But i was eager to step outside my comfort zone and into another realm. I'm really glad that i did as it was kind of an unforgettable experience that provided fodder for a very fun write up. This is the unedited version that i was happiest with. What went to print is fine too, but i felt that this version really captures how i felt the next day.
Saturday November 15th 2011 @ The Rickshaw
Revenge of the nerds only had it half right. While from all walks of life and by today’s standards a lot cooler than the stereotypes often rendered in the movies, the “nerd” can actually teach you a bit about yourself and in fact remind you of just how nerdy you are.
So I let go of my preconceived notions and gave Nerdfest a try last night and it was a blast. It wasn’t about protractors, pocket protectors and post-nasal drip but about leather armor, chainmail and gothic/fantasy themed metal bands. These are the nerds of the round table, the gamer tweaks and swordplay geeks. Sure it was a little out of my element but there was something about this room full of fanboys/girls that felt safe and enjoyable. Folks were easy to talk to and there was a sense of inclusion that I don’t often feel at the typical gig. On hand was a display of finely crafted swords, bucklers, chainmail and sparring poles all of which were hands on and generously explained by the folks manning the surrounding tables. And then there was the crowd, a quarter of whom were dressed to the nines, and not in formal wear. There was the mysterious shogun standing guard in leather armor that looked like it could stop a bullet. There were Norse soldiers drinking mead(PBR) from goat horns. There were a couple of roman legionnaires that didn’t skimp on the details. There were leather wenches that looked poised to make meat out of anyone who crossed them and there was Merlin who stayed in his dazed looking character the entire night, waving his fingers and casting secret spells into the ether as he wandered aimlessly through the crowd. I loved how much work went into these costumes and how even though in character, nobody took themselves too seriously nor cared how they looked to anyone else. Even the metalhead skids with secret nerd tendencies were having a laugh riot. And the music was awesome! Even as one who doesn’t normally gravitate towards fantasy metal, aside from maybe Iron Maiden or Mastadon, I couldn’t help but enjoy the sheer cheesy fun these bands exuded. Three bands were on hand to thrill and entertain along with a couple of very saucy burlesque performances, one of whom had grinding plates attached to her body and used a disk grinder to add spark to her performance. Celestial Ruin was nearly finished as I arrived and they were fairly cut and copy gothic metal with an accomplished female vocalist whose operatic voice soared. Eye of Odin had a bit more of a scary thing going on. With a fake blood covered frontman whose voice sounded like a bass heavy jet engine, Eye of Odin played super tight fight metal about traversing mountains in the mist and slaying armies of undead soldiers. Scythia was absolutely great and may have swayed me to the side of cheesy D&D metal. They were just so tight and their not too serious heavy-handed brand of Tolkein metal was of the highest quality. I went home that evening with visions of damsels in distress and their weary wild eyed saviors playing across the battlefield of my mind and even if I never pick up a sword or 7-sided die again I can reflect on Nerdfest 2011 and remember that for one night, I was home.
Thanks for reading friends. Much love.