Originally published on www.philadelphiaweekly.com on August 23 2006. Written by Jennifer Kelly.
It’s arcade night at the Church. Philly’s Chromelodeon will take the joystick early on, going for a new high score with their multi-instrumental, Game-Boy-enhanced brand of overstuffed spazz punk. But the smart money’s on Spencer Seim of Hella’s new(ish) project the Advantage, which play classic video game themes like Super Mario Brothers 2 and Mega Man 2 on the standard rock lineup of two guitars, bass and drums. French Toast, as far as we know, have no video game songs, and as such are the odd band out.
Originally published on phillyist.com on August 25 2006. Written by Jim Genzano.
Music in Video Games, and Video Games in Music
If you read Phillyist regularly (and if not, why not?), you’re probably already aware that we’re partial to both music and video games, so when the two come packaged together, we get rather excited. And that’s just what’s happening at a couple of upcoming shows at First Unitarian.
First up on Sunday night is the Advantage/French Toast/Chromelodeon show. French Toast has nothing to do with video games as far as we know, but they do have Jerry Busher of Fugazi, which is pretty cool. The Advantage, on the other hand, are a straight-up Nintendo cover band who play great versions of the themes from Megaman 2, Contra, Metroid, Super Mario Bros. 2, Blaster Master, and…well, we could go on, but it would take a while; according to the R5 site, the band’s ambition is to record every Nintendo game song ever. For those of you scoffing at the idea of playing Nintendo music, listen to some of the samples on The Advantage and R5 sites. Some of that music is actually really fantastic, and sounds even better when you play it super-loud on guitars and drums.
But after you’ve covered the classics, what then? Chromelodeon takes it to the next level with original music inspired by video games. They have eight people in their band, one of them on accordion, and their live show is apparently quite a spectacle, including visual accompaniment via a hacked Game Boy. Awesome! The music, if it matters, is epic instrumental fantasy metal with a great atmosphere to it.
And the video game fun doesn’t end Sunday night. The following Tuesday, Final Fantasy is coming to the church! Yes, the name was inspired by the famous series of role-playing video games, but the music not so much; it’s actually got a quirky, orchestral, Sufjan Stevens-type of sound to it. Still, the lyrics are quite geeky enough, with some serious fantasy and sci-fi flavoring – “The Chronicles of Sarnia” talks of water gods and nymphs, while “Arctic Circle” repeatedly warns us, “shields up, shields up.” Did we mention that one of the main purposes of Final Fantasy’s latest album, He Poos Clouds, was to “attempt to modernize each of the eight D&D schools of magic?”
Final Fantasy’s sound is just as dramatic and epic as Chromelodeon’s – perhaps even more so – but with more of a pop vibe. Oh, and if you’re still not excited about Final Fantasy, you should know that it’s composed pretty much entirely of Owen Pallett, the guy who plays violin for awesome indie band Arcade Fire. The first show sold out, so R5 added another one later that night. Rock!
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