Thursday, April 29, 2010

Voxtar-ing the first batch of RBN songs

Last week we played the 11 new DLC, including the first batch of RBN songs. We also played some of our worst songs by rank, stars and spread to #1. Sylvie was away once again so Bongoo played some voxtar and Raikan moved to bass.

We gained 14M points (1,117M to 1,131M), helping us move up in the "All Songs" Leaderboards. A new PS3 band has taken the 9th position ("Straight J.U.I.C.E."), so we'll have to catch up to "Ride Sally Ride" to gain back 10th (65M points away). Our new average points per song is 990K (3K higher than last week).

- Stars breakdown for the 25 songs: Gold stars (3), 5 stars (18), 4 stars (2), 3 stars (2, for "Guns of Summer" and "The Broken")
- Bongoo was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (13, including a few "double top performer" on voxtar), followed by Phoenix (12) and Raikan (4)
- There were no FCs this week
- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moment was during "For the Love of God (Live)"
- Our largest point increases were 748K for "New Way Home" and 679K for "Truckin'"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The RBN has arrived to the PS3!

Our Rock Band nights will now have more new content as the PS3 will get a weekly dose of Rock Band Network songs (5 per week for now). The first batch of RBN songs had some nice variety, beating the 6 regular DLC in my top 3 list (see below).

Next week will bring about more change as the PS3 download day moves permanently to Tuesdays. We'll have one session with double the new DLC and RBN songs. It also means that starting next week, I'll most likely be playing the new songs for the first time with the band. I will be able to add some comments from the other band members in my top 3s.

This week we'll continue our climb towards 9th in the "All Songs" Leaderboards by playing the new songs, plus our worst songs by rank or by spread to #1. We are 13K points away from 1M points in terms of average score per song. Hopefully we can reach that goal in 2 sessions max. We'll need a 19M point increase this week to be halfway to 1M, and a 16M point increase to move up by 5K (same as last 2 sessions).

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "For the Love of God (Live)", by Steve Vai: It's great to see solo guitar virtuoso Steve Vai join others like Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteem in the RB catalog. This outstanding instrumental song has some great lyrical lines and a very difficult section in the solo. I found it odd that I couldn't activate the drum overdrive near the end, perhaps it's because the outro is treated like a "virtual" big rock ending.

2. "Even Rats", by The Slip: I'm glad to see the addition of this GH1 classic as it is a truly unique song with some nice melodic lines on vocals and guitar. Watch out for some tough sections on drums at the beginning and at the end. The bass chart was quite fun and varied in the 2nd half of the song. The "Whao Whao" part on vocals is awesome and adds to the ethereal dreamy feel of the song.

1. "Drunken Lullabies (Live)", by Flogging Molly: Wow! What an amazing Celtic party/drinking song, The super fast and lively beat makes this one of the funnest workout songs on drums. The guitarist will also feel like he's run a marathon, but the variety in the strum patterns makes it always interesting. The bass sound is a bit odd, but who will notice when it's such an awesome song.

Honorable mention. "Here We Are Juggernaut", by Coheed and Cambria: While the regular DLC had some neat moments like the accordion of "Peek-a-Boo" and the drums and vocals of "Sun Hits the Sky", Coheed and Cambria took the crown for the complexity of the songs. "Here We Are Juggernaut" is my favorite of the 3-pack as it is fun on all instruments. If you want a really challenging song, go for "Guns of Summer" instead, but I enjoyed "Here We Are Juggernaut" more. There are lots of unique drum patterns with a constant bass pedal, plus a pretty groovy bass chart.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Same increases as previous week (12M total, 5K average)

Last week Sylvie was back so we played with the original line-up. After trying out the 6 new DLC, we played our worst songs by rank. Half of these were songs where we needed to drop to Hard difficulty on guitar, drums and bass to get our optimal score.

We gained 12M points by playing 25 songs (3 8-song sets + "YYZ"), slowly creeping up on 9th place "Ride Sally Ride" in the "All Songs" Leaderboards. Our new average points per song is 987K (up another 5K). The funny thing is these were the same increases as the previous week! With a lot more songs this week (11 instead of 6), we'll likely be getting much more than a 12M point increase.

- Stars breakdown for the 25 songs: Gold stars (6), 5 stars (19)
- Bongoo was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (12), followed by Sylvie (8) and then Phoenix and Raikan (3 each)
- Raikan, Sylvie and Bongoo each had 1 FC
- Sylvie's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)", "Detroit Rock City" and "Ride the Lightning"
- One of our highest score increases was for "Ride the Lightning" (570K)
- We got 1 #1 score for the new DLC ("Sky Is Over")

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A break for the vacuum tube mic stand

This week we'll continue to climb the top 10 of the "All Songs" Leaderboards by playing last week's new DLC, plus our worst songs by rank, %-ile, star rating or spread to #1. Sylvie will be back this week so we can put away the vacuum tube mic stand for now (see previous post)... :)

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "All Star", by Smash Mouth: This was a smash hit (no pun intended) in the late 90s. It played so much on the radio back then that I expected it to be slightly annoying to play in Rock Band. Surprisingly this wasn't the case, as it has an awesome drum beat that has a nice flow. The guitar is simple but still fun, especially in the chorus.

2. "Blood on My Hands", by The Used: This group's 2 other DLC this week were pretty average. Apart from the guitar chart on "Born to Quit", they weren't anything to write home about. This song redeems this group in my mind, with its high energy and great drum chart. There are 2 or 3 unique drum patterns that are somewhat repetitive but always fun. The bass chart chart is also fun as it has some neat movement. Whoever sings should watch out for the last "There's blood" at the end.

1. "Empty Walls", by Serj Tankian: This amazing singer is so unique that it's always great to get more DLC from him, whether it's from his previous band "System of a Down" (currently on hiatus), or as a solo artist. As is common with his bands, there are lots of tempo and mood changes. The low pitch verses were a challenge to hit at first. The fast shifting singing in the pre-chorus section is one of the neatest patterns on vocals that I've seen in a while, and it flows nicely into the chorus. The pre-chorus also has a really unique drum pattern that looks too difficult to hit, but when you get it it's an awesome feeling. The guitar and bass charts are fairly simple but are still fun to play.

Honorable mention. "Sky Is Over", by Serj Tankian: This is another neat song from the Aremenian-born singer. As is becoming apparent in most songs by this artist, there is a faster shifting vocal part that is lots of fun (also fun on bass, less so on guitar). It is a nice lyrical song that has an interesting drum chart with a constant pedal. The piano throughout the song sounds great. It would be fun to play if there ever was a keyboard add-on to these games.

Monday, April 19, 2010

3 Macas and a... vacuum?

Last week was our first week with 3 players as Sylvie will be away for a few weeks. Being a multi-instrumentalist (see "All Solo" Leadeboards), Bongoo proposed filling in by doing some voxtar (vocals + guitar), while Raikan moved back to bass.

The only problem was that we didn't have a mic stand. Phoenix had the brilliant idea of building one using, of all things, a vacuum and a tube! :) The tube was positioned on top of the vacuum handle and was cut to the perfect length to allow a mic inside at singing height.

This brilliant feat of engineering completed, we were able to start our night. The challenge for voxtar was to match pitch with what could be heard and remembered while mostly looking at the guitar chart. Everything went really well as we obtained many Gold stars and had a few 700K+ point increases. Bongoo consistently got between 90-99% on both vocals and guitar.

We played 24 songs with this new line-up, playing our worst ranked songs and the previous week's new DLC. This allowed us to gain 12M points (1,093M to 1,105M), moving us up the "All Songs" Leaderboards. We improved on almost all songs we were not in the top 200, plus our average score moved up 5K to 982K.

- Stars breakdown for the 24 songs: Gold stars (5), 5 stars (10), 4 stars (7), 3 stars (2, for "B.Y.O.B." and "Waking the Demon")
- Raikan was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (18), followed by Phoenix (9) and Bongoo (3)
- Raikan had the only FCs of the night (3)
- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "Monster (Skillet)" and "Ride the Lightning"
- Even with a voxtar player, we got Gold stars for half the new DLC, including more than 1M points for "Monster (Skillet)" and a #1 rank for "Stand in the Rain"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Starting our climb of the top 10

This week we'll start our climb of the top 10 of the "All Songs" Leaderboards. We need more than 100M points to move up one position, but we'll get there eventually.

Last week there was only 6 new DLC (all Christian bands just after Easter), so we'll have lots of time to play our worst ranked songs. This will help move up our average score closer to 1M points (currently 977K).

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "Feel Good Drag", by Anberlin: This is pretty rockin' song with some interesting mood changes. There is lots of variety in the drum chart, with some tough double bass hits. The guitar and bass were lots of fun during the verses. The singer can sometimes be a bit annoying during the chorus, but the song is very good regardless.

2. "Stand in the Rain", by Superchick: This song has some great melodic moments on vocals and some neat orchestral sounds, but it can still be quite intense. I liked the Terminator-theme-like section on drums (DA-DA-DUM-DA-DUM, omit the last DUM for the other instruments). The rolls were a bit annoying due to the speed changes. The guitar chart was fun due to its varied patterns.

1. "Monster", by Skillet: Believe it or not there are now 3 songs with this title in the game (the others are from "The Automatic" and "Lady Gaga"). There are quite a few titles that are common to 2 songs, but this is the 1st title that has 3. The song has great energy, and although it is fairly simple, it is lots of fun on all instruments. It is classified as "Rock", but I find it has a more "Nu-Metal" feel than "Fire It Up", another song from last week.

Honorable mention. "Live Life Loud", by Hawk Nelson: This Blink-182-esque song deserves a mention due to a pretty challenging drum track, definitely the toughest of the week due to its tricky rolls. The fast triplets are quite fun to play. The guitar chart is somewhat bland but the drum chart more than makes up for it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Macas are in the Hall of Fame!

This week we finally made it into the Hall of Fame (top 10 for "All Songs")! :) Going up further will take time as 9th place is more than 100M points ahead, but we'll get there eventually.

We gained 12M points for the night from 24 songs. For the last 8 songs Sylvie was replaced by her cousin Blanche. Thanks again for helping out!

- Stars breakdown for the 24 songs: Gold stars (2), 5 stars (20), 4 stars (2 for "Wait Until Tomorrow" and "Ain't No Telling")
- Raikan was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (10), followed by Bongoo (8), Phoenix (7), and Sylvie (5)
- Raikan had the only FCs of the night (2)
- Sylvie's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "One Rainy Wish" and "Little Miss Lover"
- Phoenix did great during "If 6 Was 9", which has a very tough ending on drums
- Our score increases for older songs were quite varied, ranging from 3K to 980K

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hendrix G0 Round

This week we'll play last week's Jimi Hendrix DLC (1 album + 1 single), plus our worst songs by rank. This will move us past "Mary G0 Round" for 10th place in the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "One Rainy Wish", by The Jimi Hendrix Experience: I got to say that there certainly is a love/hate feeling towards the late drummer Mitch Mitchell when playing these songs. I can appreciate all the complex beats that he comes up with, but sometimes he throws in some crazy fills and added hits that are almost impossible to replicate. This pretty laid back song is no exception, with its variety of awesome beats with double hits, plus its usual chaotic ending. It was quite a bit of fun to sing as well.

2. "Bold as Love", by The Jimi Hendrix Experience: This song has a nice chill feel and some neat vocals. It definitely has the best fills of the album, for example another unique drum pattern with double hits. The end of the song is great on bass, and overall it is pretty crazy on guitar (arguably more fun on Hard than Expert).

1. "Little Miss Lover", by The Jimi Hendrix Experience: This groovy song has by far the best bass chart of the week due to the constant movement It also has an interesting guitar chart due to the variety of patterns. The drum chart isn't overly difficult but it is also quite fun to play.

Honorable mention. "Little Wing", by The Jimi Hendrix Experience: This is a slower soulful song that contains some awesome fills. It seems the drummer just can't help but throw in some complicated patterns here and there. There were also some fun parts on guitar and vocals.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

75% Gold stars and close to the top 10

This was a great week as we played 32 songs with the optimal line-up, getting 24 Gold stars and gaining 23M points. We now have have a total of 1,081M points, just 7M away from 10th place "Mary G0 Round" in the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Our average points per song is now 977K (up more than 10K). After joining the top 10, our next goal will be to move this average past 1M points. This won't be too difficult as we often gain more than 500K points per song when playing old songs (originally played with less than 4 players and/or not with the optimal line-up).

Another goal will be to have all of our songs ranked below a certain rank. This week all the older songs played were some where we weren't in the top 270. In a few weeks all the songs will be in the top 200, and in a few months every song will be in the top 100 except for some in the "Original 84".

- Stars breakdown for the 32 songs: Gold stars (24), 5 stars (6), 4 stars (2, for "The Hungry Wolf" and "Toxicity")
- Bongoo was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (14), followed by Sylvie (10), Raikan (8), and Phoenix (7)
- Bongoo had the most FCs (7), followed by Sylvie (4), Raikan (3), and Phoenix (1)
- Sylvie's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts", "El Scorcho", "Maps", "Message in a Bottle" and "The Kill"
- Phoenix manages to hit the PS button in the middle of a song...
- We finally get the point increase on "I.V." that we were looking for, getting Gold on the last vocal phrase (only small point increases until this week). Phoenix did a great job with the fast bass drum hits
- We barely survive "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" because of its crazy ending on drums
- Raikan has the hiccups during "Peace of Mind" (even activating overdrive accidentally), but we still manage to gain 400K points... :)