Sorry for this blog being so late! I'm on almost no sleep and this took me forever to write. Okay, let's go...
Iiiiiit's time for another adventure! Whoohoo! Today's adventure is two nights worth of adventure! Valluna was having two one-man concerts in a row and the tickets were so cheap that Ashley and I simply couldn't refuse!
You might recall the story of how I got these tickets in the first place... it was my first physical ninja-ing of a ticket. A show we were at was selling the Valluna tickets as a shuffle with both nights at a combined cost of only $40. But Ashley and I still didn't have enough money on us. This prompted me to run out of the venue, across a lot, into a convenience store, tackle the ATM machine, withdraw money, and run back to the venue before they stopped selling the tickets. And it was a success! Ashley and I grabbed our shuffle-tickets and ran away happy.
Anyways, both Valluna concerts were being held at Ikebukuro Black Hole, which is a venue I talked about when I went to the Kaya concert. It's the one that's like being inside a giant, black GameCube.
Anyhoo, let's get to the actual band, shall we! Today's (once again) featured band is Valluna:
We've had other adventures with Valluna, such as the free concert that was S&M-themed. We're not new to Valluna. Valluna is the kind of band that toys with my tastes. On the one hand, they're rather hard-core and the music has a good dark feel to it sometimes. On the other hand, they can be rather cutesy, with really silly, indies-type music. This type of combination tends to drive me crazy (my low tolerance for cuteness and silliness is well known), but Valluna's performances are always insane enough to lure me back in regardless of what I think of their music (which is really just a mixed bag with me).
Anyways, because this blog is going to cover two nights, I'm just going to detail amusing highlights and silly tidbits.
Ikebukuro Black Hole is down a seedy side street with sketchy bars and clubs. Ashley and I were goofing off while waiting for the doors to open and found a totally awesome sign that we felt the need to pose in front of.
Here's Ashley posing in front of the Hyper Sexy Club:
Aaaand here's me in front of the Hyper Sexy Club:
Anyways, we were goofing off trying to waste time. Goofing off involved singing the opening theme to Pokemon, which prompted the other Japanese girls in line to start watching us and giggling. Ashley's umbrella also broke, so we hid it behind someone's bike, lol.
Eventually, a staff member came out and started calling numbers individually. The tickets were done by shuffle, meaning we received numbers at random. Ashley had the better number the first night with ticket #30, while I had #83.
Eventually, I got in and saw Ashley sitting in the third row all the way on the left (because we really like the left with Kirimaru and SAKURA). I quickly joined her, and we began lamenting what appeared to be a very small crowd. A very small crowd. Maybe only seventy people or so. We figured it was because it was a weekday. Oh well. Black Hole's staff also continued to be assholes like at the Kaya concert. The barrier at Black Hole is tall, metal, and un-padded. Naturally, the girls on the barrier put their jackets and sweatshirts over it to give the barrier some cushioning when they need to jump on it or do saizen (the booty-bumping). But no, the staff told them they couldn't put stuff on the barrier! What a bunch of bullshit! That barrier fucking hurts! Well, everyone hid their shit and put it on the barrier anyways once the show started.
The intro started and the band came out. As always we have shy, stoic Kei on the right guitar; girly, cutesy KANADE on the drums; totally insane, freaky, super-pierced Kirimaru on the bass; tough, manly SAKURA on the left guitar; and scary, bug-eyed, sexy yo-ka on vocals. They make up quite an odd group. I really like these guys... except KANADE. He keeps trying to be cute to make the audience like him and it's obnoxious. If you're going to act like an idiot, I'm going to treat you like one.
Anyways, as always, there was lots of crazy head-banging and jumping. But, because it's Valluna, we also had really stupid side-stepping and other cutesy activities. Oh, Valluna...
Okay, so I adore Kirimaru and all but he's totally blind. His vision is horrendously bad but he always insists on wearing really insane contact lenses to look crazy. In fact, here's a picture of him with his contacts:
This wouldn't be a big deal except that Japan doesn't have prescription colored contacts - especially not for contacts that fill your entire eye. The result is that Kirimaru looks cool... but can't see anything. According to his blog, he fell down the stairs before the show even started because he couldn't see. Then, during the show, he consistently walked head-first into the dangling microphone and knocked his brains out. Sometimes a band member would come up to Kirimaru to be all buddy-buddy and put an arm around him but, because Kirimaru can't see, Kirimaru would jump out of his skin in shock at the sudden touch. The contacts are cool and all but... Kirimaru, I think it might be better if you just wore your glasses, lol.
Yo-ka was also up to his usual insanity. He seems to have gotten into hair-pulling. I mean, he was always pulling girls' hair but now he does it more than usual. Normally, he just grabs a girl by the hair, tugs her around a little, then lets her go. But this one girl... this one girl just wouldn't give in. Yo-ka bugged out his enormous eyes and glared at her and she stared right back. Trying to intimidate, yo-ka grabbed her by the hair and shook her violently, then bugged out his eyes again. Surprisingly, not only did the girl not look away, but she had the audacity to throw the horns in his face while he still had her hair. He backed up, surprised, but still stared at her. Somehow the two came to a draw and yo-ka pulled away. But I think yo-ka really wanted to win that intimidation contest because later on he went up to the same girl and spat water right in her face, hahaha. Props to you, girl, for standing up to him!
The band was really into the show despite the small (and kinda obnoxious) crowd. SAKURA decided not to tease Ashley and me about sucking at the furi hand motions. We had the motions down better this time so he left us alone other than smiling or nodding in our direction. Yo-ka, as usual, tended to grab girls by their heads or put his body out into the crowd. SAKURA decided to join in on this as well. At one point, however, he wound up leaning his whole body onto one of the barrier girls and the result was one tiny girl holding up most of SAKURA with her back. She was facing the audience and laughing while she propped SAKURA up on the barrier but... it kind of looked like she was getting crushed.
Yo-ka also did his usual "make orgasm noises and shake and go cross-eyed and be crazy" routine. Not to be outdone, Kirimaru spent most of the show twitching and jerking in the background and generally acting like he was being electrocuted. And chewing on his lip rings and waggling his pierced tongue at everyone. Sometimes I think he might have a few screws loose. Or he was missing some screws to begin with. Ashley and I have sometimes pondered whether Kirimaru is superficially crazy or actually crazy. Is he just pretending to be insane for fun, or is he really nutty? Things became clearer last night when Kirimaru decided to unbutton his shirt and claw his chest to bleeding point for seemingly no reason. I hadn't expected it and was quite stunned. Later on, he posted a picture of what he did and wrote "my chest hurts." Well noooo shit, Sherlock. So I guess our theories that Kirimaru might not be all right in the head are holding up quite nicely. Don't worry, Kirimaru, we like you crazy anyways.
When the band came back for MC, Kei got tangled in SAKURA's guitar wires and couldn't get out. Poor chap looked really embarrassed. Kirimaru appeared on stage with a giant, white mannequin-doll thing. I mentioned these dolls in the Valluna free live blog and I was surprised to see the band still had these things with them. Anyways, continuing with our theories, Ashley and I have always suspected that Kirimaru doesn't like that the audience thinks he's more cute than scary. Well, Kirimaru decided to come out dragging this doll and everyone was being all like, "Yay! Kirimaru! Kawaiiii!" and making cute sounds. Kirimaru's response was to swing the doll up over his head and smash it down on the crate as hard as he could. The snapping sound was horrible, and the whole audience jumped in surprise. Hehehe. Then Kirimaru started holding up the doll and being weird. SAKURA smirked and high-kicked the doll out of Kirimaru's hands. Kirimaru, who is blind, seemed a little surprised. Kirimaru then proceeded to slide the doll over the drum set and hand it to KANADE. KANADE looked legitimately creeped out and was looking at Kirimaru like, "what do you want me to do with it...?" Kirimaru kept pushing it towards KANADE, who was finally forced to frown and take the doll and put it behind the drum set. Weeeeeird.
Anyways, for the MC, yo-ka had some important announcements. He says the band is going to embark on a "zenkoku tsuua" which is a tour all across Japan. He says the band is going to play from Hokkaido down to Okinawa. This is a pretty big deal for an indies band, especially when you consider the huge exposure you get. He also announced that the band would be doing a show in... New York! Huh. Fancy that. I don't know any details other than that but... sounds like the band is going to take a peek at America, lol. As an amusing side-note, when yo-ka paused during his MC, this one girl in the back shouted out "yo-ka kakkoii!" ("yo-ka's hot!"). Yo-ka snorted and said "shitteru, shitteru" ("I know, I know"). Oh yo-ka... Well, he is...
Anyways, general goofing off ensued after the MC. At one point, Kirimaru decided to kiss yo-ka, which was a little surprising. It made all the stupid pre-teen girls jump up and down giggling. Yo-ka also decided to spit water in Kirimaru's face but, because Kirimaru's blind, he didn't realize it till the water splatted all over him. The look on Kirimaru's face was priceless. It's like the look a baby gets on its face when you feed it something disgusting. It was pretty awesome.
A moment of vengeance for the audience... Yo-ka got us all to do the sideways slam-dancing where everyone hops in a big crowd across the front of the stage back and forth. This is hard to do, and someone almost always falls and gets trampled. Anyways, stupid yo-ka started hopping with us and tripped, wiped out, and fell right on his ass. No worries, though, he hopped up immediately and laughed (the whole band was laughing at him). Now he knows how it feels!
Anyways, when the band was finished, the usual pick-tossing occurred. SAKURA threw a pick but it landed on the ground between the people in front of me. No one noticed it was there, so I shrugged and crouched down and picked it up. It's very shiny and has the band's name and SAKURA's name written on it in red. I have a picture of the pick at the end of this post because there's a funny story that goes with it. Anyways, I didn't know what to do with the pick so I stuck it in my boot for safe keeping. When the show was over, I took off my boot and saw the pick sitting next to my shoe. I thought that was kind of weird but it must have been stuck to the bottom of my foot. I picked it up and put the pick in my wallet, then put my boot back on.
Anyways, that was basically Day 1. If I seem unenthusiastic above, it's because Day 1 wasn't that great (not the band's fault, I just hate small crowds). Anyways, Day 2 was a billion times better, so let's move on, shall we?
So Ashley and I were back in school since it was a Tuesday. We were wasting time between classes and decided to eat at a place near campus. On the way back, something in my shoe was driving me crazy. It was making me totally nuts. A strange thought struck me and I took off my boot as soon as we sat back down. Sure enough... I found SAKURA's pick in my boot! But wait a minute... I whipped out my wallet and found... the other pick! Wait, two picks?! It suddenly dawned on me what had happened. When I took off my boot and saw a pick near my boot, I thought it was the same pick. I picked up that pick and left the original in my boot. The result was that I walked around with SAKURA's pick in my boot all day without knowing it, lol! And now I had two picks! I gave the second pick to Ashley. I'm still not posting a picture yet because the pick saga continues later.
Anyhoo, when we got to Ikebukuro Black Hole around 6:30 we burst out laughing when we discovered... Ashley's umbrella was still sitting under the Hyper Sexy Club sign, right where we left it. Hahaha, awesome. We waited around being silly again, and started to realize that a lot more people were showing up for the second night. Thank gawd. I had the better ticket number the second night at a whopping #17. Ashley got my old ticket number and was #86. We were hoping my number would get us second row this time instead of third but... believe it or not, the two front rows were still overrun with everyone before me holding spaces. Oh well... Ashley and I wound up taking the exact same spot as the day before: third row as far to the left as possible.
Well, the crowd basically doubled in size the second night. Many, many more people. I was really glad for that.
Back to the band! Anyways, the show started quite suddenly when the curtain was pulled back and the band was already on stage. They ripped right into the first song except... yo-ka wasn't on the stage. Which was weird because we could hear him, uh... yelling and screaming. Everyone shrugged it off until we heard people making noises in the back. We turned around to discover that yo-ka had been hiding in the back of the venue and was now stomping through the crowd, shouting and screaming. A lot of the girls seemed afraid of yo-ka and were jumping out of his way. I, for one, just thought it was funny.
Anyhoo, yo-ka climbed back onto the stage and the show continued on as usual. Kirimaru was wearing totally different make-up and hair. And he still can't see shit.
Um... not that different from the first night, obviously (other than the part where it was way more fun). I'll just do the amusing tidbits and highlights talk...
Let's see... Ah, well, I was talking about how yo-ka scares some of the girls, right? Well, I dunno what went wrong here but at one point yo-ka ran up to this girl on the barrier, grabbed her by the hair, forced the microphone into her face, and made her scream the screaming part of the song. All that came out of her were some really pathetic, terrified noises. Then yo-ka let her go and ran off. Well, I think he must've literally scared the piss out of her because SAKURA looked very concerned and kept patting the girl on the head. A minute later, I guess she still looked traumatized because SAKURA crouched down and held her chin and was wording "are you okay?"-type things at her. Geez. I mean, yo-ka's crazy, but he's not gonna hurt anybody. I don't know why they're all so afraid of him.
During gyaku-daibu, when the girls in the front hung themselves over the barrier, the second row naturally moved forward and jumped backwards onto them. This one girl decided to disregard all etiquette and jump and then not get out of the way for other people. Second row wasn't quite giving us room either but eventually I just got annoyed and pushed them out of my way and jumped on the girls anyways. Ashley and I started clearing enough room to get some jumps in. Unfortunately, the girl just continued to block everyone. Well, I dunno how this happened so fast but... one minute I was moving forward, the next minute something knocked into me hard and I jumped out of the way. I looked over and what do I see? I see the annoying girl flying sideways, arms flailing, a look of shock on her face. And there's Ashley in a very obvious "I just lost it and slammed that girl" pose. Yeah... Ashley finally lost her cool and pretty much threw the girl all the way to the other side of the stage. Wow, lol. I didn't know a girl could fly so far, hahaha. The only problem was that I couldn't stop laughing. For at least another song, I would picture the moment over and over and start laughing uncontrollably.
SAKURA decided to pick on me again and started doing the whole "I can't heeeear you" thing at me. Look, I know I can't project to save my life, but teasing me for a good thirty seconds straight is embarrassing! I know he's like the "fatherly" member but... I'm going to suck no matter how much he encourages me, lol.
Oh, and Ashley and I have come up with a game so tedious, I gave up on it only a few songs in. The game is called: How Many Times Can You Count Yo-ka Looking in the Mirror at Himself. I'm not making this up... within three songs, he'd gone over to check himself out in the mirror seven times. Seven. I stopped counting after that. He's so obsessed with it. His hair and make-up have to be absolutely perfect at all times. I can't tell if he's vain, neurotic, or what.
Hmm... blah blah blah they did an MC... didn't say anything new. Kirimaru wandered dizzily back onto the stage as usual, paused, then seemed confused. Then he ran off stage and came back with something rather important that he forgot... namely, his bass. Then Kirimaru started tugging at the chains hanging from the ceiling as decoration, and accidentally ripped some of them down, leaving them dangling right in his face. Kirimaru looked a little surprised. Thankfully, the roadie is very smart and realized that Kirimaru would undoubtedly walk head-first into the chains. Said smart roadie ran out and removed them immediately. Also, at some point during the MC, Kirimaru pulled some leather strap off his outfit and started chewing on it like a rabbit. Everyone started laughing even while yo-ka was talking, so yo-ka abruptly stopped. When he realized the cause of the laughter was Kirimaru, he whipped around and was like "nani yatteru no?!" ("what the hell are you doing?!"). SAKURA smirked and was like "tabeteru" ("he's eating something"). Kirimaru pulled the leather out of his mouth and whipped around with an innocent look on his face like "nothing, nothing." When yo-ka figured out what Kirimaru was chewing on, he grabbed it and threw it into the audience, lol.
Probably one of the most amusing moments of the night came after the MC. Because we had a much larger crowd, yo-ka was able to do one of his favorite pastimes: crowd-surfing. Well, if you could call it that. Sometimes he just drapes half his body into the crowd and lets everyone grab him. Sometimes he sorta... dry humps everybody. And sometimes he throws his whole body into the crowd and rolls around. Well, for some reason he decided to be very trusting and jumped right into the crowd even though it wasn't a really big audience. There was, however, a problem with this... everyone's afraid of yo-ka, remember? So basically, he jumped into the crowd and... everyone fled. Can you believe that? I mean, if you like this guy, why wouldn't you try to help him avoid falling face-first onto the floor?! Anyways, yo-ka's very lucky that Ashley and I were there and not afraid of him. He jumped, everyone scattered, and Ashley and I wound up taking the full weight of yo-ka landing right on top of us (we had one tiny Japanese girl in between us who also tried to help). Now, I know people are always like "oh my god, yo-ka from Valluna is soooooo skinny." Well, he is but... he's not. He's the most solidly muscular person I think I've ever seen. Every inch of him is rock solid. He's so ripped that his thighs and stomach are completely submerged in bulging veins and he has a fully visible six-pack. He's lean, but he's also got the muscle/body fat percentages of a body builder (because he obviously works out like crazy). So what should be a very skinny man weighs a good 20-30 lbs more than normal so... it was like a solid brick of Asian landing right on top of us. Ashley grabbed yo-ka by the chest and I got him by the thighs. Then he started laughing hysterically and rolled onto his back. Now Ashley was holding him up by his shoulders and I was holding him up by his, uh... ass and thighs. I mean this literally. Like, the only thing holding him in the air was the two of us and a small girl in the middle. And he was so fucking heavy. My arms were shaking under the weight of trying to support him. Not to mention his laughing and wriggling and extreme sweatiness wasn't helping. Ashley and I were staring at each other with a mixture of horror and laughter. Now, as nice as it was to have a handful of yo-ka, I felt like I was gonna collapse under his weight. Eventually, the roadie reached out into the crowd to try and rescue us. Ashley pushed yo-ka's back up a little and rolled him towards the roadie. I tried getting his legs to roll with the rest of him. Somehow, the roadie managed to drag him back onto the stage... at which point yo-ka just rolled and flopped onto the floor, laughing. Wow, way to be unhelpful, yo-ka. Lol...
Because we had a lot more people, we were able to get the whole crowd to do the dog-pile move where everyone runs forward together and jumps and slams into a big pile. It got a little crazy and, at some point Ashley, and some girl both got hurtled to the floor. Also, some fat chick decided to take a running leap onto me on two separate occasions. Both times her sheer mass knocked all the wind out of me. It's like having 200 lbs of silly puddy tossed at you. Ow...
Anyways, that was mostly the end of the show. The band decided to do a group jump with the audience and, for some reason, they made shy Kei do the calling. It took Kei almost a minute to properly count to three and get everyone to hold hands and jump together. Seriously, why do indies bands always insist on making their shy, nervous members do these things?
During pick tossing, SAKURA threw a pick and, for some reason, time just slowed. I watched it arc overhead and then, so nonchalantly that I surprised even myself, I just reached up and clapped it between my hands. Everyone looked over in surprise, lol. Wow... sometimes my reflexes surprise me (like the time I air-grabbed the drumstick at a Lifehouse concert at Madison's Halloween Freakfest). So yeah, in two days I managed to get three of SAKURA's picks, lol. I still have two of his shiny, pretty picks. Picture time!
Woot! Anyways, after the show was over, we grabbed all our stuff and went to use our drink tickets. I got myself a cassis oolong (black currant liqueur mixed with oolong tea) which was surprisingly delicious. Anyways, as we were drinking our drinks, we heard strange sounds coming from back inside. Ashley and I went back into the venue to see what the hubbub was about, only to realize that Valluna had decided to do a surprise encore! People were throwing down their shit and running back up to the front for one more song. I had to abandon my drink and go running. Some people had already left the venue before this even happened. Anyways, yeah, we all dog-piled and had a crazy time. Kirimaru had taken his contacts out and he was pointing happily at his free, unhindered eyes. The eye that had the full contact lens was really red and angry looking, though. So yeah, we all piled up for one last song and then... it was officially over.
As a brownie point to the band, I should add that both nights lasted for two hours with virtually no filler. Valluna tends to waste lots of time with backstage videos, long-winded MCs, and other filler nonsense. Like at their free live they wasted twenty minutes on a video of them having an arm-wrestling competition. But these two shows were a total of four hours with no unnecessary filler. Good job, Valluna.
Aaaand then Ashley and I went off to get burgers, lol.
What a run! That took me forever to write! I hope you enjoyed! If you read all of this, thanks for sticking with me! Hope you enjoyed!
Tomorrow I'm going to VAJRA's second one-man, which might be a very depressing show since 『L.』's leaving the band. Anyways, stay tuned for that report as well!
See you all soon!