Game Music

MAGFest 8: Night 3 (Feat. A_Rival and The Smash Brothers!)

January 4, 2010 | | 4 Comments Share thison Facebook MAGFest 8: Night 3 (Feat. A_Rival and The Smash Brothers!)on Twitter

I can’t believe four days and three nights have already come and gone. MAGFest has been a blast. We’ve heard numerous amazing performances from a variety of bands, played a bunch of awesome games with friends and strangers alike (Super Bomberman and Typing of the Dead, I’m looking at you!), and reconnected with old friends and made new ones. MAGFest is a really amazing experience.

But for those of you who couldn’t make it out, you’re likely wondering what the last evening of concerts here at MAGFest held. It was a great roster last night with The Megas, Entertainment System, A_Rival, and the act I was looking forward to the most: The Smash Brothers, a band featuring Jake Kaufman, Sean “Ailsean” Stone, and many other guys that we like a whole lot.

So, did the final evening’s show close out MAGFest on a high note? Not quite, but more about that after the jump in our review of MAGFest 8 Night 3!

The Megas started the night early at around 7:15 PM, and they came knowing exactly what fans wanted to hear. For those who don’t know, The Megas are to Mega Man what Metroid Metal is to Metroid… kinda. While Metroid Metal plays heavy metal arrangements from the Metroid series, The Megas take a more pop rock approach with vocals to music from the Mega Man series. Last night’s performance focused mainly on Mega Man 2, including Air Man, Heat Man, Bubble Man, and a special performance of Crash Man featuring Mustin on keys, which was one of the highlights of the evening. There were a few tracks from Mega Man 3, and the band closed their set out with an awesome rendition of the ending from Mega Man 2. While I couldn’t really hear any of the lyrics that they were singing, I enjoyed their set, and want to hear them tackle Mega Man 9!

Next up was Entertainment System. They’re a pretty typical rock act tackling many of the usual suspects. They opened with a rockin’ arrangement of “Gerrudo Valley” before moving on to tracks like “Terra’s Theme,” “Fighting” from Final Fantasy VII, and my favorite from their set, “Bloody Tears” from Castlevania II. It was unfortunate that they were mixed so loudly, as it was really a bombardment of sound that made it difficult to pick out individual elements.

Now, I have to admit that I was expecting to dislike A_Rival. He had a brief appearance during The OneUps’ set a couple nights ago, and I figured his hip-hop style really wasn’t my thing.  He has, however, made a fan of me after last night. While he doesn’t really cover game music, his brother, DJ Circuit, creates some awesome hardcore chiptunes to support A_Rival’s often nerd-oriented rhymes. His style reminded me often of music from MadWorld. He had female vocal support from Amy, and their interaction both vocally and physically through their coordinated dance moves were impressive.

[A_Rival and Amy dance on stage in one of the highlights of the night]

The best part of A_Rival’s set was the audience participation. All weekend, people were doing this “Ruaghhh!” scream, mimicking Colossus from the X-Men arcade game. I have no idea why they were doing this, but I heard it about every 2 minutes from some corner of the hall, which usually resulted in several other people following. A_Rival thought this was hilarious, and talked about the X-Men arcade game for a moment, and worked the “Ruaghhh!” into his set instead of the typical “Hey, hey, hey!” during his tracks. This was great fun, and it was overall a great performance.

The final act of the evening was of course The Smash Brothers. I was super excited about their set, as I’d only seen them perform at the Final Fantasy XI Fan Festival in the past where they only performed tracks from the game. I made my way to the center of the stage and prepared myself to be amazed.

[Dan “Prozax” Orosz rockin’ out]

I’ll say that while The Smash Brothers got off to a great start with “Unicron’s Theme” from The Transformers and “Ass Honkey” (Ice Hockey), but as the evening progressed, it became blatantly obvious that something was wrong. I’m not going to call him out (he’s a cool guy), but I’ll say that one of the guitarists had a little too much to drink before the show. He continuously made his way over to the amp to turn up his volume, drowning out the rest of the band with several missnotes and crazy feedback that ruined the second half of the set that the rest of the band seemed intent on rushing through.

[Even with this set list, it was hard to figure out what they were going to be playing!]

It wasn’t all bad, as I mentioned the two tracks above were strong, and my favorite track of theirs of the night, “Persona,” kicked some serious ass and sounded great. However, many tracks I was looking forward to the most, including “Moon Stage” from Ducktales (which is one of the greatest songs ever), “Tyrano Lair” from Chrono Trigger, and the Katamari Damacy theme all suffered. Ducktales wasn’t terrible, but there were some missed notes. I admit it is a complex song, but it was a shame that they weren’t sounding their best. “Tyrano Lair,” on to other hand, was almost unlistenable with all the feedback and blurring of sounds. When Katamari Damacy came around, Mustin and Joe Cam (who earlier had prepared and served Swedish meatballs from a table at the back of the room, courtesy of The Smash Brothers) came to the stage to sing the main theme, injecting some great jokes about Dwelling of Duels and Snappleman, but at this point the guitarist set his guitar down entirely and tried multiple times to crowd surf. Needless to say, this didn’t work so well with a crowd of nerds in front of the stage, and he tried and failed numerous times. I suppose it was funny to watch him, but it was at the expense of the music.

[Norg’s Cookie Monster shirt was a big hit]

I was disappointed. There was a lot to love from the final night at MAGFest, but the band I was looking forward to the most let me down. I haven’t given up on them, of course, and I look forward to hearing them at their best in the future, but it was a terrible way to end four consecutive nights of talented bands and great music. I mostly feel bad for the rest of the band members who were ready to go and unfortunately had to rush through their set. The star of the night for me was A_Rival, and if you haven’t heard him, I recommend doing so with an open mind. Give him a chance, and he may just stick! That’s it for today, but stay tuned for a MAGFest recap from Audun in the coming days!

Do you have a favorite band from the four that performed last night? Are you at all surprised by how the evening ended?

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