Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Double session week

Last week we had 2 sessions, which allowed us to catch up on all remaining RB2 songs (70). Our final score for RB2 is 1,455,577,362 points! :)

Tonight will be our first session with the much anticipated RB3. I can't wait to try the new keyboard and the Pro modes for all instruments.

For the foreseeable future, this blog will solely focus on the highlights of our weekly RB sessions. We'll be experimenting with the new modes and trying out the various Pro instruments, therefore there is no need to include details like "Top Performer", "Worst Performer", etc... I will also stop posting my top 3 DLC of the week as the focus will be on the RB3 on-disk songs.

- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "Creep (Stone Temple Pilots)", "Exodus", "Fire (Live)", "Indians", "Infected Nation", "Long Train Runnin'", "Tha Shiznit", "That's tha Homie" and "Sending Signals"
- Bongoo gets a dual FC on voxtar for "Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom"
- Phoenix gets an impressive 91% on "In Memory" on Expert drums and survives a lot of tough songs (ex: "3rd Stone from the Sun")
- Raikan tries the drums and also survives some fairly tough songs (ex: "Manic Depression")
- We have quite a laugh for Parry Gripp's 2 new RBN songs on the PS3 ("Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom" and "Last Train To Awesometown")
- The last RB2 song we will ever play was "Redemption Song" (Bongoo voxtar, no drums or bass)

PS3 swap

Last week we had a short session due to Raikan's work hours. Thankfully this will be the last time we have to swap days or shorten the session as he just got a promotion. Congrats!

In order to avoid the need for Phoenix to bring his DLC complete PS3 to Raikan's new townhouse every week, they had the great idea to swap PS3s!

- Stars breakdown for the 8 songs: 5 stars (4), 4 stars (4)
- Raikan was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (5), followed by Bongoo (3) and Phoenix (1)
- Phoenix was the "Worst Performer" for the most songs (6), followed by Bongoo and Raikan (2 each)
- There were no FCs
- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "Death Quota for Purification" and "Among The Living"
- It's quite ironic that we barely survived "Among the Living" (Expert)
- Everyone fails within fractions of a second of each other at 20% of "Death Quota for Purification" (Expert)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Short session with some new Hendrix

This week we'll have a shortened session due to Raikan's special work hours, but we'll still try to catch up on some of the unplayed DLC (including this week's new Jimi Hendrix album).

It will be our 2nd last session playing RB2 as the much anticipated RB3 is soon upon us! :)

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week (after playing them on all solo instruments):

3. "Betty and Me", by Jonathan Coulton:

Jonathan Coulton is back with another great RBN song, this time with some neat country guitar and a genetics theme. The drum chart is fairly fast and has a few tough rolls. There is also a decent amount of movement on bass. One highlight is the relentless hammer-ons on guitar, especially in the pre-chorus and chorus... The song is quite funny once you hear all the lyrics. It is in my top 3 Jonathan Coulton songs released so far in RB in terms of story due to its interesting progression (after "Skullcrusher Mountain" and "Creepy Doll").

2. "Hey There Mr. Brooks", by Asking Alexandria:

What makes this metal track stand out is its amazing sound. I love the symphonic addition near the end and the various transititions and riffs throughout. It also has a bit of a black metal feel and some well-integrated techno elements. The drum chart is always fun, being fast and diverse with a lot of interesting bass pedal patterns. The guitar and bass charts are not overly difficult, except for a few fast strumming sections. The vocals have a good mix of death + clean vocals. I liked the voice during the symphonic part near the end.

1. "Shallow Waters", by Amberian Dawn:

This is my favorite Amberian Dawn track since "He Sleeps in a Grove" due to its amazing heavy riffs, interesting transitions and great operatic melodies. The drum chart is pretty diverse, including some fun fast rolls with lots of bass pedal. The strumming on guitar and bass can be pretty intense. Watch out for some really challenging guitar solos. As usual the vocals are a treat due to the singer's outstanding lyrical voice.

Honorable mention. "Driver 8", by R.E.M.:

The R.E.M. songs released last week are fairly simple, but I have to say that they definitely grew on me after each listen. There were lots of neat moments, including the infectious chorus of "It's the End of the World as We Know It" (would be great with harmonies), the super catchy "Stand", plus the fun constant sound of "Radio Free Europe", but overall the mellow "Driver 8" was my favorite due to its neat country-ish riffs on guitar and unique melancholic feel. The bass chart is pretty constant, with nice up and down movement. There is also a decent amount of variety on vocals, including some nice long clean lines.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A variety of players in Kanata

Last week we had a great time at Raikan's new place in Kanata. It will be a great place for our sessions for the time being. Chrissy helped us out at the beginning of the session on vocals. Trapper even helped at the end on bass when a sick and tired Phoenix had to bow out. The extra help will come in handy when RB3 comes out (ex: harmonies, keyboard).

We gained 13M points after completing 22 songs (1382M to 1395M).

- Stars breakdown for the 22 songs: 5 stars (11), 4 stars (10), 3 stars (1, for "I Shot the Sheriff")
- Bongoo was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (12), followed by Raikan (6), Phoenix (2) and Trapper (1)
- Bongoo was the "Worst Performer" for the most songs (11), followed by Phoenix and Chrissy (4 each) and Raikan and Trapper (1 each)
- Bongoo had the only FC of the night (1)
- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "Jeepster" and I Shot the Sheriff"
- Phoenix didn't bring his real pedal and KD-8 combo, so we limited ourselves to the easier drum songs
- We also didn't have a mic stand, so Bongoo used the unfinished ceiling beam as a mic support for voxtar
- The PS3 freezes after the 1st song is played, perhaps due to Phoenix's excessive bass pedal hits at the loading screen?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Off to Kanata we go

This week we're heading off to Kanata (west of Ottawa) for our 1st session at Raikan's new place. We'll continue to catch up on September's DLC, as well as the new DLC from this week and last week (R.E.M., Anthrax, etc...).

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week (after playing them on all solo instruments):

3. "Cali Girl", by Ballyhoo!:

This happy RBN song surprised me as it has a great reggae rock feel. Its beat is pretty unique, with some neat quick hits in the reggae section and a fun faster section. The bass chart is not too difficult but it has an awesome groove. The guitar and vocals are also fairly simple, but the song sounds so great that it hardly matters.

2. "Indians", by Anthrax:

I'm not a big fan of Anthrax's rap metal (ex: "I'm the Man"), but they more than make up for it with some great sounding thrash metal classics like "Indians" (also check out "Among the Living" and a neat live version of the GH2 classic "Madhouse"). The drum chart has 1 tough fast beat, but you can omit the extra notes to survive. The guitar and bass charts are always fun due to the amazing variety of heavy riffs, especially in the 2nd half. The vocals are not too difficult, but they have a decent amount of variety and a great theme.

1. "Long Train Runnin'", by The Doobie Brothers:

This classic song from a talented band is my favorite of last week due its great sound and fun charts. I love the groovy bassline and the series of complex fun chords on guitar. The drum chart is fairly easy except for a few tricky fills at the end, but it has a nice flow. The vocals were also fun due to the "Without looooove" sections. You can also check out their other song "Listen to the Music" for some more guitar fun.

Honorable mention. "Now Demolition", by Evile:

Last week also had some interesting moments, including the neat buildups and epic bassline of "Closer to the Edge", the awesome guitar and drum charts of the chaotic "First We Feast, Then We Felony", the fun heavy groove metal riffs of "Hail Destroyer", but overall my special mention goes to the long awaited return of Evile to Rock Band. This song is much slower than 2008's "Thrasher", but with such great riffs and an impressive soundscape with a tinge of black metal, it is a joy to play and hear. The drum chart is always interesting. I especially liked the quick double hits after the guitar solo. The guitar and bass charts are always interesting due to the variety of heavy riffs. It is also one of the rare RBN metal songs with almost no talkies.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The arrival of Emma

This week we canceled the session due to the recent arrival of Bongoo's daughter Emma. She joins 22-month-old Jonathan in his growing family.

Raikan was also preparing to move west of Ottawa this week (Kanata). We'll have our session there next week.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week (after playing them on all solo instruments):

3. "Is This Love", by Bob Marley & The Wailers:

The late great reggae sensation Bob Marley added some nice variety to Rock Band last week (although the genre should be "Reggae" instead of "Other"). There were many great songs, but my overall favorite was "Is This Love". It is a nice laid back song with good instrumentation, including some fun quad hits on drums, a pretty groovy bass line, plus some good diversity on guitar. It is also fun to sing due to the variety of lyrical phrases. Hoepfully the harmonies will be charted in Rock Band 3.

2. "Step Up (I'm On It)", by Maylene & The Sons of Disaster:

This rockin' RBN song has a neat country guitar sound and great energy. Its beat is fairly simple but it has a good flow. The bassline is repetitive but the main line is so fun that it doesn't matter. The guitar chart was the funnest of the week due to its great mix of singles and chords. I really liked the hammer-on additions in the last chorus on guitar and bass.

1. "Riot Act", by Exodus:

This intense thrash metal song from pioneers Exodus was a treat to play. It is heaven for anyone who likes diverse alternating "bass pedal\pad hit" patterns. The bass chart is awesome and quite dynamic, although I wouldn't have put it as tier 7 (only one tricky section with unique strumming). The song is really tough on Expert guitar, so I had to play it on Hard difficulty. It is surprisingly fun on Hard guitar due to its non-stop hammer-on and chord sections. I really liked the 2nd guitar solo and the riff after the solos. I have to say that there is an awful lot of cowbell in the intro... I wonder if the real singer would approve. ;)

Honorable mention. "I Shot the Sheriff", by Bob Marley & The Wailers:

There were many memorable Bob Marley moments this week, including the guitar charts of "Jamming" and "Could You Be Loved", the drum chart of "One Love/People Get Ready", plus the vocals of "Satisfy My Soul", but my 2nd overall favorite was "I Shot the Sheriff". It is a really unique song with a groovy bass (3 great repeating lines), a fun beat (neat double hits), plus some challenging vocals.

"Move"-ing on

This was the 2nd week in a row that we started and ended our session with a bit of 4-player Disc Golf and Bocce, courtesy of the new Playstation Move and "Sports Champions". I am quite impressed with the new technology as it is very accurate.

This also marked our last session at Phoenix's place for a while, as we'll be moving on to Raikan's new abode next week. We played 15 songs, slowly catching up on our backlog of DLC (the whole month of September). It was an interesting mix of genres (urban, country, metal, etc...).

- Stars breakdown for the 17 songs: Gold stars (3), 5 stars (10), 4 stars (2)
- Raikan was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (8), followed by Bongoo (6) and Bongoo (4)
- Bongoo was the "Worst Performer" for the most songs (13), followed by Raikan (4) and Phoenix (3)
- Bongoo had the only FCs of the night (2)
- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moment was during "Days Go By"
- We get a triple "Worst Performer" at 99% for Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot"
- We also get a double "Top Performer" and double "Worst Performer" for "Fancy"
- Bongoo gets a double FC on voxtar for "Beautiful" (vocals + guitar)
- We manage to survive until the 96% mark in the 8-minute long "Bleed", only for Phoenix to fail... It's a tough song, so surviving that long on Expert was impressive
- Talk about a crazy drum chart on Expert for "Packet Flier". It must be one of the toughest ones to FC, let alone pass, due to its insane speed...
- We get an odd "Song data unvailable" error after trying to play "Nirvana", by Juliana Hatfield. I noticed that the tier info was unavailable for that song. Hopefully re-downloading it will fix the error