Live Reviews - MC Frontalot at the Viper Room

MC Frontalot

Material: What do you get when you mix hip-hop, electronic and swing music? You get a Revenge of the Nerd, rap’s version of Lewis Skolnick. It is a cheesy gimmick, yet original, something that has already helped draw a bit of a cult following. Typifying Frontalot’s unusual material is a song called “Tongue-Clucking Grammarian,” about the pitfalls of bad grammar: “Quit arguing! You need your verbs to agree/With their subjects’ relative plurality/And I cannot believe grad school let you go/When flunking is the only present participle that you know.”

Musicianship: Frontalot has a voice that confidently annoys. It’s a monotoned instrument, with little hint of dynamic range, but if this frontman could get the right lyrical guidance and a manner makeover, he could develop a unique flair that may appeal to a broader audience. As performers, his group is a tight, rehearsed act; each member stays in his lane. Frontalot directs while the band follows his lead. Sonically, they are proficient at their craft.

Performance: At this show, the group’s audience was a mixture of those who nodded their heads while others carefully listened to the lyrics, suspiciously analyzing Frontalot’s approach. His keyboardist brought this performance to an alternative level, serving as a good counterpart to the frontman. Drummer Categorical Imperative was solid, but in the background, whereas the guitarist rocked out, semi stealing the show. During breaks between songs, Frontalot spoke with strange verbiage, leaving the majority of listeners puzzled.

Summary: MC Frontalot and company deliver disposable music. One wonders if people are paying attention strictly to the music or to the interesting way the group, as a live act, present themselves. Trends come and go, but style lasts forever; and at this point MC Frontalot is making music for those willing to listen only temporarily.

– Adam Seyum