Chip Music, Featured, Indie Music

Non Stop Dance Party Never Gonna Stop: Live Chipmusic for Broken Hearts Report

February 17, 2011 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook Non Stop Dance Party Never Gonna Stop: Live Chipmusic for Broken Hearts Reporton Twitter

It started as a small joke, a little playful comment while talking to my confidant Wizwars. “When I return to Los Angeles this winter, put on a show for me. Set up a chiptune show for us to dance and sweat all night long. Most importantly, dedicate it to me.” With this small tease to satisfy my ever growing ego, one which will most definitely swallow me and cause my unfortunate early demise, the Los Angeles based chiptune artist wasted little time. It seemed only hours after my comment, the show was starting to take shape in his mind. Los Angeles isn’t known as the most booming city when it comes to chip music shows with the intense competition between young aspiring talents being centered in the Hollywood hills and beyond, and the few shows that were booked by what seemed to be apple eating monkeys with little clue of the immense and interesting scene. Location shortages and logistic challenges might have stalled the scene from growing at the rate it has on the east coast but with some new faces and energy on the scene, the slow pace has hopefully come to an end. With this show, the west coast was finally ready to set in motion their efforts to truly establish a fully breathing, growing scene for the chiptune community to take notice of.

And hey, guess who was in town to see it? Yes, the day before Valentines I was crusin’ down the boulevard of Pasadena like they were the streets of Siam, and on this night we were all truly winners. What had started as a simple ego pleaser for his friend had now grown into a proving ground of sorts. The line-up had become a great mix of great establish talents such as Trash80 and Wizwars himself, along with all newer acts like Space Town Savior. Live Chipmusic for Broken Hearts was to be the time when LA chip talent truly showed what they can dish out and offer.

Find out how it went and watch footage from the show after the jump!

Sadly I arrived at the venue, MEOWMEOWZ! Rock Shop, a bit late and famished from hunger. Despite the stellar opening acts of Elekid! and The Silph Scope, I ventured to the local Subway to fill my empty belly with a sandwich. Even though the sandwich was tasty, with honey mustard and chicken breast to quench my appetite, I returned to MEOWMEOWZ! only to have missed Silph Scope by a fraction of a second. As such I can’t really comment directly on their sets, though the word was strong among the crowds during the intermission for setting up the next act, with the only minor complaint being about some of the tuning and unclear sounds of Silph Scope’s guitar playing.


Visit Elekid!’s Website

The Silph Scope

Visit The Silph Scope’s Website

Space Town Savior
I did make it back in time to catch this young man however. While the other acts on the lineup were names I recognized and had varying degrees of familiarity to, Space Town Savior was completely unknown to me prior to seeing him announced. Always curious to see new acts and discover hidden gems of music, I stepped into the technically infested sauna and lined myself hoping to be impressed.

A charismatic Vietnamese man took to the stage with a funky fresh tshirt and introduced himself before starting his set. It was immediately apparent to me that I had made the right choice checking this musician out, because his music would impress me more and more by each song. Taking ques from all sides of the genre, he mixed melodic leads with trash elements to form a somewhat unique style for himself. The atmosphere of his songs were undeniable, and Space Town Savior showcased himself as a versatile and diverse artist.

Visit Space Town Savior’s Website

For everyone who came out to Pasadena for this show, one character on location was unmissable and would have people either laughing or look bewildered if not both at the same time. It would be easy to describe Juan “KOOL SKULL” Larrazabal as hyperactive and dot in the period, but there’s more to him than just immense energy. Watching his set, it was one of the few times where I could say that someone music is a direct reflection of their person and character. KOOL SKULL is chiptrash, make no mistake about it. Sounds fly by at a million miles per hour and it becomes an audible nightmare which strangely doesn’t scare you.

It’s not my cup of tea purely musically, but his energy and presence definitely pulls you in and somehow, strangely, the things he says and does starts making sense subconsciously after hearing his music.

Visit Kool Skull’s Website

In addition to promoting and booking the show, naturally the big man would take the stage himself at one point during this show. Before starting the set he took the mic to thank everyone for coming and supporting the scene. Apparently there was a Norwegian journalist and friend of his in the audience that this night was dedicated to, and as such he rechristened the event to be called “AudiFest”. After thunderous applause and some females fainting by this announcement, he kicked off his music which was a selection of his works in 08-10. It seemed most of the crowd was relatively familiar with his works already as many sang along and as such, a few songs were reworked slightly in tempo to make things interesting for long time fans.

A personal highlight was the song “Right Back To You”. This song was taken out of his live performance rotation to allow room for newer material, but for this night only it was out of retirement as a tribute to his friend and his supporters. Crowd favorites like “Game Boy Rock!!”, “Telstar Arcade” and Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” all made an appearance and as Wizwars himself stated, this was a non stop dance party that’s never gonna stop.

Visit Wizwars’s Website

Mike Bleeds
While I had heard of his name, it was the very first time I would actually hear his music at this event. What was explained to me as “The danciest dance music I’ll ever hear” wasn’t all that far off. I would contest that Tom Jones has made me shake my fanny a bit more passionately, if not borderline sensually, Mike Bleeds delivered some crisp dance chips that got the crowd going.

While not his own fault by any means, the placing of his performance on the show was maybe a bit unfortunate as his similarities to Wizwars’s music was sometimes very apparent, and as such made me a bit desensitized to the beats after having just heard 40 minutes of similar material. His presence was also a bit more reserved than some of the others before him, something which led to a more toned down audience at times. Regardless, his music was stellar to say the least.

Visit Mike Bleeds’s Website

The show veteran and one of my all time favorite musicians, Trash80 has been one of the most beloved and appreciated chip musicians not only for his release of Icarus on 8bitpeoples in 2008, but also for his engineering skills and coding. Having only seen footage of his performances at Blipfest and various other small shows, I was feeling the butterflies as I saw him loading up his gear. He headlined the show of the night and offered a very different experience due to his set up with his channel mixer and laptop. To make things ever more interesting, he choose to do the show on the floor rather on the stage with his back facing the crowd and partaking in the dancing, surely to avoid becoming a hunchback from bending over the table. It would prove impossible for anyone not to move to his infectious dance beats, and his setlist consisted of all his very best material such as “Icarus”, “Robot Sneakers” “Sodium Sonet” and “Sidk-Fnck”.

The most humorous and memorable moment of his set however would be the performance of “Haunted Candies”. This is actually my favorite song of Trash80, and I had asked Wizwars specifically to request it for me so that I could get to experience it live. At first it was thought that the original music file had gone lost due to data loss and so it would be impossible to play it, but mere minutes before the show, the file was located on the laptop. Things didn’t go so swimmingly however as when he started the song, it turned out over half the channels were missing somehow, leading to a very different yet quite awesome take on the song. With his technical tinkering and most likely just luck, the channels reappeared halfway through, to which Trash80’s reaction was simply turning around to us with a deadpan look and proclaim “Oh, I fixed it” before turning around to resume his dancing. Even with the left out channels, it gave me a great look into some undiscovered parts of the song, and also a good laugh from a genuinely funny guy.

Visit Trash80’s Website

If Gordon Ramsey was a chip musician, this would be the show he’d put on. All local talents, small and intimate location, honest performances and raw passion for what one does. There’s bound to be some issues and hiccups with so much gear, especially when the most important component is often a 20 year old game device. But shows like these certainly aren’t about perfection, the close space makes for a more connected (though sweaty) crowd who all take part in the festivities, a stark contrast to other shows I’ve attended which were basically in a big white hall with echo and people scattered on the floor standing still. This crowd here came to dance and dance they did. Even with comical bias aside and removing my affiliation with some of the artists, it was truly a fun night for everyone and all the artists chipped in to help with whatever they could, working together to simply put on a fantastic show rather than just book a show and then sit back and hope things work out. Even as humbled as I felt when Audifest was mentioned, the proper name would be CalPals or something because this night had absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with them, and the show they put on is one I will not soon forget.

After the show was done, a SoCal based release was announced and also mentions of the show recording itself being put online was made, so keep on checking out the artists as they continue their great work, and check out a show by them if you come to the west coast area.
LA Chipthrash Show: Montage of Live Sessions from 02.13.11

Footage by Calvin Hleung

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