "Say 'Arrrr!'" [pause while we complied] "Say 'Arrrr!' twice!" [pause while we complied] "Say 'Arrr' pi times!" And we did :) They also had an amusing "Nun Fight" song, song in a church hymn/gregorian chant/whatever type style, which ended with "And in this corner [...] From Mexico City, Sister Maria Teresa Garcia Graziela Aguilera Delgado Francisco Diego Arroyo Inigo Montoya Zapata Paquito El Guapo Abuelita de la “Boom Boom” Mendoza." I don't know if there are any other in jokes in there, but my response was "You killed my father, son, and holy ghost! Prepare to die!" :)

Anyways they finally wrapped that up and said there'd be an intermission before Coulton came out, and we were encouraged to go buy merchandise and such. Ceph ran off for a bit and while i was watching the seats i saw dieppe and usqueba waving to me from up in the second row, so after ceph got back i went down there, though unfortunately dieppe had wandered off by then, but i spent a few minutes talking with usqueba before going to check out the merchandise booth. There was _quite_ a line by that point, which made me all the more grateful to ceph for having grabbed the t-shirt for me earlier, above and beyond her having managed to snatch the last one in my size.

When i got back to the seats the people next to us in the row and the people in front of us were talking, and one of them started a "pass the scritch" game, but when it came down to me the people in the next couple of seats weren't paying any attention at all so i tried to pass it back to ceph, but was told you couldn't go backwards, so i completed the loop by giving it back to the cute girl who'd started the the thing, so i got to give (very brief) scritches to a cute girl i hadn't ever met before :) That was enough to enable to ceph to join the conversation with them though and i tagged along on her coattails and we all introduced ourselves to each other and talked for a little before they turned down the lights for Coulton.

Coulton started with the future song whose name i can't remember and have only heard a couple times since i don't think i actually have an mp3 for it. He then continued on with Ikea and several more songs i was more familiar with. I was very happy that he did Code Monkey, but a little sad that it came pretty early on. Several times he brought out Paul and Storm to help him with a couple songs in a row, often to amusing results. When he got to "My Monkey" he pulled out a kind of funky automated musical lite-brite which i learned later was called a "Tenori-On."

About halfway through he pulled out something i later learned was called a Zendrum which looks like this to do "Mr. Fancy Pants." He went into a longish explanation about the song, about how he didn't really know what he was doing when he wrote it or something like that, and it's still kind of nonsensical, and then explained practically the entire song. He then started the song, accompanying himself with the drum machine thing, but after the first section he accidentally restarted the sound loop for the basic beat to the first section, which is apparently recorded all as one piece, all over again. So after explaining that he'd just pressed the wrong button and he was unsure whether to start all over again or just wait it out he twiddled his thumbs for a bit before moving on into what is apparently his more regular middle segment of doing a "drum machine solo" which primarily featured a lot of the recorded "pants" segment, until he revealed about halfway through that one of the recorded segments was from this which resulted in several variants of "Never gonna give you pants" :)

He did "Still Alive" somewhere in the second half i think (which reminds me, i saw someone in the audience with a companion cube t-shirt =) and Mandelbrot Set a little later. He saved "Re: Your Brains" for the "end." He said "this is my last song" and everyone went "awwwww" and he replied something like "Okay, i'm gonna walk off stage, you're all gonna go like this [claps his hands] and i'm gonna come back on stage and do a few more songs. We know how this works." So he did Re: Your Brains, with some audience participation and then he went off stage and we all clapped and he came back on stage, to which someone yelled something like "that was totally unexpected!" (Although with the bit where Coulton and Paul and Storm were all getting naked it's not like there was a dearth of surprises.)

So for the encore they did "I hate California" and "First of May" which segued into a cover of "Sweet Caroline," which seemed a little odd to me. There was some other amusing segue bit they did, but i'm having trouble remembering for what song and what the segue was... oh, they actually segued through a couple songs, some random covers, then Paul and Storm trying to sing some of Coulton's songs to the same chords (and (possibly intentionally?) bungling the lyrics) then Coulton singing "Opening Band" and intentionally garbling the lyrics in response :) It might have been at the end of "Soft Rocked By Me," but i might be confusing it with something else.

In other random tidbits there was also the guy who ran up to the stage at the beginning (either when Coulton's act first started or when he came out during Paul and Storm's section, i forget) and shouted that he wanted to have Coulton's babies, which led to some jokes by Coulton. The same guy shouted out some other stuff at intermittent parts of the show and Coulton started referring to him as "Crazy Drunk Guy."

I was also a little surprised by how... sedate everyone seemed. I mean everyone cheered and whistled and hooted loudly after every song, and laughed at all the jokes, and participated enthusiastically in anything they were asked or suggested to do, but otherwise during the playing of the songs at least 90% of the people, it seemed more like about 99%, just sat perfectly still staring up at the stage. No any kind of movement related to the music at all. Ceph suggested that A: it was because they were sitting in chairs or B: they were hypnotized by Coulton's magical mental powers. B seems a lot more reasonable to me than being deterred by sitting in a chair rather than standing =P

So after everything was all over we wandered about for a bit inside, during which the people we'd been talking to earlier informed me of the names of the weird lite-brite thing that Coulton had been playing. I'd offered to give ceph a ride home since she'd taken the bus over, so she spent some time checking bus schedules on her cellphone before taking me up on it. It was a little bit before midnight and there was a huge line at the valet parking, but we went outside and give them our ticket and waited. However since we'd been wandering about inside first we were clearly at the end of the queue. This is clearly another disadvantage of the valet system.

While we were waiting i started feeling guilty about making ceph wait too so i told her she should go ahead and catch the bus if she thought that would be faster for her, but she stuck around. I mentioned something about the techno-instrument toys Coulton had been using, but i couldn't remember the name of the one other than that it sounded like "Tandori." Since the same group had now migrated outside and was standing around over by the exit i went over there and asked them about it again, and got the correct name for it as well as the one for the drum set thing. This gave ceph the chance to start a conversation with one of the people about their work, which was apparently something in fashion design, and well that was going on, at least ten minutes after we'd gotten out there originally, Paul and Storm came out and started talking with people. A minute or two after that Coulton came out and started talking to people, so we quickly migrated over there. Since i had nothing else on me i got Coulton to sign my tickets, then remembered my shirt (which i'd stuffed into my cargo shorts' oversized pockets) and had him sign that too. Ceph didn't think she had anything appropriate, but then realized the coincidentally had a revision of "Saiyuki"/"Journey To The West" titled "Monkey" and had him sign that :) We then got an (apparently very overexposed) picture of us with him taken by someone who is going to post the pictures to picasa later.

So all in all getting delayed by the valet parking system was a pretty good thing :) By the time we were done with that they'd already retrieved my car, so i gave ceph a ride home and then headed home myself. I'd originally been planning on hitting In-n-Out for dinner on the way home, but by the time i got off the freeway it was 1am. I couldn't remember when In-n-Out closes on sunday so i decided to just skip "dinner" and get breakfast on the way to work instead, and ended up getting home about 1:30

The plan was to talk to shelleycat, then get a couple hours of sleep, then get into work early. But then i decided i should make a post before i forgot (any more of) the details, then i did some research for the post, with some periods of distraction by other random links, and here it is almost 6 am =P I guess if i'm going to go in early i might as well do it now =P

Speaking of research though i did find this page that includes a set list for the show.
 
 
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: various Coulton songs cycling in my head
 
 
 
Kirin: FireBomberkirinn on May 19th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Re-Captcha thing basically works like you said (one word is the actual human-test, the other is an unknown scanned word), though I'm sure it double-checks the unknown ones by giving them to several different people and only recording answers that match consistently.

And now I'm dying to know what *would* happen if They Might Be Giants sold ice cream. Well?
DonAithnen: CodeMonkeydonaithnen on May 19th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
I don't remember the details of the middle, but it started out (in an exaggerated whatever it is you want to call TMBGs tone of voice) about ice cream and vanilla and possibly chocolate, progressed through a few more or less normal frozen confectionery treats, and ended up on severed heads :)
Colleen Kcolleenky on May 20th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Howdy, from the someone who took your picture! It turned out pretty good after all, didn't it?

If the cutie you kept referring to had pink hair and was wearing a Skullcrusher Mountain T-shirt, that's shademoonrunner, aka JadeSnake on the JoCo forums. She is filled with awesomeness.

And here is a link to If They Might Be Giants Were the Ice Cream Man, for your listening pleasure. :-)
DonAithnendonaithnen on May 23rd, 2008 07:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, it did! Thank you! (Though in the future i need to remember to do a better job of sucking in my gut =P)

And thanks for the info too! :)