Live Picks! with Tony Porreco
Where: Axum’s Level X Lounge
When: Saturday, April 6
Song You Must Hear Today: “Mogwais in the Rain”
A few weeks ago, I was slurping ramen (the kind you go out for) with a lovely young lady. In response to some remarks I made that were admittedly of questionable maturity, she in turn informed me that behind the sophisticated façade of every adult male lies a 12 year old boy. Hiphopmcdougal is a two-man, nerdcore rap duo who have taken this position to its logical extreme by crafting of jokey rap-pop that unabashedly embraces the mindset of the nerdy male preteen for their songs’ inspiration.
Comprised of longtime friends Julian Biggs and Charlie Hodgson, the pair has been dropping tracks as hiphopmcdougal since 2009, and have a catalog spanning five releases to accompany their longstanding musical bromance. Generally, the formula for hiphopmcdougal tracks is as follows: Over the framework of blatantly preprogrammed beats and retro 8-bit synths, Biggs pulls off adept rap moves about some deliciously nerdy topic, and Hodgson springs in mid-number to belt out a bighearted goofball chorus.
Hiphopmcdougal’s songs are charmingly juvenile in every respect. With songs devoted to the extensive coverage of topics such as Count Chocula, Chuck E. Cheese, and Cheez-Its (yes, Cheez-Its), Biggs and Hodgson routinely display the encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture possessed only by kids and hardcore nerds. Boasting of extreme videogame prowess with lines like “When I’m settin’ high scores / I’m cooler than fro-yo”, Biggs manages to deftly reference (I think) 18 game hall classics on “Inside the Arcade”.
Conceptually, part of what makes hiphopmcdougal work as such an entertaining act is that the music is roughly equivalent in maturity level to the songs’ lyrics, as the tracks often sound as if they were assembled by a couple of kids getting their hands on Fruityloops and a MIDI controller for the first time.
Live, the pair are nothing but a fun spectacle: Yes, they’re two dudes running their backing tracks through the P.A., but they’re incredibly enthusiastic, and bring a prepared stage show that includes costume changes, props, and even party favors for the audience.
Hiphopmcdougal is performing this Saturday at Axum’s Level X Lounge (1934 9th St., NW) in the U Street area as part of a marathon six(?!) band lineup. They’re up first at 8:30, so even if you’re not feeling the other acts, you can catch their early set and still be in a great location to party down for the rest of the evening.
Other acts include:
Roll It Over: Heavy alternative, Baltimore
Heartless Romantics: Good ol’ rock n’ roll, GW students.
Cheap American Whiskey: Blues with a punk bite.
Watch For Waves: Slacker art rock (I’m fond of these guys. Sounds like Pavement channeling Roxy Music.)
Jay Saturn: Party time R&B!