29.12.2019 Game Music Collective Band @ Nosturi, Helsinki


Formed in 2016 in Finland, GAME MUSIC COLLECTIVE BAND is at the forefront of performing video game music live. The collective is the combination of a band and a symphonic orchestra that has established a live production. One of the last days of live music at Nosturi was, therefore, the perfect opportunity to visit the GAME MUSIC COLLECTIVE‘s show.

Unfortunately, we arrived a bit late to the venue, but fortunately, the gig was delayed for about 20 minutes, so we didn’t miss anything. When the show finally started, there was a great explosive hype-up speech by the bass player, who proved throughout the night to be a wonderful showman. They had a few minor difficulties getting started, with a short strange moment where nothing happened before the music began. 

When they started the first song, the “Bombing Mission” from Final Fantasy VII, it was a nice surprise–hard, epic, and strong–with a great sense of urgency. It was really well done. 

They moved on to another great song, the Metal Gear theme, full of passion. The original (from MGS2 at least) builds up slowly, but this was clipped to streamline and compress the live performance. 

The next song was from Fortnite, which isn’t a favorite of mine but was really well done. They then played a song from GTA that I didn’t know but was really funky and jazzy, and surprisingly great. 

The gig was at its best when you knew the songs they were playing, because the arrangements were exciting to hear, experiencing how they had pieced familiar songs together. If you didn’t know the original, it was more like listening to a really great prog band. A really great prog band. 

The classical instruments on stage like cello, violin, and oboe/clarinet gave the band a bigger and fuller sound, creating a truly epic sound. 

The piece from Trine 2 was a surprising change of pace with its largely classical arrangement and misty, melancholic soundscape. 

Next up was a huge and unexpected nostalgia blast in the form of the Monkey Island theme. It’s a simple tune that they really expanded on to make it beautiful and longer, really brilliantly done. 

Final Fantasy VIII‘s battle theme was also included, with an epic attack feel, great energy, and really fit surprisingly well into the set. All the classical elements in the show were balanced well with the rock n’ roll elements and gave the whole performance a life rarely seen these days. It was easy to see that these guys are pretty honest, regular people, without any rockstar attitudes, which gave the show a lot of warmth. 

The Dragonborn song from Skyrim was a solid choice, with the epic singalong in the dragon language. It was an easy crowd favorite and really well done. 

The show had been split into two halves with a brief 10-15 minute intermission in between. We returned quickly in order to get a better view of the stage. The second half didn’t have quite as many of my favorites but did include songs from Battlefield and Black Ops, which wasn’t my personal favorite but was done with a lot of passion and enthusiasm as it was band creator Lukas Stasevskij‘s favorite song. 

The Game Music Collective Band put on a really interesting gig, playing a great selection of video game music that was awesome to hear regardless of whether I knew it. The band is clearly still sculpting and honing their vision, as well as exploring the possibilities of the open niche in game music. It’s really interesting to see what they’ll come up with next, as well as which songs they’ll play in the future. If I could make a request, I’d love to see them do a retro show with old classics like Castlevania and Donkey Kong Country. Either way, we hope to see them again soon!

Article by Simo Kuusterä
Photos by Marco Manzi