Thursday, February 11, 2010

Indies Bands - Takadanobaba AREA - Monstars★BATTLE

Yup, guess who's back with even more rounds of indies bands? I know, I know, the horror... But I will make this post shorter, I promise. Let's bring on the insanity!

Today's show was, once again, in Takadanobaba. I was joined by the usual team of Ashley and Geri, along with Caroline, who actually lives in Takadanobaba. Anyways, we picked up some cinnamon doughnuts and headed on over to AREA. Today's show was entitled Monstars★BATTLE. Um... right. Yay, English!

Anyhoo, we went inside and took our usual spots in the front area, on the left, where we can easily hop out of the way if a band sucks. Especially at the beginning, since the first few bands tend to be kinda crappy. Oh, a correction on the last blog post! Remember how I said meth. went first, so they were probably n00bs? Turns out they're not n00bs at all (they sure didn't sound like a new band!). Why they went first we have no idea, but they're an older "sempai" band to a lot of the other bands. Very strange. Well, anyways... The show would have two repeater bands for me: ALSDEAD and Ha;qch, both of which were prime candidates to be the "headlining" band. I was extremely excited to see Ha;qch again, because I loved what they did at Shinjuku HOLIDAY.

Anyways, 5:00 struck, the lights went out, the usual barrier girls took their place, and everyone else backed up and took their usual "boring first band" spot.

Um, except there was one problem... They pulled back the curtain while a really hardcore, angry intro started playing with strobe lights, and I couldn't help but notice that the first band had a red banner hanging in the back with splattered letters on it. A lot of times, the first band isn't good enough or experienced enough to have a banner. The banner was hard to read but... I could swear there was a ; in it. I looked at my friends in bewilderment and I was like "um... I think it's Ha;qch..." But it couldn't be! Why would a band that normally headlines or goes on at the end be going on first?! 1/3 of the crowd wasn't even at the show yet! I looked around to see other, equally bewildered-looking fans. Well, when the drummer walked out dressed head-to-toe in PVC leather... I knew that it was, in fact, Ha;qch... demoted to first.

So, as much as it pains me, the first band up on today's report is Ha;qch (pronounced "Hakuchi"):

Um, except... the whole thing was messed up. First of all, their bassist, Saku, was simply not there. Like... they had no bassist. Period. Second of all, the vocalist, Chihiro, came out and... he looked like he was about to die. His face was all red, and his eyes were all glassy and glazed looking. I felt utterly confused, but everyone else looked equally bewildered. Girls were glancing around, trying to figure out if they should move up and handle Ha;qch like they always do, or just hover nervously in the back. In the end, everyone pussed out (myself included) and stayed right where they were. The result was that Ha;qch was forced to perform with only the barrier of girls, an empty front section, and about sixty people hovering behind the second barrier watching in confusion. It was absolutely pathetic. Now, I've got to give Chihiro some credit... the boy was obviously fucked up, but he tried damn hard not to let it show or affect the performance. Ha;qch haven't released any singles yet, so they've been relying 100% on word-of-mouth about their performances. Chihiro continued to scream like a possessed demon, roaming around barefoot and covered in fake dirt. He kept his foot up on the crate, growling and glaring at everyone. Unfortunately, because he was sick or had been crying or something, his glaring looked more like he was day-dreaming in someone's general direction but... he was trying, damnit. At one point, he just started walloping himself in the head with the microphone. I don't know if it was out of frustration but... it certainly couldn't have been helping his physical condition. He had to stop during songs to drink water, too. Meanwhile, the audience just looked baffled. I mean... there was no bass. Do you know how weird music sounds without a bass?! It reduces the music to a bunch of sound. The barrier girls head-banged like crazy and threw their fists at the band, but the rest of the audience just stayed back. The left guitarist, Ryo, kept gesturing at my friends and I to move up into the action but... I just stood there feeling confused and guilty. Chihiro kept looking dreamily at us too, but... again... I just felt guilty.

Eventually Ha;qch did an MC. He took the mic and talked to the crowd in a dreamy, dazed kind of voice, while absentmindedly playing with the leather straps hanging from his arms. As for the lack of bassist, all he said was "our bassist isn't here today, we're very sorry", and the whole band bowed in apology to the crowd. Chihiro didn't seem to know what to say. He'd say a few words, then pause, look around at his band, play with his straps some more, then continue talking. It's times like these that you remember that the scary dude up there covered in black make-up who spits on people is really just a scrawny, 19 year old Japanese boy. He's just a kid... poor bugger.

Anyways, after Chihiro's MC, they continued their attempt at getting the crowd going despite having no bassist, and the fact that Chihiro seemed really messed up. But it was really just not working... When it was time for booty-bumping, the girls on the barrier all climbed up onto the bar and dangled over it but... no one came to slam them. Instead, Chihiro put his foot on the back of one of the girls and used her dangling body as a foot stool while performing. At least that's more the Ha;qch I know. But no one really did the gyaku-daibu. During the second round of gyaku-daibu, most of the barrier girls didn't even bother to climb up, and just stood there awkwardly. A couple of girls still climbed up, and a few girls towards the back decided to go on rescue missions and shoved past people, ran into the front, and slammed the girls. The rescue mission girls were looking around desperately for some support to help the band but... it was just a lost cause. At one point, Chihiro pointed at some girls towards the back and smiled. Okay, now I know he was fucked up. I didn't think he even knew how to smile.

Well, then the performance was over and Ha;qch left the stage. Presumably, Chihiro went backstage to curl up in a ball or something. Hopefully he took off all that leather first.

Anyways, after the disappointment with Ha;qch, I wasn't in a good mood, and I was prepared to hate anyone following them. To add insult to injury, AREA followed up that mess with these guys... Utsusemi:
Fucking... yuck. Just... no, damnit. The vocalist came out wearing white shorts over white tights, white sneakers... a white shirt. He had a giant white shirt hanging around his neck like a scarf splattered with rainbow colors. Their music was really... happy. I mean, the audience was having a blast hopping back and forth across the front of the stage but... the whole thing was just kinda stupid. Like, at one point, the vocalist started ripping something that looked like toilet paper out of his mouth, which wound up leaving a circle of white crap all over his face for the rest of the show. Yeah... classy... Also, their drummer was off-beat the whole time. I feel like some of the members had some skills but... they need to like... reform the band or something, seriously.

After Utsusemi came these boys, dizSOLID. Sorry for the shitty picture, it was the only one I could find that had all five members, since I think the band's been swapping members lately:

I kind of wanted to dub this band The Last of the Mohicans. They all had mass amounts of beaded braids hanging from their hair, lol. Hmm... what to say about dizSOLID... Well, musically they were fine. I wasn't hating on them or anything. If I'm not mixing up my bands, I think this vocalist had a pretty good screaming range and some interesting noises came out of him. Also, one of the members was wearing the coolest sparkly arm warmers and I really wanted them, lol. One of them was also wearing a sparkly red trench coat (see above) that I really wanted. That shit's probably custom-made though. Well, anyways, lol...

Next up was an unlisted band, WhiteBlack:

Well, there's usually at least one surprise band. They were alright. We went into second row to rock out for them. First thing I noticed was that they all seemed really short, lol. The vocalist's shorts were really distracting, though. The belts dangling from his shorts went right back up into his crotch. I mean, like... they went up into his shorts, literally. Musically, they were fine. I wasn't hating. I just continued to rock out and enjoy myself. Oh, but during their MC, for some reason they made their really shy bassist talk. Um... why the fuck would you do that? Maybe he's the youngest member or something, but... it was kind of cruel. They played background music while he talked, so the bassist had to talk really loud to be heard. And the poor guy was shaking visibly from head to foot the whole time he was talking. He was wringing his shirt and fidgeting but... he just kept shaking all over. Then the microphone made a loud feedback sound and his teeth tapped the mic. The poor guy almost jumped out of his skin and started rubbing his teeth like he'd been punched. Seriously, do not make the shy bassist do an MC, it's really mean! I wanted to take the microphone away from him before he had a heart attack.

Anyhoo, next up is a band I'd been excited to see because I'd heard good things: Valluna. Sorry for the incredibly shitty picture. For a band that's been doing pretty well, they really ought to have a better picture. Well, anyways:

The first thing I noticed about this band was... the bassist, Kirimaru. Uuuuum... WTF:

Jeeeeeesus, lol. He was endlessly entertaining. This guy made about as much sense as the smoked-salmon, chive cream-cheese pizza covered in jabanero sauce that I'd had for lunch. Sometimes, during songs, he would just start twitching his head and shoulders like he was about to go into a seizure. And he was obsessed with his own, pierced tongue. He kept sticking it out, and if he wasn't sticking it out, he was licking his lips, or grabbing his tongue with his fingers, or chewing on the tongue-ring. Not to mention that crazy contact lens he's got. At the show, he was wearing a red one that filled his whole eye. Because of that, I was never sure where the hell he was looking! Only one eye ever seemed to move! Anyhoo, other that Kirimaru, the band was pretty good overall. Good for rocking out. Lots of fist-pumping and general head-banging. They were "darker" than some of the other bands were. I would definitely enjoy seeing them again.

Next up is ALSDEAD. Yeah, yeah, obligatory picture:

Third time's the charm, lol? Anyways, we've been over ALSDEAD a million times. Blah blah blah, I had fun, blah blah blah, I head-banged, blah blah blah good times.

Last up was the band ReivieЯ:

Their fans were big-time die-hards. The girls on the railing and the girls in second row all had ReivieЯ towels, and they would jump up and down, spinning the towels over their heads. And they were pretty fierce. They were really slam-dancing into each other while they spun those towels. One girl almost got knocked clear over. The band itself was pretty good. But why are they dressed like hosts? The vocalist in particular. Also, the vocalist had something that had been strangely lacking in a lot of the other bands that night: a strong singing voice. That he definitely had. Overall they were pretty good, though the host look didn't really fit their music. Also, they did the same thing WhiteBlack did and made their nervous little bassist do the MC. This guy also looked like he was going to shit himself. Really mean, you guys! Their bassist was fucking tiny!

Also, what is with AREA's asshole policy about kicking people out when the show is over?! At other venues, you can buy merch after the show, or use your drink ticket, or say hi to some of the band... but not at AREA! I was glancing at merch but... they had to clear it all away right in front of me since everyone was being kicked out! I wanted to see if they had that small Ha;qch DVD I've heard about. Plus some ALSDEAD merch for a friend. Bastards...

Anyways, then the show was over and it was off to McDonald's to finish up the night. Waseda University's tennis club stumbled in drunker than shit... I found my cinnamon doughnut... good times...

So yeah, I'm sad about the Ha;qch thing but... what can ya do... I'm hoping to see them again on the 20th up in Saitama. Hopefully, they'll have a bassist, and Chihiro won't be doped up on cold medication.

Tomorrow I'm visiting Kamakura for a day, so be on the lookout for a blog post about that!



  1. Awww, poor Ha;qch... Anyway, I think we stayed off to the side for dizSOLID, although we were very much admiring that shiny red snakeskin coat. We went up for WhiteBlack. And I think the metal straps between the legs going up too much was Valluna, not WhiteBlack, but I'm not sure. But hell yes Kirimaru! He is very entertaining. Anyway, I like Valluna too, so let's see them again, yes? Love your review of ALSDEAD, blahblahblah. ReivieЯ was good, but I was just so tired at that point. Sorry guys, I'll get in the crowd for you next time. Area isn't as bad as the Rockmeikan, but yeah, they kick you out. Not as friendly as Club Crawl or Holiday. And that staff guy stepped on our stuff, the bastard. Anyway, see you at the show in Saitama. Home sweet ghetto home.

  2. Oh hey Whiteblack! They're good from what I remember.

    I think it is likely that Revier paid to be headliner, if anything. Alsdead probably signed on afterward to perform at the event. Headliners especially tend to be pay-to-play from what I understand, but I'm not sure if the rest of the bands are arranged by the venue or by individual band managers/labels.

    It's a shame that ha;qch weren't in the best state, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they had requested to go first given circumstances.

  3. Ah, Ashley, you're right, it was during WhiteBlack that we moved up. I fought with that one for awhile cuz I wasn't sure which band it was. I fixed it in the post :-D Yes, we should see Valluna again! I will take my mind out of the gutter next time, lol! Hehe, wasn't my ALSDEAD review awesome? I'm the master blogger, lol XD Blah, yeah, I forgot to mention that asshole staff guy stepping all over our shit and knocking Geri's drink over. What a douchebag. He could've gone around us!

    Also, Evan, I have no idea why ReivieЯ was last but... it was an idiotic move. Never follow ALSDEAD - people are die-hards about ALSDEAD! Always a bad idea! Also, I had definitely considered the possibility that Ha;qch requested to be first, since Chihiro probably wanted to do the show as fast as possible and then go die in the van or something, but it was still really stupid. Whoever arranged it - lesson learned, I hope!