We heard a lot of chiptune artists at the New Year’s Eve party, but there was a lot more to hear and love following last night’s three-act set ending with the epic performance by Metroid Metal. Things were off to a late start, as the chiptunes concert began at around 2:00 AM and went well into the morning, but despite my aching feed, ringing ears, and sleepless state of being, I stuck through it. For you!
The evening featured a long lineup of artists, including NAXAT, Dauragon, Inverse Phase, virt, Zen Albatross, Animal Style, and Cheap Dinosaurs in that order. There were some highs and some lows, but for the most part, I couldn’t complain, as there was lots of variety to be had and even a few surprises.
Find out what happened at last night’s chiptune concert after the jump.
The night began with NAXAT, an odd character who triggered chiptunes he had created while he jammed along on an electric guitar. The combination produced a unique sound, but the highlight of his set was his quirky sense of humor. Next up was a huge surprise, Dauragon, a local chiptune artist who is just getting started, and man was his stuff amazing. Imagine heavy hip-hop and rap beats done chiptune style. That’s what Dauragon is all about, and it was raw, heavy, and wet, and had everyone in the room dancing or bopping their heads. He also had a fun stage presence, sneaking back over to the mic multiple times to respond to people in the audience.
Next up, MAGFest organizer Brendan Becker to to the stage as Inverse Phase to DJ for his first time in front of an audience. I’ll admit there were some rocky patches, as Brendan didn’t quite know when to be quiet and get on with the music (he’ll learn the proper balance of talking and music as he performs more), but I enjoyed his C64 tunes, which were mainly covers of popular songs. I particularly enjoyed his cover of Weezer’s “Say it Ain’t So.” He also had a track from his recent Guilty Gear 8-bit album. The best thing about his set was the live-streaming of the tracker on the monitor, showing everyone in the audience exactly how he went about creating these tracks.
Our friend virt then took to the stage wearing shorts and some awesome rainbow-colored socks. As promised, he came with a keyboard this time as opposed to his DJ set on New Year’s Eve. His set was of course brilliant. He went from funky chip goodness, to Chinese-inspired material ala Autumntunes, to 8-bit Michael Jackson with “Thriller,” to some awesome raggae goodness with Priest Cave, a duo of virt and Dan “Prozax” Orosz. I’d never heard Priestcave’s music before, so this was much appreciated. Jake also brought out music from his most recent videogame project, the upcoming Shantae on the DSiWare, playing three tracks that were all a lot of fun. He also included his Dragon Spirit 80s/chiptune arrangement, featuring Jake himself on vocals, which was completely awesome. He ended the set DJing tracks from the rising chiptune star, Coda, who we also talked about in our Autumntunes review, and I can’t agree more that the super-upbeat sound he creates are absolutely amazing.
Zen Albatross was next, but he disappointingly performed the same set from the New Year’s Eve party the night before. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, but I was hoping for some more music from him. Animal Style followed with some heavy bass that sounded like FM synthesis. I loved this unique sound, and yes, I overheard him talking about his name coming from the In N Out “animal style” meaning to come with special sauce and grilled onions. The last act of the night was one that everyone had been talking about, so it’s a shame that they didn’t get on stage until 5:00 AM. Cheap Dinosaurs appropriately featured a caveman-like vibe with gutteral percussion and bass, working the remaining audience members into a frenzy.
Overall, it was a great night for chip music. It’s unfortunate that the show got off to such a late start, as most people went to bed after virt was finished, but for those who stuck around, there was more great music to be had. I probably enjoyed virt and Duaragon’s set the most, and am looking forward to hearing more from Duaragon in the future. This is just the official first night of MAGFest, so there’s a lot more music coming: stay tuned!
Do you have a favorite artist aside from virt in the lineup from last night? Are there artists that you wish had made it out to MAGfest this year?Animal Style, Cheap Dinosaurs, Concerts, Inverse Phase, MAGFest, MAGFest 8, Michael Jackson, NAXAT, Shantae, virt, Zen Albatross