So, yeah! I said yesterday this year was epic; let’s talk about that a little.

This is the first year our daytime workshops are out of exile. We’ve been up in the tower, in Salon, a fine room with a lovely view but which is an elevator ride to somewhere nothing else is happening. Set to Discoverability Factor Zero, Mr. Wesley, and engage. Now we’re back downstairs, with the concerts.

This is also the first year we announced livestreaming of concerts in advance. It was on short notice, because the technical details kept changing, but it was in advance. K built an uplink out of four parallel cellular devices – three LTE, one 4G – multiplexed into a single high-bandwidth channel spread across three entirely separate cellular networks. This was almost as good as a wired connection.


This was also the first Electric Night. For a the first three years of nwcMUSIC at Norwescon, Thursday night was Experimental. This year, it became Electric, and we brought in atmospheric room lighting. Not a lot; just enough to paint the walls with colour. Mike Citrak – who I forgot to thank yesterday, I’m sorry Michael! – also lent us some of his dance lights, which definitely helped. The Thursday bands loved it; we’ll need to do more of that.

First up was 9K1, featuring Shubzilla, Lex Lingo, and Bill Beats, who you probably know from Death*Star. Nerdcooooooooooooore:

9k1 Rocks the House
(They have a new video, by the way)

One of the funniest things from my point of view the entire convention was that – okay, opening ceremonies ran late, and we can’t start concerts ’till they’re done. Partly, because it’s not smart, some of them come over to us; second, because respect. So it’s totally cool.

But I still had a crowd to keep entertained and energised, so I decided to screech them in, which is a thing we do at nwcMUSIC, stolen – in idea form, anyway – from screeching in on George Street in St. John’s.

Only since we can’t serve whiskey, we do it with a literal screech.

Now, 9K1 had already set a record for largest draw on a Thursday, and while Thursday is not exactly a huge day, they did really well. And most of their fans showed up on time.

And I had all of them screech at the top of their lungs, all at once, with Opening Ceremonies right across the hall, and with all doors open.

This was hilarious. Unintentionally, of course. I was just trying to keep my crowd in the room. I didn’t even know that I’d made an entire ceremony full of pros jump out of their chairs until a good five minutes later.

It was a good Screech. 😀

Dancing to 9k1

We’d also yanked a bunch of chairs from stage front during setup, as a dance floor. Turns out: bonus points.

Jonny Nero Action Hero was our only chiptunes act this year. To be honest, chiptunes aren’t that popular at Norwescon, which is clearly a failing we’ll have to correct. But he drew a pretty respectable crowd too, and noticing that, we were starting to realise something was up.

He’s also pretty good on guitar, and later, I’d find out, very good on panels.

Jonny Nero Action Hero

Oh, see the little light down on the bottom of the picture? There’re two of them. They’re my stupid little stage lights and I love them.

I’d bought these colour-changing LED bulbs; I’d planned to put them in reflectors aimed at walls. Turned out they were too dim. I’d thought to put them in paper cones so we’d have colour-changing paper cones (critically different! to ordinary paper cones), but instead I stuck them on some snake-neck clamp lights clamped to the scaffolding. Once curled up in front of the stage? Suddenly they really kind of worked. Almost non-ironically worked, even. They’re like the idea of footlights even if you don’t really have footlights.

Klopfenpop rounded out the evening to another pretty good crowd – very good, again, for late on Thursday. He didn’t bring his guitar, but he brought his game:


I wasn’t actually on any panels either on Thursday or Friday, beyond my MC duties at all concerts. So I got a look at the art show and dealer’s room in the afternoon, and I have to say, both really interested me this year. I didn’t have the chance to give the art show the time it deserved, but whoever had the animatronic sculptures in back? Well done, artist, well done. Those were cool.

I bought more things in the dealer’s room than usual, because there were more kinds of things than usual. Good show all around.

Next up: The Big Show! With The Heather Dale Band. This is our daytime “event” show – we don’t do it every year – in Grand Ballroom 3. Grand 3 is a huge but freakish room where wifi will fail from device to device in the same room, so you can just guess what that did to our wireless. Still, we got a good capture, and were streaming live most of the show. And the rebroadcast after was perfect.

This is what John’s soundboard looks like in the dark. I’m pretty sure I can blow up Alderaan from here:

Seghers Sound(board)

You can push buttons on it or its touchscreen or a remote tablet and all the actual, physical sliders will move around to different presets. It’s pretty damn awesome.

Grand 3 has the best, most traditional stage, which makes for interesting photography opportunities:

The Best Picture I Got With Ben In It
(Stop hiding in the dark, Ben, it makes you hard to shoot.
I MEAN WITH A CAMERA. I have IR, hiding doesn’t do a damn thing against my weaponry.)

Heather Dale and Betsy Tinney

All Alone in the Dark
(if you ignore the rest of the band, the audience, Babylon 5, and the Internet)

I started doing a Scooter impersonation before this show. “Ms. Dale! Ms. Dale! Three minutes to curtain, Ms. Dale!” This, like many muppet things, became a running gag. (See also: “Ms. Clicks! Ms. Clicks! Three minutes to curtain, Ms. Clicks!” on Saturday.)

After that, it was all load-and-move back up to the Evergreens for Friday Filkfest’s main set of shows. I really have to hand it to John and Jen’s volunteer crew this year, they had that kit wrapped up and shifted like magic.

Friday is Friday Filkfest because filk is the oldest form of geekmusic, going back to the 1950s, and deserves its place in the sun. Besides, I like their DIY/participatory culture attitude. They’re punk in that way – and in perhaps no other way, but that’s a pretty damn good way.

The word “filk” came from a typo in an article – the author meant to write “science-fiction folk music” and that I is awfully close to that O on the keyboard, and hey, who has time to proofread, am I write? – and they ran with it en masse and instantly. And while I couldn’t attend it, I was told by multiple people that the What the Frak is Filk? / Filk 101 panel went over well, with good attendance – and a lot of new people.

A lot of new people. A pattern is emerging, isn’t it?

Oh hey, say Hello to the Future, Friday night’s leadoff.

Hello, the Future!

Hello, the Future! is Nicole Dieker’s band, and she is the only person in her band, but she was certainly not the only person in that room. Friday’s a busy Norwescon night, too, with a lot going on, but she drew ’em in.

Up next: Vixy & Tony. I’d written up a concert description for them consisting entirely of the word “Chicken” repeated many times – yes, I stole the joke, I don’t care – with the phrase, “we can put anything we want here, we know you’ll come” two-thirds of the way through.

I was, of course, correct. But that’s not exactly an amazing mystical prediction, it’s just plain obvious.

Vixy & Tony


Vixy & Tony & Sunnie & (barely) Betsy…
(…who already got a good picture…)

The funny part is, I’d originally scheduled them as the closer/headline act, with Seanan McGuire (who was also an official Norwescon Guest of Honour) in front of them. But they asked me to switch the two, expecting all of Seanan’s many fans as a writer to show up, and then flood back out as soon as she was off stage. I understand that, and of course agreed, but think their fears were unwarranted.

The Crowd on Friday, or the Stage Right Half of It, Anyway

Which isn’t to say that Seanan didn’t draw quite the crowd herself – she did, almost as many as Vixy & Tony. She’s had several albums out and has won several awards from the Filk community, and people were really thrilled to see her do a show.

Seanan McGuire, with a Totally Different Band

…and having a Totally Different Band made up of Totally Different Vixy & Tony – as they said on stage at the time – probably didn’t hurt anything either.

This was the night the livestream started to pick up good audience, too. The count went from “several” to “tens.” On Saturday, it went up to “dozens…”

…but I’m getting ahead of myself, and this is long enough already. The final part – Part Three, with lots more pictures! – will appear tomorrow.