Oh shizznit, here it comes... my blog report on V-Rock Day 2... This one's going to be picture-heavy, overly-talkative, full of awful tangents... so basically like all my other posts, haha. No, but really... this one will be so much worse because V-Rock Day 2 was just full of things I want to talk about, lol. The festival had an even spread of bands over both days, so which day was the "better day" is based on individual opinion. I had about five or six bands on each day that I wanted to see. But really, in the end... Sunday was the day of the bands I really REALLY wanted to see, lol.
YOU'VE BEEN WARNED THAT A LARGE MAJORITY OF THIS POST WILL BE ABOUT MERRY.
So we last left me stumbling back from Shinjuku at six in the morning and - huh? What the-?! Who put this sexy picture of Hakuei here?! How the hell did this get here?!! Damn, something must be wrong with my blog, haha.
Anyways, we last left me stumbling back from Shinjuku, jumping on a train to Chiba without even one second of sleep, and heading back to the V-Rock Festival. Yeah, no sleep for me. And my feet were still in a very sad state (but I don't blame them, I wouldn't want to be stuck in four-inch platform heels for 36 hours either). At the Kaihim Makuhari station, I got some soba noodles (with a gallon of spicy chili powder, of course), and fixed up my hair and make-up in the bathroom. I knew that Casie was going to be at the festival early because she was trying to catch its opening act: Aural Vampire. There was nothing I wanted to see until Merry at 1:00, but I shrugged and headed on into the festival anyways. Casie found me sitting around the food court at around 10:30. Unfortunately, she had missed Aural Vampire. Oops :-(
The reason I was sitting around the food court, however, was because Sunday's fashion was really amusing me. Maybe it was because of all the GazettE fans wandering the place, but it didn't take anyone with knowledge above a basic understanding of JRock to figure out who was a fan of what. The people walking around in screaming shades of pink and black and wearing too many stripes: the LM.C fans. The people walking around in Engrish t-shirts that made no sense: the Merry fans. And then there were the GazettE fans. Spotting a GazettE fan at V-Rock was as easy as spotting a German shepherd at a dachshund farm. GazettE fans... with the explosive, blonde hair (like they stuck a fork in an electric socket)... the skinny-jeans with the belts... various articles of clothing in leopard print patterns... the girls with straps across their noses, the guys with studded jackets that say "Rock is Not Dead." Everywhere leopard-print scarves, giant, over-sized sunglasses... and always, always with that explosive hair. Yeah, VK fans are easy to figure out, lol.
So anyhow, although Casie had missed Aural Vampire, there was a band she wanted to see at 11:00, and it was one I recognized whom I'd considered interesting, albeit not my kinda thing. So at 11:00 we headed off to see Kagrra,. Kagrra, are these boys:
Kagrra have been around for some time - since 1998, I think. For me, they're simply too tame and calm of a band to suit my tastes, lol. But what makes them interesting (and very beautiful) is that they have this sort of "traditional Japan" theme. They were into that more in the past, I think, since most VK bands do grow out of VK. But when I saw them on Sunday, the vocalist was still wearing a traditional-esque Japanese outfit. And one of their guitarists not only plays guitar, he always plays the koto, which is the traditional Japanese harp. As well, the furi hand gestures were all done with traditional Japanese fans. The vocalist would wave the fans around, and everyone in the crowd would hold up their fans and follow his movements. So all-in-all, even if it's not my kind of music, it still makes for a lovely, very beautiful performance.
Then I realized who was setting up on the R stage beside them............ AAAAAGH SADIE RUN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
After Kagrra, there was nothing of particular interest until Merry, and I wanted to preserve my feet, lol. See, V-Rock had this system going on in which, fifty minutes before a band plays, they open this gate and let people run in and steal all the front rows while a crowd gathers for the band on the stage next to it. It's a nice system and all, but people start lining up even before that, so getting a good spot for a popular band is difficult. I hadn't even bothered with the fifty-minute system yet (I'd thought about it for D on Saturday, but I already had a pretty good spot near the second barrier, since I was watching jealkb from afar, and I didn't feel like giving it up). But for Merry, I was determined to use the fifty minute system because they were the band at V-Rock that I was most anticipating and most excited for. So Merry played at 1:00, but the gate would open at 12:10, right before Matenrou Opera would play on the next stage over. So Kagrra ended at 11:30 and I decided to sit for a half an hour in the food court and make sure my feet were in tip-top shape so that I could jump up and down and enjoy Merry. I decided not to worry about the fifty minute system until 12:00. I mean... Merry aren't unpopular as far as I knew, but I didn't think there would be any kind of psychotic lineup like for Alice Nine or something.
At 12:00, I gathered up my feet and went into the L/R stage area. Matenrou Opera was setting up on the L stage and people were filling in the crowd. At the R stage was a sign saying that this was the lineup for the early gate for Merry (which would start in ten minutes). When I saw the lineup for Merry, my stomach dropped to the floor. There were several hundred people already in line............ I mean, I didn't think Merry were unpopular but...... I wasn't expecting THAT. And now I'd never get a good spot, damnit! I got in line with a girl from my Japanese class and her Australian friend (Casie decided to stay out of the early lineup). I could see the stage for Merry now, with Gara's little school desk already in place and a big red backdrop reading Merry (Merii, in katakana) in bloody letters and a fat ram wearing a crown (Merry's symbol is always a sheep or a ram). At 12:10, the gate opened and, much to my shock, people started RUNNING for the front row. I was like "aw hell naw!!!" and started chasing after them, haha. I didn't know they were so popular, damnit!
Well, I managed to take the fourth row. I know that sounds good, but I was fuming. I wanted third row or better. Oh well. Not giving a crap about Matenrou Opera playing on the next stage (the singer was good, I'll give them that), I put my backpack in my spot and sat behind it on the floor (other people were on the floor too). I needed to save up my feet for the next fifty minutes. Then suddenly, this foreign girl comes up behind me. She looks down at me expectantly for a moment, then SHE STARTS TO CLIMB OVER ME TO TAKE MY SPOT. My Australian friend grabbed her own backpack and jumped up violently. My reaction was barely slower. I grabbed my backpack and flew to my feet. I whipped around, gave the foreigner my most ferocious glare, and screamed "FUCK NO" at her, haha. She jumped back and held up her hands in apology and moved over a little. Well, what was she thinking?!! Why are foreigners consistently so rude in Japan, ugh?!! Well, I wasn't done. I needed to prove a point. I noticed a tiny little gap in the third row. I gave the foreigner another good glare, then turned myself sideways and squeezed into the third row. I got into the row just fine (and didn't climb over anyone). Let that be a lesson to her, damnit! So now there was nothing left to do but squirm in my spot, ignore Matenrou Opera, and wait for Merry.
Kind of a random, funny tangent, but when Matenrou Opera was gone, Merry's roadies started to set up. Then this guy comes out on stage and he's one of the announcer guys for the festival. He looks at the crowd and gives this bizarre speech that's like, "do you see this desk?" and he points at Gara's desk. "This is a great desk, isn't it? It's really cool! But the thing is... just because it's a cool desk, doesn't mean you have to go running to get close to the cool desk. The desk will still be here, whether or not you run..." Then everyone groans as they realize we're getting a lecture on not running for the good spots during the fifty-minute period, lol. Blah blah blah, no one cares, haha.
At this point, they dropped a massive ladder from the ceiling and I got nervous. See, Gara... he likes to climb things. He likes to climb tall, dangerous things. And he recently hurt his back really bad so I was like... um, shouldn't he not be climbing things...? But then someone got rid of the ladder, lol. Phew. Don't encourage Gara, haha.
So I should probably give a brief history of Merry (for anyone who cares, lol). They were my most anticipated band, so I feel the need to blah blah blah about them, lol. These lovely young men are Merry:
Merry are interesting to say the least. Like, I want to talk about them and how their show was, but it's not exactly easy. Explaining Merry is like trying to explain third dimensional space to a drawing. They are, at once, the most agreeable band out there, and the one that turns off the most people. I've known people who can't stand any VK, but think Merry are lovely. Then there are people who love VK, and feel like Merry is this pit in the cherry bowl that just doesn't add up. I think that's why their popularity at V-Rock surprised me. Not only did a good thousand+ people watch Merry perform on Sunday (even Casie told me how shocked she was that so many people packed the R stage for Merry), but the first fifteen rows of people were scary-level die-hards. And the first few rows were comprised of people exclusively in Merry t-shirts who knew the furi down to single-finger movements. What I came to realize is that maybe... Merry is simply unable to become popular among Western VK fans. Perhaps something about them just boggles the Western mind too much. I'm not sure... But many Western fans who like Merry found them because Merry is the "sister band" to Dir en grey (which is funny cuz they're nothing alike in a lot of ways). And Gara of Merry is the kouhai of Kyo from Dir en grey (a kouhai is sort of like... one's junior. One who is being mentored by the "sempai"). But even many Dir en grey fans just scratch their heads at Merry.
Anyways, Merry isn't that old. Only like... six years old? In the beginning, Gara was a roadie for Dir en grey. During that time he became Kyo's kouhai. Merry became friends with all of Dir en grey. Also, Merry got their start in what is known as the "eroguro" genre. Eroguro is a Japanese contraction of "erotic grotesque." Eroguro is also a film genre in Japan. It's just what it sounds like: eroticism through the grotesque.
But Merry is actually quite a classy band. Am I contradicting myself? Damnit, that's the problem with Merry. Everything you say is an accidental lie. Hell, why are they called Merry?! There's nothing Merry about them! The trouble is that they're bipolar. They're so bipolar that they once did a two-night show that was split into a White Day and a Black Day, with White Day being only classy Merry who plays jazz music and brings tango dancers onto the stage, and Black Day comprised of eroguro and other rambunctious behavior. Even at the V-Rock festival, I wasn't sure what "kind of Merry" was going to show up.
Damnit, now I've digressed horribly. Let's just get back to the festival, shall we? So, after that guy stopped bitching at us about running, the lights lowered and the stage was flooded with red. Then this voice started talking that sounded like Alvin and the Chipmunks. What the HELL, haha?!! The crowd went wild! Then Merry came out on the stage! First the drummer, Nero, came out. He was wearing a hat, but he took it off and threw it into the crowd. What a stage hog, lol. Then came Yuu, who's so pretty...! Then Kenichi, who actually shaved off his damn mustache! Then Tetsu came on stage. Man, Tetsu is soooo hot in person! His hair is seriously down his back now! The band started right up with Enzetsu Surrealism. Then Gara showed up... He walked out on stage holding a megaphone and wearing nothing but skinny jeans and belts... and a giant rabbit-head on his head. Yes, a rabbit-head. HAHAHAHA. I'd seen a video of this before, but didn't realize it was a trend, haha. Everyone was just gaping at Bunny-Head Gara. I wasn't sure whether to applaud or laugh. I think I laughed, lol. And Gara just stood there, holding the megaphone, not moving. And then... he just started dancing. He just danced around like a spazz, and danced more and more, till he was like a man with a rabbit-head having a seizure. If you'd like to see what this may have looked like, please fast-forward this video to around 35 seconds to see a short sample of Gara dancing around to Enzetsu Surrealism with a bunny head:
Yeah, Gara's my hero. After a song or two, Gara ripped off the bunny head. Underneath there he had this spazzed-out fohawk and black make-up smeared along the sides of his eyes. Oof. That's a Gara I haven't seen in years. Although Merry started as eroguro, they drifted away from that genre in favor of the "classier, jazzier" Merry. Sometimes when people ask me what genre Merry is, I shrug and say something like "jazz...punk?" Cuz I don't know, lol. They do jazz, they do pop, they do punk, they do rock... I dunno, haha. But early Merry was more punk and rock. Newer Merry is more classy and calm. I've grown used to Gara wearing trench-coats and hats and doing tap-dance routines. But this manic, psychotic-looking Gara... this Gara who looked shockingly like Kyo during the Six Ugly era... this was an older, angrier Gara we hadn't seen in awhile.
Anyways, after Enzetsu Surrealism was [human farm]! Waaah, I love that song! If you'd like to see that song, this video is super, super recent (only a few months old), and the band looked just like this at the V-Rock Festival. Fast forward to around the five minute mark, though. The first five minutes is Enzetsu Surrealism, but without a cool bunny-head. But I recommend checkin' these guys out cuz they're just sooo talented! You can see first-hand the wonders of Gara's asthmatic voice that somehow never misses a note, despite sounding like he's being strangled:
Gara was such a nut at V-Rock Festival. Even wearing a back brace, he was still running around like a lunatic, somersaulting, flopping like a fish, seizuring, headbanging... he must be crazy. It was really making me nervous, lol.
Also, throughout the show, with seemingly no reason or explanation, Gara would suddenly get this furious look on his face, grab the microphone, and start beating himself repeatedly in the head with it. And I don't mean a little beating. I mean like pounding his brains out with the microphone. For example, they played Japanese Modernists (squee, I love that song!) and the band stopped playing during the chorus and Gara held out his arms for everyone to sing. So the crowd took over the song and we all gleefully sang the chorus. Then, suddenly - BAM BAM BAM! Gara just started furiously bludgeoning himself in the head with the microphone! Why why why?!! I don't understand!! He must've done that at least fifteen times during the concert!
Also, eroguro is definitely back with those boys. Gara kept rubbing his crotch throughout the show, then waggling his tongue at us. He was rubbing himself all over and even drooling on himself, lol. Then they topped off everything by completing my life just as D'espairsray did on Saturday when they played Garnet. Merry played friggin' Violet Harenchi! The eroguro classic! Aaaagh, it was so great!!! I was squealing with happiness. At one point, Yuu sat down on Gara's desk and crossed his legs and played guitar. Then Gara jumped up on the desk behind him and started humping the back of Yuu's head and rubbing his head with his crotch, haha. I was dying laughing. At the end of Violet Harenchi, much to my horror, Gara decided to ignore his back brace and jumped up on the desk, did a headstand, and start clapping with his feet. Yes, that's awesome, now stop it, you're going to herniate your back again... :-(
Anyways, yeah, I should stop talking about Merry before I exhaust myself, haha. They were done after Violet Harenchi, I had a permanent smile plastered to my face, and I decided to go find a way to fucking sit down before my feet exploded. I hadn't been able to feel any pain during Merry cuz I was so happy, but now that they were done blowing my mind and being the most awesome thing ever, my feet hurt again, lol.
After Merry I checked out The Underneath. Boooooring. The music doesn't really hold me, so I left and sat on the floor, lol. At this point, I had nothing to do for hours because there wasn't nothing I wanted to see until LM.C at 5:00. Then I found the merchandise section, lol. I wanted a Merry t-shirt soooo badly, because they'd just blown my mind with their awesomeness, and so many people in the crowd had great Merry t-shirts! I wandered up and down the merch section but... I couldn't find any Merry! Then I found a sign that basically said "we apologize but the following bands aren't selling merch." And Merry was on the list. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! I was SO pissed. But I bought one of the V-Rock Festival shirts anyways. Here's the front (it says "It is a V-Rock Festival in Japan, the place of the genesis" whatever THAT means, haha:
Here's the back, with all the bands listed in their proper logos and everything:
Anyways, at 5:00 I went to see LM.C - the band that totally doesn't stand in with my list at all. They're these guys:
They're, uh... not my thing. Their music makes me gag and the crowd was suddenly in overwhelmingly bright shades of pink. Still, I've always heard LM.C puts on one of the best shows, so I couldn't resist. And yeah... even though the music is way too fucking happy for me, it was a damn good show. Damn good. Their backup band is crazy. Everything was Halloween-themed, and even the roadies were wearing masks. And their DJ guy was wearing a crazy mask that looked like something out of Donnie Darko, and he was up on those bouncy-stilts things that weird runners sometimes wear. So he was bopping and hopping around the stage and hitting these weird cymbals that weren't attached to the drum set. The whole band was kinda bopping and hopping, lol. But that made it fun. Well, except when they played Oh My Juliet. I... hate taht song. Anyways, lol, towards the end they blew up this gigantic balloon of their LM.C bunny. This wasn't from my show, but this was what they did:
What amazed me, though, was that they were able to somehow get this balloon to bounce and bop along to the music. What the hell... how did they do that, lol?? Anyways, the song they ended with was Rock The LM.C. Not gonna lie... that song was stuck in my head for days. That song is seriously catchy, especially when you have a stilts' man and a balloon bopping along with it in your head. I'm going to subject you all to it so we can share in the catchy misery. Here's the music video for Rock The LM.C. If I had to suffer, so do you, lol:
Ha, lol. After LM.C, the dilemma began... The GazettE wasn't playing for another hour, but people had been lining up for even longer than that. I wanted a good spot, but... I had vowed to see Versailles, damnit. But everyone abandoned me. They wanted to see Versailles but decided a good spot for GazettE was more important. But my conscience wouldn't allow for it. Not when Versailles' bassist had just died. Waving dismally to my friends, I went in the exact opposite direction of where The GazettE would be playing and went to the S stage. At the S stage, they repeated Saturday's fashion show, but without any JRockers on the runway. I was lazy on Saturday's post and didn't post any of the fashion show pictures. I'll give you guys some this time, lol. But bear in mind... half the girls in the crowd were dressed like this anyways, and most girls at V-Rock are willing to buy these outfits. Anyways, enjoy a brief break from JRock and enjoy some fashion!
I wish there was a bigger picture of this girl's dress. Both nights she came out, everyone was ooing and aahing at how beautiful it was.
Ah, yes... pink lolitas... Yeah, we had some in the crowd too, lol.
Anyways, after the fashion show (during which I sat on the floor, lol), Versailles came on stage. I was feeling really nervous about a spot for The GazettE, and a LOT of people were leaving for that very purpose. But I couldn't leave... I couldn't do it... Anyways, this is Versailles:
Unfortunately, the one dressed in purple with the flowers in his hair is Jasmine You and he died a few months ago at the age of thirty. Many people were wondering... just what will Versailles do at the V-Rock Festival? What will they do without Jasmine? Well, the band came out in all their Renaissance glory... and on the drumset-platform they had Jasmine You's bass propped up in a bed of roses. When Kamijo came on stage, he placed his hand against it for a moment before moving on. Replacing Jasmine You was just some stand-in they kept in the shadows. He wasn't really dressed up and he stood behind Teru for the whole show without a spotlight or anything. Although, Teru high-fived him at one point, which I thought was sweet, lol. Anyways, the band carried on like everything was normal. Then, they introduced themselves. So Kamijo was like "kochira wa, gitaa no Hizaki desu!" ("here we have Hizaki on the guitar!") and so on and so forth. Then he picked up Jasmine You's bass and yelled, "beesu no Jasmine You desu!" ("and we have Jasmine You on the bass!"). Yeah... he introduced Jasmine You on the bass... as if Jasmine You was there. I shuddered a little. Some girl ran out of the audience crying. Anyways, later on Kamijo gave a speech and apologized for Versailles' new debut being so late. I couldn't help but think, "you're sorry you're late...? Someone DIED, you know... I'm pretty sure the fans forgive you." He talked about the new CD and stuff, and then just said he was sure Jasmine You was watching from heaven. Then they moved on. Here's a picture from the show where you can see the bass and the stand-in guy:
Here's another picture:
They played Ascendead Master, which is one of my favorite songs by them. It sounds SO COOL live. Here's the music video if anyone's interested:
So I was getting pretty antsy because I could literally FEEL the GazettE fans pouring into the L stage and taking all the good spots. And Versailles seemed to be running late. People kept leaving throughout their set, which was kinda sad. I mean, I know you want to see The GazettE, but you WILL see them. Versailles are debuting onstage for the FIRST TIME since the tragic death of their bassist. I felt too guilty to leave. But then I had an oopsie. I thought the band was done (they were putting down their instruments, and I swear Teru left the stage), so I whipped around and ran off for The GazettE. As I was just stepping out of the hall, I hear Kamijo start talking. SHIT! I accidentally left before they were done. I felt SO BAD. I mean, at that point I just gave up because I was already out of the room, so I just ran to The GazettE but... ugh, I feel like such an asshole. I think I left before they played their new ballad... SORRY GUYS!!! I hope some good spirit up there knows I did it completely on accident. I was trying to have a heart :-(
Anyways, it was pretty packed for The GazettE. Duh. They actually had a bigger turnout than Marilyn Manson did. Virtually half the people who came to the festival on Sunday stayed for The GazettE. But people were sitting down like I did during Merry, and leaving huge gaps everywhere. I found this odd. They weren't holding spots like I was, they were just sitting. So I noticed what other Japanese people were doing, shrugged, and started climbing over people. None of the sitting people seemed to have any interest in getting closer, and everyone was climbing over them, so I joined in. I got about halfway up in the crowd before I solidified my spot. Unfortunately, my feet hurt so bad at this point I couldn't figure out how I was going to survive over an hour of The GazettE. I really didn't know. Just a friendly reminder but here's The Gazette (this picture is taken from the cover of a magazine I bought at the show. Came with a poster!!):
The GazettE pretty much have the monopoly on the VK scene right now. After a long torture, they finally came out. Unfortunately, I was pretty damn hosed by this point. I don't remember much, and I spent a lot of time whimpering in place wishing it would be over because my feet hurt. I'd been on my feet for 48 hours now with virtually no breaks. Their setlist was actually disappointing for me because it was too much of a spread, and not enough new music. But they were totally awesome and opened with Filth in the Beauty. HELL YEAH. I learned quickly that the GazettE aren't so much into furi as they are into having the entire crowd jump up and down non-stop, lol. But I was glad cuz that actually hurt less than standing, lol. They shot fireworks and stuff into the air. The songs that made it awesome were: Ruder (hell yeah they played Ruder!), Headache Man, A Mother Under the Skin... but too much was missing, honestly. I mean, I understand why they did that - not everyone has necessarily seen them before or knows who they are, so they played a wide range of music. But it was stupid because Ruki asked the crowd who was seeing them for the first time. And like... no one raised their hand (except me, haha). Ruki was like "eh? Sukunaaaaa...!" ("Wha-?! There's like no one!!!"). They played almost nothing from DIM. They didn't even play Leech! That was their big hit recently! So for me the setlist was frustrating. What made me sad, though, was that they played Guren, which is one of my favorite ballads, but standing still was so painful that I just wanted it to end. But it was a lovely performance. Ruki let out the most piercing shriek when the song started. Anyways, even if I don't have much memory to offer, I have some pictures! Here, enjoy pictures from The GazettE's performance at V-Rock!
Here's Aoi and Uruha being gay together:
Here's Ruki. OMG GLOVES ARE AWESOME:
Here's Reita. I think his hair is committing suicide:
Here's Kai with his infamously cute smile:
Here's Ruki and Aoi being gay together:
I gotta say, though... GazettE fans are scary. They push and shove... they form weird little headbanging circles with each other... and when the band takes breaks, they scream and growl weird animal-noises at the band till they turn back around. This one girl kept going aiaiaiaiaiaiaKAI!!! Also... Ruki's MCs go on and on and on and no one knows what he's talking about, lol. He's so random, and he just keeps talking. It almost felt like filler to avoid playing music, lol. Either way, my feet were just friggin' done. I'm sad cuz I was really looking forward to The GazettE, but this just wasn't the time or place to be seeing them. Some time I will see them at their own concert. That will be the proper venue and they'll be touring their new music exclusively and my feet won't hurt. Thankfully they played for less than an hour and a half on Sunday. Then I got back on a train and sat there whimpering cuz my feet hurt so bad. People on the trains were gossiping about me cuz I looked crazy, lol. My feet took days to recover. My big toes still feel weird a week later, lol. Oh well, such is life, haha.
So... I guess that concludes my post for V-Rock Day 2...? I hope you enjoyed and forgive my Merriness. I think a good way to end this post would be to inform you all that:
I JUST GOT TICKETS TO SEE DIR EN GREY BOTH NIGHTS AT THE BUDOKAN IN JANUARY!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Hope you all enjoyed and see you all soon ;-D