In the tradition of bands like The Advantage, The Greatest Bits and The OneUps, Athens rockers Bit Brigade have continued to separate themselves as the undisputed champions of recreating classic video game soundtracks. Focusing on NES scores, these five guys manage to convert your favorite 8-bit tunes into ferocious rock and roll bangers without loosing the essence of what made these pieces of music so good to begin with.
I was first introduced to the band at last year’s Arcade Expo when they capped off the weekend with an exhilarating performance of their take on the music from Mega Man 2. I’d listened to their recorded versions of these songs and immediately loved them, but it was this performance that showcased what makes watching these guys live a can’t miss attraction: In addition to their musical showcase, the band plays around a skilled speed-runner that gloriously blasts his way through the game that the band is honoring.
That introductory evening, it was Mega Man 2, and it fuckin’ ruled. Last night at Zanzabar, the band chose to put The Legend of Zelda series on the menu, and again, it fuckin’ ruled. While the speed-runner quickly plowed through the original Legend of Zelda game on NES, the band played along, switching musical queues as Link entered a dungeon or a hidden passageway somewhere in Hyrule. Considering that the original game only has a small amount of musical themes to work with, the band would go on to utilize tunes from other Zelda classics like Zelda II: The Adventures of Link (NES), A Link to the Past (SNES), and even Ocarina of Time (N64), among others.
While the band used themes from other games, they cleverly inserted them into their performance — if Link entered a dungeon, the band would explode into one of the many dungeon themes. If Link was wondering around Hyrule, a sensical theme from another game would follow. Check out a short video I took of the band playing the palace music from Zelda II as Link navigates a dungeon:
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This process would follow the speed-runner all the way to Ganon’s dungeon; the band followed suite and played the infamous, dooming theme as he raced his way to the end, defeating the pig-faced monster with one quick silver arrow.As the game was completed, the now-famous celebratory music played on as the crowd of overjoyed nerds (and myself) roared, fist pumping in celebration.
I guess I should mention that my band Prayer Line opened the show. We played well, people seemed to like it, but that’s all I’ll say about our performance. This night was all about Bit Brigade, in all their glory. I expected the moon, and they brought it home just like Nick Saban continues to do against the lowly LSU Tigers.
Check out a gallery of photographs from the show taken by the one and only Miranda Hellman below:
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