On Twitch, Grand Theft Auto V role-playing is a full-on phenomenon. Every day, streamers pretend to be criminals, cops, doctors, and other types of criminals. Together on a heavily modified custom server, they craft a 24/7 streamer cinematic universe of unfiltered, gleeful trash. With so many people now aboard the GTA V RP bandwagon, standing out gets harder by the day. One streamer managed to recently get everybody’s attention by throwing an in-game concert.
Mike The Bard first started streaming GTA V RP in 2017, long before its recent ascension to the top of Twitch. One thing has always remained consistent about his act in GTA and across various other multiplayer games before that: music. In addition to being a longtime RP-er, Mike is a multi-instrumentalist and singer. He’s improv-ed entire songs in (and about) games before. For this GTA V concert, which took place yesterday, he applied a different sort of creativity, turning official Twitch karaoke game Twitch Sings into an extension of his character by wiring it through multiple instances of streaming program Open Broadcaster Software and a plugin called Virtual Cam. A walking, talking jukebox with a voice one part honey and one part seductive gravel, he then took the stage. The result was one hell of a show:
I mean, what can you even say to that? If you’re gonna sing “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, there’s a quality bar you’re required by law and god to clear. Mike leaped it with such gusto that his voice probably traveled up to heaven, where Cohen himself was like “Oh dang, dude. Nice.”
Despite drawing on real-world talents, Mike was very much in-character throughout his show. “My current character is Hubcap Jones, an old burnt-out rocker,” Mike told Kotaku in an email. “So far he’s managed to put on some good concerts despite firing the rest of his band and become the owner of the new (fully functioning, in-game and out) radio station. Hubcap is about rocking out, peace, love, drugs, and having a good time at any cost. He also loves his wife, Karen.”
Mike brought out instruments, too, adding his own guitar solos to songs like “Mama, I’m Coming Home” by Ozzy Osbourne:
It didn’t take long for him to draw a crowd, which was bolstered by his stream and this particular GTA V RP server’s in-game tweet system, which allows players to send messages to everybody else on the server. He also broadcast it on the aforementioned in-game radio station, which players can tune into on their in-game phones. Big streamers like Lirik and Vader (role-playing as Avon and Eugene, respectively) showed up, and between Mike’s own viewership and that of other streamers, thousands of people watched the show live. The tiny in-game club transformed into a roaring dance floor:
There was even a mosh pit. Or maybe it was just a fist fight where people kept falling down? In Grand Theft Auto as in life, the line is blurry:
There were also very GTA V RP technical problems, like when Mike got booted for inactivity during a stirring rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads”:
The concert was a big moment for Mike, whose journey to streaming full-time has been long and taken place alongside a variety of different careers, ranging from social worker at a children’s non-profit organization to voice-over actor for a top app that helps people learn English. What he’s doing now, he believes, is a natural extension of who he’s always been.
“I’ve always enjoyed entertaining others, going back to my youth,” he said. “I’d improvise songs, make up commercials, rap, make people laugh. I’ve also been a gamer my entire life and the two have meshed together perfectly with the help of Twitch.”