published Monday, July 8th, 2013

Get Off The Couch: CSO adds live punch to video game music

LISA DENTON: Barry, I've never been much of a gamer — a player, maybe, if you know what I mean — but I have to say I'm intrigued by the Video Games Live show coming to Memorial Auditorium on Thursday. Have you heard about this? It has the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera playing music from popular video games combined with synchronized lighting, video, live action and audience interaction. It sounds like this generation's laser light shows.

BARRY COURTER: It does sound almost perfect, doesn't it? It's one of those things you wonder why someone didn't think of it a long time ago. Video games have some of the most dynamic music around today, and some folks think it might be a good entry point to more traditional classical music for younger people.

You do have to wonder though if the young'uns will look up from their phones long enough to see the light show.

LISA: Good point. It wouldn't be so bad if they're actually playing video games. There's kind of a synchronicity to that. It's still rude, of course, but better than texts that go: "What are you doing?" "Nothing. What are you doing?" "Nothing." (The texts would be much shorter -- "What r u doin" -- but I'm too anal-retentive to deviate from AP style, even in a text message.)

BARRY: I could probably respond with a LOL or a ROTFL, but I just can't make myself do it. Wait, I just did.

LISA: The show should be plenty interesting. It draws from more than 50 titles, from "Assassin's Creed" to "The Legend of Zelda." There's even a classic arcade medley that features 20-plus games such as "Pong," "Donkey Kong" and "Tetris." It's like doing a little time traveling through the past 40 years.

BARRY: Seriously, some people will have heard these songs thousands of times each but never played by a full orchestra. It really is a cool idea.

Speaking of cool ideas, or at least cool band names: Toad the Wet Sprocket is at Track 29 on Friday. They took their name from a Monty Python skit called "Rock Notes" listing a bunch of made-up outrageous band names, and naturally someone snatched one up.

In the skit, Toad is fronted by Rex Stardust on lead electric triangle. Other band names were Blind Drunk, Trout, Fried Trout, Poached Trout in a White Wine Sauce and Herring, so it could have been worse for the California quartet.

LISA: You can't argue with the genius of Monty Python. Lead electric triangle ... finally, an instrument I could play. I mean, besides kazoo.

BARRY: Oh, and Toad the Wet Sprocket is a really good band that has been around since 1986.

Contact staff writer Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281. Contact staff writer Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or ldenton@timesfreepress.com.

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