Mike Sklens attends their live show and sits down for some bad breakfast with the band.
It’s not every day that you get a chance to hear people play video game music live. With the rare exception of Square’s recent “Dear Friends” concerts, the chances of catching something like this are near impossible. So, when I found out that not one, but two bands from Florida would be playing in my home town of Gainesville, while I just happened to be home on spring-break, it almost felt like providence; I had to go.
The bands are Gainesville’s own Select Start and The NESkimos from nearby Jacksonville. The show took place at a local dive bar, The Shamrock. I hadn’t expected a large crowd, so when I arrived to a nearly packed house, I was quite surprised.
Select Start was up first, and wowed the crowd with their classical renditions of classic video game tunes, with a few anime songs thrown in for good measure. Their version of the title theme from Metroid was particularly impressive. They played for quite a long time, around two hours. The hits kept coming as they played classic tunes from The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy 4 and 6, Super Mario Bros, and other classics.
After arriving late (thanks to an unfortunate speeding ticket) and setting up, the NESkimos got their rock on. In a nice juxtaposition to Select Start, the NESkimos play metal versions of video game music. They opened with a medley of Super Mario Bros tunes, and then there was a little Zelda. They also played an arrangement of tunes from Bionic Commando that seemed to go on forever. The really killer stuff, however, was their versions of Punch Out, Contra, and Castlevania.
After the show, the NESkimos invited me to the local Perkins where we ate and had a good time chilling out with Select Start. While there, I had a chance to interview the NESkimos.