Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers “Tour Because Awesome” Denver Show

The chanting seemed to come from nowhere as the lights dimmed at the Summit Music Hall Wednesday, July 9th. “DFTBA! DFTBA! DFTBA!”* Crossed Vulcan salutes were raised to the heavens as the crowd screamed their favorite initialism into the air, all in wait for one man— one incredible nerd— to emerge from behind the stage. Dawning various geek attire, over 800 fans crowded the venue to see Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers live, myself included. But we weren’t just there for Hank. Along with him was Rob Scallon, Andrew Huang, Harry and the Potters, and Driftless Pony Club, all of whom played wonderfully, often venturing out into the crowd for high fives and dancing. In the spirit of vlogging, as so many of these performers thrive on, I’ve included short clips (or rather one long clip spliced into several segments) of the concert as well as photos.

Hank Green does seemingly everything. He’s a vlogger, entrepreneur, writer, scientist, teacher, VidCon organizer, blogger, owner of DFTBA Records, charity organizer, and long time musician just to name a few titles. Above all things, Hank Green is a massive, self-proclaimed nerd. January 1st of 2007, Hank and brother John Green launched their video project Brotherhood 2.0 under the YouTube Channel The Vlogbrothers in an attempt to stay in better contact with each other. Seven years later, the two brothers and their videos have a massive following called “The Nerdfighters” with over two million members.

The show began like most. Everyone who had lined up outside the venue pilled into the building and made their way to the front of the stage. While waiting for the show to start, however, the space felt more communal than other concerts I’ve been to. Most of the audience were Nerdfighters and there is a strange phenomenon that occurs whenever Nerdfighters get together “IRL”; we all become instant friends. Nerdfighteria is a large community, but it still remains very close knit because we all generally like the same things. The majority of us also tend to be socially awkward. When you mix these two things, you get a very laid back group of people who understand each other extremely well without even knowing anyone’s name. Thus, while waiting for the concert to begin, the venue was abuzz with conversation between practical strangers.

With most concerts, the opening acts are either announced by someone who works for the venue or by the act themselves and are often ignored by the main performer. “Tour Because Awesome” was an entirely different story. When the house lights dimmed, it was not a venue worker or the first act who walked onstage to welcome us to the show. Hank himself came out, camera in hand, and thanked us for coming. He told us that not only had we chanted more than any other show on tour, but that Denver had the biggest turnout and that he was happy that we were there. He then introduced opening act Rob Scallon and proceeded to introduce every act after him. This is a testament to how much Hank really cares about the musicians that joined him on tour. They are not only some of his favorite musicians, but also closest friends.

 

Rob Scallon only played three songs on his own (he would later come on to drum), but each one them had me absolutely entranced. This guy doesn’t just play guitar. The instrument practically breathes in his hands. With a combination of finger picking, licks, and hammer on technique, it was hard to believe there was only one instrument on stage. As Hank put it, his music “makes your ears feel real good.” My ears felt so good in fact, that I ran to the merch booth the moment he got off stage and bought his album. Lucky for me, he ran just as quickly and not only gave me a free t-shirt but signed the album as well.

 

After Rob Scallon, Andrew Huang took the stage. This guy is hilarious and incredibly talented. He writes songs in a vast number of genres and frequently takes challenges from his fans of what songs to create. He also only played a few songs but joined Hank and the Perfect Strangers later on.

Andrew Huang is extremely creative. One of his songs (video below) had me swaying my hands back and forth, thinking of my past relationships, until I remembered it was actually written about his nipple ring that had grown out. He purposely wrote the song to be vague enough that it could be about any relationship, yet when given the context, it becomes incredibly funny. He also played fan favorite “Show Me Where Your Noms At” which he collaborated with Youtuber Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen to make. This song shows not just how great of a singer and guitarist he is, but also highlights his rapping abilities. He had the entire audience singing along.

 

Next on stage was Harry and the Potters, who led us in a pledge that we would have a good time at the show and use our voices to create positive change in the world. Harry and the Potters are considered the founders of the Wizard Rock genre. They are made up of brothers Paul (newly appointed as Executive Director of The Harry Potter Alliance) and Joe DeGeorge but onstage are known as Harry Potter Year Seven and Harry Potter Year Four, having used Hermione’s time turner to go back in time and start a rock band with themselves.

Harry and the Potters are probably the most exuberant band I’ve ever seen. Their banter with the audience is priceless and they seem to have a limitless amount of energy when it comes to performing, dancing and jumping up and down with each song. Both brothers even jumped into the audience, Joe jumping out twice and asking audience members to sing into the mic. Confetti was tossed into the air several times using a hollow wand and by the end of their act, everyone in the venue was screaming, “HAR-RY! POT-TER! HAR-RY! POT-TER!”

 

After Harry and the Potters finished their set, Driftless Pony Club took the stage. I’ve seen this band twice and they never fail to impress me. Their sound is energizing, fun to jump around to, and closely resembles Modest Mouse. Lead vocalist and guitarist Craig Benzine, like most of the musicians on the tour, has his own YouTube Channel WheezyWaiter. The band often makes funny videos with Craig.

Like always, they had the entire venue buzzing with excitement. At one point, bassist Sam Grant climbed over the barricade and into the audience where he danced along with us while he played. My friend Luke and I sang along to every song, bouncing on the balls of our feet and banging our heads to the beat. I’m a heavy metal fan, but nothing makes me happily light headed like dancing to Driftless Pony Club.

 

Finally the act we had all be waiting for was just moments away. I can’t convey to you the amount of excitement that was bouncing off the walls in that room. Every few moments you could hear someone squeal “Oh my god” or watch as another made a few little jumps of excitement. Everyone was grinning. Members of Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers (Paul DeGeorge on guitar, Joe DeGeorge on keyboard and saxophone, Andrew Huang on lead guitar, and Rob Scallon on the drums) made their way onto the stage and began to play ambient music. Suddenly, the beginning of “Perfect Strangers” began and Hank ran onto the stage to sing. Everyone in the venue went nuts and rushed to the front of the stage, screaming, dancing and singing along.

 

Of course no Nerdfighteria event would be complete without some sort of charity element. Before the show started, Hank informed us that their bass drum had broken. Instead of throwing it away, they decided all the musicians would sign it and raffle it off for one dollar per ticket. We had until the beginning of Hank’s set to buy as many raffle tickets as we wished. When the time came to choose a winning ticket, the audience had raised over $500 for the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, Nerdfighteria’s chief charity organization.

Hank played a ton of songs, mostly off his new album Incongruent with a few older songs thrown in here and there. Some fan favorites included “I Fucking Love Science”, “Video Game Books”, “A Song About an Anglerfish” and possibly his most famous “Accio Deathly Hallows”. He also talked with us about touring and his fellow bandmates and joked that Denver needed to fix our air shortage. During Accio Deathly Hallows, he handed a girl his mic while he climbed over the barricade so that he could join us in the audience. After many high fives and lots of dancing, he climbed back on stage and played a few more songs before ending the show. However, we weren’t ready to let him go quite yet. After much chanting, he and the band came back out and played a few encores for us, including the theme from Friends.

“Tour Because Awesome” was an truly spectacular show. Every single musician was on point and had the audience completely thrilled to be there. They also all came out afterwards for autographs, photos, and hugs, despite being absolutely exhausted from the four hour show. I was able to meet Sam Grant after the concert and we talked for a while about how cool online communities such as Nerdfighteria are. We both agreed they are a very unique, kind, and caring group of people that we are very glad to be a part of.

 

 

*DFTBA stands for Don’t Forget to Be Awesome and is the slogan of Nerdfighteria.

Videos courtesy of Lara Griffith and Andrew Huang. Bandcamp music courtesy of Jon Scallon.

So Far This Week… May 14, 2014

Okay, so there are two elephants in the room we gotta get out of the way:

The first image of Ben Affleck’s Batman costume and the Batmobile in Batman vs. Superman has been revealed. And it looks sick. Here are some details about the picture you might not have noticed.

Channing Tatum has been cast as Gambit for future X-Men films. We’re genuinely excited for this (Adrian and I for different reasons, I suppose), but the ladykiller with a Cajun accent should be making his debut in X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016.

Are you fans of Asshole Spider-Man, Otto Octavius? Well, you’re in luck, because he will be making a brief, one-time appearance in August as a pre-lude to the Spider-Verse story.

For a show that took off soooo slowly, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took off like you wanted to believe any Whedon show could. The season finale was spectacular, and proof that, with a brand like Marvel behind him, there’s nothing that Joss can’t do.

The Simpsons/Family Guy crossover is really happening. Part of me is excited, but a larger part of me is feeling like my childhood is being taken advantage of. The episode airs in September.

We’re still sobbing into own our bowls of buttered noodles, watching our Community DVDs in wake of the news that the show will fall one season and a movie short of #sixseasonsandamovie. Dan Harmon has officially released a heart-felt statement about why the show will likely stay dead.

Being leader of the free world is pretty sweet – if you’re a Thony. Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin said on a Conan interview that he would gladly give Obama his own Iron Throne. Is that all I needed to do to get one of those?

Trekkies, weigh in! The director for the third Star Trek installment has been announced. Screenplay writer for the first two films, Roberto Orci, will be taking the reigns.

The Harry Potter spin-off titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released November 18, 2016 – two days shy of the 15th anniversary of the UK release of the first book, titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont gets his own documentary. Check it out.

Image Comics (Sold! Wait, what?) will be releasing a book in August titled Wayward. It’s been described as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a new generation.” I was pretty close to calling B.S., but this is Image Comics we’re talking about; anything they put out is instantly in my pull list.

 

Now SHHHHHH…. Arrow is on!

So Far This Week… May 7th, 2014

Two more episodes of Arrow left this season. There’s a war afoot in Starling City and there aren’t enough expletives to iterate just how great this show has become. Even Laurel is getting her hands dirty! Check out “Streets of Fire on CW tonight.

I know a lot of people (including myself) were skeptical of the upcoming Gotham series, but when the full-length trailer for the series was released, I couldn’t help but get giddy!

The first chapter of the next saga in The Walking Dead novels, Descent, has been released for our reading pleasure. Considering the way the Governor series fizzled out and died, I’m not sold that this will reanimate the series.

Another alum from HBO’s The Wire has joined the cast for Season 5 of The Walking Dead. The lucky newcomer is Seth Gilliam, who played Sergeant Ellis Carver in The Wire AKA Literally, The Best Show Ever. It hasn’t been announced who he will play, but my guess is that Pastor Gabriel Stokes will be making his way into the series soon…

Speaking of The Walking Dead, two of our all-time favorite patriarchs are facing off in a stand-off of the ages. Rick Grimes meets Walter White in this hilarious edition of Epic Rap Battle. We’re taking Heisenberg all the way.

Yeah, Mr. White! Science! A new horrifying species of wasp with the power to reanimate cockroaches has been successfully named the Dementor Wasp after its Harry Potter counterparts.

If you haven’t seen Amazing Spider-Man 2 yet, you gotta check it out! If for some reason you don’t want to, though, here are the post-credit scenes, which are for the upcoming X-Men movie (the Fox and Sony studios aren’t collaborating; this is more of a Marc Webb contractual agreement thing).

It’s Morphin’ Time! All the build up from celebrating the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers‘ 20th anniversary has culminated into a full-blown live-action reboot. Uh… Yay?

There’s no way you’ve had too much Batman in your life, right? With Son of Batman being released today, there’s already a sneak peek at the next DC Animated film, Batman: Assault on Arkham, coming out this August.

I know there’s been tons of news circulating about Batman’s 75th anniversary, but did you know this is also Marvel Comics’ 75th year in business? In November, Marvel will be releasing an omnibus in celebration. And they want YOUR input for what goes into it.

We didn’t catch this on time Sunday, but a full trailer for Star Wars: Rebels was released on the 4th. I’m super excited for this series and can’t wait to see Kanan in action. This looks even more promising than Clone Wars – and that’s saying a lot.

Star Wars Day might be over, but Vans keeps the force in their heart with a limited Star Wars line. Be a rebel and head over to Journeys to pick yourself up a pair.

I can’t put into words how excited I am for the next gen Batman game, Arkham Knight. Kevin Conroy comes along and makes it even worse by releasing this teaser. There’s gonna be big news at E3 this year.

Ew… Jimmy Fallon’s sleepover skits on The Tonight Show has become a household favorite of ours. This time, it was The Neighbors stars, Seth Rogan and Zac Efron. Ew.

The first issue of Burn the Orphanage: Reign of Terror dropped today. The over-the-top 80’s and 90’s video-game references helped me fall in love with Born to Lose, but the news of auctioning off original art towards cancer research is the real gem.

So Far this Week… April 9, 2014

If you saw this week’s episode of Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you know that s*** just got real! Tying into the fallout of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (review here), S.H.I.E.L.D. has just gotten shaken up in a big way. Even better is news that Nick Fury and Maria Hill will be showing up in the television series. #HAILHYDRA

Bit by bit, we are getting a better look at Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This week begets character posters of each turtle holding their respective weapon(s). Story be damned, this movie is going to look awesome.

This rumor is too juicy not to tell: Captain Mal/Hammer himself, Nathan Fillion, might have a cameo in the upcoming space epic, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Wreck-it-Ralph fans can anticipate a return to the arcades, as Disney is currently in development for a sequel.

Hogwarts is coming to California! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is a mini-park inside Universal Studios Florida, will be joining the California park in 2016. A round of Butterbeer for all my friends, please.

Also in theme park news, Universal Studios will be getting a Fast and the Furious attraction. This franchise will never run out of ways to make money off of itself.

Professional wrestling Hall of Fame inductee (just three days into induction) Ultimate Warrior has passed away. Check out some of his in-ring highlights if you didn’t know who he was.

Looks like they found work for an old Wookie! Peter Mayhew is set to reprise his role as Chewbacca in Star Wars: Episode VII.

The next edition of Super Smash Bros. will also come out on the 3DS and feature an online mode; it will also feature Charizard. Between this and Scribblenauts: Unmasked, we’re one nudge away from owning a Nintendo system.

DC Comics will be relaunching two of their super teams in Suicide Squad and Teen Titans this summer. I’m pretty stoked to see Deathstroke and Black Manta on a team together, and it’s great to see Raven and Beast Boy finally back on the Teen Titans squad.

I would say “SPOILER Alert,” but this news is literally all over the internet – even CNN is talking about it. The death of Archie Andrews is coming. I’m not gonna touch this one…

The legendary Roots crew, known by many as Jimmy Fallon’s band, has released a single from their upcoming album, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, called “When the People Cheer.” The album is due out in a month, and you can find a streaming version of the single at okayplayer.com.

If you needed another reason to hate EA, the reigning worst company in America, look no further than the fact that they were sitting on a Darth Maul game, supposedly inspired by the Batman: Arkham series. Now that Disney has the rights to the franchise, that game is shelved permanently – just like 1313 before it. Seriously, f*** those guys.

On the other hand, EA’s next UFC installment will feature the Dragon, Bruce Lee, in all his glory as a playable character.

Weekend Wrap-Up February 2, 2014

The Denver Broncos reign on top was shorter than Leprechauns, as they fell to the Seattle Seahawks 43-8. What incredible play by the Seahawks. We’re still proud of our Broncos, and we’ll be rocking orange during our visit to Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con in March.

Aside from Denver’s poor performance, this is what the Super Bowl revealed:

– Nerds Rule: Captain America, Spidey, Transformers.  Oh, my!

– The return of 24

– RHCP and Bruno Mars need to go on tour.

Budweiser made me wish I owned a horse and a puppy. And that they become best friends. But it still doesn’t make me want beer.

Hush Comics will be celebrating Black History Month will spotlights on African-American writers, artists and graphic novel reviews. #ALLBLACKEVERYTHING

Jesse Eisenberg, star of Now You See MeThe Social Network, and Zombieland, has been cast as Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film. Now, this seems to have upset not only the fanboys, but the bald community as well. We’re less concerned about his dome and more concerned about the age discrepancy between Eisenberg and his co-stars. It’s my theory that Luthor may be cast as an intern at WayneTech or student at Metropolis State.

Also cast in Batman vs. Superman was Jeremy Irons, as Alfred Pennyworth. Irons has had many solid acting gigs through the last twenty years, notably as Rodrigo Borgia in The Borgias. Nobody is allowed to be upset with this casting, as Jeremy Irons meet the single qualification of Alfred – he’s British.

If your wallet is burning a hole in your pocket, you should go buy Justice League: War, the adaptation of the Justice League’s New 52 origin, hitting shelves on Tuesday. Check out our review here.

Dark Horse Comics has announced The Sakai Project, named after Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi Yojimbo. Most may remember Usagi as the mutant rabbit from who cameo-ed in the early TMNT cartoons. To celebrate 30 years of Yojimbo, Dark Horse is gathering dozens of artists to submit their own rendering of Usagi for a special anniversary issue, released in July.

Also out Tuesday, a new free game for Playstation Plus subscribers called Outlast comes out. It will scare the living crap out of you, I promise.

Bones has been renewed for a tenth season. Seems just yesterday that we were watching David Boreanaz brood around The Bronze.

Fienin’ for some bracket-style action? AMC has opened up Zombie Bowl 2014, where you get to vote on which recognizable walkers from The Walking Dead would win in a face-off with your face off. Our money is on the little girl in the pink bathrobe!

Fancy tech watches are all the rage right now, but Apple’s new iWatch product is rumored to be fitness-oriented. I’m not sure who buys watches anymore, but an integration with a fitness component could make it the next popular gadget for the market.

Harry and Hermione, siting in a tree?  According to J.K. Rowling, they should have been.  We think that Hermione and Ron were great together.  Not to mention, Harry Potter was never a love story, but a coming of age story.  H and H 4eva would have ruined that.

Can’t we all just be Friends? Well, David Schwimmer AKA Ross Gellar may possibly joining his  Friends cast-mates in prime-time sitcoms. Schwimmer stars in ABC’s Irreversible, which has yet to be picked up for a full season. Side question: Am I the only one who has been getting their David Schwimmer fix from that guy in American Horror Story?

Channing Tatum could be Gambit.  Ladies everywhere will suddenly be into the X-Men.  Men will watch no matter what.

Seth Myers gave us the Weekend Update for the last time last night on SNL.  Laugh over here.

Microsoft is offering $100 off your purchase of an X-Box One if you give them your PS3, which basically brings the price down to the retail price of a PS4. This console war is really bringing out the greed of Microsoft.

If you’re anything like me, you grew up on some Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers. Then, like me, you should be freaking out because Disney is in talks to make a movie based on the epic cartoon that will focus on the origin of the tiny mystery-solving duo.

Sneakerheads will have something to look forward to this week as a new issue of SLAM Magazine covering the Air Jordan legacy comes out. This issue focuses on Air Jordan I-VI, so I’m sure there will be installments.

Woody Allen is definitely the most glorified pedophile in America.  Fuck you, guy.

Star Wars novels have been around for some time now, but this is the first one that I will undoubtedly buy. Darth Maul – Lockdown was released January 28th (sorry, a little late!) and it follows Darth Maul’s stay at the galaxy’s most dangerous prison; it’s also pre-Phanton Menace, which means a colorful backstory is in order.

In less important news, it has been announced that there will indeed be a sequel to Sharknado coming out on the SyFy channel. And yes, Tara Reid, in all her asymmetric-boobed glory, will be returning as the star.

Lastly, it is with great remorse and a lump in our throats that we talk about Philip Seymour Hoffman.  He was found dead this morning in NYC from a drug overdose.  Not only was he the man who gave the best performance in any Mission Impossible movie, but he also gave us Capote, the term “shart” in Along Came Polly, and of course, Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire.  You will be missed.

Weekend Wrap-Up January 26, 2014

Welcome to the weekly Wrap-Up of this week’s events in media and pop culture.  Missed the first half of the week?  Check it out here.  Anything we missed?  Leave it in the comments!

A real Wonder Woman Movie?  I guess we’ll see.  Read over here and form your own opinion.

Have Mercy!  A Full House will happen for at least 30 seconds during the SuperBowl.  Catch a preview here. 

Stan Lee is ending his streak of Marvel movie appearances.  Find out why by reading this article.

Rumor has it Pixar will do an upcoming Star Wars movie.  Believe this rumor?  Not so sure, but catch up on the news here.

Still riding the wave of Catching Fire?  Check out the new Mockingjay poster to get revved up for this year’s The Hunger Games installment.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game trailer is out.  Can’t wait to play?  It will be out this Spring on pretty much any gaming device you could imagine.  Check out the video here.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park will soon get a few new additions.  In addition to Butterbeer and Quiddtich, future Wizards and Witches can stroll through Diagon Alley and enjoy a ride to escape Gringotts.  Wanna know more?  Read about it here.

The Grammy Awards are happening tonight.  Don’t have time to sit through an awards show?  Read the winners here.  And then be thankful you don’t have to watch Madonna perform.

A Phil Collins/Adele collabo? Yes, please.

Troy and Abed say goodbye 😦 You can cry, too, by watching the full ep of Community here.

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind debuts this coming week, picking up where the movie left off.  Remember to read our review this Friday.

Oh, and this happened.

written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib