OK Go’s performance at The Assembly was a go

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Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser From left, Tim Nordwind, Damian Kulash, and Andy Ross,preforming at the Assembly Music Hall , in Sacramento, CA

 

 

Lester Robancho, writer
Shiftsync Media

Alternative rock band OK Go launched their 2014 tour at the Assembly Music Hall in Sacramento, CA this past Tuesday after not having been on tour for quite some time. Lead singer, guitarist, and frontman Damian Kulash enthusiastically makes note of this to the crowd after their opening song “Upside Down and Inside Out.” The crowd responds with their own enthusiasm for OK Go’s return with cheering and screaming as they stand elbow to elbow in the relatively small venue.

This enthusiasm only grows as OK Go continues their overall excellent show Tuesday night.
Before the set even officially begins, the audience is treated with brief clips of different characters from various films and television shows yelling either “okay” or “go,” or a combination of the two; The clips were being projected onto a screen. Finally, Kermit the Frog formally introduces OK Go, revealing the band behind the screen, which was actually transparent. The opening song “Upside Down and Inside Out” is from their upcoming album and was just what was needed to pump some energy into the crowd, most of whom have been waiting for hours. As they play, a disembodied floating head of Kulash is displayed singing along with the band.
Immediately afterwards, the band delivers some nostalgia to fans with the catchy “You’re So Damn Hot.” This is followed up with a mixture of synth, bass, and violins with the more recently released “I Won’t Let You Down.” As they play, the screens both in front and behind them displayed abstract patterns, colors, images, and words that complimented the band’s brand of poppy, catchy, instrumental-driven rock music.
After a few songs, Kulash takes a short break to thank the crowd, telling them it was a pleasure being back on tour.

He then asks the audience to sing seven, easy to remember words for him. The entire venue knew what this meant. After a few tries with the audience, OK Go performs the ever-so-enlivening “This Too Shall Pass.” From the first boom of the bass drum to the confetti-filled finale, “This Too Shall Pass” was easily the highlight of the show.
At one point during the show, Kulash and the audience have a campfire moment, with Kulash jumping off the stage to stand in the middle of the crowd, playing “Last Leaf” with his acoustic guitar. It was a nice break from their previous songs, and no doubt had some of the fans going crazy since they were in such close proximity of each other. Kulash made sure to include the whole venue, turning around 180 degrees to sing to the “drunk” side of the venue as well.
The band leaves the stage after playing “Turn Up the Radio,” leaving the crowd wanting an encore. Of course, the band returns and finishes the night off with “The One Moment” and Here it Goes Again.”
If there is one thing OK Go’s show wasn’t Tuesday night, it’s dull. Almost all of the songs during the set were colored with the two projection screen trick, and several times the band launched different colored confetti into the crowd. A double-cowbell-instrument-thing was also utilized a few times.

The music itself proved that night that OK Go is still a force to be reckoned with, with great performances by all of the band members. There was a particularly terrific guitar solo during “White Knuckles” by Andy Duncan. Overall OK Go gave an enjoyable and surprisingly spectacular show at the Assembly. It is certain that all who were in attendance that night would agree that it’s good to have them back.

The Forest Game Review

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Bryce Fraser, writer
Shiftsync Media

Have you ever watched a horror movie about someone being chased around the woods by a bunch of cannibal mutants and wanted to be a part of the action? Endnight Games allows you to play out that fantasy in its new release open world survival horror game The Forest for steam.
The first cut scene starts you off in the plane with a boy huddled next to you, the plane suddenly breaks in two and eventually crash lands in the forest. A cannibal is now seen taking the boy and walking off into the woods.

Now you are on your own, starting off with only a lighter and items you find from the wreckage, including an axe, and it is up to you to survive. The concept of the game is to survive and you need to eat as well as maneuver around cannibals out to get you. You need to forage for food by hunting animals for food and eating nonpoisonous berries and mushrooms, or finding snacks from luggage bags scattered across the forest.
The game’s graphics are gorgeous and at the next gen level. Everything looks so real and the landscape itself can be breathtaking, full of giant redwood trees, and little ponds with fish swimming around so you could easily get lost in admiring the landscape and forget about the cannibal mutant behind which is intent on killing you.
When hunting you can use your axe but a spear works better. You can hunt lizards, bunnies, and fish.

The animals themselves look very lifelike and movement is real. You can even see how the lizards will try to chase the birds if they get close enough. The land is teeming with different life. Not only the huntable animals but there are birds, turtles, and I even was surprised to run into a spider crawling on the ground. One new animal to be aware of are sharks that have recently been added to the game. When swimming in a large body of water you will be able to see the fin of the shark and if the they bite you they can take all your health in one swipe. When you kill a lizard not only do you obtain its meat for food, but you can use its skin as armor to give you more protection.
After gathering your prey you will need to build a fire to cook them. Crafting a fire is also helpful for staying warm and dry when it rains which will drag on the player otherwise.
You are able to craft traps to catch the cannibals in, buildings, and even a wharf. To build you need to collect a number of different things, the most common are sticks, rocks, and logs. Sticks and rocks can be found along the ground almost every place, but logs are the result of chopping a tree down. You take your axe and chop all along a tree until it finally comes down, then it changes into about three to four logs that the player can collect. This is fun at first, being able to chop a tree down as realistic as the game does it, but the fact that the player can only carry one log at a time can be tedious when building a log cabin that requires 82 logs.
Other structures can be one part of a fence that the player can put together however they choose, making their own fort somewhere along the forest. The system is set up for players to build their structures is quite simple to use. You first look up what you want to build in your survival book, then click it and place it where you want it to be. It will be transparent until you find all the required materials.

You can also create storage for logs and sticks so you can store them for things you build later.
As items go in the game, you have an axe and you can also craft an axe out of rocks and sticks. You are able to use medicine to heal yourself and even find soda to recharge your energy level. I was able to find flares and a flare gun and you can use the flares like a torch as they give off a good amount of light. If you need light you always have your lighter and you may also find a flashlight. The flare gun is a really powerful weapon and seems to kill the regular mutants in one hit, though they take a few seconds to fall. One other item I found while playing was the cassette tape player which, if you equip it, the player plays an 80 style beat and restores your energy level. The music can really change the atmosphere of the game and is a fun little item to use while killing cannibals.
The mutants themselves seem to go everyplace. They are in active search parties mainly looking for you.

Their AI and movement is amazing sometimes they will just stand and stare at you and as you back up they get closer and eventually one will decide to make a run at you. They also at times seem to slowly surround you. They are able to jump from tree to tree if they choose to. There are two different main types of mutants, the humanoid ones that consist of males and females, and the bigger ones that seem like half octopus half human.
The game features no actual pause, so when you go to your inventory menu, which is your backpack laid out on the ground, you may even see animals nearby walk across your inventory while you are checking your items. Even the start screen I left on, thinking it was a pause, but came back to a starving character. Another challenge is the only way to save in the game is to create some sort of a shelter from the handbook and save there.
The game is very unique idea and very fun and interesting to play. The game, however, it is in early Alpha stage and even warns the player with a screen explaining it is an Alpha currently in development. So the game is not without its bugs.

I was welcomed with a grey screen when I first played which was easily rectified by exiting using the windows button and then returning and the problem has since not returned. Endnight Games have an email and blog where you can report any bugs you encounter. The game receives updates monthly and with each update not only fix bugs but also deliver more content to the game.
I believe that despite any bugs the game works fine and is quite fun to play. I am intrigued to see what Endnight Games has in store for the game in the next updates, and the game is well worth the $14.99 price.SCORE

Game Review: A Story About My Uncle

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Bryce Fraser, writer
Shiftsync Media

A Story About My Uncle is a game that is in the first person perspective but not a first person shooter, what it is more like a non-violent first person jumper and grapple game that the whole family can play if you were to try and catorigize it.

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Maddie

The game’s story has you taking the role of a young boy while the future version of that boy narrates the story as the game is a story being told to the narrator’s daughter.

As a young boy the narrator starts off looking for his uncle Fred and when walking around his house he stumbles upon a machine that transports him to a different world full of abstract landscapes.

There he must maneuver across a foreign landscape which are mostly catacombs full of floating rocks. He also stumbles upon a village full of blue humanoid creatures. One of the blue villagers is a young girl named Maddie who ends up showing the player around and seems to know a lot about Fred.
The game features acheivments to give more things for the player to do. There are also little Easter eggs hidden in the game that if found sometimes trigger audio of the narrator telling the story to his daugter.
The game is easy to play with a mouse and keybord or just plug in an Xbox 360 controller and it works automatically.
The game features rich graphics, and as you play through the game each level design gets more beautiful than the last.

Some levels including, illuminisent plants, really makes for a stunning sight.Your main gadget in the game is your suit that has a charged jump function used to get to high places. Another function is a beam that comes out that is used as a hook shot so the player drag themselves to parts of the land that would be impossible to reach otherwise.

The game makes the player combine both the beam hook shot, and charged jump to challenge them to get through obstacles paths that the world is made up off.
The game is a very unique first person experience, it is also a non-violent game and instead challenges the player instead by making them figure out how to get across the land using only the tools at hand.score

Game Review: Goat Simulator

Goat SimulatorBryce Fraser, writer
Shiftsync Media

Goat Simulator was released on Tuesday April 1st, but this was no April fool’s joke. The games concept is that you get to play the role of goat in a sandbox style game filled with achievements and interesting things to explore and challenges to try and receive points. The game contains no storyline, you are just a goat free to explore and try to accomplish as many achievements as you can. Achievements range from doing a successful backflip, to trying to get your goat high into the air. Your goat has the ability to lick objects which then attaches to objects and allows you to drag the item around. You can also head-butt things or even unsuspecting bystanders. One of the most unique abilities is the function to turn ragdoll mode on and off which gives a an experience strangely similar to a skateboarding game by allowing the player to go off ramps with their ragdoll goat and get points of high air with their goat. This also turns on automatically whenever you fall and don’t land correctly. The game adds some extras in the custom game option under Mutators, a jetpack that allows you to speed through the map faster and definitely get some air. Different Mutators add different extras to your goat and can be unlocked by playing the game and acquiring achievements. In the game you can’t die, you just automatically turn on ragdoll mode and then have to simply turn it off again which makes you stand back up. The game is teeming with interesting things to explore like homes, fields a building under construction, even a hidden skate park, . The game supports Xbox 360 controllers you just plug one in and play the game. The game offers a very unique experience, it is very fun and the only con would be the lack of multiplayer support. It delivers what it promises and is well worth the $9.99.SCORE

 

 

Judith Hill Opens For Josh Groban at the Sleep Train Arena

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Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser
Judith Hill opens for Josh Groban at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, CA

Jessica Maynard, writer
Shiftsync Media

Judith Hill was one of the popular contestants on NBCs “The Voice” season four. Hill was dubbed the winner by many but after her shocking elimination from the show she signed a record deal with Sony. The newest chapter in her career has given her the opportunity to go on tour with Josh Groban for his In the Round tour. The tour landed in Sacramento Oct. 6 at Sleep Train Arena. In addition to opening the show for Groban, Hill also had the pleasure of accompanying Groban during his set for two songs “The Prayer,” which Groban originally sung with Celine Dion at the 1999 Grammys and “Remember When it Rains.” On Groban’s latest record “All That Echoes,” Hill provided her voice on three of the tracks. Hill took to the stage sitting at a piano with a single spot light hitting her, she began her performance with a mashup of Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good” and Michael Jacksons “I’ll Be There.” The songs transitioned smoothly into her original song “Beautiful Life.” Hill’s soulful voice and passion made her performance unforgettable. Every word she utters sends chills down your spine, you end up hooked on every single word she is singing because you believe she means every word she is saying. Towards the end of the song the lights were dimly lit and the band and her background singers appeared on stage. The tempo suddenly picked up and the group started playing towards the crowd. Hills set included four songs and loads of personality at one point one of the members of her band brought out an inflatable trumpet and pretended to play it. Hill and members of her group also did a chain around the stage showcasing their instruments to the crowd and dancing. Her personality really showed when she and her two background singers during an instrumental solo started doing the dance “kid ‘n play” and the robot. The last song in Hills set was her original “Taken” which brought the tempo in the building down a notch. The ballad was written about professing your love to someone who you will love forever. During this song she had a beautiful range and tone and you could hear all the distinguishing characteristics that make her voice so soulful and mesmerizing. A portion of the song Hill decides to sing in French and she mashed it up with “Beautiful Life.” The strong soulful voice of Hill was even more impressive in person. A gorgeous tone and hypnotizing range make her performance unforgettable.

Josh Groban Preforms at the Sleep Train Arena

Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser
Josh Groban preforming in front of the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, CA

Jessica Maynard, writer
Shiftsync Media

Josh Grobans enchanting performance at Sleep Train Arena Oct. 6 included high ranging vocals, charm and a set list filled with fan favorites.

Josh Groban has a voice that most people would appreciate but his playful attitude during concerts takes fan appreciation to a whole new level.

When he’s not wowing the audience with his enchanting voice, he reminisces on the past, tells jokes and interacts with the audience.

His In the Round tour stopped at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento Oct. 7, with opening act Judith Hill (The Voice and 20 Feet From Stardom) who sings multiple songs with Groban, he showcased a seven-piece band, orchestra musicians and backup singers, was a relaxed show full of memories mixed with an elegant and mesmerizing performance.
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Monster Energy Aftershock Festival Hits Sacramento

Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser
Dave Mustaine, front man for the band Megadeth preforming at the South stage during the Aftershock Fest at Discovery Park.

Jeff Gonzales, writer
Shiftsync Media

Music triggers memories like few other things. The power of these memories can make even the worst band hold something personally special.

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Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser
Jonathan Davis, Lead singer for Korn preforming on the South Stage during the Aftershock Fest at Discovery Park.

At Aftershock on Sept. 14, I remembered this.

Arriving a little late does not change much when your publisher has a press pass waiting for you. Walking past the ling line reminded me of the many times in years gone by I glared at someone doing what I was doing now.

The gates opened to an array of vendors and Monster Energy signs everywhere. I followed the crowd to the stage to watch as “Otherwise” began their set.

With the crunch of the guitar and the pounding of the drums, the bassist of the band bounded from the stage and started the first pit of the day. The crowds cheered as a handful of guys followed suit. The pit itself was weak but made for a good start to the day.
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Fitz & The Tantrums Sell Out The House At The Ace OF Spades

Fitz & The Tantrums Sell Out The House At The Ace OF Spades

Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser
Noelle Scaggs co-vocalist left, and Michael Fitzpatrick lead vocalist for Fitz & The Tanrums, performing at the Ace Of Spades venue in Sacramento, CA

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Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser
James King, saxophone and flute player for Fitz & The Tanrums performing at the Ace Of Spades in Sacramento, CA

Bryce Fraser, writer
Shiftsync Media

Tuesday night down on R Street it was hard to find a parking spot, and on the inside of the Ace Of Spades almost every space was filled with adoring fans waiting for Fits & The Tanrums to take the stage.
The venue went dark and after the buildup of anticipation, everyone’s favorite alternative soul music band, Fitz & The Tanrums, took the stage and the audience cheered with excitement. They started the night with “Keeping Our Eyes Out” followed by “Don’t Gotta”. The band played “Sweet Dreams” the popular song from the 80’s created by Eurythmics, the song fit very well to Fitz And the Tantrums style of music and they performed like their own. Near the middle of the show they performed “Out Of My league”, their recent hit that has been playing on the radio almost everywhere, the song was even better live.
Michael Fitzpatrick lead vocalist, with a wide vocal range and alternative sound, combined with Noelle Scaggs’ own vocal power and soul music signing really is what makes the band so unique. Noelle Scaggs dancing while up stage really added to seeing them live and made an even better experience for fans.
James King, saxophone and flute player, really showed his skills and even had three solo’s with the saxophone during the night, the most notable was when he played his performance at the end of their set. He played right before they came out again for the encore. The first song they played was their original big hit “MoneyGrabber”, during which they told fans to crouch down, no one was exempt not even the VIP ticket holders. They then shot back up and started cheering and raising and waving their hands during the rest of the song.
Fitz & The Tanrums sold out the box office at The Ace Of Spades that night and gave fans everything they could imagine.

Scourge: Outbreak Xbox Arcade Game Review

Bryce Fraser, writerUntitled-1
Shiftsync Media

Scourge Outbreak storyline has you in charge of a squad in the future apart of the rebel group Tarn battling against the evil Nogari Corporation, who are believed to be behind the massive plagues in the game. You start out by landing on a Nogari base to rescue a Reisbeck who has been a spy for Tarn in the Nogari corporation and to retrieve a sample of a meteorite that Nogari is experimenting on.

Starting the game you have your choice of who to play from four different characters. Whoever you choose to play as, will have their own backstory that you will unlock while playing the game. First off, you can choose Major Victor “Stonewall” Dantrix, his back story is he’s from a family of soldiers but has been forced into mercenary for Tarn to eventually receive proof of his innocence. Stonewall is the standard character you would see in most action movies, his stats are that he is fairly good with heavy and light weapons and very good with melee damage and melee resistance, and also very fast.

Tasya “Amp” Semivolkova is a self-destructive adrenalin junkie who is working for Tarn for the promise of a cure to her addiction. Amp is the only female of the four characters, which is great for female gamers out there who are sick of being forced into playing male roles in games. Amp is a standard character generally good at everything, but she is better with light weapons than heavy weapons.

Next, we have James “Mass” Lang, who is more accurate with heavy weapons, great stability with light weapons, and very great with melee damage and resistance.

Finally we have Ramiro “shade” Cortez. He is more of the anti-hero because he is only out for revenge, and because of his appearance the fact he wears a mask and has scars on his face . His skills are that he is great with accuracy, handling, stability, and speed with light weapons.

In the game you have a choice between 6 different control schemes, you can’t customize your own but the default control will feel very familiar to gamer’s, the right trigger to fire, left trigger to aim, the Y button brings up next weapon, and the X button to reload. The B button being the use button in the game might take some gamers some time to adjust to being that so many other games use it as a cancel button, but if it is too much to adjust to there are four other control schemes that have the B button for crouching or melee with feels more in tune with other games.
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Indie Rock Band Capital Cities Plays For Their Sacramento Fans

Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser
Trumpet player for Capital Cities Spencer Ludwig playing his horn for a captavated audience at the Ace Of Spades in Sacramento, CA

Bryce Fraser, writer
Shiftsync Media

Capital Cities preformed for the second time at the Ace OF Spades Venue on Friday night. Bands on tour with Capitol Cities, Gold Fields, that

Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser Ryan Merchant right, and Sebu Simonian left both lead vocalists for Capital Cities singing to their audience at the Ace Of Spades Venue in Sacramento, CA

Photo Credit: Bryce Fraser
Ryan Merchant right, and Sebu Simonian left both lead vocalists for Capital Cities singing to their audience at the Ace Of Spades Venue in Sacramento, CA

originated from the country of Australia, and DWNTWN got the crown warmed up, with both giving a wonderful performance.

Finally, the lights went down and  the indie rock band Capitol Cities came out with their mac computers and guitars, what makes them a truly unique band, is Their  trumpet player, Spencer Ludwig. Together they really had a refreshingly different tone which sets them apart from other indie rock bands.
Capital Cities preformed 3 cover songs, Prince’s “Nothing Compares To You”, “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees and, “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang. They also played all their fan favorites, such as “Kangaroo Court”, “Love Away”, Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast, and of course their hit song Safe and Sound” giving it their all they really gave fans an amazing a show.

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