Friday, January 29, 2010

Closer to 1 billion points

We once again played 24 songs this week, including the 9 new DLC tracks from last week. We gained 17M points (929M to 946M points), so it looks like we'll finally join the 1 billion point club in February. You can see the current list of billion point bands at the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

There were some interesting ties for "Top Performer", including a full band FC of "Doll", a 4-way tie at 99% for "Jammin' Me (Live)", plus a triple FC for "The Waiting (Live)".

We finished all songs below 400K up to letter 'G' (last song played was "Green Grass and High Tides"). There are now two more DLC tracks that are maxed out (won't get above 400K), "Cups and Cakes" and "Doll" (joining "Thank You Boys" from last week).

"Godzilla" is the only new DLC track for our next 2 sessions as Harmonix is releasing all previously exclusive Track Pack songs as DLC (from the Metal and Country packs which we already played). That means that'll be improving on a lot of old scores, perhaps improving all scores below 500K.

- Stars breakdown for the 24 songs: Gold stars (13), 5 stars (11)
- Bongoo was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (14), followed by Phoenix and Sylvie (10 each) and Raikan (3)
- Bongoo had the most FCs (8), followed by Sylvie (4), Phoenix (3) and Raikan (1)
- Our first music video was for "Down with the Sickness", and even after playing "Green Grass and High Tides", it's still our song with the most points (2.44M)
- After seeing some hilarious Youtube videos of the PC mini-game "Sumotori Dreams", we download it on our break... check it out, it's worth it! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fun Phoenix drum charts for Phoenix

This week we'll play last week's new DLC (9 songs), plus improve on our worst songs by score (except the ones like "Thank You Boys" where we're already maxed). This will help us move up the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "Nightwatchman (Live)", by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: The 2nd Tom Petty Live DLC 6-pack has some pretty good songs (ex: "Century City", "A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)"), but overall I prefer the 1st 6-pack we got 2 months ago. Out of the new songs "Nightwatchman" stands out for having a really fun guitar chart, easily the best guitar chart this week.

2. "Lisztomania", by Phoenix: The drum charts for this band are quite interesting and unique. While the band's sound won't be to everyone's liking, if you want to have a decent challenge and add some variety to your collection, don't hesitate to pick these up. The vocals on this track are quite difficult as there are sections with lots of pitch changes and no breaks.

1. "1901", by Phoenix: Easily the best DLC this week. The song has a driving funky rhythm and is fun on all instruments. It's interesting that this band comes from the same region of France as electronica pioneers Daft Punk. Another outstanding drum chart, worthy of the name Phoenix... :)

Honorable mention. "Blue Jeans", by Silvertide: This is a somewhat "commercial" rock song (not usually a good thing), but the great charts on all instruments (especially on drums) make it stand out vs. the other Tom Petty songs.

Friday, January 22, 2010

14-song Gold streak

This week we played 24 songs, including last week's DLC plus every song with a score below 300K. Our total score is now 929M, up from 907M, helping us climb the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

The pathmaster (Trapper) had some neat paths for us right from the start (improvised, but effective), leading to a 14-song Gold star streak, including all 5 new Alice in Chains songs. It was "Saucy Jack"'s tricky drum chart that finally broke the streak. All in all, we ended up getting 21 of 24 Gold stars for the night. Sylvie and Phoenix both had great sessions: her numerous FCs and his endurance on a few tough drum songs allowed us to squeeze a few more Gold stars.

To finish every song with a score below 300K, we also played 2 of the game's instrumentals, plus one song with some at Medium or Hard difficulty ("They're Red Hot"). These are not counted in the stats for the 24 songs. The only song where we could not get more than 300K is "Thank You Boys" by Jane's Addiction. This groovy jazz tune is really short, plus it doesn't help that it only has one vocal phrase.

- Stars breakdown for the 24 songs: Gold stars (21), 5 stars (3, for "Saucy Jack", "Shhh..." and "ABC")
- Sylvie was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (16), followed by Bongoo (11), Raikan (5) and Phoenix (4)
- Sylvie had the most FCs (9), followed by Bongoo (5) and Raikan (4)
- The Trapper also acted as roadie when Phoenix dropped his drum sticks, just in time for us to hit the next unison bonus... :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No bones about it

This week we'll play last week's Alice in Chains DLC pack (the only DLC released), plus improve on some really bad scores (only 2 left below 200K, then we'll do under 300K, etc...). This will help us move up the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

I find it odd that "Them Bones", my favourite Alice in Chains song, was not part of their 2nd DLC 5-pack. It was in Harmonix's Guitar Hero 2 after all... Perhaps it means that we'll see a 3rd Alice in Chains 5-pack down the road, also including 2 tracks from their latest CD.

Unfortunately the official PS3 Leaderboards (in-game and at are still not updating, but I'm confident that once they're back up, what we've played during the downtime will eventually appear.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "Your Decision", by Alice in Chains: The guitar chart and the song starts out pretty mellow, but it ends up being a fun guitar song. This is another track from their latest CD.

2. "Last of My Kind", by Alice in Chains: This song, which is also from their last CD, has some pretty heavy riffs and reminds me a bit of the old Alice in Chains. The vocals in the section just before the chorus sounds a bit like the chorus of "Dragula" by Rob Zombie.

1. "We Die Young", by Alice in Chains: The opener for one of the best Alice in Chains albums. Heavy, intense, plus short and sweet, it is a great DLC track. It has some challenging chord changes on guitar, but is always a blast to play. Alas, Layne Staley did indeed die much too young...

Honorable mention. "Heaven Beside You", by Alice in Chains: A groovy, laid back kind of song that is pretty fun on guitar. Now please bring on "Them Bones"! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pixies + Mötley Crüe marathon

This week we played last week's DLC, plus almost all the remaining songs below 200K (now only 2 left: "There Goes My Gun" and "Time For Change"), for a total of 24 songs. Our total went up from 885M to 907M, helping us move up the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

It seemed like every 2nd song we played near the end were from the Pixies or Mötley Crüe. Someone had fun playing their two albums on solo drums when Rock Band 2 came out...

We started paying more attention to paths (like the good old days of on-disk songs), timing our activations with Raikan on vocals. Thanks again to the Trapper for resuming his role as the Pathmaster as he helped us get many Gold stars.

- Stars breakdown for the 24 songs: Gold stars (14), 5 stars (9), 4 stars (1, for "Summertime Blues (Live at Leeds))"
- Bongoo was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (19), followed by Sylvie (14), Phoenix (4), and then Raikan (2) (for a total of 39, so many ties this week...)
- Bongoo had the most FCs (7), followed by Sylvie (5), and then Raikan (1)
- Bongoo had to restart "Highway to Hell (Live)" quite a few times before finally hitting both energy sections to move past the crazy trill section in the opening solo
- We have one of our only 4-way ties for "Top Performer" as we all get 99% on "La La Love You" (none with the "Top Performer" label)! :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To update or not to update, that is the question

This week we'll play last week's new DLC plus a lot of songs with bad scores (previously played on solo drums). This will help us move up the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Unfortunately the official PS3 Leaderboards (in-game and at have stopped updating since the release of last week's patch. We'll play anyway, hoping that our scores will eventually appear. At worst we'll just replay the songs at a later date.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "Adam's Song", by Blink-182: It seems like Travis Barker, Blink-182's drummer, can't do anything that is not fast and/or complex... :) It's probably one of the toughest Tier 4 drum songs in terms of keeping a good note streak. The song is much easier on the other instruments, and overall is a lot of fun to play and hear.

2. "Band on the Run (Live)", by Paul McCartney: Finally a Beatles member has a song in the main Rock Band platform! This is a great sounding 3-part song with interesting transitions. It almost feels like 3 individual songs but the lyrics bind it together nicely.

1. "First Date", by Blink-182: An amazing song to play on drums. There are at least three pretty difficult patterns, but they're all unique and flow very well. The standout chart of the week.

Honorable mention. "Rock 'n' Roll High School", by The Ramones: Like most other Ramones songs, this song is short, has some neat fast-changing chords on guitar, and a drum chart that will kill your right arm... :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New sorting by stars is helpful

A new patch was released for RB2 on the PS3, adding among other things the ability to sort songs by stars. We were originally going to pick the worst songs by score (ex: starting with below 100K), but being able to scroll down from 3 stars allowed us to save some valuable time. Thanks Harmonix! :)

I did notice today that there are a lot of songs where we have below 200K that we didn't see in the star-sorted list yesterday. That is probably because the star rating is based on the instrument and difficulty combination when it was originally played. Therefore some well played songs on solo drums will be at the bottom of the star-sorted band list. It looks like we'll have to continue using our score output and/or scrolling down the whole list to find the low score songs, at least until Harmonix adds a "Sort by Score" option.

We ended up playing about 36 songs, mostly ones where we had 3 or 4 stars and a score below 300K. In the next few weeks, we'll probably concentrate on moving up all our scores to 5 stars, starting with songs with the lowest score (playing on Hard sometimes if we have to). Our total score went up from 866M to 885M, helping us move up the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

- Stars breakdown for the 36 songs: Gold stars (9), 5 stars (13), 4 stars (9), 3 stars (5, for "They're Red Hot", "Thrasher", "Wake Up Dead", "B.Y.O.B." and "Run to the Hills (Original Version)")
- Near the end Trapper resumes his role as the Pathmaster, leading to many Gold stars, thanks!
- Sylvie's friend Brendan helps us out on Bass for a few songs, thanks!
- Bongoo was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (16), followed by Phoenix (11), Sylvie (10), Raikan (8), and then Brendan (1)
- Bongoo had the most FCs (5), followed by Sylvie and Raikan (2 each), and then Phoenix and Brendan (1 each)
- We play "They're Red Hot" many times in order to move it up past a certain score threshold (100K, then 200K, etc...), but we'll have to play on Hard to gain more points
- Some of the songs in the 3-star and 4-star categories are very difficult on Drums, and Pheonix manages to survive an 8-set that starts with "Run to the Hills (Original Version)", "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate", "Clouds Over California" and "Ever Fallen in Love"! :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Time to improve some scores

Tonight there is no new DLC to play as last week saw the release of some songs we already have from the Country Track Pack. That means that we'll concentrate on playing our worst ranked songs. A lot of these bad band scores were obtained while playing solo drums, so that will mean some big point increases. This will help us move up the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week (played last summer so excuse the brevity):

3. "I Told You So", by Keith Urban: A pretty good sounding song with a galloping feel.

2. "The Gambler", by Kenny Rogers: A classic song, you can't miss by getting this one.

1. "Good Time", by Alan Jackson: This song is indeed a great time all around, but especially on guitar (or is it violin)?

Honorable mention. "She's Country", by Jason Aldean: Not too difficult, but it has a good "country" feel, with a few heavier riffs.