MC Chris is a grown-ass man with the voice of an 8-year-old boy.
His perfect comic timing, mastery of hip-hop rhythms and fearless love of pop culture have helped him create a traveling musical safe house for nerds everywhere, and he marched his rolling geek-pride parade into the Marquis Theater on Friday night.
The night started off like any hip-hop show with humongous heart-hurting bass and Chris delivering a handful of crowd favorites.
For those not familiar with his work, they included a song written for a lesser-known bounty hunting android from the “Star War” series, IG88, and a booty shaker to make you “…work that pizza-butt.”
Between songs Chris would interact with his audience and tell jokes. For fans of his work as the shower cap and diaper-wearing, rapping giant spider named MC Pee Pants on Cartoon Network’s “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” his comedic writing and sense of timing were even better live.
What was surprising though was Chris’s skill weaving his audience positively into his show. Chris’s fan base consists heavily of self-proclaimed antisocial Internet addicts, and he keeps in touch with them through a message board on his website and regular tour updates on Facebook. This DIY communication has allowed him to add inclusive elements to his show, like an audience-voted nerd T-shirt contest. Anyone can compete and people came prepared. For the record, the pro-zombie “I Heart Brains” just beat out a kitschy “Star Wars” reference featuring a picture of a mouse trap and Admiral Ackbar’s famous one liner, “It’s a trap.”
After honoring Colorado for almost legalizing pot, and a song about “a drug called Tussin,” Chris made his way through his underground hits “Nrrrd Grrrl” and “Fett’s Vette” and a pretty good sampling from the rest of his catalog. The songs and the crowd were upbeat and fun; the audience bounced along waiving devil horn hand signs and cell phones, and in the end, Chris paid them back by signing shirts and having his picture taken with fans after the show. The only thing he asked for was donations to help fight the disease his nephew suffers from, cystic fibrosis. His current tour has already raised $65,000 for the cause and he’s just getting started.
The night featured no guns, no violence, very little self-promotion and song after song with hooks you wake up with the next morning. It might have been the perfect hip-hop show. But admittedly, me and my Dungeons and Dragons shirt were probably biased.
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Jamie White is a Denver writer, musician and producer.