PAX Report

By JoCo August 28, 2007

What can I say? I had a simply amazing time at PAX. I opened Saturday night’s concert by playing a set to an audience of thousands of people (which I’ve never done before). It was quite a rush – I’ve never seen a wider sea of cell phones and Nintendo DSes and light sabers, and the sound of several thousand screaming zombies truly is a little frightening. And there was a tender moment with a robotic boom camera that I will always be grateful for.

As proof, I can offer you these artifacts:

1) an interview I did with Ben of Gaming Nexus on Saturday afternoon, on which page you’ll also find a picture of me towering over…well, my pants.

2) this YouTube video of Re: Your Brains which gives you some idea what I was up against.

3) this flickr photoset from Chris Maloney, with a lot of great shots of me looking awesome.

Many thanks to Mike and Jerry and Robert and Amber and Jillian and Matt and Jennifer and all the rest of the people who invited me there and got me out the other side.

Now I’m in Ocean City, NJ perfecting my skimboarding technique, but don’t forget: Friday, the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA with Paul and Storm, and then this weekend is Bumbershoot in Seattle. Will I ever stop rocking? The answer is no.


jake carr says

"shit that's not the right chord at all!"
brilliant as always!
keep up the awesome shows joco!

Dave says

The show was so awesome! My friends and I got up at 6am to make sure we were first in line for the concert armbands because of you. I've posted my videos of the concert here:

Matthew says

As an Enforcer, it always makes my life easier when attendees are happy and, I've got to say, you made them very happy. The buzz on the forums has been extremely positive and many people have said you were the best of the musical guests. My friend (and fellow enforcer) actually brought his girlfriend on Saturday for the concerts and she was completely won over by your enthusiasm and exceptional creativity.

I'll be glad if they ask you back and look forward to hearing you play again.

David says

I had never actually heard your stuff before PAX. I must say I was impressed. When you opened with Gonna be the Future Soon I definitely picked up a Fountains of Wayne vibe, but it go so much more nerdcore than that.

Awesome set, and I hope they have you back next year.

Qaein says

It was wonderful getting to see you in front of so many people! I've been to all of your concerts here (except last year's bumbershoot one...darn pre-buying tickets). This was definatly your best one, though. It helped that the concert-goers were very responsive (in a good way) to your exhuberance and spur-of-the-moment humor that you have perfected so well (did you get that from Hodgman? or did he from you?). I'm sure you could tell how much they loved you by the tremendous applause you got for your mistake (which, truly, didn't detract at all from the performance, I assure you).

I talked to many people who lined up early in the morning merely to catch your portion of the show. I noticed that many people, like myself, left right after your set. I did want to see Damien (Frontalot) perform, but I knew his set would last past midnight, and I had to move my car before then or leave it overnight. You were a hit, and I'm sure your show at the tripple door will be overflowing with nerds. See you on the 23rd (at the latest)!

Nikker says

I'm grateful that I was pretty close to the stage in that huge group. I had only heard Re: Your Brains and really had no idea who you were before this, but I also was really impressed.

Your tender moment with the camera was very possibly my favorite part, though. I wish I could find a video of it somewhere, but maybe I'll just have to wait for the PAX DVD to come out.

witten says

Wonderfully awesome show. It was fun to see those members of the audience who hadn't previously heard Joco become won over more and more as the set progressed. I think you just picked up several thousand new fans. I hold myself personally responsible for not instigating a "one more song!' chant once the songs ended.

I must say that the acoustics in that room sucked, which didn't much affect Joco's acoustic set in any noticeable way, but greatly hampered both MC Frontalot and the Minibosses.

Luke M says

Now THAT's a Zombie Army!

Sweet gig, dude. Congrats. You earned it.

GAMH ahoy!

Luke M says

PS -- Setlist, anyone?

Jeremy Williams says

I'm a long time reader of Penny Arcade. I discovered your music when my professor in my programming class last spring played Code Monkey at the beginning of class one afternoon.

I've listened to a lot of it since. Re Your Brains is definitely one of my favorites. I'd had no idea you were going to be at PAX, or I might've considered going. But alas, I shall have to be sated with the videos!

Anyway, just a nice rambling post to say great songs and keep on rockin'!

Alfredo C. says

Loved the show at PAX. I'd only heard a few of your songs here and there, but after Saturday, I'm a fan. I'm actually trying to get a few of my friends to listen to your stuff so they quit looking at me like I'm some kind of nut for singing the chorus to "Re: Your Brains."

I'm going to convince the wife to go with me to the Triple Door next month.

Again, great show!

Demetrius says

Coming to SciFi this fall...

Meet Jon, Programmer... A "code monkey" with a crush on the pretty girl at the front desk. An average guy. Except his ex-girlfriend is a cyborg. His housekeeper is a Terminator. And, the guys in the office down the hall are relentless, brain-eating monsters! ...and, they are *also* ZOMBIES. ...Just an average day in A Town Called Coulton.

Kayla says

I was there with my friends up near the very front and center. I'm so glad that we made it before the crowd because it was worth it. You rocked so much! My boyfriend (who is a big fan) couldn't make it so he was jealous when I told him you were there that night. All I can say is that the camera seemed pretty fond of you. ;) You should have gotten its number!

rachel says

The show was awesome! It was great to hear songs I hadn't heard before, as well as the um, "old standards". Can you apply that to songs less than two years old? I guess I just did.

The Brains singalong: hilarity. Haha we must've been terrifying. Hopefully terrifying in a good way.

See you in San Francisco!

Lisa says

I have to say, I had never heard of you before PAX, and my boyfriend and I had gone to the concert that night to see the Minibossess. But your show ended up being the highlight of the whole weekend for me. You're awesome! You've definately gained a few new fans here!

And my boyfriend told his mom about RE: Your Brains and the sing-a-long part, and then heard her singing it a few times later that day! Hilarious!

Shervyn says

I had never heard of you until I was handing out bracelets for the Saturday concert with a fellow Enforcer who was at PAX mostly to see you perform. I am glad I caught what I could between tasks. Congrats on a great concert and I will catch your performances out here in the NY-NJ area.

Jeff says

My Coulton...that Re Your Brains video was hilarious "Shit! that wasnt the right chord at all!". I lol'd for a while.

Really wish i coulda been there but Philly to Seattle is kinda far for me...

PonderousMan says

I continue to be amazed by your aptitude, both in the studio and live - that recovery from the bad chord was fabulous...!

But I can't believe that Drive is your least favorite Thing of the Week... That is way up on my list of JoCo faves... (it's hard to say exactly where...there ARE so VERY many to choose from!)

So what did you want Drive to sound like, and how is the song you did far from it? I would totally be for a longer version, even if you totally re-did the mix...

Jacob A.S. says

I had listened to your music for the past few months after hearing Skullcrusher Mountain at a D&D game and was not disappointed by your concert. You did a fine job up on that stage, truly the best performance of the night.

Jasper says

JoCo! You rock man! I very seldom get really attached to a musician but your show at PAX just awed me so much. Your show at PAX was so great, and your response to the crowd was amazing. You were definitely my favorite artist at the expo.
I saw you walking into the main theater after the Frontalot set but before I could congratulate you on a show well done you had vanished. Anyway, you've convinced me to buy tickets to Bumbershoot and I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

tokamak says

I was also attending the concert originally for the Minibosses that night, but I was astounded by the way you were able to relate to and captivate the audience. It was so great.

I really like how a lot of your music tells stories and I can't stop playing "Creepy Doll" at work.

I hope you come back to PAX next year.

You gain +1 fan.

Ben says

JoCo - Thanks for the awesome set. I just wish I could have seen it all. And thanks again for sitting down for the interview. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I did writing it.

Wim says

As someone coming all the way from Belgium, your concert was definitely high on my "to see" list. I'm glad I made the trip. Thanks.

CarrieP says

Very cool that it seemed there were several newbies in the crowd - evidenced by the giggling at the jokes in the song. The JC brain (er, braaaaaaaain) trust grows ever larger.

Rock on.

JoeP says

Shouting Holy Shit in the middle of Creepy Doll was one of the highlights of an already glittering show. I'm completely won over! COME PLAY IN BOSTON!

Gingerlink says

You gotta admit, it is kinda great the way JoCo reacts to his mess ups :P

Another Supporter for a Europan/UK tour here as well :D

Wim says

> Shouting Holy Shit in the middle of Creepy Doll

"Oh noes!"

European tour would be awesome, even though I don't really think Europe is that great as a place for geeks. I got some weird looks and some asshole remarks for wearing a World in Conflict (yay swag) shirt earlier today.

Dustin says

Jonathan, I have to admit I was very iffy on this Nerdcore thing. Especially folksy Nerdcore. After seeing you at PAX I am going to buy as many CDs of you as I can. I really was overwhelmingly impressed by all your songs and the Zombie crowd made my night. Or was it the Camera Boom that made my night...either way we left right after you because nothing was going to top that nor should it. Come to LA sometimes soon, you'll have plenty of Fans in the audience I can assure you. Keep on Rocking.

Zee says

I too fall into the never saw you before PAX crowd and instantly became hooked to your music after that night. See you at the triple door and any other time..

and check out the youtube video!!! 43,000 views!

Dustin says

One more thing...I've been checking out your CDs. I'd Really Really Really REALLY Like to see a Live CD but I can't find one. By the Power of Greyskull PLZ!

Erica says

I've been a fan for a long time now, and finally got to see you live at PAX. I have to say, your performance was absolutely lovely. I was extremely impressed and I hope to see you again next time your in the area! :)

Keep up the good work!

Eric Ginsberg says

Holy crap. I need to get off my ass.

Anne-Marie says

I totally agree with the need for a live CD, or maybe a compilation live concert DVD so we can all relive moments like "could I get the camera to block my view of...this group over here? great!"

I'd had a friend put Skullcrusher Mountain and A Laptop Like You on a "Soundtrack of lawschool," and I came early on Saturday just so I could see you perform. My boyfriend was scheduled in the D&D room, so he had to put up with me babbling in after your set and getting Creepy Doll stuck in his head. And then we both loved skiffworld's WoW videos.

Looking forward to seeing you on the 23rd!

EmeraldCityJoCoFreak says

Anybody know if Bumbershoot has general regulations against recording video? I'm going to the JoCo performance there on Saturday but have no idea how strict things will be. Usually Sir Coulton's shows are laid back about that, but I have no idea.

Bring out the zombies to Seattle Center! Screw all that other candy-ass stuff going on the mainstage. Who cares about Panic at the Disco when you can have Panic induced by JoCo?

Jack says

Guess who just got a Slashdot front-page mention and an awesome review? Yep, YOU! Rock on, JoCo!! Re:Your Brains was awesome and that level of enthusiasm was actually a little scary.

(I pity your server farm sysadmins. Only 3 comments on the /. article, and your page is already loading slowly... it's going to get ugly and the admins will be hating life for the next few hours.)

Courtney says

I too had never heard of you before PAX and went to the concert to see Frontalot and the Minibosses. In fact I didn't even know you were playing and was somewhat annoyed I'd have to sit though an "opening act." Needless to say by the end of your set I was thoroughly charmed and hooked (I was one of the JoCo noobs laughing at all the jokes in the songs, and the camera hijinks were hilarious) and I didn't even end up staying for Frontalot. I'll be catching you at the Triple Door and any other time in the future!

justin says

yo man ive been watching code monkeys on g4 since the first show and finnaly looked up the song and well im not alone in thinking its kind of the shit. i wish i had earler and now im trying too turn your music on too everyone i know (if they like it or not.) will the next time your in ocean city ill be sure too look for you, (i was there that weekend u were, i live like 30 miles away and im there like ever weekend) hope you get some shows in the east sometime soon. see you at one of them!

Janet says

The blogs are full of commentary like this one:

"There were a ton of cool moments, such as Jonathan Coulton singing his acoustic songs about the lonely lives of evil geniuses, and instead of lighters, hundreds of gamers held up their DSes and swayed back and forth in time to the music. Incredible." (from

THIS is legion development. Go Coultonistas!

Galeri says

Very cool that it seemed there were several newbies in the crowd - evidenced by the giggling at the jokes in the song. The JC brain (er, braaaaaaaain) trust grows ever larger.