MC Lars – Mercury Lounge – May 6, 2009

May 7th, 2009

MC Lars - Mercury Lounge - May 6, 2009Curious to learn what he was supposed to play in a matter of moments, Rob Piccininni, the bassist for MC Lars, searched for a set list. What he found was Lars’ Sharpie shorthand on a crumpled piece of paper. A confused look preceded a laugh, and then he shouted to bandmate Damondrick Jack (yes, DJ for short), “Such is MC Lars.”

Seconds later, while a stop-motion video of a toy-robot rampage played on a screen in the background, MC Lars took the stage. He describes his music as “laptop rap,” derived from his college days spent sampling music. However, his performances are far from the one-laptop/two-rapper setup he used to peddle. Joined by a full band, he and DJ rhymed their way through very funny and geeky lyrics, like the song about Tetris—complete with a sampling of the game’s theme song, courtesy of guitarist Mike Russo—and the plastic-guitar-accompanied “Guitar Hero Hero (Beating Guitar Hero Doesn’t Make You Slash).”

MC Lars’ act could easily end there, as a novelty. But instead, it’s where he begins to shine. The more he lets himself out of his humble onstage shell, the easier it is to realize he is the Encyclopedia Brown of hip-hop and punk music. He may be nerdy, but his intense knowledge of the history of hip-hop and music in general makes him great. His set not only included a dedication to Wesley Willis, but it also featured the band Wheatus (of “Teenage Dirtbag fame) joining him onstage for a song. This odd combination of Weird Al-esque shtick and absolute love for music is hard to appreciate until you see MC Lars put it all together in his live show. Somehow, he makes it work really well. Such is MC Lars. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane