Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rock Band 2 triple cymbal expansion kit

This might be the greatest gaming accessory ever invented. I liked playing the drums on the Rock Band games before, but this takes it to the next level. It's still not exactly like actually playing drums (which I cannot, by the way), but the position and different levels of these cymbals contributes greatly to the illusion.

Rock Band 2 triple cymbal kit
Rock Band 2 triple cymbal kit

This adds a high-hat, ride and crash cymbal to the kit which not only make it more fun to play, it's actually easier and more intuitive. They are connected in such a way that each cymbal corresponds to one of the drum pads, so you effectively have two ways to successfully hit a beat during play. In addition, hitting the cymbal will produce the corresponding sound of a cymbal as opposed to the sound of a tom, so you also have a bit more control and can choose the sound produced for a particular beat. I understand there is a double cymbal expansion kit also, but you don't want that one -- you need the triple, trust me.

The build quality is solid, and I have not noticed any dropped "hits" during gameplay. I played my first virtual gig a few nights ago as the drummer and held my own on medium difficulty, so I am quite pleased.

Everything is alright

I went to the "Songs for Presidents" show last night here in Sacramento. It was quite an event, with a collection of four or five Sacramento bands and a number of musicians from several other bands sharing the stage to play 27 songs from the "Of Great And Mortal Men" album.

I had seen a previous show at the "Of Great And Mortal Men" album release party last September, but it was at a smaller venue. Last night the band was in its full glory, with accordion, violin, saxophone, clarinet and flute filling the large stage at Marilyn's on K.

It was a great show, with passionate (and sometimes humorous) performances by all. The emcee for the night was David Watts Barton, Managing Editor of He provided a bit of background on each President before that President's song for those of us who were less than familiar with their Presidential history. He kept it funny and interesting, and even sang a few songs, too.

The night ended with the group's song for Obama, "Someone to Wake," composed after the release of the album and available as a free download at the link to NPR above. It was a rousing and hopeful rendition, with most of the musicians onstage, extending the final chorus of "Everything is alright" to an appreciative crowd.

The band played at Obama's inauguration, and I understand will be performing at the South-by-Southwest event in Austin, Texas this March.

I don't think there are further Sacramento dates in the near future, but keep your eyes open and if you can catch this band, do it.