Concert review: Doug Funnie at the Grotto

Doug Funnie

Sunday, March 23

The Grotto, 517 University Drive, Fort Worth

* * * * 

Posted 12:14pm on Tuesday, Mar. 25, 2014

From time to time we’ve talked about Nick Choate and Blue Smoke Studios. Choate and his studio have been a common element for much of the Fort Worth music scene, with acts like Luke Wade, Josh Weathers, Sam Anderson, Blaine Crews, Dave Matsler, Chris Watson and Jeff Dazey all having some connection. But Choate is moving on to bigger things in the music biz, and local engineer and guitar hero Ben Napier is buying out Blue Smoke. To help finance the purchase, Napier threw a nerdcore bash at the Grotto — trading studio time to the bands for their performances. When I saw that Doug Funnie was the opening act, I knew I had to make his set.

Nerdcore is a genre of hip-hop that concerns itself with, well, nerdy things. Video games, computers, comic books, animé and apparently (at least in Funnie’s case) professional wrestling.

“Whenever I started doing my music, it was a joke in other people’s eyes.” Funnie said. “But I was really expressing who I was. I am a nerd. A lot of people kind of frown upon that in the hip-hop world. Hip-hop is like your own expressive point. Wu Tang was definitely nerdy in their own aspect.”

Funnie performed in front of a projected screen showing movie clips, animation and even Disney cartoons. His rap was filled with references to games, wrestling and other nerdy stuff. The background music was provided by laptop, with samples from movies and “Macho Man” Randy Savage, the late pro wrestler. The crowd was enthusiastic, with Funnie putting on a formidable performance. His lyrics are clever, and he has an charismatic stage presence and a flawless delivery.

“He’s a beast with the mic,” said Fort Worth hip-hop promoter Callie Dee.

Funnie only had time for an all-too-short hourlong set; But I’ve been listening to his CD in my car for the last couple of days and it’s seriously good stuff. He has a new one in the works that will be a bit of a departure from his previous offerings.

“I’m getting more serious,” Funnie says. “What I’m planning to do with the next album is like a prequel mix tape where I’m using all my nerdy references, and then the full original album where I’m using real original sounds and trying to steer away from the nerdcore. It’s more of a concept album … I’m lost and I’m trying to get back to Texas. Lucio’s in it, and MC Frontalot.”

While I enjoy the nerdcore and humor aspect of his work, I’m intrigued by the idea of a CD by Funnie of a more serious nature. I can’t wait to hear what happens next.

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