Last month I was given exclusive tickets to go and see ‘Mega Ran live’ in Manchester at the ‘Castle Hotel’, courtesy of my chiptune buddy, ‘Auracle’. Auracle would also be opening for the Arizona-based rapper. I’d seen’ Mega Ran’ a few times already; twice at Superbyte and then again when he opened for ‘MC Lars’. However, I couldn’t pass this up as the ‘Castle Hotel’ is one of the smallest venues in town, which gives its concerts a real, personal vibe. Getting up close and personal with Ran and his impeccable openers was definitely a sell straight away for me.
For those who don’t know Mega Ran, he is one of the big rappers of Chiptune and Nerdcore, starting off by spewing videogame inspired lyrics over a wide range of retro VGM songs. The majority of his tracks were inspired by Capcom games like ‘Mega Man’ (shock) however ‘Final Fantasy’ is also heavily referenced too.
I arrived just before the music started in order to get a good place to watch the openers. From previous experience, I knew the Castle’s venue would get absolutely packed and sweaty, so I wanted to find an area which both the sound and view would be perfect.
First on the stage was, ‘Marx‘, a rapper from Hull and heavily inspired by such artists as ‘Wu-tang Clan‘ and heavy rock. Marx’s set began very strong, showing off his own material as well as performing a couple of covers from the likes of ‘Nas‘. All splendid, however when it came to the choruses from his original material, I felt they lacked power, mainly due to ‘Marx’ himself (no fault of his own) singing the vocals. In my opinion, I thought he needed perhaps extra effects over his voice to further drive the chorus. That said, Marx was a good act to kick start Mega Ran’s gig.
Next up was Manchester’s boy for chiptune, ‘Auracle‘ who has been seeing a growing amount of popularity for some time. In fact ‘Auracle’ got the spot to play through word of mouth, with someone passing on his name to ‘Mega Ran’. ‘Auracle’ began his set with a screamer of song called, ‘WUBZ’ fusing both ‘Gameboy chiptune’ and ‘dubstep’. A fantastically well made track, it really showed off Auracle’s detailed knowledge into music and tricks, even though he isn’t known for doing solely dubstep music! From there on, the majority of his set stayed strong, with killer tracks such as, ‘Can’t Get a Break‘, -full of obligatory break samples-, and a new EDM tune called, ‘White Sands, Blue Waters‘. This track was extremely tasty, containing some of the sweetest leads of the evening, whilst featuring killer fills and breaks. ‘Auracle’ finished the set with a freestyle collaboration with ‘Marx’ rapping over the top; a nice surprise to round off a cool set, and although Marx found it hard to freestyle right off the bat, he got into and managed to make a couple songs his own!
With two acts down, it was now on to the penultimate act before ‘Mega Ran’, San-Antonio based, ‘Richie Branson’. I’d only heard of Richie when I had to research Nerdcore, upon going to see MC Lars. However, Richie managed to blow my expectations sky high, with a lot of his material being extremely relatable. Songs like ‘Space Cowboy Serenade‘, which was written about all things good in ‘Cowboy Bebop‘, a very cool scifi anime! Another thing that I really liked about Richie was how he could grab the crowd’s attention so easily, whilst also at the same time acting so chill.
It could be due to experience, but I feel it was mainly because he immediately talked about what he loved in life; ‘anime & videogames’ (oh and his ‘Alienware Laptop’; it looked pretty cool). Finally it was also rather amazing to find out that not only was Manchester Richie’s first overseas show live, he’d also recently beat cancer, an incredible feat.
Now that all the warms had finished, it was time for ‘Mega Ran’ to take up the stage, with ‘K-Murdock’ behind him dealing out the jams. As said before, this gig felt very personal to me, due to venue being real small. However with ‘Mega Ran’ on the stage, it felt much more than just that. Kick starting the show off by letting a person hit start on an old Famicom, Mega Ran, talked to the crowd as if they were old friends, sparking up wisecracks (with ‘K-Murdock’ adding some really bad jokes) as well as even getting the whole audience to sit down and listen, whilst Ran began ‘story time’; regaling a fun little tale as a rap.
As if it couldn’t get any better, ‘Mega Ran’ also brought out his fabled ,’Mega Man arm canon,’ shooting it at the crowd whilst he rapped. Much of Mega Ran’s old material was used, with almost every song hyping up the crowd. ‘Infinite Lives‘ was one that really, stuck out for me, partly down to it’s upbeat and happy nature, but also down to huge amount of people who knew it and sang along.
After hosting Chip Bit Day literally only a few days before, I thought I’d be burnt out with Chiptune music; I was dead wrong to think, and I had a fantastic time, seeing a lot of unique acts, both old and new! I can now put the amount of times I’ve seen Mega Ran right next to Pearl Jam!
This has been a blog post from Chip Bit Sid, a UK based Chiptune Blogger. Along with monthly features here on The ChipWIN Blog, I post once a week on my own blog. To get in touch, please message via the social media links below! I also do my own music under the banner as ‘Kojin’.