In a stereotypical world, nerds would be the button pushing, calculator swapping dorks that they are portrayed in almost every coming of age movie known to man. However, extremely resourceful nerds have defied the bottom of the barrel image and have gained a huge amount of success. No, I am not talking about Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Napoleon Dynamite(he counts..sorta’ve). I am talking about geeky musicians that decided that fame was not out of reach as long as they had their instruments and the guts to try for the spotlight. Here are my top seven lovable nerd rock artists to see live.
7. Anamanaguchi A lot of the times heavy video game usage is one of the attributes that nerds seem to be linked with. What is more nerdy then a band using a hacked NES and Gameboy system to record and play music. The New York, electronic rock band Anamanaguchi is the first name on the list for good reason. The band is a frequent user of the style called “Chiptune”. This unique style of performing is also known as 8-bit music, which is electronic music produced by the sound chips of vintage computers and video game consoles from the 1980’s. Creating a glitchy and frantic paced atmosphere at their live shows, Anamanaguchi is an upbeat synthesized thrill ride that will get the crowd moving.
Recommended Tracks: “Endless Fantasy”, “Prom Night”, “Airbrushed”
One of the most popular Nerdcore hip-hop artists around, MC Lars is the self-proclaimed creator of “post-punk laptop rap”. A character on and off the stage, Lars has been on television as well as becoming the founder and CEO of Horris Records. His hit single “Download This Song” is still considered to be one of the modern nerd rock anthems. Exciting and energetic live, MC Lars spits out his comedic rhymes at a rapid pace. Don’t miss out on this one man show, that is thrilling and at the same time hilarious in the best way possible.
Recommended Tracks: “Flow Like Poe”, “Download This Song”, “This Gigantic Robot Kills”
5. They Might Be Giants American alternative rock band They Might Be Giants are a shoo in for this list. Formed in 1982, the band has released 16 albums and have won numerous awards, two of which were Grammy Awards. Finding success in almost all of their endeavors, TMBG is known for their odd and experimental style of music that relays well in a live setting. Originally a duo act, John Flansburgh and John Linnell have gone beyond the stage by crafting theme music for television shows along with children’s music. Despite this the band is first and foremost a touring live act and they will bring the hits, plus the crowd favorites in bundles. With the ability to send the crowd into a foot-stomping frenzy, TMBG is a formidable act on any line-up roster and an easy choice to see perform.
Recommended Tracks: “Istanbul”, “Birdhouse In Your Soul”, “Particle Man”
4. GWAR There is nothing quite like a GWAR show. Identified by their over the top costumes and science fiction themed mythology, the band lives for the extreme. Hell, each member has their own character and backstory. Incorporating satirical humor and disgusting gags during their live shows the band is known for putting on an extremely unorthodox performance. Amassing a loyal fan base, the band has continued to fill their ranks by producing hilarious videos, comics, cartoons and games. Recently tragedy struck the shock rock band as lead vocalist and founding member Dave Brockie passed away leaving the future of GWAR in doubt. Co-vocalists Michael Bishop and Kim Dylla were called in at the last minute to continue the legacy of GWAR. While fans are still shocked by the sudden passing of the former frontman the remaining members assured the world that the band is here to stay and will continue doing what GWAR does best, rocking out and melting faces.
Recommended Tracks: “Saddam A GoGo”, “Let Us Slay”, “Bring Back The Bomb”
3. “Weird Al” Yankovic The king of parodies “Weird Al” Yankovic has carved his own path in the music industry. Having sold over 12 million albums worldwide as well as performing over a thousand shows since 1976, the man behind every top charting parody song is back in fine form. With his recently released number one comedy album, Mandatory Fun, Yankovic has discovered a resurgence in popularity. Known for his renditions of satirical songs and humorous polka melodies that he plays with his trusty Accordion, Yankovic puts on a hilarious show that you must witness. Using an array of costumes and laugh inducing hits, the man with the long curly hair is back.
Recommended Tracks: “Word Crimes”, “Ebay”, “I Love Rocky Road”
Formed in 1972, new wave pop punk band Devo is the most seasoned veteran on the list. Appearing out of nowhere with their 1980 single and smash hit “Whip It”, the band has toured around the world and garnered a loyal cult following. Perhaps Devo can be considered the first real nerd rock band that gained mainstream popularity and while they are not as well known as they used to be, their legend lives on. Their live show consists of futuristic costumes and science-fiction related themes, performed with a level of energy that belies their age. Much like “Weird Al” Yankovic, Devo was a pioneer of the MTV music video scene and received heavy airplay in the early MTV days. With nine albums to choose from, the band has an extensive discography to perform in front of a nostalgia seeking audience.
Recommended Tracks: “Whip It”, “Fresh”, “Uncontrollable Urge”
Quite possibly one of the most successful and critically acclaimed alternative/pop-punk bands still around, Weezer has gathered a massive fan base. Selling millions of records around the world, their first two albums self-titled, Weezer (also known as The Blue Album) and Pinkerton have achieved cult status and are considered two of the best albums to come out of the 90’s. With a new album called Everything Will Be Alright In The End, set to be released in October of this year the band is regaining the spotlight once again. While they have not been the most talked about band in recent years, with consistent touring and a plethora of hits they are one of the most exciting acts to see live.
Embodying the nerd image from the very beginning of their career, Weezer has stayed true to their fun rock and roll roots. Catchy tracks and anthemic singles flesh out the bands discography and can lay waste to a crowd. Playing hit after hit the band is a must see. The nerd rockers have embraced their stereotype just to prove that they can rock just as hard as any other band. Weezer is truly a band for any generation and if there continued success is anything to go by, we will be seeing and hearing them for many years to come.
Recommended Tracks: “Say It Ain’t So”, “Island In The Sun”, “El Scorcho”, “My Name Is Jonas”