Time to wrap up the event that was MAGFest XI.

As the highlight of the year, one could think it’s all downhill from here, but with the inspiration I get from the show, it’s really easy to just move towards MAGFest XII producing the art and comics I love the whole time! What helps is that there’s just so much Music at MAGFest, it’s hard to get through all of it in just one year. Without the VGM Remix and Rearrangement community, there would be no MAGFest and without MAGFest, there might not be so much drive in me these last two years. I’m very grateful to know and work with and learn from all the amazing musicians, DJ’s, MC’s and ReMixers who make the journey every year to the Nation’s Capitol to celebrate the thing we all love!

So, I admit, this year I only went to 4 concerts. The busy sales at my table combined with my night at the Lumberjack Lounge (and also, you know…actually sleeping at a reasonable hour) seriously curbed my time in head-bang mode. Still, the 4 shows I did see were awesome and really helped show how MAGFest really operates, it’s heart-beat revealed.

The show’s I saw were Thursday night’s line up of The OneUps, Metroid Metal and The Megas. I also went to Knight of the Round’s metal set Saturday afternoon, to hear them live and support the group the hired me as their album artist! I’ll talk about each performance below briefly, then discuss the other performances I missed, but have since caught up on thanks to this magical thing called the internet!

The OneUps – Longtime MAGFest performers, the OneUps revealed a vastly new look at sound last year at MAGFest X and it took the show by storm. They’ve since continued to bring the Funk and are really tightening up their sound, set and presence on stage. The 4 members, Tim “T-1000” Yarbrough, William “VCR” Reyes, Mr. Musin, and Jared “JBOOTY” Dunn are as smooth as their sound, flawlessly presenting each track with little shenanigans and just pure funk. They let their jams do all the talking. Well, except when Mustin gets pumped. They’re a highlight show for me every year and I can’t wait to hear their newest stuff, slated for 2013. The best part of their set was when the next performers, Metroid Metal decided to have a little fun behind the projection screens on stage. The band rolled with it, enjoyed it and it really showed how casual, fun, and close all of the performers are at MAGFest. They also presented Lucio, rapper and beat-maker extraordinaire in a preview of a new colab project between the two artists! As an encore, they brought out Brental Floss on keys to jam! William and Tim also spent some time in the Jam Space with a premier performance of their new duo: Altered Beasts!

Metroid Metal – Another long-time performer at MAGFest and the combination of many talented individuals from various groups in the scene. Danimal Cannon from Armcannon, Kirby from Temp Sound Solutions along with founding member Stemage, Bass from Chunkstyle and drum action by Kevin Lawrence make up the current line-up and they all know how to rock your face off. Their set was loud, energetic and really got people wound up for The Megas. They covered a wide range of Metroid games, not sticking to any one system or title too long. I did find some of their arrangements to be a bit different at times, but they always brought it back to the sounds we love.

The Megas – The Mega’s have been coming to MAGFest from California for the last 4 years. Last year, at MAGFest X I missed their show, but Jesse DuRona caught it and was instantly hooked. He’s been singing their praises (literally) all of 2012! I finally caught them live after hearing their stuff on album for so long, and wow, quite the show! They’re much heavier and loud live than their finely tuned albums. High energy, high action, and lots of audience participation. It was amazing fun and worth the wait to see them.

Best part about the Metroid Metal and The Mega’s sets on the floor was the amazing Zero Suit Samus cosplayer doing hula hoop dancing.

Then her friends joined in!

Knight of the Round – KotR was the Saturday afternoon show I got to see. I recently did an Album cover and Teeshirt design for the band, so when I heard they were also going to be at MAGFest, I was stoked! They put on a head-banger of a show for a super enthusiastic crowd of fans! Justin and the gang really rocked stage 2 with some big sound! Afterwords I spent some time at their merch table finally getting a good look at the teeshirt, and all the folks who were excited by it. They were nice enough to hook me up with one and 2 others (I bought one of em!) and they’re pretty amazing designs all around! Buy their new album at their bandcamp and be sure to like them on Facebook! I’ll have poster prints of both designs available in my store shortly!

Again, you can check out all of my photos from the shows at My Flickr!

Okay, while I missed out on a lot of music at this years show, I’ve been able to catch up thanks to both Arecibo Radio and 8bitX’s live streams and the many fans who recorded live video during the various performances. I’m going to quickly cover what I’ve heard, found, and listened to about the amazing sets I had to miss!

bLiNd – You can listen to a full recording of bLiNd’s hour long DJ session on his SoundCloud page! Featuring MC duties by A_Rival halfway through, this set gets better and better as it goes on and bLiNd covers SO many quality, classic games! Totally worth a listen!

Benjamin Briggs – Ben Briggs is another DJ who’s featured his entire set up at SoundCloud. He’s an amazing talent and highly regarded even by much longer-term remixers/DJs. His sound will amaze you!

Bright Primate – Up and coming Boston-Based chiptune DJ’s Lydia Marsala (Vocals, Songs, Emotion) and James Therrien (Game Boys, Songs, Logic) form the duo that is Bright Primate! Find their show on the Chiptune Stage at YouTube!

Virt – Virt of course did a chiptune show…and of course you should watch the WHOLE THING…and of course you SHOULD LOVE IT!!! Virt: wears cat ears to every show!

Danimal Cannon – The aforementioned Danimal Cannon also does chiptune sets. THanks to Chip Music Chronicle for having all of the chiptune stage shows up on their YouTube! Here’s Danimal’s set!

Yuzo KoshiroThe Man. The Myth. The Legend. He was this years featured guest and he did a late-night dance party DJ session that packed the house and brought the nostalgia on heavy! Very sad I could not make his set, but at least it’s recorded in digital history for all to see!

Triforce Quartet – I caught just a bit of Triforce Quartet’s set immediately after Knight of the Round on Saturday. They started with a small crowd and the theme from “Game of Thrones” and by the time I returned later to Stage 2 to buy some goods from KotR, they had a packed house and were doing an amazing Legend of Zelda arrangement! Unlike KotR who was headbanging, mashing, jumping up and down metal, Triforce Quartet had a full house seated audience and they were all entirely entranced by the music! Hope they return for MAGFest XII!

And that folks, is just scratching the surface. There were SO many more chiptune performers (again, all available through Chip Music Chronicle’s playlist at YouTube!) and live bands! MAGFest XI proved once again that MAGFest works very very hard year after year to bring the best of every kind of video game music out there to the stage. Each year, every band, performer and act puts on better and better shows and the collaborative vibe this year was unmistakable, masterful and brought so much fun and joy to the entire event!

I hope to see MAGFests performers continue to come together both musically and personally, it adds a whole new level of imagination and performance to every concert, party and panel!

Thanks again to everyone at MAGFest for putting on the best show of the year. Period. You guys and gals rule!

See you all next year for MAGFest XII!


All photos are ©2013 Randall Drew
All Music is © their respective creators/arrangers/musicians