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  • Pearl Jam: Rock Band Canceled? Vocal Harmonies Tell Tale

    Posted on January 21st, 2011 Shawn 2 comments

    While doing a regular search of the Rock Band downloadable content page on Wikipedia, I noticed a new column titled “Add’l Rock Band 3 Features”. Upon sorting, I stumbled on a shocking bit of news. Most of the Pearl Jam DLC released between March and September 2009 has “Backing vocals”.

    As a test, I fired up Rock Band 3 on Xbox 360 and confirmed, most Pearl Jam songs have 2-part harmonies. This is interesting news. Long before the release of Rock Band 3, Green Day: Rock Band, and The Beatles: Rock Band; the content authors at Harmonix were charting vocal harmonies for Pearl Jam’s Ten album (followed up by Backspacer).

    This is a nice surprise for Rock Band vocalists, but what does it mean for conspiracy theorists? Since the charting was done relatively early in the Rock Band 2 life-cycle, which never had vocal harmony capabilities, there had to be a purpose for these harmonies.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Our Green Day: Rock Band Release Party

    Posted on June 29th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Green Day: Rock Band Party 1I make a general rule at work to host a party when ever a new rhythm game gets released. Sometimes, we just have music game parties just for the hell of it too.  Last summer, I organized a dual release party on 09.09.09, where we had The Beatles: Rock Band in one room and Guitar Hero 5 in another.

    Earlier this month, on 06.09.10 to be exact, I hosted a Green Day: Rock Band release party at work. In one room, which we will call the main stage, we had Green Day: Rock Band splattered across five giant projectors. It was a bit overkill, but that’s how we roll. In the other room, which we will the 2nd stage, we had one giant screen projector setup with Rock Band 2, and about 600 songs.

    These parties generally bring out the plastic rockers from work, and this event was no exception. On the main stage, we had it set up with guitar, bass, and 3 vocals. We were shy one set of drums so, unfortunately there wasn’t a chance to let people realize how insane the drums for many early Green Day songs really was. Though, the vocal harmonies were a big hit, and people are really looking forward to that feature in Rock Band 3. Over all, many of the early Green Day songs were requested, and people were looking for more Insomniac and Warning songs. For me, I love American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, so no complaints on the set list from me.

    Stage 2 was a different vibe entirely. It was more comfortable, since everyone has been playing Rock Band 2 for about two years now (and we’ve had it at several parties). This room has the traditional Rock Band set up, vocals, guitar, bass, and drums. I even set up the Rock Band Stage Kit for some lighting effects. For fear of a visit from the local fire department, I opted not to turn on the fog machine. Some favorite songs that jump out to me were Poker Face, The Great Southern Trendkill (see video), and Foreplay/Long Time.

    Of course, both setups had No Fail Mode on to increase the party/fun factor without the bummer of someone killing the buzz by being booed off the stage.

    Over all, our 2+ hour event was a success with a couple dozen of our closest coworkers joining in the fun. I expect we will have a couple more of these throughout the summer.

    Everyone is looking forward to the 7 person band of Rock Band 3, which I expect we will have a release party of that in early November.

    Check out the small gallery below.

  • Green Day: Rock Band – First Impression

    Posted on June 9th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Ok, every game blogger has written a review for Green Day: Rock Band already. So, why should I? Well, I’m pretty sure I will have a different spin on it, plus I will definitely focus on some different aspects of the game.

    Opening Cinematic

    Let’s start at the very beginning, the start up video when you pop in the disc. Lot’s of red and black imagery with bizarre looking characters, grenade explosions, and a make-out scene. My first take ,”boy that was short.” And then, “this is going to scare the sh** out of my kids”. I’m underwhelmed by that opening. It’s not very vibrant, it’s short, and not very welcoming…of course it is reflecting the dark lyrics of Green Days songs, so I suppose it’s fitting.  Though, it does not hold a candle to The Beatles: Rock Band opening cinematic.

    Rock Band Stage Kit

    I have very bad news here.  Just like with The Beatles: Rock Band, the light/fog capabilities on the Xbox 360 Rock Band Stage Kit do not work with Green Day: Rock Band. This (to me) is a HUGE disappointment. Especially since Harmonix was trying to recreate the live Green Day experience in this game. Why would they not include the lighting effects of this device?

    Drumming

    Drummers out there, you will struggle on many Green Day songs…and other songs will be a breeze. Needless to say most of you will play through this once and come back again to perfect it. It follows the traditional Rock Band 4-lane drumming, so it’s still the very familiar and comfortable format…though you will have some lightening fast hi-hats and fills.

    Vocals

    The 3 part harmonies are wonderful. Keep in mind, I love singing Green Day during drunken karaoke outings…so this is fitting territory to me. Even the 6 songs previously released for Rock Band DLC, have been updated with 3-part harmonies. It’s done well, and very fun to sing with others in the same room.

    If you want to lower Billie Joe’s vocals to hear your own, you have to pause the game and select “Lower Vocals” from a menu, just like The Beatles: Rock Band. That’s unfortunate, where Rock Band 2 would allow the vocalist to lower/raise vocals during game play.

    Set List

    I’m super biased. American Idiot, Bullet In A Bible, and 21st Century Breakdown are three of my most listened to CD’s over the past five years. Oddly enough, after Insomniac came out in 1995, I stopped buying Green Day albums until Idiot came out.  The on disc set list, for me, is the best Rock Band on disc set list to date. Now, you know my bias…I will move on.

    Pre/Post Song Visualizations

    There are three venues. With each venue, there appears to only have one or two pre-song and post-song visualizations. The visualizations get old fast, watching Tre stand on his drum throne. I’m wishing those visuals were more varied.

    Online

    Playing Xbox Live last night, I saw about 15 people on my friends list playing. I played with some, and searched for players as well.  Match making was fine.  There were times when no one was available for match making…I’m hoping it’s just because the game is new and not many were online yet. I did have a couple players disconnect mid song, and the old typical issues still exist. If a player gets disconnected, you slowly fail out of the song…versus my suggestions to drop that player and continue on.

    Extras

    I have seen some of the photos that are unlockable. The photos are cool, but the text to go with them sucks.  The text just says “Photo unlocked by achieving 3 or 5 stars in XXXXX song”.  Instead of The Beatles: Rock Band where unlocked photos would have contextual info about the photos origin. I haven’t unlocked any videos yet, but am looking forward to them. I haven’t played any challenges yet, but I know there are full album challenges which I can’t wait to try out and hope the song transition visualizations are more varied.

    Overall

    I love the set list, I love the graphics, I love the harmonies. I love the speed and menuing. It’s a lot like TB:RB with Green Day in place. The export capabilities and hints of more DLC continue to add future life. For $50-$60 (depending where/when you buy), it basically is the cost of DLC with added capabilities. If you love Rock Band and like/love Green Day, it’s a must have.

    I am disappointed with a few things, most notably the lack of Stage Kit support.  I will get over it, as I enjoy the music above all else.

  • TWIRB: Pantera, Green Day Demo on Xbox, Drive Shaft

    Posted on May 25th, 2010 Shawn 1 comment

    It’s the re-return of THIS WEEK IN ROCK BAND! Life has been busy, the blog has been suffering. Thanks to Simon for keeping up with some posts. Due to too much Rock Band news right now, I need to do a TWIRB. Green Day demo is live, Lost fans get some Drive Shaft, Pantera will ruin us all. So, here goes THIS WEEK IN ROCK BAND!

    Green Day: Rock Band Demo on Xbox Live

    While checking my Twitter updates this morning I stumbled on the Xbox Live Marketplace account which mentioned, Green Day: Rock Band Demo.  So, I dug into it to find as of today the is a two song demo of the game available right now to Xbox Live Gold members.  It’s about 300MB, so it’s relatively small.

    I have queued up the download and will be checking it out whenever I get out of work tonight.

    If you have an Xbox Live Gold account, you can queue up the demo here.

    If you haven’t pre-ordered the game, Amazon is now (finally) offering release day shipping, plus $20 off your next game and $5 of Amazon MP3s.  Pretty sweet deal! It’s the best deal there is. Pre-order Green Day: Rock Band for Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii here.

    Pantera is now on Rock Band

    Read Simon’s post from last week about the Pantera announcement, for all the details.  From my point of view, Pantera was one of the most influential bands of my teens and twenties. I was a drummer and singer in various bands, and most all would at some point use a Pantera song to warm up during practices. I had seen the band live many times, and shed a tear the morning after Dimebag Daryl was killed.

    As of today, Pantera’s final great album (IMO) is available for Rock Band. I could only be happier, if Harmonix and Pantera would release their three preceding albums too. So, if you are like me, get this album now, and I will see you on Xbox Live tonight to sweat and scream the intensity of The Great Southern Trendkill.

    It’s Dharma Time

    Lost fans, stop crying and get ready to rock! Charlie Pace’s band Drive Shaft showed up in the Rock Band Network yesterday with their fictional hit, You All Everybody. Yes, I picked it up last night for a measly 80 MS Points ($1).  Yes, I played as Charlie on expert bass. Yes, I took heroine. Yes, I was a real rock star for a few minutes (in my living room by myself). Yes, it was well worth it.

    If you are craving some more Lost in your life, or just want to add another cheap song to your Rock Band library, here’s the link to queue up You All Everybody.

    With that, what’s NWIRB?  NEXT WEEK IN ROCK BAND!

    • More Green Day: Rock Band announcements as we lead up to June 8.
    • We wait in anticipation of the June 15 announcement of Rock Band 3 at E3.
  • Pre-Order Green Day Rock Band, Save $12

    Posted on April 23rd, 2010 Shawn 4 comments

    Amazon has started a pre-order deal for Green Day: Rock Band.  Pre-order either the Standard Edition or Plus Edition of the game, and get a $10 credit to a future video game purchase.  Ten bucks is ten bucks.  If you order the Standard Edition, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 users will be able to export all the Green Day: Rock Band songs to your hard drive for play within Rock Band 1, 2, and 3.  The export will cost you $10.  This Amazon deal (in a sense) will cover the cost of your export.

    On another note, as of right now, Amazon has the Standard Edition currently on sale at $57.99 [$48.99 for Wii] ($2 off retail price).

    So, get to this link now and save a total of $12 when pre-ordering Green Day: Rock Band.

  • Green Day Rock Band Detailed by Chris Foster

    Posted on April 15th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Green Day Rock Band

    Here’s a wonderful interview from Gamespot of Harmonix lead designer Chris Foster, talking in great detail about Green Day Rock Band. There is a ton of in-game content demo’d as well, plus a lot of Green Day goodness not previously seen in the commercials or PAX demos. If you are interested in seeing a big glimpse of the upcoming game, check this out.

    [Thanks @RockBandAide for the tip]

  • Green Day on Fallon, Talk Rock Band and American Idiot

    Posted on April 15th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Here’s the scoop. Green Day stopped by Jimmy Fallon. They talk about a few things. Tre sucks at Rock Band. American Idiot is now on Broadway. Tre may have lost the masters to a never released Green Day album. The Beatles get a mention. Plus, they talk mud slinging at Woodstock 94.

  • New Green Day Rock Band Ad Goes Live

    Posted on April 12th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Green Day Rock Band

    At precisely midnight (last night) the Rock Band Facebook page dropped the 2nd trailer for Green Day Rock Band.

    Here’s the initial post I found from the Rock Band forums:

    Rock Band Facebook Exclusive! The WORLD PREMIERE of the new trailer from Green Day: Rock Band will debut on the Rock Band Facebook page tonight at midnight!

    It features 21st Century Breakdown, Holiday, and She.  We also get images of Green Day in their earlier years.

    And now, here’s the trailer

  • Green Day Rock Band 47 Songs Announced

    Posted on April 12th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Our friends over at RockBandAide (via Entertainment Weekly), shared with us on Friday the entire Green Day Rock Band set list. For me, this is great news.  I will cut to the chase and let you know, all of Dookie and American Idiot are on the disc, plus all the remaining tracks from 21st Century Breakdown.  Why is this exciting to me?  I own (and love) only 4 Green Day CD’s.  The 3 previously mentioned, plus Insomniac.  For me, this Green Day set list really could not have gotten any better.  Also, there are a few scattered tracks from the other albums, though nothing form Kerplunk.  To be honest, anything pre-Dookie never did much for me anyway.

    Chris Foster, Green Day Project Lead, on the game (from Entertainment Weekly):

    The key to putting it together ended up being [2004's] American Idiot.  They’re doing a musical based on the album, which is a story that goes from start to finish. We didn’t want to pick and choose songs from that. So we made the call for the first time in one of our games to have the full album on disc. Then we were like, well, [2009's] 21st Century Breakdown is also meant to be heard that way… So that gave us a second album. And then Alex Rigopulos, our CEO, heard about that, and he was like, ‘Why the hell aren’t you putting Dookie on there?’ To which we were like, ‘Uh, yes sir!’ It was a no-brainer.

    Also, EW notes that the game uses three distinct virtual venues to represent different eras of Green Day’s career. American Idiot is set at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes, England, where the band’s live DVD Bullet in a Bible was recorded. 21st Century Breakdown gets the Fox Theater in the band’s home territory of Oakland, California, where they played a memorable gig last spring. At the band’s suggestion, Harmonix created a fictional hole in the wall called The Warehouse for Dookie, as a composite of the “house parties and squats” where they regularly jammed before making it big. OK, enough teasing… Check out the full track list for Green Day: Rock Band below.

    The Warehouse

    • Dookie (1994)
      • “Burnout”
      • “Having a Blast”
      • “Chump”
      • “Longview”
      • “Welcome to Paradise”
      • “Pulling Teeth”
      • “Basket Case”
      • “She”
      • “Sassafrass Roots”
      • “When I Come Around”
      • “Coming Clean”
      • “Emenius Sleepus”
      • “In the End”
      • “F.O.D.”

    Milton Keynes

    • American Idiot (2004)
      • “American Idiot”
      • “Jesus of Suburbia”
      • “Holiday”
      • “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”
      • “Are We the Waiting”
      • “St. Jimmy”
      • “Give Me Novacaine”
      • “She’s a Rebel”
      • “Extraordinary Girl”
      • “Letterbomb”
      • “Wake Me Up When September Ends”
      • “Homecoming”
      • “Whatsername”
    • Warning (2000)
      • “Minority”
      • “Warning”
    • Nimrod (1997)
      • “Hitchin’ a Ride”
      • “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”
      • “Nice Guys Finish Last”
    • Insomniac (1995)
      • “Brain Stew”
      • “Jaded”
      • “Geek Stink Breath”

    Fox Theater, Oakland

    • 21st Century Breakdown(2009)
      • “Song of the Century”
      • “21st Century Breakdown”
      • “Before the Lobotomy”
      • “Last Night on Earth”
      • “Peacemaker”
      • “Murder City”
      • “¿Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl)”
      • “Restless Heart Syndrome”
      • “Horseshoes and Handgrenades”
      • “The Static Age”
      • “American Eulogy”
      • “See the Light”
    • Downloadable Content (not included)
      • “21 Guns” (160 MSP)*
      • “Know Your Enemy” (160 MSP)*
      • “East Jesus Nowhere” (160 MSP)*
      • “Last of the American Girls” (160 MSP)**
      • “¡Viva La Gloria!” (160 MSP)**
      • “Christian’s Inferno” (160 MSP)**

    * Also available as part of Green Day Track Pack 001 (440 MSP)

    ** Also available as part of Green Day Track Pack 002 (440 MSP)

  • EXCLUSIVE! Brain Stew / Jaded performed by Harmonix at PAX East

    Posted on April 7th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Take a look  at some of our favorite HMXers as they give is an exclusive demonstration on how NOT to fail Brain Stew / Jaded from the upcoming Green Day: Rock Band.  This comes direct from the Harmonix Lounge at PAX East 2010.

    In this 6 minute and 30 second video, you get to witness an intro by John Drake (@johntdrake), plus the vocal styling of Kyle Mercury (@dropslash) and Chris Foster of Harmonix.  Chris got to hang out with Green Day the previous day in New York. (side note: We all need to thank Chris for his contributions on the Rock Band franchise.)  You also get a peek at the MC of the event, none other than Eric Pope (@MrPope) at the end.

    Drake gives us some background on the Harmonix team failing out on the song at GDC, which found it’s way on to YouTube.  Also, the background to the song is set to the “American Idiot tour”, says Drake.  Listen to the crowd chanting, it sounds as if this song for Rock Band may be a take from the Bullet In A Bible soundtrack, or a recreation.

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