As I sit here typing away, bobbing my head, Bubblyfish and Mr. Neil Voss have been rocking out on the last night of the festival. I can’t believe I’ll be back at work tomorrow, no longer getting my eardrums blown out with square waves, no longer passing by chiptune legends every 10 feet and yelling “YEAAAHHH!!!” back and forth with them. Bittersweet.
Anyway, here’s what went down last night:
The Depreciation Guild: I was privileged to see their very first show at The Tank (In fact, it was my first time attending a chiptune show) and I heard a band that was rough around the edges but who I thought had a lot of potential to write catchy, emotional songs. Looks like I was right – over the past year they’ve totally matured and are playing stuff that hits hard. They were impressive, and have a very pleasing sound (heavy on the Triangle wave bass).
Aonami: AOOOONAAAAMIII!!!! He came out wearing a PANDA MASK and screamed at the top of his lungs into the mic while the most fucking searing noises imaginable blasted us directly in the brain. He’s definitely the most crazy person at Blipfest (Though USK and Goto80 come close to matching him for pure energy). He thinks nothing of leaving a high-pitched squarewave blaring (alone, raw) for 30-45 seconds while he headbangs in his panda mask. I want to hang out with him. Covox: I’ve loved Covox for a very long time, and it was a real thrill to see him live. I was trapped near the back of the audience (At this point it was more crowded than at any other time during the weekend) but it’s okay: He’s about 7 feet tall, so I could see him just fine! His set was the most characteristically Euro-style of all, and I have to say after Aonami it was like a cool shower after being in a sauna. Of course, that didn’t last long, he started making people bounce pretty quickly, and they didn’t stop until he was finished having his way with us.
Bud Melvin: WOW! I have to say, I didn’t see this coming. Bud’s one weird mother.
I’ve seen “weird chiptune guys” before (In fact, I’ve seen them this weekend) but Bud takes the cake for originality. He plays BANJO over glitchy / mathy electronic tunes, and sings semi-unhinged lyrics along with ‘em. And he has a great beard. Bud didn’t make the audience bounce so much as, well, trip balls. Yes, you read that right, a banjo picker over chiptunes. Yes, it’s everything you imagine. Nullsleep: The man himself: The obsessive, laser-lighted 8bitpeoples godfather. He played stuff that, well, pretty much sounds like only Nullsleep can sound. Check his website to see how I describe his music – his style is one of the most distinctive out there. In fact, he premiered some new material, and was the most energetic I’ve seen him yet, truly in chip ecstasy. I’m pretty sure every girl in the audience wanted to take him in the back and rape him – I know I did. Hally: Why does this show keep outdoing itself? Hally’s easily one of the best chip musicians in existence on both technical and compositional levels, though with his characteristic Japanese modesty, he won’t hear a word of it. After Hally finished, I was again drenched in sweat, and all of us OTHER chip guys (Random, Nullsleep, Anamanaguchi, even WAVE) were hugging each other and squealing in ecstasy.
He not only played INCREDIBLY energetic stuff (which I happen to know was all written with MCK, which – take it from me – is hellishly difficult to write with), but he ALSO PLAYED A NARUTO SONG USING A ONE-CHIP MSX. I was in the front row screaming like a little girl the entire time, and I hope the show was as memorable for him as it was for us. Touchboy: I have to be honest – after Hally I pitied ANYONE who had to perform – it would simply be impossible for anyone to match that energy. Luckily, Touchboy didn’t try to match it – he played a solid set and we all wound down and enjoyed some very nice, complex tunes. I wasn’t really paying attention at first because I was totally wrecked (more so than even after my own set).
Live saxophone and latin hand percussion over chiptunes! YES!!! These guys were good! I’d never heard them either, but now I’ll be going after their stuff ON THE INTERNET. There’s really nothing I could do to motivate myself to get up and dance at this point, but this was a great end to the evening. After the finale of their set, these dudes convulsed and fell on the floor while everyone cheered. I love chiptunes.
Stay tuned for the final update (tonight’s show), which I’ll make tomorrow after sleeping off all this 8-bit noise!