One of my favorite procrastinating activities is scrolling through lists of upcoming random Nashville events. One night I stumbled upon the launch of author Jeff Kinney’s newest children’s book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Diper Överlöde,” which was scheduled for October 28 in Ingram Hall at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. The irony of hosting this event on the Vanderbilt campus, despite the fact that the college students did not match the book’s target demographic, was not lost on me. But after reading more about the event, I realized it was more than just a book talk; it also included a show featuring live performances by the book’s imaginary band, Löded Diper.
As stupid as it sounds, I immediately bought tickets. Grow Up, “The Diary of a Foolish Boy” Books were an integral part of my childhood. If the fictional band I used to laugh about when I was younger was coming to life, there was no way I was going to miss it.
When I arrived, I felt transported to the pages of comics. The band’s tour van was parked outside the theater. After taking a photo with the truck, I entered the hall where I was greeted with red carpets, free merchandise and a copy of “Diper Överlöde”. The sound of children’s screams filled my ears and their parents were equally excited to be there. As a college student, I must admit I felt a little out of place, but those concerns were quickly put to rest once the show started.
Kinney made her grand entrance onstage via a blue portable urinal (how appropriate). After a brief hug with Parnassus Books owner Ann Patchett, Kinney shared stories about how he became a writer, his struggles on tour during COVID-19, and a brief overview of his most recent book. the.
He then taught the audience how to draw the character of Rodrick from his books and we all got a piece of paper to go on. I was complemented by a lady by my side in my own interpretation of Rodrick: the whole life.
Next, Kinney called the kids up on stage for a question and answer session and trivia questions. Although I stayed in the audience, it filled my heart to hear the children’s enthusiasm for reading. She then invited parents on stage to embarrass their children by dancing to rock ‘n’ roll music.
Kinney then broke some unfortunate “news”: the band Löded Diper scheduled to perform “was delayed”. In a comical turn of events, Kinney recruited a college-age superfan from the audience, a stagehand, and a Domino’s pizza man to perform that night.
After changing into rock ‘n’ roll outfits, the newly formed Löded Diper performed the songs “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, “Blitzkrieg Bop”, and “I Love Rock and Roll”. I was amazed at how technically advanced this show was, with impressive lighting design, smoke, and visual effects. From the clear vocals to the awesome drums, it really felt like I was at a real concert.
Another twist came when Löded Diper’s original band took the stage. In a moment of excitement, Kinney declared that there was going to be a “Battle of the Bands.” The newly formed Löded Diper performed an original song from the upcoming film, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules”, called “Can You Smell Us Now”. The original band followed up with a lively and entertaining rendition of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” Instead of declaring a winner, the two groups ended the night by teaming up to perform “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
In reality, the original band consisted of Landon Clark, Nico Holt, Josh Cook and Owen Wasterval, members of the North Carolina band Audiomelt. The “newly formed” band was revealed to be made up of members of the Massachusetts-based band Reservations at 8, who disguised themselves in casual clothing for the performance.
Although this concert was not what I had in mind for the start of Halloweekend, this was truly one of the most exciting experiences I have had at Vanderbilt thus far. There’s nothing better than feeling like a kid again, and the release of this book definitely brought nostalgia and excitement to Nashville. I encourage you to jump online, find a dark event… and maybe I’ll see you there.