There was a ridiculous amount of music featured at MAGFest this year. Not only were there the main stage acts that we’ve been covering a daily basis (we’ll have last night’s concert with the Earthbound Papas ready for you early next week as we process the slew of photos), there were also chiptune shows (more coverage later) as well as the regular jam space and a second stage with performances scheduled throughout the day.
Due to the hectic scheduling with so many things going on at once, I had to hand pick the acts to see on the second stage. The OneUps were an obvious pick, but after hearing Rare Candy at MAGFest VIII, I really wanted to hear them again, and Battlecake impressed me so much with their arrangement of the Songs for the Cure ’11: Remedy album that I absolutely had to catch them as well.
Hit the jump for our impressions of their sets.
So yeah, other acts to play the second stage included Temp Sound Solutions, The Minibosses, Brentalfloss and many others, but I wanted to focus on these three. Stage 2 was set up in a similar fashion to the stages at previous MAGFest events with a much smaller room that was about the same size as the main stage at the Hilton Mark.
The first act I saw on the stage was Rare Candy. This group features some crazy guitar work that is actually performed on synth by Dominic Cerquetti, which is completely incredible to hear live. I’m not a guitarist, so I wouldn’t really know what things to listen for, but at times, the synth guitar was indiscernible from the real thing. They opened with “Rainbow Road,” which I had coincidentally been singing all morning long, and I loved their clean rock version of the track. They had an awesome version of the red soil area from Super Metroid with pads, belltones, and a high-pitched synth lead as well as a fun glockenspiel breakdown in their Ghouls and Ghosts performance. “Dark World” from A Link to the Past is always a hit as well as their fantastic version of the castle them from Super Mario World. They closed with a vocal performance from Plants vs. Zombies.
Next up were The OneUps. Yes, they had two performances at MAGFest X, one of the main stage, and one on the second stage. This actually worked really well as they focused on their new synthesized sound on the main stage and offered a ten year retrospective performance on the second stage featuring some of their old jazz arrangements that hadn’t been performed in years, with Kunal Majmudar on keys. They opened with “Green Hill Zone” from Sonic the Hedgehog before launching in “Costa del Sol,” a rap version of the underground theme from Super Mario Bros. (with killer bass), and their tribute to the much underappreciated Gitaroo Man. Fans responded to “African Mine” from Ducktales as well as “Hell March” from Red Alert. They closed out their set with “Mario Circuit” from the Super Mario Kart Album (complete with their music video projected on the wall) and two tracks (Contra and Castlevania) from the Intergalactic Redux CD to give a preview of their next performance.
Last up was an act that I was ecstatic to see listed on the performance roster. Battlecake blew me away with their “Rainbow Road to the Moon” track on Songs for the Cure ’11: Remedy, so there was no way I was going to miss them here at MAGFest. They did not disappoint, either, performing said piece along with “Scars of Time,” a loose version of “Brinstar” with some nice rhythmic variations, and an impressive rock/orchestral arrangement from Shadow of the Colossus that I would never have expected to hear at MAGFest.
My favorites from their set included “The Promise” and “Blinded by Light” from Final Fantasy XIII, the former with a sweet electric piano and loose electric guitar, and the latter with a more energetic fusion sound. Their Chrono Trigger segment opened with the guitarist slapping the frets to create that “tick-tock” sound before launching into the main theme with masterful cameos of “Frog’s Theme” that would have been easy to miss as they were implemented so well. Finally, they closed with the Skyward Sword main theme with an accordion that transitioned into a synth rock arrangement, and Skyrim which took on a sort of jig-like atmosphere with its continued use of accordion. In all, I had a great time at their set despite some mixing issues on the stage.
While there were countless other acts on stage 2, I couldn’t catch them all. I had a blast hearing what little I could, and you can be sure we’ll have more coverage from night 3 and the chiptune concerts in the coming days. Stay tuned!
Let us know what you think of the two performances by The OneUps, and whether or not you’re a fan of Battlecake (you should be!).