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Categories: Events

“Rock Band Tuesdays” Celebrates 2-Year Anniversary with Mario Speedwagon Reunion

Mario Speedwagon rocking out on the Ground Kontrol stage.

Mario Speedwagon rocking out on the Ground Kontrol stage.

On November 20, 2007, the original Rock Band was released and Ground Kontrol began Rock Band Tuesdays, a full-band karaoke experience where anyone can be a virtual rock star.

Two years, over 1,000 new songs, and many local and national news stories later, we’re celebrating the second anniversary of Rock Band Tuesdays with a reunion tribute for Mario Speedwagon, the “house band” that traveled cross-country this past summer as a semi-finalist in the Total Rock, Total Rewards competition.

Rock onstage tonight with original Mario Speedwagon members Debbie Day-Glo, SomeGuy, Joseph Hendrix and MC Destructo as they prepare for a live appearance on the Famous Mysterious Actor show!

Tonight (Tuesday, Dec. 1st)
What: Rock Band Tuesdays at Ground Kontrol
When: Tonight and every Tuesday, 8PM-1:30AM
Where: Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, 511 NW Couch St. (map)

Tomorrow Night (Wednesday, Dec. 2nd)
What: The Famous Mysterious Actor Show feat. Mario Speedwagon
When: Wednesday Dec. 2nd, 9PM-11:30PM
Where: Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 NE MLK Blvd. (map)

Rock Band *Will* Be Giant This Tuesday – Win TMBG Tickets! Tuesday 11/10

They Might Be Giants 11/11 PosterThis Tuesday, November 10, Rock Band Tuesdays features another fantastic giveaway – two pairs of tickets to They Might Be Giants’ upcoming show at the Crystal Ballroom on Wednesday, November 11!

Play new tracks from White Stripes, The Damned and Kasabian on our stage along with all available Rock Band songs (including Beatles Rock Band and LEGO Rock Band) to receive a raffle ticket and a chance to win two tickets to see They Might Be Giants! Take a bandmate or your best friend, and be sure to hit Ground Kontrol after the show to tell us about it!

WHAT: Rock Band Tuesdays featuring They Might Be Giants ticket giveaway

WHEN: Tuesday, November 10, 8PM-1:30AM with ticket giveaway at 11PM


Rock Band Tuesdays at Ground Kontrol



Catch They Might Be Giants with special guest The Guggenheim Grotto on Wednesday, November 11 at the Crystal Ballroom. Tickets available at Ticketmaster. Doors at 8pm, show at 9pm. 16 & over. More info: www.tmbg.com

LEGO Rock Band Debut; Video Games Live Ticket Giveaway – Tuesday November 3

LEGO Rock BandLEGO Rock Band released today and you can play it tonight at Rock Band Tuesdays, our weekly full-band karaoke show. Rock out as a minifig in the LEGO world of colorful blocks, vehicles, and fantastic creatures. The 45 new songs and new gameplay modes are a blast to play!

To top it off, we’ll give away four tickets to this weekend’s Video Games Live concerts! These fell into MC Destructo’s lap today and, since the shows don’t mention Metallica, he’ll give them to four lucky Rock Band players in a random drawing during tonight’s show. Just sign up for any song to receive a raffle ticket!


Experience a full orchestra and choir accompanied by synchronized video, lighting, special effects, crowd interactivity and live action!

For details, visit the Oregon Symphony: Video Games Live page.

Ground Kontrol’s Week-long Birthday Party Starts Today!

We’re celebrating our tenth year in business with special events throughout the week. Read on for specifics!


Atari Party w/ TRON screening: Monday, August 24th, 7:30PM – ?

We’re hauling out our favorite Atari systems, games, controllers, and other 8-bit gaming paraphernalia from the early ’80s, with Intellivision and Colecovision likely to make an appearance, too. Take this opportunity to totally destroy your best friend in Combat, Kaboom, Warlords, or in any of the dozens of vintage home video games we stock. If you get hooked on the pixelated carnage, we’ll have refurbished systems on sale for you to take the fun home.

Console free-play begins with a screening of TRON, the classic computer adventure at 7:30PM. At 9PM, 8-bit inspired tunes will be jamming courtesy of DJ Beamrider, AKA Tony Cameron of The Punk Group.


Rock Band Battle: Tuesday, August 25th, 8PM

Rock Band Tuesdays at Ground Kontrol will hold an all-night, all-out Rock Band Battle with promotional merchandise from MTV Networks, Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, and Cinemark East 16 offered as prizes.

Groups of four players enter the competition by attending the weekly Rock Band Tuesdays event between 8PM and 10PM and performing a 2-song set of their choice, and judged by the members of the “house band” Mario Speedwagon qualify for the final round. At 10PM, the top four bands will face off in single-elimination competition.

Who will be crowned the best Rock Band band of them all? For full contest details, visit the Rock Band Tuesdays Facebook page.


Free-Play Party: Wednesday, August 26th, 5PM -2:30AM

There’s no need to worry about saving quarters for laundry day, because it’s FREE PLAY! Play all the pinball, and video games you want for five measly dollars. It’s by far the most exciting entertainment value in town.

This month’s FREE PLAY party is part of Ground Kontrol classic arcade’s tenth birthday, so we’ll be bringing out some special console games to add to our already fantastic lineup. Master Star Trek: Next Generation pinball’s Picard Maneuver and smash the top score on Tetris, all feel guilt-free!

Micropalooza '09

Micropalooza ’09 Chiptune Festival: Friday, August 28th

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade’s Micropalooza festival series has been bringing “chiptune”– music made using specially-hacked video game hardware– to the Portland music scene since 2003. This year’s lineup showcases artists from the Pacific Northwest:

Just like your favorite video game soundtrack, this truly unique festival will send you away with infectious 8-bit sounds beeping in your head.

21+, $5 advance or $6 at door. Advance tickets available exclusively at Brown Paper Tickets. Service charges apply.

Portland’s Favorite Arcade Turns Ten!

Ground Kontrol: Celebrating the Best of the 80's Since the 90's!Can you believe Ground Kontrol is ten years old? This birthday deserves more than one party, so we’re stretching it out over the next week. Read the full press release below and be sure to stop in every night! And thank you, Portland, for your continued support!



Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade celebrates ten years of old-school fun! From their beginnings in 1999, Ground Kontrol has taken pride in preserving video game heritage.

No other arcade in the region can touch Ground Kontrol’s collection. They are committed to keeping the best games from the past four decades of arcade history working and playable in their original form. Pinball wizards also celebrate Ground Kontrol for having not only the best and largest selection of pinball tables in the Pacific NW, but the best-maintained, too. Console gamers are not left out, either. Ground Kontrol refurbishes and sells a wide variety of old-school console hardware and games, from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo 64. Ground Kontrol has also established Portland’s first and most popular “Rock Band” video game night, which has earned a loyal following and has been nationally recognized as a superior display of virtual rock.

Over the past decade, Ground Kontrol has hosted famous bands, game tournaments, hugely popular “Free Play” nights, and even a wedding. Ground Kontrol has also been featured in film and television, notably “The Comedians of Comedy” documentary film. As the collection of pinball and arcades has grown over the years, so did the space. In 2004, Ground Kontrol moved into Portland’s Old Town district. Shortly thereafter, they began to serve beer and wine, making the arcade a great place to play while sipping a tasty beverage. Not content to just lounge, Ground Kontrol is still obsessed with preserving and improving the arcade experience.

This week, be sure to stop into one of the true gems of Portland. Help them celebrate ten years of classic arcade action with many more to come. Events will be held every night all week. Highlights include a “Rock Band” tournament, Free Play Party, and the annual live chiptune festival, Micropalooza ‘09.

Rock Out Onstage In Pioneer Courthouse Square This Saturday!

kpsu-poster-detailPortland State University’s radio station KPSU 1450 AM is celebrating 15 years on the air with a free all-day concert in Pioneer Courthouse Square this Saturday, and Ground Kontrol will be there to support! Visit our Rock Band “side stage,” where MC Destructo and members of Mario Speedwagon will be on hand to help you rock the crowd.

Live music and DJs on the main stage, Rock Band on the side stage, a beer garden, and it’s free and all-ages all day long. How can you go wrong?

What: KPSU 15th Anniversary Concert with Rock Band 2 Side Stage
When: Saturday, June 27th, 10AM-10PM
Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland

p.s. Mario Speedwagon didn’t win that contest, but they did place third out of the five best bands in their region, and most definitely rocked the house. To see their performances, the judges’ reactions, a Live@7 interview and more, visit the Mario Speedwagon MySpace Music page.

“Mario Speedwagon” Advances To Regionals in National Rock Band Competition

Mario Speedwagon celebrate in the VIP lounge after qualifying in Lake Tahoe.

“Mario Speedwagon” celebrate in the VIP lounge after qualifying in Lake Tahoe.

Mario Speedwagon, the “house band” for Ground Kontrol’s weekly Rock Band Tuesdays event, will fly all-expenses-paid to Atlantic City on Wednesday, May 7th to compete for the chance to win $10,000 and open for the B-52s in the “Total Rock, Total Rewards” competition sponsored by Harrah’s Casinos and MTV.

Mario Speedwagon is “MC Destructo” on vocals/bass, Joseph Garrison AKA “Joseph Hendrix” on guitar, Brennan Thome AKA “Debbie DayGlo” on bass/vocals, and Chris Wiza AKA “SomeGuy” on drums.

“We’re thrilled to represent Rock Band Tuesdays, Ground Kontrol, Portland, the Pacific Northwest, and anybody else who wants to cheer us on,” said MC Destructo, who also hosts Ground Kontrol’s weekly Rock Band event. “When the contest was announced, I first thought it would be ridiculous to enter. Then I realized we’ve been playing this game onstage at Ground Kontrol almost every week since Rock Band 1 was released. With nearly two years of live experience, it would be ridiculous for us not to enter.”

There were obstacles along the way, however: The contest didn’t even include a northwestern venue at first, offering only Western, Southern, Central, and Eastern locations. Eventually, Lake Tahoe, NV was added to the Eastern region, offering a relatively close destination for qualifying. The band planned to fly there on April 17, the last possible night, but almost didn’t make it when their flight was overbooked, leaving their drummer without a seat. A volunteer eventually came to the rescue, enabling the band to make the trip. They played the last song of the evening, posting a top score that qualified them for the Eastern Regionals and a free trip to Atlantic City.

Bands in the next round will be judged on appearance and performance in addition to game score by an American-Idol style panel of representatives from Harmonix, makers of the Rock Band game, and MTV. Destructo thinks the band is ready.

“This is a dream team. Everyone in the band is giving their all. We’re good at playing the game but, more importantly, we know how to put on a great show and have a great time while doing it. We’re planning to go all the way.”

The band promises to post updates on their MySpace throughout the competition “except when we’re sleeping in the limo, like rock stars.”