By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
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Pancake Productions is not the only labor of love in Severson's arsenal: He has continued to play music. Googolplexia is the most active of Severson's projects. The one-man aural sensation features catchy a cappella choruses and the occasional ukelele, accordion or drum machine cameo. Severson is always ready to find inspiration and upholds a unique musical philosophy.
"I might wake up to some obnoxious birdsong coming from outside my window and get an idea for a stupid or awesome melody from it. One idea may lead to another or take me down a completely bizarre and unrelated path," he says. As Googolplexia, Severson dons a trusty headset and often comes equipped with a wireless instrument or portable amp. He treks about the audience, ignoring personal space and any mounting awkward tension. Severson's personality extends past the walls of musical genres, and the honesty in his comedy is tangible.
Severson spits lyrics of whimsy out from behind his thick-rimmed glasses and unkempt hair. He deals with stiff showgoers by relentlessly working the crowd: The audience is often called upon to join in, and Severson transforms them into his personal backup chorus. Participation is usually not optional, as Severson's songs are infectious and reek of catchy pop sensibility. Googolplexia is a singular entity of quirky cover tunes and simple but memorable melodies. Expect references to Star Trek, McDonald's commercials of the '80s and other playful nostalgia.
Googolplexia has been particularly active in 2011, embarking on two nationwide tours, enjoying a monthlong residency at El Leñador and performing in various spots around the River City. 2011 saw the release of 'O' Before 'L,' and Only One 'E,' a collection of recent songs and previous recordings. It isn't unusal to see Severson performing as Googolplexia at a punk-rock show in a dusty basement, a Christmas shindig at Mangia Italiano or an all-out party at the Way Out Club.
Rob Severson pays close attention to what makes him happy and hopes to share that, regardless of what he's working on. "I know I'll be doing my best to have a good time, and I know myself well enough to know that I'll likely succeed."