Robert Chesley

What I WPR’d This Week #3

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This week is going to be a little interesting. I actually WPR’d a lot of stuff now I’m trying to recall everything that I did in a week. So, bear with me while I figure out my thoughts. This time I think it is going to be mostly devoted to how much the prolific rock band, The Beatles, seethed into everything I did this week.

I started this week much like I promised I would get to in the last article by finally playing “The Beatles: Rock Band” or is it “Rock Band: The Beatles”? Either way, I popped that sucker inside of my Xbox this week. Before getting to the review, I should give you guys a little background. Most reviews (including the one on this site located here) argued for the enjoyment of this game rests solely on how much you actually like the band in question.

I’m of two minds of this kind of philosophy as I’m not really a fan of The Beatles. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say they were a little overrated but I won’t deny that they are one of the most influential and experimental bands that has ever been. I guess not being very familiar with all of  their material, doesn’t help either. I mean, I know the big hits (such as “Eight Days a Week” and “Come Together”) but I wasn’t really prepared for the broad spectrum of their music that I got.

Beatles Rock BandI found myself enjoying more and more the songs on the band’s later years when they turned into a studio band. I loved the “Dreamscapes” and I felt that this was one of the most appealing “rhythm/action” games to look at. The dreamscapes would appear when the studio they were playing in would just dissolve into really imaginative dream-like trips based on the song in question.

I was really surprised at how difficult some of the songs were to play. I play on “expert” level in Rock Band on the guitar, and I got at least 3 stars on every song on the first try but there were a couple of songs where I didn’t feel like I was going to make it to the end. I keep thinking about my preconceived notions that this band had “easy-to-play” songs and after my last sentence, I can tell you that this is definitely false.

I’m happy to say that I enjoyed myself when playing this game. Yes, it is relatively short, in so far as it took me only 2 or 3 days to finish it. My girlfriend (who is addicted to The Beatles) has assured me that we are going to be purchasing all the DLC from them, so you should fully expect to see me write about those at a later time, as I’m really interested in playing some of their later records.

It seems to me that this band is one that you really need the listen to the entire album in context to really enjoy what they were trying to do. I have to recommend this game to fans of music in general, you don’t really need to be a “super fan” of The Beatles to enjoy what this game has to offer. I picked it up for $17 at Amazon, and it was well worth it for that price.

Switching gears just a little bit, I want to talk about a concert I recently went to. I don’t generally see a lot of music related posts other than Xopher’s “Morning Cup ‘O Music”, so this is a section I kind of wanted to fill out a little bit.

I went to see The Gaslight Anthem, Fake Problems, and the Menzingers on Thursday night. At first, I really wanted to go to this show but the tickets were a little out of my budget until the day of the show. The venue was obviously undersold because of the high prices, so to get people to fill up the place they lowered the tickets from the original price which was close to $25 a ticket, to $5 each. For a price like that, there was no way that I could pass up going to a concert with three bands that I have been itching to see in a long time.

In my opinion, The Gaslight Anthem is one of the best rock and roll bands out today. To describe their sound in one word is really difficult to do. They draw upon a lot of inspiration ranging from old rhythm and blues, to Clash style punk rock, to classic rock. It might just be easier if I link a video. This is probably their biggest “hit” it is the title track from 2008’s 59 Sound.

The club that hosted the concert was “The Depot” in Salt Lake City, Utah. For those unfamilar (as I was before this night), it is located right at the The Gateway (an outdoor mall in downtown Salt Lake) in the historic Union Pacific train station. I had never gone to an event at this venue before but upon entering was immediately impressed with how the stage was set up. The place was well ventilated and was really clean. These two things are sometimes rare when you see major “indie” acts in Utah.

The DepotMost bands usually play at “In the Venue” which is a great sized venue, it really isn’t the “nicest” place to see a concert.

Back to The Depot…My girlfriend and I ordered some drinks while there, I had a Coke and what impressed me even more is that I got unlimited refills. I’m just going to pause and let that sink in…As a man who goes to many-a concerts, getting unlimited refills isn’t something you see that often, or that the price of soda was just 3 dollars. We picked a pretty nice spot which was right in front of the sound booth so that we could lean against it. Looking back, we should have tried to get a table and chairs or at least a couple chairs so we could sit for a bit but that is just a minor gripe.

The first band to take the stage was Florida’s Fake Problems. Now, before the concert I had only been exposed to them through a cover of “Ramblin’ Man” and “Heart BPM” which I acquired through compilation albums over the years. They had a lot of energy and played interesting dynamics. At points, they were your usual punk band, other times they were just a really good rock band.

I enjoyed their set and it moved me enough to go out and procure their music further. I just wish I was little bit more familiar with their music. The one thing I did notice from their live show (as opposed to their records) is that I really enjoy all the different instruments they use on their recorded material that obviously they couldn’t bring on tour which is too bad, I think more people would be interested in them if they brought a horn section with them.

Next on the bill was the Menzingers, which I had only heard of, but never actually listened to before. They hail from Pennsylvania, and that became apparent early on due to their sound being influenced by bands like the Street Dogs or Anti-Flag…meaning that there were a lot of sing along punk hardcore anthems.

I had a really good time listening to them. I want to pick up their albums as I am always down for good anthem music to sing along with in my car. Again, it is unfortunate that I wasn’t as familiar with their music.

The Gaslight Anthem took the stage at roughly 10 PM and started their set with a few songs from American Slang and from what I can recall played all the songs from The 59 Sound, American Slang, and most songs from their first record Sink or Swim. These guys put on an electric show. Front man, Brian Fallon, is both entertaining, authentic, and endearing. He also has a great blues voice that just gives each of these songs that little something extra that makes this band so unique.

Gaslight AnthemThey played a few cover songs, they played a little bit of The Velvet Underground and Prince, before doing a brilliant version of “House of the Rising Sun”. A little later in the set, which seemed masterfully improvised, they rolled out an excellent version of “Refugee” by Tom Petty. I daresay it is even better than the original in some regards.

They played a solid 2 hours of music, which would have gone on longer if it weren’t for the venue closing, it seemed like they could have easily rolled on for at least another hour. I will be seeing each of these bands again when they tour back through and I suggest anyone that has the opportunity to see them in your respective towns, especially if you like good blues and rock music.

I also started reading a book but I don’t really have much to say about it but I wanted to mention it. I started “Night of the Living Trekkies” in which the plot is there being a zombie outbreak at a Star Trek convention at a hotel in Houston.

So far I like it, I’ve been told that there are a few different types of Zombie books. Ones that take themselves completely serious or ones that are completely humorous. So far I would say this book falls dead into the humorous category but I say that only in the same style as “Shawn of the Dead” where it’s funny, yet takes the actual Zombie Apocalypse serious. I think fans of Zombie outbreaks and Star Trek references will love this book. It reminds me of the book “Shatnerquake”. Which also took place at a convention and where Shatner had to defend himself against all kinds of different “Isms” of himself.

I did watch “The Losers” solely off of a recommendation from “Little Red Envelope” on this site, I also went to see “Machete” and I’m planning on also finally seeing “The Expendables”. So I guess until next week. Thats what I WPR’d.

Robert Chesley is a geek of all natures. He mostly spends his time on the forums under the moniker Urzishra.

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