The Video Game Orchestra (or simply “The VGO” to the hip kids who follow their work) have taken their show on the road before … but never like this. Fans of the Boston-based orchestra, led by Shota Nakama, can start their drooling now: on March 25th, The VGO will be putting on a concert in Tokyo. The show is being promoted by Pony Canyon — which, if you didn’t know, is “big deal” territory, they are Japan’s equivalent of “Live Nation,” save that Pony Canyon has existed as publisher and promoter of entertainment products for far longer.
The 3/25 show will have music from almost all the major game publishers, including Konami, Namco Bandai, Square Enix, Sega, and more. We don’t know the full list of games yet, but here’s what we have so far:
D4: DARK DREAMS DON’T DIE
FINAL FANTASY XV
GOD EATER 2: RAGE BURST
METAL GEAR SOLID (series)
SILENT HILL 2
TALES OF ZESTIRIA
On a personal/editorial note, I must urge the reader to consider the long-term value of this concert. To have a project with this many Japanese publishers sign on for a third-party entity (The VGO) to perform their work, in Japan, is a big deal. I have always advocated for collaboration among the game music artists and those who represent them, and whenever it happens, I can’t help but celebrate. This concert represents a big reason to celebrate.
Unfortunately, it isn’t something that I can celebrate … not in person. I won’t be able to attend the Tokyo show. But hey, maybe you can! The details for the show are found here: vgo.jp — and, if you want to purchase tickets, the website to do so offers information and instructions for ticket purchase in Japanese, English and Chinese! You’ll find that here!
And if anyone among our reader-base makes plans to attend the show, please let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about your thoughts after the event.
Merregnon Studios, the group behind the Square Enix-focused Final Symphony and Symphonic Fantasies concerts have announced that their 2011 sell-out concert, Symphonic Odysseys, is coming to London this Summer. Unlike their previous shows, Symphonic Odysseys is focused solely on the music of Nobuo Uematsu — from Blue Dragon to Lost Odyssey and naturally, Final Fantasy — and was last performed nearly a year ago in Paris.
Those who couldn’t make it to France in 2016 have a chance to see the show again on June 20th, 2017 at the Barbican Centre. Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Eckehard Stier (with the London Symphony Chorus, acclaimed pianist Mischa Cheung and a full kazoo fanfare), the arrangements come from the same team behind Final Symphony, Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo. Uematsu himself will also be at the venue for a special ticketed, pre-concert Q&A session.
“Nobuo Uematsu has been a musical hero of mine for many years and it’s both a delight and a pleasure that we can celebrate his work with such an amazing concert in London,” said Symphonic Odysseys London producer, Thomas Böcker. “It’s always great to be back at the Barbican Centre, but I’m particularly excited that Uematsu-san can join us for what will be our 10th concert with the London Symphony Orchestra. Fans will not want to miss hearing Uematsu’s classic compositions, along with some of his less well known, but equally wonderful works too.”
Tickets go on sale February 10th with prices between £30 ($38) to £65 ($82). Tickets for the pre-concert talk with Nobuo Uematsu will also go on sale at the same time, priced at £10 ($13) each. Those interested can buy their tickets through the Symphonic Odysseys site or directly from the Barbican Centre. Below is the announced set list:
The Final Fantasy Legend / Final Fantasy Legend 2
On Windy Meadows (from Final Fantasy XIV)
Waterside (from Blue Dragon)
Final Fantasy Concerto – For Piano and Orchestra
King’s Knight BGM – Pretty Day Out – (from King’s Knight)
Light of Silence (from Chrono Trigger)
Spreading Your Wings (from The Last Story)
Lost Odyssey Suite
If you can’t make the show or are just looking to relive Merregnon’s past performances check out Ryan’s recent article on the vinyl editions of both Final Symphony and Symphonic Fantasies from Laced Records.
Let it not be said that the east coast gets all the good VGM events. This weekend in San Jose, Rockage has returned for three days of gaming, music and fun.
Rockage: San Jose is a celebration of indie music & retro gaming. Rockage is more than just an annual event- we support indie musicians and gaming culture on the West Coast year-round.
Much like MAGFest (and a nice precursor to MAGWest later this year), Rockage features tons of retro and indie gaming, but also local VGM bands, artists and composers to rock out to while you attend the event. This year’s lineup includes two performances by FTL: Faster Than Light composer Ben Prunty, who had a killer set at the MAGFest Jamspace at PAX South recently.
For those making the trek to San Antonio, Texas this weekend to attend PAX South 2017, and are interested in the video game music and audio side of things, here’s a quick and handy list of both the musical performances playing at the event, as well as the VGM, music industry panels and any fun music-related panels to check out.
Friday Night (8pm – 11:30pm CST)
Saturday Night (8pm – 11:30pm CST)
Game Panels & Tournaments
You can check out the entire PAX South schedule here. Hopefully you’re able to check out one or all of these music and audio related events going on this year, and if you do let us know what you thought!
It’s been just over a week since MAGFest 2017 and a great deal of decompressing was required to be able to properly sum up this year’s experience. I was fortunate enough to see more performances than I normally would (thanks to a willingness to be dragged around), and therefore think I have a pretty good account of just how well this year’s prime Music and Gaming Festival went.
From the main stage to the underground to the secret shows, this year’s MAGFest was a solid lineup and featured a bit of everything to tickle your fancy.
Coming off of Patient Corgi’s mega collaboration, Tribute Album 64, Vancouver’s video game medley band, The Runaway Four, have announced the release of their first studio album on January 20th. Titled Chaos Theatre the 45 minute album offers five tracks of themed medleys with tunes from 31 different games mingling and mixing together.
In the opening track “This Game is Baroquen”, you’ll hear Final Fantasy, ActRaiser, Super Mario RPG, Columns and Katamari beautifully intertwined and played in a classical baroque style. The next three medleys are themed around the video game tropes of Ice Worlds, Fire Worlds and Battle Themes.
In “Borreal Bedlam” Earthbound flows into Donkey Kong Country into Kirby’s Dream Course among 8 other themes. On “Magma Mayhem” you’ll hear Diddy Kong Racing mingle into Super Mario RPG and charge into “Hot Damned” from Super Meat Boy. “Battle Royale” is a 17-minute track that melds 15 different battle themes from games including Chrono Cross, Bahamut Lagoon, Kirby Super Star, Pokemon R/B/Y and even Mega Man. Finally, there’s “Your Sanctuary”, a medley of themes from Earthbound which the band describes as “the warm hug at the end of the journey”.
Chaos Theatre will be released January 20th on The Runaway Four’s Bandcamp page and kicked off with a live show and listening party at Seven Dining Lounge in Vancouver. For those not on the continent or in the area they’ll also be streaming the event live on their Twitch channel. In the meantime, check out some of The Runaway Four’s past performances on YouTube and their previous release Live at Columbia Theatre on Bandcamp.
I was unable to make MAGFest again this year, but am very happy that MAGFest’s channel has videos available of some key events. As things only just wrapped up a few days ago I expect the list of videos to grow. I wrote about the videos they posted from the 2016 event which you can revisit here.
I have added the MAGFest Underground Playlist above, which features some awesome performances by Cowabunga Pizza Time, Gimmick, Jackal, Michael Zucker, Search Snake, Steel Samurai, Super Guitar Bros., Super Soul Bros., The Mountain Chiefs, The Tiberian Suns and Triforce Quartet (who I said was runner up for best arranged album of 2016).
There are plenty more concert videos and panel videos you can watch directly on MAGFest channel. Keep checking back as I’m sure there will be more videos added soon.
Did you attend MAGFest this year, is there a panel or concert that you saw that you really enjoyed? Let us know!
MAGFest 2017 is only two days away and we’re furiously prepping ourselves for the event festivities. For those also attending, full announcements and a guidebook for the event are now available. Beyond the music artist lineup we announced earlier, you can check out the list of guests, MCs and a whole lot more gaming music-related information. Highlights include:
Guest composers, including Alexander Brandon (Dues Ex), Davis Wise (Donkey Kong Country, Yooka-Laylee), Austin Wintory (Journey, The Banner Saga) and more.
Game Voice Actors, such as Ellen McLain (Portal), John Patrick Lowrie (Team Fortress 2), Matt Mercer (Resident Evil 6, Overwatch) and others.
The full guidebook for the event can be found here or on the main MAGFest website. Currently the Gaylord has a few extra rooms opened up, so if you are thinking of pulling a last minute attendance, you should jump on that now. Additional information can be found streaming regularly leading up to and during the event on the MAGFest Twitter and Facebook pages.
See you at the show! (Unless you sadly must miss it, in which case you can find the show streaming on Twitch!)
Next month marks the 15th year of the main iteration of MAGFest; the music and gaming festival that started in 2002 and has blown up into a series of multiple nerd music culture events since. Returning to Nation Harbor to the Gaylord National Hotel from January 5-8th, the event is expected to sell out of badges, so if you were waiting on the full announcements of who will be performing this year before jumping on registering, we’ll help you out.
Last week marked the final music performance announcements for MAGFest 2017. Over the past month, video game artists and bands, chiptune artists and nerdcore performers have been steadily revealed for the upcoming event. If you hadn’t been keeping up, here’s the full lineup:
Square Enix held a livestream in Japan on Wednesday, October 26th to finally go in-depth on NieR: Automata. Naturally, it’s all in Japanese but there was plenty to see and hear as the team showed off the game, its Collector’s Edition contents and talked up the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live Blu-ray that we covered last month.
The half-hour gameplay demonstration starts at the 19 minute mark and finally shows off the larger world that ties together the boss fights and cutscenes we’ve seen of the game so far. There’s a subtle piano ambiance through most of the footage that ramps up during fights and a nice new town tune similar to “City of Commerce” from the original game. The majority of the demo shows off the special skills and abilities of main character, 2B, and her accompanying bots. One of which is a vastly simplified fishing mechanic for those who remember the overwhelming frustrations from the previous game.
After the demo the team talks up the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live Blu-ray which is releasing in Japan on December 14th. They end the segment by showing the entire “Song of the Ancients / Fate” performance from the Blu-ray which makes a fairly compelling argument to pick up it up come December. The livestream ends with a new trailer that highlights the voice actors for the Japanese version of the game and is ironically lacking almost any actual voice acting. It is, however, full of new sights and surprises and is accompanied by another new piece of music from series composers Keiichi Okabe.
Have a look and listen for yourself above, check out the game’s official site for a few more background tracks and then continue waiting (im)patiently for the February 23, 2017 release date.
… soon … well, in December, actually. When it comes out, first week of December, we will distribute the codes.
But for now, we thought we’d announce the winners! The five of you will receive an email from me [Patrick] today, and separate emails when the Bandcamp distribution codes are ready in early December. Now then, drumroll please…
Oliver R. / Jack de N. / Véronique M. / Sabin Figaro / Jack W.
For those who wanted to know the answer to our entrance quiz: “In Cosmic Star Heroine, there is a particular bounty hunter who has quite the affinity for capes: can you tell us his name, and his weapon of choice?”
Name: Z’xorv | Weapon: Claws
And now you know! We wish we could’ve given away codes to everyone! For those of you who still want it, remember that you can preorder it for 7 GBP here.
Fans of Final Fantasy X will be getting treated to a special concert in Cologne, Germany on Oct 8, 2016. “Dreams of Zanarkand – Final Fantasy X” will be performed by the WDR Orchestra, who also did all the “Symphonic” Game Music Concerts 2008-2011 by Thomas Böcker, with piano performed by Benyamin Nuss and arrangements created by Masashi Hamauzu, who composed on Final Fantasy X with Nobuo Uematsu, and Benyamin Nuss.
“Dreams of Zanarkand” marks the first time a video game music concert in Europe has been dedicated to solely one game. Events of the game will be narrated by Maxi Gstettenbauer, a comedian and game tester. If you speak German, you can find out more information on the event’s Facebook Page, as well as purchase tickets for the October 8th showing.