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E3 2016 was a surprisingly music-filled event. And I’m not talking about the famous DJs who headlined some of the industry parties that week. On the show floor, I counted at least a handful of bands and solo performers, each of whom were playing at different places throughout the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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Let’s run through the most notable ones. Developer 2K Games had two bands to promote its upcoming crime drama Mafia III (releasing October 7 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC). The first was a group playing old pop songs inside Mafia III’s New Orleans-inspired booth. The second was a full jazz band that roamed the halls with trumpets, colorful umbrellas, and a coffin. I’m still not sure how that last part ties into the game.

At the other end of the LACC was a cozy area where the Super Soul Bros. performed tracks from popular games, including the theme song to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros.

But my favorite by far was The Skullduggers, a pirate-themed band I stumbled upon outside of Microsoft’s giant Xbox booth. They were there to promote Sea of Thieves (coming to Xbox One and Windows 10), developer Rare’s online multiplayer game where you can team up with friends to sail the open seas, find treasure, and kill other pirates. The Skullduggers looked like they came straight out of Disneyland — that’s how good their outfits and makeup were.


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In addition to singing real pirate shanties, I found out later during a Sea of Thieves meeting that the band was also singing brand new songs that Rare recorded just for the game. I had a lot of fun just watching them play and talk to the crowd.

You can see a clip from one of their performances below.

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