Concert Review: VG Pianist, MC Frontalot, Bit Brigade (PAX, 2016)

Videogame expo PAX hosted two nights of concerts over Labor Day weekend. The Friday night line-up consisted of opener Martin Leung the Video Game Pianist, nerdcore rapper MC Frontalot, and headlining the evening was Minibosses-tribute band Bit Brigade. I skipped the Saturday night line-up of Triforce Quartet, 1UPs, and Super Guitar Bros., although with more planning, rest, and effort, I probably could have enjoyed it as much as Friday’s festivities.

This was my first concert at Benaroya Hall. The venue sounds great with piano, however the reverberation causes drums to sound impossibly loud.

The Video Game Pianist
Martin Leung started off with a strong rendition of Ludwig Von Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” before launching into a series of animated medleys from primarily the Super Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda series. Unlike some of his longer medleys on YouTube, these medleys consisted of around three or four songs, with either a short break in between each song or at the end. Leung also had the sort of smile on his face that showed he was enjoying every minute of the performance.
Rating: ★★★★☆ [4/5]

MC Frontalot
Bought and got Zero Day signed at PAX 2014. Thought it was about average then, spun it again the week before the show, and still thought it was about average. Sat up close after digging the Video Game Pianist so much, only to be disappointed by the annoying humor that was unable to match Weird Al, and the aforementioned drowning drums. I’d see him again at my favorite venue El Corazón, if there were others performing that I’d want to see, before completely giving up.
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ [2/5]

Bit Brigade
I’d mentioned they were a Minibosses-tribute band in the introduction, which isn’t fair to say anymore, because they’ve stopped entirely ripping off the Minibosses. They now have a more cohesive heavy metal sound that’s just slightly less by-the-numbers than before. Good work, fellas. Just work harder on creative reinterpretations of deeper cuts and your band could go further. Having a “videogame conductor” play through Ninja Gaiden while performing the soundtrack is an interesting idea, except it obscures the realization that they need to have something like that to stand out.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ [3/5]

Overall, I probably should have attended the Saturday night concerts and didn’t really need to see MC Frontalot or Bit Brigade, though seeing the Video Game Pianist in a venue seemingly designed for the piano was great.

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