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Darren Keen’s one-man nerd project, The Show Is the Rainbow, blows over other laptop-rock bands because Keen has a prodigious ability to do more than fidget with his iTunes while on stage: He raps. He harmonizes. He crowd-surfs. He syncopates Gameboy beats over walking bass lines and joins punk, lo-fi indietronica, and rock to form huge, shifting mixes of songs everyone has heard—just not quite like this. Keen’s tracks begin quietly and build; synthesized piano and loitering chord progressions expand, full tilt, into layers of guitar riffs, glitchy beats and bellowing vocals. After Keen syncs his music to a large video projector and sweats over most of the crowd, it’s easy to forget that there’s a 12-inch screen hidden somewhere onstage.
THE SHOW IS THE RAINBOW PERFORMS WITH BEEP BEEP AT 8 P.M. AT THE VELVET LOUNGE, 915 U ST NW. (202) 463-3213.