Jonathan Coulton rocks San Francisco


Have you ever been to a concert where the performer asks the question, "Any math fans in the audience tonight?" and is met with a resounding cheer?

Neither had I, until Sunday night. I was home in San Francisco this past weekend, visiting family and friends, and was lucky enough to attend just such a concert -- Jonathan Coulton at Cafe du Nord.

The Cafe is a cozy venue, with seating for about 75, but it was packed to the gills with perhaps 125 attendees for Coulton's show. My party of four ended up standing in the back, which afforded us a wonderful view of both the delightful show and the nerdosity blossoming before us in the house.

A word about the crowd: I'd never been to an event so nerdy as this. It even surpassed the Society for American Baseball Research events I attended in my teen years. I expected as much, but was surprised by the audience's wide age range. Unlike, say, Indie Rock, nerd is a subculture that folks tend to wear throughout their lives, and it was impressive to see a few of the 20-something fans I expected alongside lots of 30- 40- and 50-something fans who surprised me. At first I wasn't sure what to make of it, but then I decided it was great. The nerd quotient ranged from "laughably" to "modestly," but I don't think you should let it stop you from going to the show, whether you yourself are a nerd or not.

After a strong set from opener Mark Silverman, and after I met a TSOYA listener(1) named Chad, who is very nice and once printed business cards for me as a donation, JoCo took the stage to much approbation from the gathered nerd-masses.

A lengthy and delightful set followed, along with two encores. Many of Jonathan's most popular tunes were played, the audience mouthed the words along with him, and so forth. Hilights included a charming and heartfelt song about George Plimpton and a delightful sing-along in which the audience was scolded for not sounding "zombie enough."

JoCo is currently on an oddball tour that will take him to San Diego, LA, Portland, Seattle, Vienna Virginia, Aardmore Pennsylvania and Annapolis Maryland. It's certainly worth your time.

(1) If you see me at a public event, please feel free to introduce yourself. It will shock me, but is unlikely to bother me. Even if we have met before, I will likely have forgotten at the least your name, and probably what you look like. This is an MP, not a YP -- please do not take it as a sign that I don't care about you. For example, last week I couldn't remember for several days the name of a girl I went out with for almost a year in high school. I just am bad at remembering. Also, I am suprised because someone knew who I was, not because I hate meeting listeners or something.