Team Starkid’s APOCALYPTOUR hits Los Angeles @ the House of Blues 5/22 – 5/24

So, full disclosure time. I am a Starkid.

What is a Starkid, you ask? Well, first let me lament the fact that I must explain this to you, as this just means you’re not as big a nerd as you think you are. Or at least not as informed of one. Team Starkid are the production company started by a group of friends at the University of Michigan, now centered in Chicago, who put on musical parodies of things like Harry Potter and Batman, and original shows that are an awful lot like The Little Mermaid in Space. They’re ridiculous, and hilarious, and really just downright fun. Best of all, their shows are all available on YouTube, so you have absolutely no reason not to just drop everything and educate yourself right now.

Go on, I’ll wait.

The APOCALYPTOUR is a stage show that features a story based on the supposed coming apocalypse predicted by the Mayans in which the Starkids are tasked with saving the world by performing some of the most famous songs from across their entire catalog. Nine of the group’s original members take to the stage performing various arrangements of over twenty-five songs to a screaming chorus of teenage girls.

Yeah, that’s the one thing about Starkid. It’s mostly teenage girls who have discovered and fallen in love with them . . . which is to be expected as it is the internet, but is unfortunate. The talent in Starkid is really deserving of a much larger fan base. Fortunately, Team Starkid is slowly finding that, now that one of their founding members, Darren Criss, has found fame on Glee. There are, of course, those original fans who lament this new found notoriety. Everyone says they truly love their artist/performer and want to share them with a larger world, but then when it happens there’s the feeling of “Well, I was here first, so I’m better”. A parallel would be what’s going on in Joss Whedon fandom now that he has found a more widespread fame and much deserved acclaim on the back of the great success of The Avengers. It’s one of those things that always shows who the real fans are, because as long as you find and love something, who cares when or why you did?

Still, the group’s exposure is growing, and so they’ve taken to the road for only their second time for the APOCALYPTOUR to share the experience with a wider audience. And what an experience it is! The stage show is a hilarious spectacle of great music and fantastic performances that should not be missed. Those in Los Angeles were given a true treat over three nights with three truly different shows. The first is the same every other city on the tour has or will get to enjoy: an opening act by Charlene Kaye (a musician who has been friends with the Starkids since they all attended U of M), followed by the full Starkid show. Kaye’s energy is infectious, and as someone who had heard little of her music before the shows, I found myself bouncing and having a great time even though to be honest, most of her pop sound is not really to my taste. As for the Starkids themselves, the whole show is a treat. Even if you’re not a fan, their sound is infectious and their lyrics at times hilarious, and other times hauntingly beautiful. And for me, the highlight of the show was Jamie Lynn Beaty singing a truly amazing version of “Not Alone.” That girl has got an amazing set of pipes on her.

On Wednesday the crowd got the added benefit of a short set performed by Darren Criss only hours after arriving back from a Parisian vacation. It was a beautiful set with Starkid songs not being performed in the full show, and other original works. It was obvious Criss was exhausted with jet lag, but even without him telling us so, it was clear he was just happy to be seeing so many people he loves so much. Kaye joined Criss on stage for a performance of “Good Ol’ Moon” and he later returned the favor by joining her on stage for their duet, “Dress and Tie.” The Starkids again were on form with a performance that was to be recorded for the DVD release of the tour.

For the piece de resistance, on Thursday fans were treated to a Starkid show featuring Criss himself, with three added songs that will likely only be performed at one other date, when Criss again joins them on stage in New York City. After having hit 4 shows in a row (yes, I attended two before these LA dates), it’s not hard to say that this was the best show of the run. And no, not just because I am an admitted Darren Criss fangirl. The show was made amazing because of a truly enthusiastic crowd (and yes, this is largely because it was announced weeks ago that Criss would be attending), and just the pure joy of everyone on that stage to have another of their best friends along for the ride. The crew arrived at about 2:45PM that day to rehearse so they could work Criss into the performance – teaching him some of the choreography, and reworking a few of the lines to suit him. The joke that had fallen flat previous nights (likely because most of the crowd just didn’t get it) of how one of their number had been consumed by a giant Fox (referring of course to Criss’ work on Glee – which is produced by 20th Century Fox for the Fox Network) was followed by a line from Criss about how “that makes no sense,” and later responded to the line about how the songs were lyrically uninspired with “you’re lyrically uninspired” (Criss of course wrote many of the songs being sung). Admittedly, I didn’t expect Criss to be incorporated into quite so much of the show as there is quite a bit of choreography – but they worked him in when they could, and I guess he does have a good history of having to pick things up quickly what with his run on Glee, and that impressive quick rehearsal schedule for How To Suceed In Business Without Really Trying. You could tell during most songs who was meant to be his guide for the choreography – moments where Criss looked to a certain person for guidance on where he was meant to be for each track, but otherwise you’d have thought he’d been touring with them all along. And maybe when you’ve known people as long as this group have, and are as close as they clearly are, that’s just natural.

Check out some of our photos below, with more to be added to our Facebook and Tumblr pages. Also, check back in the next few days as we’ll have an APOCALYPTOUR merchandise pack to give away!

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