One of the many great things about working at a fully functioning arcade in this day and age is the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who embrace the heritage of video games. I have mentioned this on the Diary podcast in the past but it is the honest truth – those of us that work at the Arkadia Retrocade get to do our small part in passing the torch to a generation of Players who had never experienced an arcade before. In addition we do not care if you have paid admission to play the arcade titles… or the SNES, N64, Sega Genesis or our collection of vintage board games. The point is to have fun and have the benefit of being social – cheering your fellow Players on while you are it. Another element of working at the arcade is appreciating the history that is literally everywhere you look – and as I’ve already mentioned getting the chance to visit with folks, swap memories and quite often geek out at a shared experience of the past. Not just with the local Players of course but those that treat the arcade as a destination – visiting us perhaps only once a year, which naturally makes those return trips all the more special. One such group though brings more than just memories with them when they visit the arcade… that is because when Bit Brigade arrives they also bring the ability to completely rock the place with their music and performances!
Bit Brigade if you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing them in concert or listening to their music is a band that just so happens to perform during a live playthrough of various classic NES titles. The appropriate music is timed with what is occurring on the screen behind them from said games that are being played – most of the time. Over the years at the arcade they’ve entertained the 100+ Players who attend each of their concerts with performances featuring Castlevania, Mega Man II (One of my favorite soundtracks to any game I’ve ever played!), The Legend of Zelda, and tonight they tackled Contra and Metroid.
The band boasts the talents of Luke Fields on Bass, Jace Bartet and Bryant Williamson on guitar, Mike Albanese on the drums, and Noah McCarthy manning the modded NES. Now let me clarify something on that mod – it’s been altered to include only the sound effects of the game and not produce the music – since it’s a live run – a speedrun – it makes sense that Bit Brigade wouldn’t want the music from the game clashing with their own performance.
We obviously look forward to Bit Brigade getting the opportunity to visit the arcade as it is a night of fantastic music – but more than that they are great guys and friends. Being part of the staff it’s incredibly enjoyable as well to hang out a bit after the show and chat with them. Especially as after attending a show you are kind of jazzed up from the music and the visuals – because how can you not thrill to seeing the band rock out to the likes of 1986’s Metroid and 1987’s Contra?
One of these days I hope they will have enough time to let me interview them for Diary podcast – hopefully you can see them in person for yourself by checking out their official site, Facebook page and bandcamp page. I want to apologize though because due to work at my day job I wasn’t unable to arrive in time to record the performance of their opening act – Double Ferrari!