Alexandra Duncan

Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism.


Jeremy, in a valiant attempt to help me kick the leftover winter blahs, took me out to see geek rocker extraordinaire Jonathan Coulton at the Grey Eagle last night.

I’ve heard a few of Coulton's better-known songs before, including “Re: Your Brains,” (about zombies) “Skullcrusher Mountain,” (mad scientists) and "Creepy Doll" (three guesses!), but Jeremy is the true fan in our household.  The set last night was a mix of songs from the new album Artificial Heart and older favorites, but most of what I heard was new to me.  I teared up during the song about Laika, the dog sent into orbit by the Soviet space program, and did my hopping/flailing/clapping dance to "Mandelbrot Set," which is possibly one of the only rock songs ever written about math.  (Actually, I take that back.  The band Darkest of the Hillside Thickets has a song called "The Math Song," in which they sing an equation.  Trust me, it is awesome.)

We had a great time, although we momentarily felt out of place when we first walked in and saw 70% of the people in the room face-down in their smart phones, waiting for the show to start.  I hadn't brought anything with me but my I.D., and neither of our phones are particularly intelligent anyway.  We ended up thumb-wrestling and playing hangman until the opening act came onstage.

In a way, I'm kind of glad I didn't have an awesome phone there to entertain me.  A lot of the people in front of us seemed to be so concerned with taking photos and tweeting or texting during the actual performance that I wonder how much of the show they saw.  When I go see a band, I want to be completely swept up in the music and the feel of being surrounded by people who love the same thing I do.  I want to sing along and clap and dance, not worry about responding to my friends' texts or letting everyone on Twitter know what song is next in the set list.  I know this creates a delay in information getting out there into the hands of other potential Jonathan Coulton fans, but there comes a point when you're so wrapped up in reporting on the thing you're doing that you're not actually DOING that thing anymore.

Also, you are standing in front of me.  Perhaps if you're more interested in texting than watching the live band a mere eight feet away, you could step to the side.

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