Oh man. So if I said that Day 2 was one of the best days of my life I’d probably be underselling it. Day 2 consisted of three main events for me. The first was the Protomen fan-panel. The second event was Write a Lyric with Brentalfloss. Finally we have the Protomen concert. There was also some other stuff that I saw, but these were the main reasons I headed back for Day 2. Now I will share just why I had such a great day. With more pictures this time.
Preparing for the day, I made sure to wear my only piece of Protomen swag; a shirt I got from the first time I saw them back in February 2008. This isn’t an incredibly important detail, but later on in the day the Protomen merch lady grabbed my attention to tell me “nice old school shirt! I like it!” Indeed I was the only person at the convention sporting an old school shirt. Protomen Hipster status: nailed it.
I got to the convention center around 3pm. I came early in case there was a line for the Protomen fan-panel. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it but I had to check it out. Since I was early I stopped into the video room which was conveniently next door to the room the fan-panel was supposed to be in. Normally they’d be showing anime and stuff in there, but at that time slot they were showing Dexter’s Lab. I was all about that. It was funny because you could clearly tell it was episodes that had been pirated and were streaming from a laptop. I’ve noticed anime fans are the craftiest of all the pirates. I guess that’s kind of out of necessity to get anime that wouldn’t otherwise play in the states.
The fan panel started at four. It was being run by seemingly one girl with an iPod, who explained to me that her co-hosts were out doing other con things at the moment so she had to run the show by herself. It was really disorganized to say the least. However it was also really fun in a dorky way. The room continued to fill up as we each went around the room and talked about our favorite songs and how talented the Protomen are while listening to some tracks. Lots of speculation about how Act III was going to turn out. The general consensus was not good for mankind.
After that I had about an hour to kill before the Brentalfloss panel. I wandered around the convention and checked out the gaming room. They had rows of tvs with various consoles modern and retro. Lots of fighting games I noticed. I started to get hungry, clearly overpriced pizza was the best idea. I made my way over to Panel Room 2 for Brent’s panel and walked by him in the hallway. I don’t normally give two shits about celebrities, but there is something really exciting about walking by an internet legend.
His panel did not disappoint either. I actually legitimately learned a ton about songwriting in an hour long panel. I technically am a musician; I play electric guitar and bass. The things that I learned in that panel, while mostly pertaining to lyric writing, are lessons that will stick with me. I have to say this is probably the only convention of any type that I’ve been to where I learned a valuable skill. He is an excellent communicator and is a natural teacher. He was able to provoke ideas from the room and showed us how to derive an overall concept from the smaller details. From there we were able to build the song with the smaller details and of course coming up with a bunch of rhyming words that had to do with the theme. Snake Man’s theme from Megaman was the song we were writing lyrics for, and the room came up with some hilarious ideas and “facts” about Snakeman, and Brent helped us write the lyrics together. The whole thing was being filmed and will hopefully be online sometime soon so that the lesson can be shared. Really awesome panel, definitely glad I got to be a part of it.
After his panel, a big group of us followed him into the game room where we got to chat and have Brent sign our stuff. I keep my Brentalfloss albums in the car so I ran out to get them to have him sign. After meeting with him and chatting about his next album a bit (cannot wait by the way, consider it pre-ordered) it was time to get in line for the Protomen concert. It was about 8:20 that I was heading to get in line. By that time the line was clear down the hallway, around the corner and down THAT hallway. Security was talking about cutting people off because the room wouldn’t hold that many. They created a lot of panic for no real reason, the room was huge and there was plenty of room for everyone. In that room I experienced one of the greatest concerts of my life.
To say the Protomen killed it would be a crime. That was by far the greatest live show I have ever seen. The music was obviously great, but the Protomen do a little bit more than just music. They put on an experience. I know that word is overused but I cannot think of another way to describe it. It’s part rock concert, part theater. The music, the lights, the story and the crowd interaction combine to create an incredible live show. People (myself included) were moshing to “Vengeance”, pumping fists to “Keep Quiet” and I even teared up a bit during “Light Up the Night”. Every single member of the band is oozing with talent. If you’re a fan of the Protomen’s albums and you haven’t seen them live, I really don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You need to see them live. I don’t care what you have to do; steal, turn tricks, quit your job and travel, whatever it is you need to do it ASAP and see this band live. I know this isn’t the most descriptive review, but that’s because the show is beyond words. You have to see it, hear it, and live it for yourself. I took a bunch of (admittedly crappy) pictures with my phone, and they will never accurately convey how mind-blowing the experience was.
After the concert I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself. I contemplated going home and started heading that way. I actually ran into Brent and his lovely lady on the way back and wished them a good evening as I headed for my car. Then I thought to myself “well… that would be a boring end to the story.” I had tweeted after the Brentalfloss concert the previous night that I should buy him a beer, and I felt that if I didn’t there would be some sort of karmic imbalance, and an incompleteness to the story. I headed to the bar and shyly approached him. There were two other fans there talking with him already. His lady turned to me and started talking to me, and I explained how I had tweeted about his concert the night before and said I wanted to buy him a beer. He smiled and said “Landshark please!” I kind of stood around and listened to them talk, since I am normally pretty quiet. Elizabeth told me to pull up a chair, probably because my awkward standing there was just… well awkward. Brent, not wanting me to be “at dick height” went to the other side of the bar and grabbed a stool for me so I could join in the conversation.
So in the previous post, when I said that he was a really cool, down to earth guy I wasn’t making it up. He’s a legitimately nice dude who will go out of his way to just hang out, drink a beer and goof off with fans. Eventually it came time for him to go off and party with the Protomen. I’m sure that was an epic party. Before we all split ways, he signed a fan’s guitar and took photos with them. I waited for him to finish so I could shake his hand and thank him again for signing my CDs and putting on an awesome show, but since we were in close quarters anyway he said “aw, come here! We’re already this close anyway!” and he gave me a big hug.
So yeah, that’s how my A&G Ohio weekend ended. There was a day three, but there wasn’t really anything that interested me going on that day so I decided to skip out on going back. I heard a lot of horror stories from convention guests and performers about how disorganized A&G was. There was a group of musicians who traveled 14 hours to play a set at the convention who didn’t find out where they were supposed to play until 30 minutes before. With that being said, if A&G can book the quality guests it did this year I would go back again.
Final note: If you get a chance to go see either Brentalfloss or the Protomen live, just go do it. You won’t regret it. They are both incredible live acts, and extremely talented people. If you can’t see them live, go buy their CD’s and other sweet swag. These people are more than deserving of your love and support, so show them some!