Show Review: W00tstock: 3 Hours of Geeks & Music, Swedish American Hall, 10/19/09

by Gordon Elgart on October 20, 2009

Guess which are the geeks and which are the music!

Guess which are the geeks and which are the music!

The Swedish American Hall was the host to a brand new event last night.  This was called W00tStock, and was advertised as “3 Hours of Geeks & Music.”  It turned out to be part concert, part convention, and part comedy show.  I can say without a doubt that it focused on the geeks more than the music, and that what music there was also fell onto the left side of the ampersand.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

After recording our podcast, I ran down to Muni only to have it take 25 minutes to get from Montgomery to Church on the overly crowded train.  So now I was uncomfortable, hot and late for the show.  It turns out I arrived about 20 seconds before the show began, and I found a spot in the front row!  Wil Wheaton walked out to start the show by proclaiming that the show was licensed under a Creative Commons License, just like Spinning Platters is!

Next on stage were Paul and Storm–Paul would act as the unofficial host for the evening–who started off with three of their own songs before introducing Youtube ukulele star Molly Lewis, who played her 3-movement song about the Abraham Lincoln assassination, her song about breaking up with Wikipedia, and “Toxic.” She has this oh-gosh-I’m-on-stage manner about her that’s really endearing, and her constant adjusting of the microphones to suit her had a charming unprofessionalism about it.

The next act to the stage was local beatbox legend Kid Beyond.  If you’ve ever seen him, you know his act … or you thought you did.  Rather than a set of songs where he masterfully loops himself, he instead played “Wandering Star” (1 1/2 times as he plotzed his first attempt) and then explained the concept of a supervocalic word or phrase, which is something that contains each vowel, but only once.  He used “Portishead: Dummy” as his first example, and went on from there.  Then he did a ful freeze-frame deconstruction of this mash-up video of the Bert & Ernie with rappers M.O.P. before showing a rare video of a similar mash-up with The Proclaimers “I Would Walk 500 Miles” which led to an enthusiastic singalong.  Finally, he ran a competitive pun game for the audience, asking everyone to write down the funniest product ideas in certain categories.  My favorite?  “Candy for Mafiosos:  $100,000 Grand … by Tomorrow.” Kid Beyond pretty much owned the first half of the show.

Yo Kid B, drive me crazy!

Yo Kid B, drive me crazy!

The last act of the first half was Wil Wheaton doing a dramatic reading of his story from Just a Geek about trading the Deathstar for a land speeder.  It’s a sweet story of youthful folly, and just the reading alone would have been worth seeing, but he was accompanied by Paul and Storm on guitar and kazoo playing a soundtrack of Star Wars music, each time picking exactly the right song to suit the mood in the story.  It was a wonderful combination of talents, and there were moments that nearly brought the house down.

After intermission, Paul and Storm returned to the stage to play a few more of their songs, including the live classic “Nun Fight,” which always brings huge amounts of laughter to everyone, even those like me who have seen it numerous times before. They then introduced Bay Area sketch comedy stalwarts Kasper Hauser, who came on stage to do a reading of one of their classic Nigerian scammer exchanges.  This is one I had seen them do before, but it kills every time.

Finally, the last main act was Adam Savage of Mythbusters. I didn’t know what he was going to do. I half expected some live mythbusting, but what I got instead was Adam presenting 100 Wishes along with a slide show demonstrating what these wishes look like. The wishes ranged from the geeky (I want an actual light saber) to sweet (I want to make a movie with my kids), and the reactions ranged from “awwwwwww” to the sweet wishes to laughter for the funny wishes, and all the way to ear piercing screaming when he mentioned wanting to eat dinner with Joss Whedon. (Note to organizers: bring Joss Whedon next time.) It was a lovely little piece, and some of the slides were only a week-or-so old, so it had the freshness of being something new and different. It was a nice way to bring the show to the grand finale.

For this finale, Paul and Storm were joined onstage by Wil Wheaton and Adam Savage for an epic 4-hour rendition of Paul and Storm’s song about pirates that involves the audience. OK, it was 14 minutes, but still, it was insanely epic. If you’ve never seen Paul and Storm play, it would be awfully rude of me to spoil it, but let’s just say that they probably take the whole talking like a pirate thing a bit too farrrrr. And with that, the show ended, and the geeks on stage and in the audience all went their separate ways.

Epilogue: After the show, all the acts went to the anteroom to sit at a long table and autograph things. I hadn’t been able to catch up with Wil Wheaton at PAX, so here was my chance to make small talk: “Hey Wil Wheaton. You know that story you read tonight? I read that yesterday in the bathroom!” (True story.) Now Wil Wheaton thinks I’m crazy. Oh well, I know I’m not crazy. I’m also just a geek.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Vanessa Romero October 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm

this sounds fun! Oh well, I missed it…

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