Archive for Concerts

A Belated Post On MAGfest

I am so proud of myself. I have always wanted to do a convention write up but always forget to do so in a timely fashion. BUT NOT THIS TIME! IT’S MAGFEST POST TIME!

Originally I wasn’t that eager to go to MAGfest, I really only wanted to go because of peer pressure. I thought it was gonna be lots of long lines to play video games. I love video games, but I hate long lines. I also didn’t think there’d be a lot of cosplay going on. I figured the best thing going on would be partying with my friends.

What I was psyched about was our Sci-Fi & Anime club chartering a bus to take everyone there. It was a million times better than hauling our bags to Manhattan and getting a bus to D.C, and then a cab to the hotel. The seats were pretty damn comfortable and the bus ride was fun because the bus was full of cool people! Except for that one guy I won’t name who was late and publicly shamed and chided for being late.

I also got more excited about MAGfest when I found out about MAGfest Pokemon League. I bred and trained a bunch of competitive pokemon the week before and leveled them up on the busride. A friend of mine was also kind enough to help me out by gifting me a few of his pokemon, but he was a loser and didn’t give them all the awesome nicknames I thought up to spite me. It was quite sad since I take pride in coming up with fun nicknames, but all is forgiven. I even got him a keychain of his favorite pokemon in the dealers room to say thanks, but let’s continue!

When we got to the Gaylord National Resort I was really shocked at how huge it was. I knew it was huge and had seen pictures, but I didn’t think it was as huge as it was. I could post pictures but you really need to see it in person to understand.

After checking in the first thing we did was sign up at the Pokemon table for team Aqua, and I entered my pokemon team  so I could battle gym leaders. I challenged the electric gym because there wasn’t a line. I wasn’t sure if I’d win because it was my first time battling these guys (or seriously battling in general), but my based quagsire, Swagsire, wiped out the gym and I got a badge! I lost every other gym battle for the duration of the convention, but it was ok I still had fun and Ash-earned a badge on Sunday.

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badges on my team rocket hat: poison, electric,  and a tsun-tsun moon button that is not a badge, but is cool enough to be one.

Basically Sunday morning we found the Poison gym in an non-standard location. I lost 3-0, but he gave me the badge anyway because he said he was leaving early! The normal gym leader was fun. I would have won against him if I remembered wigglytuff was also fairy type. I would have done better in general if I knew more about pokemon that came after gen II, but I still had fun. Hopefully I’ll get some actual badges next year!

On Saturday we cosplayed Team rocket for fun, and because it’s a relatively easy cosplay. To my surprise there were a lot of serious cosplayers running around. I didn’t take too many photos though. Here’s one of us with more team rocket members. I regret not bringing my mew and wooper poke-dolls.

magfestteamrocketOn Saturday we also went to a Katamari music pannel, the composers were taking question with the aid of a Japanese-English translator. I don’t think anyone asked them about drugs. If I wasn’t running on very little sleep I would have considered asking if hallucinogens or any other kind of substance played a role. The best “question” was one student telling them the song You Are Smart helped him study for his finals. The composers were also really surprised they had so many fans outside of Japan, it was kind of adorable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe also saw the band Lonely Rolling Stars later that day. They were pretty good, but they needed more and stronger vocals for most of their songs. And having the lyrics up at the end of their cover of Lonely Rolling Star would’ve helped the audience sing along like they seemed to have wanted us to. I wanted to sing along, but remembering Japanese lyrics is always something I’ve struggled with. That evening we saw the end of The Megas before we saw some of Powerglove.

Sunday we spent some time in the indie game room. My favorite indie game was Shutshimi. You play as goldfish with guns and shoot things. The levels go by really quickly, it’s not that easy to describe, but I really enjoyed it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also spent some time in the actual game room, which was huge. We did it either early in the day or late at night when it wasn’t as crowded. They had actual computers from the 80’s there with 80’s games on them. Tons of old arcade games. Tons of rhythm games. And all of it was free. I liked it, but you have to go at an odd time of day to not spend forever waiting for people to finish so you can get a turn. That type of thing brings back too many painful childhood memories of me waiting for my cousin to give me a turn on Super Mario 64.

On Sunday we also took a detour and visited the big ferris wheel we saw when we arrived!

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There was also a Peeps store. We had to go. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunday evening we went to see The Protomen concert. Earlier at the con we stopped by their table in the dealer’s room. Scott bought their album on a cassette tape (it came with a download code as well) and a t-shirt. He’d seen them before a couple of years and was adorably excited to be seeing them live again.  I think Scott being adorably excited to go was my favorite thing about the con 🙂 He also played some of their songs for me years ago, which I wasn’t that crazy about. They were much better live. It was a really fun concert.

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The lights made my wooper keychain all glowy and I thought it was cool. Don’t judge me.

The concert was especially fun because things kept breaking, but they just kept going along with it. All of the songs were great. They even did a pretty decent Queen cover. And I’m pretty harsh critic when it comes to Queen covers. Scott said the audience could have been into it more, but I’d blame that on a lot of them just going because it was another concert they could easily get into, or to check the band out. It wasn’t just fans who knew all of their songs like at a concert you’d pay for. After going to this I’d absolutely pay to go see them live if they ever come back to play in NYC. I’m still not crazy about their studio recordings, and wish the lyrics were a bit easier to understand, but I don’t care that much. Also since I haven’t played the mega man games it’d be nice if someone made a summary of what story line the game actually has, and what The Protomen expanded for their rock opera. I still don’t have much of an idea as to what their story line is, but again, I don’t care that much because they put on a fun show.

Monday we spent a little bit more time in the game room before we left in hopes of beating the impending Snowmageddon happening back in New York. Overall it was a fun convention. Next year I want to focus more on concerts, and hope to win more badges… assuming I can go next year 🙂 (I think it’s a yes)

Bought him last minute on Monday!

Bought him last minute on Monday! His stand is actually upside down, and I did fix it, but I’m too lazy to take another photo.

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Concert Review: Distant Worlds

I forget exactly how long ago Scott got us tickets for the Distant Worlds concert at Prudential Hall in Newark, NJ, but it was quite some time ago. I remember not being that eager to go because of the price, but figured it’d be fun, plus it was in the afternoon so I wouldn’t have to deal with coming home from New Jersey late at night. Plus Newark doesn’t have the best reputation, but let’s get back to the concert!

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I wasn’t that crazy about the first half of the show. My main problem was the damn screen seen in the picture above. They used it to play Final Fantasy clips during the concert for every song. I felt that it really took away from the music, blocked some of the chorus from my viewpoint and made it feel more like I was watching an amv or something, especially since the acoustics in the hall weren’t that great. They started off with some music from Final Fantasy XIV (which I haven’t played). I wasn’t really feeling the songs. At some point they played something from XIII or whichever one had Lightning in it. I didn’t play that game but based on the clips I understand what people say about the game being waifu fodder, and the music wasn’t that memorable. They ended the first act with a version of the Chocobo theme, it was cute, but once again I found the use of the screen annoying. I think they were trying to be cute and fun with it, but again, I found it very distracting from the music.

After intermission they got to good stuff, One Winged Angel, Suteki Da Ne, and the opera from Final Fantasy VI.They also did a song from VIII which was nice. My biggest complaint once again was the damn screen. I wanted to actually feel some music feels when they played One Winged Angel, but the first thing on that screen was a closeup of old school graphics Sephiroth, and then him staring at “mother,” I’ve seen too many parodies and jokes that I thought it was funny and couldn’t take it seriously anymore. Then they started showing clips from Advent Children, reminding me that that movie was the most confusing thing I’ve ever watched in my life.

Suteki Da Ne was wonderful, even with the damn screen. Rikki was perfect. Seriously everything about Rikki’s performance was perfect. Her dress was beautiful, sadly I didn’t get to take any pictures. But this was absolutely the best part of the show.

The opera was also pretty good. It gets points for being the only time I felt any vibrations during the show thanks to the female vocalist. Not feeling vibrations during One Winged Angel was especially disappointing. I want to blame Prudential Hall for me not feeling any vibrations, but I can’t be sure. Like I know if this was at Carnegie Hall, or Avery Fischer Hall and I felt no vibrations it’d be solely the fault of Distant Worlds. Also when the opera was starting everyone laughed at those old school pixels on the screen from FFVI

They ended the show with some battle music and the Final Fantasy credits music. For that bit they played credits on the screen, which I felt was the only time that screen was really appropriate or worth it. It also turned out Nobuo Uematsu was there, he made a brief appearance and bowed at the end of the show 🙂 even though I think getting a picture with him would’ve been impossible, it was nice to be in the same room as him.

Final Words

Overall I found the concert enjoyable. I would’ve been upset about the ticket price ($80+) had Rikki not graced us with her amazing presence and made up for all of the shows downfalls. Again, I suspect the acoustics of the hall were bad but I cannot be sure. I also think that this concert was not as great as it could have been because the organizers felt the need to pander more to young people by changing it up from a traditional classical concert. We could have had fun without the screen. I think I would’ve enjoyed the music more, and would’ve been able to immerse myself in the music had that screen not been there and had the hall’s acoustics been better. I’ve seen this pandering to “new” fans really take away from a number of things in the past. Like the stupid amps being used for the Zelda concert, and these really weird costumes and set designs in a production of La Boheme they did a live broadcast of at my high school circa 2007. Classical music can be fun for newer people, you just need to have a fun attitude and not try too hard. Trying too hard to be cute is what ruins things. And a lack of vibrations. Especially a lack of vibrations.

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Nintendo, I am no longer disappoint.

Now you may remember, a while back I wrote this post about how disappoint I was with Nintendo’s event in Times Square promoting the new Super Mario Bros. game.

Today I went to an event at Nintendo World, the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, to be precise. The event didn’t start until 6pm, but we got there around 12. I guess I’ll divide this into two parts, the waiting on line, and the main event.

The Waiting On Line

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I must say, the organization was pretty damn good. They had barriers, they gave out numbered wrist bands and keepsake tickets to the people on line, the Rockefeller Center security guards were present. It was wonderful!

When we got there, there weren’t that many people ahead of us, but in the end we still didn’t get the free stuff because we weren’t among the first 25. I was number 39. At least that doesn’t hurt as much as being number 26. That aside, we talked with some cool people near us on the line while we waited. My street passes from New York greatly outnumbered my street passes from Jersey 🙂 That was the good part of being on line, the bad follows.

We forgot to bring a blanket, so we sat on the ground for the most part, but that was the least of what went wrong. For some reason Bronies decided to have a meetup at this Nintendo event, and they congregated near us. They were annoying as hell. The best way to describe them is socially awkward nerds with my little pony buttons all over them. Listening to their conversations was almost unbearable. There were also a fair amount of n00bs. One guy started asking Scott if he lived “near here” and if he could help him beat Skyward Sword. Seriously? Get on game FAQs.

The Main Event

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They let us in around 6:15 or so. I bought a symphony of the goddess t-shirt, they sold out of ocarinas very fast. I was pretty disappointed the Link cosplayer had the Skyward Sword outfit on, but it turned out to be a girl cosplayer, and since I have no sexual attraction whatsoever towards Skyward Sword Link, I became okay with it. They had some presentation by an ocarina player about the instrument’s history and how to play one, but we didn’t really hang around for that. We watched the concert, which was great. I believe they had a violin, a viola (or a second violin, I couldn’t tell), a flute, a bass and a Lyon and Healy (for those who don’t know, L&H is pretty much the top harp manufacturer). There were no seats, I assume to fit more people in, so we sat on the floor.

The guy who did the arrangements spoke before the concert and trolled us, said he worked with Koji Kondo up until around noon and that he said hi. Made me think Koji might show up for a minute or two. Oh well. The music was great, except for a few assholes who were talking. My only complaint about the music was that they had everything connected to amps. I never like hearing acoustic stuff hooked up to amps, it takes the vibrations away. And the room wasn’t that big, if everyone shut up they may have been able to get away without using amps.Or maybe if they just had amps playing the music for the people downstairs.

After the concert was over they were doing a meet and greet/autograph session. Instead of hanging around I opted to take my picture with that Link cosplayer because the line was shorter.

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awwww yeaaaaaah gangnam style!!

My Final Thoughts 

It’s pretty obvious to me that they did this just to hype up the Symphony of the Goddess concert that’ll be in Madison Square Garden on November 28th. Originally I wanted to go, but after seeing this I’m not sure that I am. I know that it’ll be all amped out at MSG because that’s the type of venue it is. This type of concert would be much better suited for Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, or even the Metropolitan Opera House. Acoustic music doesn’t feel live if you can’t feel the vibrations, and amps totally take that away. Not sure it’s worth blowing $50+ on.  I also regret not asking if they’d be using a Steinway. Defiantly not worth blowing $50+ on if they’ll be using a Yamaha.

Seriously Nintendo, the concert halls I mentioned were designed to amplify, yes they are smaller, but why not just play for 2 or 3 nights? *sigh* I guess they’re just catering to the videogame crowd 😦

Oh well, you can enjoy this hilarious photo Scott managed to get

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SOON

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Awesome Music, Awesome T-shirts and Highly Amusing Drunk People

Last night Scott, my little sister, her friend and I went to see the Dropkick Murphys play at the Roseland Ballroom.

We saw this while waiting…

The doors were set to open at 6:30, we got there a little early and waited on line. Everyone on the line cheered when a Bud Light truck drove down the street. Other than that waiting on line sucked. I honestly don’t know why we got there early, but anyway…

When we got in we bought t-shirts! I scored an epic green shirt for $10 because it said 2010 on it. It was from their St. Patrick’s day concert last year in Boston and has a skeleton playing an accordion on it ^^ But these aren’t the awesome t-shirts I’m talking about. The awesome shirts I’m talking about were ones I saw other people wearing. There was a fat dude that had a shirt that said “everyone loves a fat guy” and there was another guy with a shirt that read “you can’t fix stupid” on the front and “stupid is forever!” on the back.

After that we found places we could sit fairly close to the stage. I wanted to be closer to the stage and go stand, but I am/was still in the recovery process from my last Crohn’s flare up and couldn’t stand too long without feeling like I needed to run to the bathroom. If I can sit and relax when my colons acting up I can make it calm down.. and I wasn’t about to be soaked, soiled and brown in the trousers so I kept my decent seat for most of the night.

The Parkington Sisters was the first opening band. They played folk music reminiscent of the Irish sort.. but that isn’t the best description. I liked their music, all of their songs sounded different and they had nice melodies and vocals. They didn’t play for that long, I think they only played 3 or 4 songs.

Next up was the band Off With Their Heads. They’re a punk band and I didn’t really like them. They were way too loud.. the amps were doing that horrible screechy thing they do when they’re too loud. They caused my sister and her friend (who were out on the floor) to go temporarily deaf for the rest of the night, but luckily I was by Scott who had ear plugs. We offered the girls earplugs when they came back to where the seats were (a mosh pit turned into a fight and they decided to get out of there) but it was too late. Also, all of their songs sounded the same. And they played for too damn long. But in all fairness I listened to some of their recordings on youtube, they sounds much better that way because there’s no screechy amps.

Now I was only expecting two opening bands.. so when a third went up I was kind of irked. The next band that was up was Against Me! They were a good band and their amps weren’t screechy. They also had some really nice harmonies in their songs. However, I didn’t really enjoy the performance because of the following reasons: (1) I was pissed there were 3 opening bands instead of the 2 I thought there would be, (2) I was annoyed from listening to Off With Their Heads for so damn long. Anyway, I would have enjoyed them much more if it weren’t for those reasons…  also the band member in the left of the photo had a really epic beard. It doesn’t show up in the picture well but his epic beard deserves props.

FINALLY

Finally, after them we got to see the Dropkick Murphys. It was about 9:30 at that point. But from this point onward, things got so freaking awesome because the Dropkick Murphys are so damn awesome.

This was the point where I was pissed I wasn’t feeling well. I swear, next time I see them I’m holding a place at the front so I can get on stage for “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced.” In some ways I prefer the recordings to the live shows, only because the amps were drowning out the vocals when they have such kick ass voices. But you can’t experience the real life awesomeness listening to the CD. I love these guys, their music always leaves you with a strong desire to get the man and with strong feeling that if you stick with your friends you can 😀 Not to mention the bag pipes, banjo, accordion and violin add some really nice uniqueness to their sound. Irish punk is the only way I can think to describe it! Towards the end of the show we stood at the back of the floor for a song or two. It was awesome.

I definitely plan on seeing them again. Hopefully I’ll be able to see them on St. Patrick’s day in Boston at some point in my life.

That would have been a nice ending to the post but I have drunk people stories to tell!!

We were actually sitting right next to the river of people walking to and from the bar. As the night went on the amounts of people became more plentiful and the people became drunker. We had beer spilled on our shoes, once as a guy was carrying it, twice because some drunkards left their half full cups next to the platform our feet were on XD

In addition to that, a drunk crowd surfer girl fell in between my sister and her friend and talked to my sister’s friend for a bit. Then some random dude told my sister’s friend either “you have the best seats in the house,” or “have a beer on the house.” When the Dropkick Murphys were playing some drunk girl, carrying three cups of beer and looking frustrated says to my sister’s friend “please take one!” in a childlike tone. My sister’s friend being a good under age child said no. That poor drunk girl seemed so disappointed she didn’t take one.

Those bartenders probably made so much money last night…

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Advant Garde: Just Say No

Last night was one of the weirdest most tedious nights of my life.  My father got tickets through work for a concert at the Park Avenue Armory. It was the most beautiful building I have ever been in, in my life. I should have brought a camera. But not even a camera could capture every intricate detail of the Tiffany stained glass and chandeliers and all of the wood carvings in the ceilings and on the walls.

Anyway, onto the horror of the night. So my dad got the tickets because the armory rented some pianos. My father figured the concert would be modern but pretty normal because it had pianos in it. How wrong he was.

We saw powerLESS, a part of the Tune-in Music Festival.  The first piece, “in vain” had a title that fit the piece. It was literally in fucking vain. There was a harp in that piece. And the harp made horrible dissonant noise. Believe me when I say it’s pretty hard to make a harp sound awful, but this piece managed to do it. There was no beat, no melody, constant tension and no resolution at all. At two points during the show the lights were shut off leaving us and the musicians in total darkness. The first time it hurt my eyes because they kept trying to see… in vain *eyeroll* The second time it didn’t hurt my eyes, but then they started using a strobe light in split second flashes to bring more pain to my eyes. The darkness bits were each about 10-15 minutes long, with the whole piece being at least an hour. Then it ended. I was so happy that damn noise was over. But to my surprise, the audience was cheering as if they *loved* it…. like they wanted a damn encore. I even overheard someone say, “they need more of this at Carnegie Hall” The only thing that would have been better about hearing that in Carnegie Hall is having more comfortable chairs to fall asleep in >.>

There were also some people that left over that. My dad over heard someone say “can you believe that they would leave now?!”  … I can, why couldn’t they?

There was an intermission and the next piece was going to be a “vocalist.” After the first performance I had a strong feeling the second was not going to involving singing. And I was right. The next piece was some average looking normal guy sitting in a chair speaking gibberish for half an hour. In retrospect it’s hilarious, but while watching it at times it was agonizing. And when he was finished, once again, the audience went wild. I mean I found it interesting but didn’t get it…

After that we left. It was getting kind of late and we had a feeling of what the rest of the show would be like. I may have been able to stand it if it was during the afternoon, but totally not a Friday night. On a Friday night I want a show that will get me worked up for the weekend, or a show that I can relax while watching and unwind. No avant garde. NEVER AGAIN!

Anyway, on the ride home my father and I were discussing where the hell the audience came from. His theory is that they were classical music burnouts. From very young ages they were raised on classical music and had it in their lives constantly, then they burned out and started seeking… well whatever it was we heard last night.

In the end, the Armory is beautiful and I really want to go back there to see more of it and avant garde is stupid.

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