Saturday, May 8, 2010

Indies Live: 「Jack in the Hunter」

Hello all! Indies time! Ashley and I went to an indies live yesterday and it was... very strange. Lots of really great bands, lots of good times... also some bad times... Basically a show of ups and downs and lots of what-the-fuck moments worthy of mention. Read on for more!

So Ashley and I saw yesterday's indies live at Shinjuku Ruido K4. You might recall me seeing indies at Ikebukuro Ruido K3, which was a venue that annoyed me because it was shaped like a banana and impossible to navigate inside. Well, K3 is much better in lay-out and quality overall, so I was thankful for that. Sound quality was also really good.
Once inside, Ashley and I surveyed the situation. Because VAJRA was playing, Nesting Girl was in attendance! Except she really turned the tables. Instead of her usual loose, black clothing, she was wearing a tight, pink dress that was... cut incredibly low. I must say, I don't know how the hell I ever thought she was a boy.  Ahem. Seriously. I thought they were gonna fall out of her dress. But, because Nesting Girl is mostly just interested in VAJRA, she hovered outside the venue for most of the show, out of sight.

First band up is a repeater from our last show, guardant:

Last time we saw them, I didn't have much of an opinion on them. This time, however, with Ruido K4's much improved sound system, I was able to realize that guardant is actually a very capable band. I was taken by surprise to realize they are far more skilled than I'd initially thought. I feel like my memory isn't serving me enough to give a full report on what was good, but I was surprised to realize they were more talented than I'd given them credit for. Only thing... the vocalist is a very talented singer and a very good screamer but... he almost looks too cute to make all those noises. Like... he's got kind of a sweet, sad face like a puppy. If you guys recall in my last blog, I talked about how guardant's vocalist made me sad when he was left all alone at the merch booth and eventually passed out on it. I've been calling him Sadman every since. Well... it's the same thing live. He needs, like, some bad-ass make-up or a gothy costume or something to justify the kind of vocalist he's supposed to be. He's too young and cute and pretty for that role. He's talented but... he needs a look to go with it.

One amusing moment during guardant: in the middle of their last song, a random man who was very buff and had a buzz cut exploded into the venue, shoved through the girls, ran up to the stage, and started rocking the fuck out. The girls in the audience yelped and scattered. He scared the hell out of them! He must've been a friend of the band because their guitarist high-fived him from the stage. When guardant was over, the random guy just left! And thus begins our journey into a whole lot of what-the-fuck that was last night...

Next band up... doesn't get a picture. Nope. No picture for SMOKY FLAVOR because I don't feel like it. SMOKY FLAVOR... how do I even begin to describe the train wreck that was SMOKY FLAVOR? It's a fucking shame because they were really the only bad band of the night (which is sad because apparently they've been around since 2004, although I think this was their first gig in years). Basically... they're old men. Well, not exactly, but... they were like a bunch of middle-aged guys who went "ya know what would be cool? If we made a band!" The vocalist looks like the horrible love-child of KISS and Chuckie. The guitarists couldn't play anything beyond simple, repetitive power chords. It was horrible. They had endless sound problems resulting in long, totally unfunny MCs... Everyone sat down except one girl with a shopping bag who showed up just for them and was presumably one of their girlfriends. Also, three unbelievably fat girls shows up to watch.  They were so fat, they had to stand because they were too fat to sit on the floor. One eventually found a chair. Really.  She found a fucking chair.  Anyways, two of the girls left after SMOKY FLAVOR, so I think they were also girlfriends or something, lol.

Oh, Sadman from guardant was sitting around waiting for fans to talk to him at this point. Seriously, he always looks so freaking sad! It must be his face shape or something but... damn, someone get that guy a teddy bear! Luckily, fans did come to talk and a couple of his band mates kept him company.

Next band up... is fantastically bizarre: Hitotsume!

Hitotsume... hmm. Our strangest band of the night, I'd say. Of course, I say that in the best of ways. Where do I even begin? Well, okay, so... the band showed up looking pretty goth. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything. They looked goth and then... well, the music sounded pretty damn goth. We had ourselves a very talented vocalist, some very capable guitarists... things were sounding good! But it became clear after a few songs that... this was an oddly genre-free band. Really. I couldn't possibly tell you what they were! There were songs that sounded like rock, songs that sounded pop, songs that sounded dark, songs that sounded jazzy... It almost reminded me of Merry... but the vocalist was performing more like Ruki from The GazettE with extremely varied, bizarre, sometimes hysterical voices.

Besides Hitotsume's total wackiness and genre-bending, there was another element that made them great... the vocalist is fucking hilarious. Like, funny in the kind of way that made people in the audience double over with laughter. First of all... there's this popular brand of canned coffee in Japan called Fire that claims to have "perfect body" or "strong body" or anything like that. Well, the vocalist (who's name is simply Mister, by the way) had a can of Fire with him on stage. He held it up, looked at it with vague interest, and said "Fire" with the thickest Western "r" he possibly could (Japanese people would say "fiyah" but he threw in a thick, English "r"). Then he said "Fire coffee... kimitachi mo... perfect body" ("we [my band] also have perfect body"). Hahaha, what the fuck?! The audience burst out laughing. This one girl in the back was pretty much wheezing. And Mister was just staring at the can, totally unfazed. He kept up in this vain, replacing every Japanese "r" and "l" he came across with an English "r." Like, when he said the band was playing at the Chelsea Hotel, he said "Chersea Hoter" instead. The audience was cracking up. Ashley and I were dying laughing. It was soooo funny. As if things couldn't get any weirder, Mister then tried to rile up the people sitting in the back. Mister kept yelling, "Ushiro! Hana wo tabete kudasai!" ("people in the back! Eat my nose!"). Yeah... "eat my nose." He yelled this over and over again. Then, while the band was playing another song, he got up in the bassist's face and started yelling "eat my nose!" at him too. The bassist pulled away from him, so Mister yelled "eff you!" at him, hahaha! Who the hell taught him the phrase "eff you?!!" Geeeeeez!

Anyways, I give Hitotsume a big thumbs up. I think they won a lot of fans last night with their humor and overall strangeness. Their music is actually really interesting and different.


Next band up... Re:dis:

Holy scary vocalist, Batman. Seriously. The above picture doesn't really show anything, but their little vocalist was a true terror. He had short, black hair, a bunch of face piercings, and he was totally out of his mind. Musically, not bad. But yeah, all I really have to say is scary vocalist is scary...

Next band up, THE GLADROW:

Well, let me start off by saying I don't want to spend too much time on these guys because... the band is over. THE GLADROW already announced their disbandment, and the band is breaking up completely in June. So... there's no real sense talking about a band that's over. And I must say, they had a massive crowd of people up and excited and screaming to a painful degree for these guys but, honestly... I found their music to be really uncreative and dull. It just wasn't that interesting. But fans are probably acting crazy because these are the band's last few shows.

At this point in the show, the audience was starting to really annoy me. First of all, I was in a bad mood as it was. I was extremely dehydrated and it was making me kind of dizzy and droopy. I was sitting on the floor and, every now and then, Ashley had to shake me and tell me to "stay with her" so I wouldn't just fall asleep in the middle of the show. Then a girl showed up with a billion shopping bags which she shoved next to me before muttering a quick apology and running off.

Next band up... remember ALSDEAD? They're baaaaaack:

Well, same old, same old. Started off pretty amusing, though. Usually, the way bands start is that they play an intro, come out one by one, then the drummer makes a whole lot of noise so the vocalist can be like "Hey! Hey! Raaar!" and rile up the crowd before the first song. Well, for whatever reason, the drummer just... didn't do that. So everyone in the crowd had their hands up ready to be like "yeeeeah!" but then it was like instant music. The result was a lot of fans with their hands partially up going "ye - oh..." and going quiet. Now, vocalist MAKI might have done the most amazing save I've ever seen. He barely even flinched and immediately burst out singing the moment the first song unexpectedly started. There was only one problem: when he saw our faces, he started laughing uncontrollably. So he totally saved the song... and then fucked up by laughing. He kept singing, but it was broken by uncontrolled snickering. And I think he kept picturing our faces over and over because he would compose himself, then start laughing all over again. I was like "get your act together, boy!"

Oh, and then I blacked out during their set, lol. Dehydration is lame. I was doing the furi as per usual and then... I dunno, the world just tipped suddenly and I fainted onto Ashley, lol. Luckily, she caught me and kept me standing in the few seconds it took me to wake up again but, according to Ashley, the bassist looked a bit traumatized when he saw me, lol. Sorry, Reito! It won't happen again, promise!

Hmm... that's about all for ALSDEAD. I was really just there for the two bands following them, so... next up, welcome back VAJRA:

Sorry, I know they've been appearing a lot, lol. Man, lovable though they may be, they amaze me sometimes with how much they rip off Dir en grey. They should really call themselves a tribute band. They're selling t-shirts, you see, and the t-shirts look almost identical to old Dir en grey t-shirts. Even the font is the same! Not to mention the band is named after a Dir en grey tour! And they use parts of Dir en grey songs and tweak them! Damn, VAJRA...

Anyways, the audience started to set itself up (Ashley and I took second row in front of Yuuri - the one in purple). Anyways, I was growing more and more annoyed every second. People would not stop fucking moving around. They'd take a spot, then leave it and get something, shove through everyone, come back, take their spot, shove out again, push everyone around, pushing, pushing, pushing, aaaaaaaagh. Pick a spot and fucking stay there!!! Aaaargh! These obnoxious girls who'd been spot-saving the whole show took second row in the middle again and then two of them shoved out of the crowd for some reason. Ashley was ,so she moved into their spot, only to have the third girl whip around and declare that that spot was for her friends! Well Jesus fucking Christ I am so dreadfully sorry to have tread upon your precious fucking territory! Then this couple showed up... a girl and a guy with rainbow-hair. Anyways, they took barrier, only to have the barrier girls tell them they couldn't have it because people had already signed up for it even though there was totally room on our side for them to have barrier. So now the couple was next to me, and Rainbow Boy was wearing a bracelet covered in massive spikes! I just knew I was going to get jabbed with those things. So yeah, I was feeling pretty fucking irritable by the time VAJRA actually played.

Well, VAJRA finally came out and... hmm, so they've been getting a lot of flack on the internet for being a Dir en grey ripoff and for supposedly looking like the band UnsraW because they wear masks. Well, maybe they listened in or something, because VAJRA simply aren't wearing their masks anymore. None of them are. And, for the first time, Kiyuki wasn't wearing his Hannibal Lecter mask. Nice to know what you look like under there, kid! Nobro was wearing his white-out contacts and looking batshit nuts as usual. Nesting Girl was up at the barrier on 『L.』's side. The band played a set that was a little too tame for the kind of rage I was feeling, but I just went with it.

Oh, but then... uuuuuuuuuuugh, that fucking couple next to me! That asshole did stab me several times with his spiked bracelet! Oh, and then the girl in front of me... Okay, I really hate when girls at these shows make heart-shapes with their hands and wave them at the hardcore bands. It's soooo obnoxious. Usually, girls don't dare do it for bands like Ha;qch or VAJRA, but for some reason this girl was waving her heart-hands in Yuuri's face! But guess what! Guess what he did! Yuri was getting more and more annoyed by the second, so he suddenly reached out, grabbed the girl's hands, and shoved them down! Hahaha! I guess he felt bad right after he did it because he patted the girl on the head in apology, but it was soooo funny! It's nice to see an indies guy actually stand up for himself for once! You go, kid!


The band has some good antics! At one point, 『L.』 accidentally unplugged his guitar with his foot. The look on his face was priceless! He was like 0_0. Then he couldn't stop laughing after he fixed it. Also, I guess Nobro thought the Dr. Pepper thing at the last show was funny so, this time, he brought out a large, frosted glass of water... with a glow-stick stuck in it! His water was glowing radioactive green and he kept drinking from it, which made his face glow! It was pretty funny! At one point, 『L.』 suddenly whipped out what I thought was a bottle of gin. He ran into the middle of the stage, unscrewed the cap and... dumped it all over his face! It was India ink! Black ink exploded all over his face! Now, Gara from Merry does this too but when Gara does it, the audience just cheers. When 『L.』 does it, the reaction is amazing. The audience shrieked and scattered in every direction! They are so afraid of him (as they should be)! Sure enough, 『L.』 shook his head, shooting ink everywhere and grinning evilly with black teeth. Everyone was fleeing, but Nesting Girl and her fat friend tried as hard as they could to get ink on themselves. The fat girl was totally covered in ink. Nesting Girl on the other hand... I guess 『L.』 was enjoying the massive cleavage show, so he took his finger and ran a black, inky line between Nesting Girl's boobs, lol! It was pretty funny!

So that was VAJRA. Unfortunately, like I said, I really didn't get any good rage out. It would've taken a four hour Dir en grey concert to get that kind of rage out, I suppose.

After VAJRA we have an old friend... Valluna (sporting super sexy new outfits):
Haven't seen these pups in awhile! It was a big crowd for them. They've been doing very well lately and performing a lot of one-man shows. Ashley and I kept our spot in second row and got ready for some fun! Their new outfits are great! More PVC leather, yo-ka is hardly dressed, and Kirimaru looks like a freak in circus-pants with a raccoon tail! Good stuff! This is a band dripping with sex-appeal, and they know how to work it!

So yeah, we got to jump up and down lots and rock out and stuff (although this still wasn't releasing my pent-up rage from earlier). Ashley and I were in front of guitarist Sakura, who seemed to be getting a lot of amusement out of mocking us for forgetting the furi. He would watch us and smirk if we messed up, then nod approvingly if we got it right. Don't mock me, sir! And he kept trying to get us to yell and I can't yell very loudly and it's embarrassing. He kept being like "I can't heeear you!" at me. He did that over and over. No matter what I did, I couldn't make myself loud enough. Eventually he nodded and smiled at me, but I think he was just appeasing me. Kirimaru was being as freaky as ever and twitching and jerking like his head wasn't screwed on right and tugging at all his lip piercings. Yo-ka was being sextastical like always. His body seems impossible. He's so skinny you could practically get your fingers around him, yet he is fucking ripped. I'm talking solid eight-pack ripped. His thighs are so buff, they're covered in veins. In fact, his whole body is veiny. But he's so lean! How do Asians do that?!

Anyways, the show went along well enough with plenty of entertainment and sexy yo-ka. When they did encore, a barrier girl gave up her spot for no reason so Ashley took it. Then Ashley came to realize why the spot was given up... the encore was the dog-pile song! Valluna likes to take booty-bumping to a whole new level by turning it into a dog-pile! So poor Ashley kept dangling over the barrier and getting creamed (50% of which was my fault, hehehe. Sorry, girl! I'll body-slam you lightly next time!). I guess she got some pretty bad bruises from the whole thing. It was fun on my end, though! You just body slam the barrier girls and get slammed while you're doing it, turning the audience into a big dog-pile! During this song, a bunch of other bands came out on stage to make the whole thing really crazy! The vocalist of Red:is came out and he was really scary and riling people up! At one point, he ran to the front, grabbed a girl's head between his hands, and started screaming in her face. It was truly terrifying! Someone from THE GLADROW reached out into the crowd to grab my hand and drag me forward, but I misinterpreted because I was about to body-slam Ashley and I kinda... jumped on his arm instead. Oopsie. Sorry, dude! Then Nobro came out in a wife-beater! I was ready to cheer but he just looked around and then ducked back off stage. Huh?! Geez, he's so antisocial, lol! But
『L.』 also came out without any make-up on. He came on stage, grabbed yo-ka, passionately kissed him on the lips... then left! Um... okay, lol! Some other guy also stole yo-ka's soda and started drinking it. Poor, sweaty yo-ka was like "hey! That's my soda!" He grabbed it out of the guys hands while he was chugging it, took a swig, and spat it all over the crowd. It got pretty nuts up there!

And then the show was over!

Geez, what a ride... but the ride wasn't over yet! So you know how I've been dubbed the Ticket Ninja because I basically never fail to get tickets to a show I want to see? Well, I'm officially the true Ticket Ninja. At the end of the show, I realized they were selling tickets for the Valluna two-night package (two concerts, two days, Valluna only, only $40). Now, I'd seen this package online but I couldn't figure out any way to get these tickets! Now was probably my only chance! Only one problem... Ashley and I had no money. I totally panicked! I asked Ashley if there was an ATM nearby and she said there was a convenience store outside. In true Ticket Ninja fashion, I ran up two flights of stairs, fled the venue, ran across a parking lot, shoved through indies guys who were wandering around entertaining fans, ran into the convenience store, snagged money from the ATM, ran back to the venue, ran downstairs, and managed to catch the merch people before they stopped selling tickets! Fucking ninja! Ashley and I bought the deal since it's basically Valluna for only $20 a concert! The ticket numbers were done by shuffle and I totally got #17 for the second night! Whoo! Ninja score!

And that was my day. Phew. Up, down, all over the place... It was sometimes painful, but also fun! Well worth the adventure, I'd say!

Guess what I'm going to be doing tomorrow? Seeing Merry live - holy shit! it's going to be fucking epic! Be on the lookout for that blog post!

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