Rock Band Status: October 10, 2011

Oct 11 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

I’d been meaning to go through the Yes DLC pack last week, but I got kind of distracted; I went back to that this week, finishing the remaining four songs on Pro Keys. Owner of a Lonely Heart was pleasant but slight, and its keyboard part was pretty boring; Starship Trooper’s keyboard part was harder and only a little more interesting, but the song itself was pleasantly bizarre enough that I was happy to play it. South Side of the Sky had a more satisfying keyboard part, and did okay on the “pleasantly bizarre” front; Heart of the Sunrise was my least favorite of the four.

After that, Liesl and I grabbed microphones, and sung through those songs; Miranda wandered down at some point and joined us as well. I can imagine Owner of a Lonely Heart being in the vocal rotation fairly often; the other songs were quite a bit on the long side. Miranda dropped out then, but Liesl and I kept on going; we must have sung for about two and a half hours? Our high point was reaching 24th place on the leaderboard for Viva La Resistance: we often rank well on DLC, but that’s the first time we’ve done anything like that on on-disc content. Which, in its own way, is sad, a sign that Rock Band 3 has overshot most of its audience: we did a credible job, but not a perfect one, so I think it must be the case that not many people are doing harmonies. At any rate, if we’re going to rank well on one of the songs, I’m happy for it to be Viva La Resistance, because “Your theocratic neofascist ideology / is only getting in the way of my biology” is my favorite lyric on the disc.

On Sunday, I put in my Pro Guitar practice. I finished the last three Moderate songs: This Bastard’s Life was fun, but the chord transitions were a bit too hard for me (though figuring out what was going on with three-note fragments of chords was interesting), The Killing Moon was useful practice in switching between A and E barre chords on the same fret and had surprisingly fun solos, and Heart of Glass was kind of meh. And then I did the first three Challenging songs, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Something Bigger, Something Brighter, and Lasso; nothing too exciting there, and I didn’t feel like it was a particular step-up in difficulty. I was glad to have finished six songs, though, and my left hand was letting me know that it felt that I’d put in quite enough practice!

I had Monday off from work, and Liesl and Miranda were out in the morning, so I decided to spend the time doing solo vocals. Mainly going through London Calling: I’d gone through that on the different instruments, but while Liesl and I had sung some of the individual songs, I’d never gone through them all at once. And I’m very glad I did that: the lyrics are amazing, the music is very good, and my chest voice needs the practice. After that, I went through fifteen or twenty on-disc songs, checking off several of the goals in the progress. (I’m now in the top 1% for fan count, with 415 million; also a sad sign of how the game has done, because you only have to be in around the top 5000 people to be in the top 1% of that metric.)

Very pleasant week, in particular I’m quite happy to be finding time for both Pro Guitar and to do Vocal Harmonies with Liesl. Not sure that I’ll finish Hard Pro Guitar in 2011, but if not, it shouldn’t take me too far into 2012 before I move up to Expert.

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London Calling

Feb 10 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

I’d been in a Rock Band drought during the job search, but that’s changed this week: I got in a bit of pro keys practice over the weekend, I had a very pleasant Monday evening playing Rock Band with some soon-to-be former coworkers, and this week’s VGHVI game was a playthrough of The Clash’s album London Calling.

And wow, what an album, and what a way to experience it. The VGHVI gaming sessions have been going on for over two years now, and Jonathan, Roger, and I have been there for almost every one. This is our eleventh time playing Rock Band together (we go by the band name Μῆνιν Ἄειδε), I really enjoy playing with the two of them, and it’s a very good way to experience albums in particular.

Somewhat reluctantly, I played the drums this time, but it turned out to be a great choice. I could go through the whole album on Hard, most of the time it was challenging but not stressful, and there were definitely moments when I was proud of myself. Really, I should embrace the notion of playing drums on VGHVI Rock Band nights: I wish I were better at drums, and it’s a low-pressure way to experiment (especially because other people are there to provide extra star power and to save me if necessary).

Which isn’t to say that I’m not looking forward to playing the album on other instruments! Liesl and I will probably go through it this weekend, which will give me a chance to try it on guitar, and I imagine I’ll find time to do it on bass eventually, too. Singing, who knows; and the few “keyboard” parts that I tried the other day turned out to be not very interesting horn parts.

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