Wheatus and MC Lars at The Talking Heads (08/06/12)

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Anyone wanting to be catapulted back to the early ’00s simply had to pop down to The Talking Heads to see the legendary Wheatus and the originator of ‘post-punk laptop rap’ MC Lars. Everyone’s heard ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ and often mistaken Wheatus for Weezer; someone even shouted for them to play ‘Beverly Hills’ during the set, but many people to my astonishment had never even heard of MC Lars! I have been listening to Lars (Andrew Nielsen) since 2006 so of course jumped enthusiastically on the opportunity to see him perform. I got down to The Talking Heads just after doors and to my surprise found Lars himself standing at the merch stand. Being an English Literature student I have to admire the guy, and with a whole EP dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe and a song (‘Ahab’) that squeezes Moby Dick into 3 minutes, it was hard not to be a little starstruck.

Corn Mo was the first of the support acts. He came on stage at about 8pm. The Brooklyn based musician can only be described as a one man band. His amazingly powerful vocals were accompanied by him playing various different instruments throughout the set. I was pretty impressed and he was very well received by the crowd at The Talking Heads.

MC Lars graced the stage at 9pm sharp. He kindly let a fan have 5 minutes on stage before his set to showcase, what can only be described as an ‘interesting’ attempt at rap. The stage was simply filled with Lars, his laptop and Wheatus bassist Matt Milligan . He played songs from his 2006 album The Graduate and a few from his 2009 album The Gigantic Robot Kills All and older still, The Laptop EP. His energy and crowd interaction meant the atmosphere in the room maintained electric throughout his whole set. He started with ‘Hurricane Fresh’ and a surprising number of people in the crowd shouted “Now that’s fresh, that’s fresh, that’s fresh, get fresh!” back at Lars. Next was ‘Generic Crunk Rap’ which in classic Lars style is a ‘not so subtle’ comment on the state of hip hop and rap music today. He requested we all shout ‘Get Crunk’ back at him as he listed the themes evident in generic hip hop music and thus doing what he does best; making rap music intellectual and thought provoking, something that is scarcely seen in the music industry today. ’21 Concepts’ and ‘Download This Song’ (featuring Jaret Reddick) were next, both of which were well received. For ‘True Player For Real’ Corn Mo joined Lars on stage and sang on the chorus bellowing out the lyrics “True Plaaaaaaayer”. MC Lars also played a song from his new EP (The Edgar Allan Poe EP) titled ‘Flow Like Poe’ which merged Gotye‘s ‘Somebody I Used to Know’ and Tyga‘s ‘Rack City’ into the backtrack. The lyrics are an English Lit student’s dream. Spitting lyrics such as ‘I’m going hard on that tetrameter’, Lars definitely pleased my ears. He finished with the iconic ‘iGeneration’ leaving the crowd wanting more. Overall, it was a fantastic set and I’m certain Lars left The Talking Heads with a lot more fans.

Wheatus came onstage at 10pm sharp and teased the crowd with those famous guitar riffs that we all know and love. They then stopped and front man Brendan B. Brown said “That sound about right?” to the crowd’s humour. The band didn’t have a set list, they let the crowd shout out their favourite songs and would play them claiming “set lists are for losers”. They played songs such as ‘Leyroy’, ‘Truffles’ and a personal favourite of mine ‘Wannabe Gangsta’. The banter between Brendan and the crowd made for an awesome atmosphere. Swigging a bottle of Famous Grouse between songs Brendan would tease certain members of the crowd. They played on the fact that a lot of people confuse them for Weezer by performing ‘My Name is Jonas’ from The Blue Album. For a band that’s second most famous song is actually a cover (‘A Little Respect’) they seemed to have a sturdy fan base present whom to Wheatus’ surprise were shouting out albums tracks they weren’t expecting. This Erasure cover led to a lovely sing-along by all. They finally reached the end of their set and the inevitable arrival of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’. Not just any version of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ though; a special 9 minute version including a section in which MC Lars laid down yet another verse about Edgar Allan Poe (see below). Bradley also gave a short biography of the song and it’s chart success half way through claiming we can get it back into the charts at Christmas time.

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About Author

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I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.

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