On the night of the 22nd, a bunch of East Coast dwellers got together to perform at The Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA. They got together to give the people what they needed for their Saturday night,
: and that, my friends, was a night of over the top lo-fi goodness. From the openers to our magical headlinah, the stage was graced by:
Myself, Sam Mulligan, Br1ght Pr1mate, Kris Keyser, and Radlib! Hell. Yes. This article covers the show, what these guys are doing, and how they’re making it happen.
First off, thank you to Br1ght Pr1mate and League Podcast for organizing this show, and thank you to the Middle East for hosting us. League Podcast is a group of cool peeps who review comic books, movies, and video game reviews, along with raising awareness for local music acts. Listen to their podcasts and donate to their cause here.
I arrived to the venue for 5PM load in, gear in hand. We all set up, and it was so freakin’ sweet to see what everyone else had with them. The audience turn out was huge, and got all the performers pumped. A few Boston8Bit homies showed up (shoutout to Glenntai and MC Facepalm!), along with someone wearing a ChipWIN shirt! It was incredibly special to me that my two little sisters and some of my closest friends turned out to cheer me on.
When Lydia from Bright Primate asked me to perform, I jumped on the opportunity. I’ve been swamped the last couple of months between Girls Mark Games Boston, MIT’s Game Lab, and other projects, but that just pushed me all the harder to finish some new material and put together a set.
I opened with this set list:
- Faithful (unreleased from my upcoming album, ‘Living Proof’)
- Waiting Game (‘Living Proof’)
- Hanging On (from my first album, ‘Bitcrushed Memories’)
- Everlasting (‘Bitcrushed Memories’)
- Novation Launchkey 25
- Modded Gameboy DMG (If you’re in the market for one and don’t feel comfortable modding yourself, Stardriver is an incredible Gameboy visionary and repair person.)
- AVID Mbox Pro 3
- Shure SM27 condenser mic
- Ibanez SA220EX
- Ableton Live 9
Working with multiple things on stage when you’re all by yourself is tricky, and I’m still fairly new to performing live. Jumping between pads on my controller to trigger Live, playing keys with patches I made in Native Instrument’s Absynth, along with juggling my guitar, my Gameboy, and singing stretched my creativity. My favorite thing about performing live for a crowd like last night’s was how responsive the audience was. I was really nervous as to what kind of crowd was going to be there, since what we all do is really specific. I’m
not ignorant to the fact that my music is way more down tempo than the rest of the other artists’, so I was hoping for some sort of positive response. Having my rig run smoothly and having people cheer when I yelled ‘what’s up’ was epic.
Next up, was the man, the myth, the doughnut loving legend: Sam Mulligan! Sam’s stage presence, combined with brand new material like SHARK PARTY was enough to turn even hardened misanthropes into upright citizens!
The audience went wild, and it was amazing to see so many people singing along with him. One of my friends tugged on my sleeve and whispered awestruck in my ear, “That man is everything I want to be when I grow up.”
Sam’s set crushed the house with:
- I’m An Idiot (from the PXL-WIN compilation
- Shark Party (unreleased, will be on new EP/album)
- One Of Those Guys (from Big Hand Band Van Man, debut EP)
- Looking For Sasquatch (from Big Hand Band Van Man, debut EP)
- Untitled Instrumental track from new album (unreleased. will be on new EP/album)
- If We Were Kitties (from Nerdfit Valentine’s Day compilation, Love, Lasers + Lackluster)
- Traveling Man (from Big Hand Band Van Man, debut EP)
- Ninja Song Part II (Weekly Treats 2015 single)
If you missed last night’s gig, hopefully you can catch him at these two events:
September 10, 2015 – Bit Fest Summer Nights: Indie Invasion in Everett, MA
September 11, 2015, 7PM – MAGClassic in Alexandria, VA
- 2 Nintendo Gameboys (DMGs) running Little Sound DJ
- 1 GP2X Caanoo running LGPT (Piggy Tracker)
- Gibson SG
- “A crappy practice amp” – Sam Mulligan
- Guitar pedals (MXR Phase 90, Chorus pedal – CE-2, and a DittoX2 looping pedal
Br1ght Pr1mate stole the stage next. What can I say about these two? I met them when we played at PAX East this year, and they are the epitome of a power duo. Their synth sounds are sick, and Lydia’s voice is stunning. The two of them are passionate about what they do and are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. They’ve been involved in the Boston scene for as long as I’ve known of its existence, and they were great hosts, making sure all of our setups and sound checks went smoothly.
Br1ght Pr1mate is popular within the audio scene for creating music for games, so seeing the two also perform so flawlessly was nothing short of refreshing. James was going between the Gameboy and singing in the vocoder, and Lydia danced with everyone, while her voice seriously sounded like she didn’t even need to ever practice. These two are naturals, and it’s great to see two people who have everything down, from being tech savvy to being able to tell how to make a set list flow naturally.
These two are working on a ton of other things. Hopefully, you will have the chance to catch them at their next gig, representing their work for the game Starr Mazer.
Along with that
, they are both working on music for various upcoming games. They’ll be demoing Rain World at the Adult Swim booth at PAX Prime next weekend, from Aug 28-31.
Br1ght Pr1mate had us dancing to:
- Night Animals
- Source Code
- Soft Promises
- Alien Moon
- Hyper Loop
- Call Me (Blondie cover)
- Space Opera
MicroKorg XL with a vocoder
Various backing tracks on iOS
Kris Keyser was fourth to take the stage, and holy flying kittens, his Gameboy chops are incredible. He commuted from Brooklyn, NYC and in return the entire floor was dancing through every track. His music was completely engaging, and instilled within my soul a burning need to master the DMG. The set was educational, beautiful, melodic, and just
humbling to experience. Kris, I am still applauding your set. It was the definition of uplifting.
Those inspiring tracks were:
- Action Potential
- New Blood
- (new untitled song)
- Batsly Labs
You can catch his next gig here:
2 Gameboys running Little Sound DJ
Kris had a message he wanted to pass along to everyone:
“Everyone played a fantastic show and I had a great time. I can’t wait to come back and hang out with these awesome people again!”
Finally, the headliner of the show: RADLIB!
This was my first time ever meeting Carl, and it was totally badass to see his rig. His reputation, both as an artist and as a practitioner of the art of FM synthesis should be a mystery to no one. His setup was a alien to me, and he had a good chuckle when I asked if he was running Serato. People were dancing to Kris’ set, but what they did for Radlib was something else entirely.
Radlib’s set had the sort of 90s throwbacks that hearkened back to the days of indoor skate parks with crazy lights. His tracks were complete with insane beats and amazing sound design. To another performer, every moment of Carl’s performance was educational. When you have an artist who talks about synthesizers, creates melodic and beat driven music, and who clearly loves what they do, it’s easy to be into what they create, as well.
On top of performing live, Radlib is a producer, and creates songs on a custom built PC, complete with a Sound Blaster 16 sound card. He uses Adlib Tracker II to design sounds specifically for that card, which he then resamples
, and sequences with Impulse Tracker.
Live Gear List:
- 2 Compaq Armada laptops circa 1998 with Sound Blaster 16 compatible sound cards
You can catch Carl live again on Sept. 12 at MAG Classic.
So, yes, the show was
monumentally fun. I feel really fortunate to have met these guys, whether it be through Boston8Bit, Rhythmus Records, Geekbeat Radio, or PAX East. Thanks again for making the show as sweet as it was! Finally, shout outs to VJ Beyonder for the excellent visuals, and to Maddie Ryan for the sweet new stickers! If anyone needs anything merch related, you can hit her up here!
Until next time,