Monday, July 12, 2010

"Death trap-GIG" Ruido K2

Yup, more indies. Gonna be blunt - I'm really not in the mood to blog about this show. Really not. I only went because it was the last time I'd be able to see VAJRA. I'm just gonna throw a quick rundown out there for the hell of it and call it a day.

It was a new venue for us: Shibuya Ruido K2. I've now been to K2, 3, and 4. K1 is in Osaka, so I'll probably never wind up there, lol. Anyways, the place was easy to find, but we couldn't figure out how to actually get inside. Ashley decided to go down this staircase near the sign, but I noticed immediately that what appeared to be the band ORVAL was sitting on the staircase doing their make up. I backed away immediately and tried to get Ashley's attention, but the band members turning around made Ashley come back up the stairs. I was like, "I don't think we're supposed to go down there!" Anyways, we wandered around the top of the staircase, gazing at the signs near the elevator and trying to figure out how to get downstairs without barging into the band area. While we did that, the vocalist of ORVAL came up the stairs (remember him? He was the "sick vocalist" from a few shows ago who lived in New York for four years and spoke good English). Yeah, he's this dude on the right in the photo:

Yeah, he came upstairs and started looking around for us. He saw us and waved, so we waved back. He walked over to us and said, in English, "hello ladies." Hahahaha. I don't know what it is about him saying "hello ladies" that I find so funny, but it still makes me laugh every time I think about it. Anyways, Ashley and I said hello. Then there was a momentary awkward silence before I finally admitted, "uuuuh, we don't know how to get inside the venue," and started laughing. ORVAL Vocalist (I don't know his name, sorry!) went, "Oh! This way!" and guided us towards the entrance. Oh my god, how embarrassing, lol! But seriously, the entrance was down the sidewalk, a good ten feet away from the sign. Fucking lame. Anyways, we thanked ORVAL Vocalist several times and I told him we were looking forward to his show. So yeah, special thanks to the vocalist of ORVAL for getting us inside the venue, lol.

Well, whatever, the venue is small and really ghetto with misplaced wires everywhere. The bathroom has tape all over the toilet and graffiti on the toilet paper holders. Lovely. They do have fun swivel-lights on the stage, though. But seriously, even the onstage crate was nothing more than a slab of concrete they tossed up there. Sexy.

First band up was JILLS BLUE ROSES:

I dunno, I don't remember or care. They were probably boring. Most of the bands were really boring. I just remember they wandered around chatting with fans and handing out surveys. Here was how the dialogue occurred between Ashley, me, and the vocalist:

Vocalist: Will you fill out our survey?
Us: Sure.
Vocalist: [hands us the surveys] Do you have a pen? [holds out a pen]
Us: Yeah.
Vocalist: [walks away]
Me: Do we have a pen?
Ashley: No.
Me: :-(

Wouldn't have been a big deal except the vocalist was sitting down at a table watching everyone. Boy did I feel like a douche bag. Oh, and the band had this one male fan who was so crazy and hyper that I swear he was on speed. He was around for most of the show, though, so that was pretty amusing.

Next up... uh... Gashulla, I guess.

These guys were hard to find a picture of because their stupid name is in stupid kanji as Gashura. Well, whatever. I don't remember shit. Boring, I'm sure.

Next up was our helpful band ORVAL, who does not have a picture. No, really, I don't even think they have an official website. Well, Ashley and I stood up and did furi for them anyways just because Mr. Vocalist was helpful and got us into the venue, so it only made sense to be polite. They're not bad, though, so I didn't mind doing furi.

Next up was a session band called REECH. Maybe a picture of them exists, I dunno. I don't care. They were boring - as - fuck. You know, a lot of indies bands have a song that goes "WHY! WHY! WHY! WHY!" and then the audience repeats it. A lot of bands have one. It's like an "audience participation" song. But you know, most bands only have one of those (like Navir, for example). This band... every... single... song... did... the "why" (MCA?). God fucking damnit. Not to mention they just played the same shit over and over. Still, they seemed to be the reason about 70% of the audience was there. Girls screamed over them like they were Justin-fucking-Beiber. I thought a lot of this was because the REECH guys were being a bunch of man-whores and walking around after the show buttering up the fangirls. Turns out it's 50% that, and 50% the fact that REECH is disbanding in a week. Huh.  Well, then that was pointless, lol.

After that was maybe MiD DERACINE:

Yeah, remember this vocalist? The bastard love-child of Kaya and Christina Aguilera? Well, looks like he ditched the wig and dress. Whoa, there's a dude under there! Unfortunately, their music was still really boring. Slow song after slow song after slow song... Plus they totally sampled MERRY's Blind Romance in one of their songs. Lame.

Uuuuuuh what the hell is next? Maybe BLADE:

These guys were a disappointment last time and a disappointment this time. They have cool promo photos hanging up, a big, bad-ass intro, a fun-looking front-man, and then... nothing. Just... a whole lot of nothing. Fucking lame.

Next band up is BALLY:

God, I saw these guy at, like, my second or third indies concert ever. Nothing has changed other than the fact that the dude in the rhinestone mask is now just wearing a smaller masquerade mask. Still boring as hell, too. But they had this one fan who was having what I've dubbed a BALLYgasm. Seriously, she was freaking out on the barrier so much that she would have these fits of ecstasy and collapse upon it. During the MC, the vocalist was like "are you ready?!" and she screamed back at him. So he was like "motto!" ("more!") and she screamed "tsukareta!" ("I'm tired!") and collapsed again. Jeeesus. The vocalist was like "ah, ore mo tsukareta" ("oh, well I'm tired too"). For the rest of the act this girl had multiple BALLYgasms and jumped up and down screaming and freaking out. When they were done, she literally fell to the floor. Eventually, she got up, stumbled away, and fainted. Wow. I don't think I've ever been that excited over anything in my life. BALLYgasms must be exhausting.

Next band up was THE SOUND BEE HD:

Now here was something interesting. Finally a band that didn't bore me into the floor. These guys seemed to be a strange combination of a traditional-Japan-themed band mixed with a goth band... sort of? Another interesting tidbit is that their bassist (all the way on the left) is a girl. No, really, it's a she for real. The rest of them are men. Turns out this band has been around for years and has three albums. The ridiculously small number of people remaining at the venue at this point said otherwise, but this show wasn't really a big deal so almost no one attended (well, after REECH finally left, that is). Well, they did have a girl with zombie-like make up on her face having SOUND BEE HDgasms all over the barrier. What was with the girls at this show?!

Anyways, there were a lot of things I liked about this band. these guys were pretty cool. It was nice to see something "different". Well, first of all, they were this curious musical blend of rock, industrial, goth, and epic Japan-style sound effects. The industrial element really surprised me - for all the Nine Inch Nails fan boys in JRock, you really don't hear that much industrial-style stuff in the scene. What really surprised me was that, when I checked out the band's music later on, I discovered that what I heard on stage is what they really sound like, meaning they can reproduce their album-work on stage almost perfectly. Impressive.

The band itself seemed to be having a great time. Vocalist Daisuke had this unbelievable bounce to him. It's kind of hard to explain but its like... he continually bounced to the rhythm of every single song as though he was electrically wired to the music. Best part was that his hair was up in a ponytail that bounced up and down with him. It was almost hypnotic and mesmerizing to watch his bouncing. It made me want to start bouncing around with him. A lot of vocalists do their own little thing during a band's performance but this guy really seemed plugged into the music itself and couldn't stop moving to it. The rest of the band was really giddy too.

Good job you guys! Glad I got to see you before I left Japan! Good stuff!

Last up is the band I came to see which is, of course, VAJRA:

Well, VAJRA, this is the last one. For the record, Eru wasn't there, so we had no Nesting Girl. I'll probably never see her again. Actually, without Eru, and because it was such a dinky show, we just didn't have any fans at all. We had Club Leader of course - because she's awesome. Other than her we had two foreigners on saizen, two Japanese on saizen, then Ashley and I took second row as usual. There were maybe a few other people up there with us. Oh well. The band was back in their costumes, though Nobro hadn't put his coat on properly and ripped it off within thirty seconds. He seemed to be in a terrible mood, though he perked up later. Without Eru, Yuuri continued to play both guitar parts meshed together. I don't know how he pulls that off. Anyways, yeah they were as fun as ever. Except Nobro fucked up the last song completely. They played Heito and the audience is supposed to do four sets of slam-dancing. Nobro screwed up and started singing after two sets. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but the whole song went out of whack after that and never fixed itself. Each member kept trying to fix the song and get the whole thing back on track and the result was a big mess. Probably because Yuuri isn't playing his usual guitar part. The result was Kiyuki and Rohan switching around rhythms and Yuuri ultimately making shit up until the song was over. That's okay, we all laughed and improvised with them. Whoops. That was the last song, too, so... I guess I'll remember you guys, just like always, for being endearing little screw-ups.

Nobro was being too endearing for his own good. What started off as a bad mood seemed to clear up after MC (the entire of which Nobro wandered the stage in circles panting). He seemed to be deciding if he should say something or not. Then he decided against it and continued the show. After that, Nobro continually made eye-contact with the audience and started pointing and smiling at us individually over and over again (easy to do since there were less than ten of us). This was so out of character for Nobro. I'm not even sure what this acknowledgment was supposed to mean. Every time Nobro made eye contact with me or pointed at me or smiled at me, it made me feel a little worse. How can you non-verbally communicate "you're never going to see me again" to a vocalist? I just smiled back at him, since there was no way to explain to him that this was the end. Nobro has seen me attend at least eight of his shows, including the band's one-man. I was second row for most of them. There aren't many of us and I can guarantee he knows us all by face. I guess his pointing at us and smiling at us and being so out of character had to do with the fact that we were the few who stayed through Eru's departure and showed up despite dinky, useless shows like this one. It was an "I appreciate you guys" kind of gesture. All I could think was, "I'm sorry, kid, I'm gone. I kept coming to see you guys despite all the drama but this is the end for me and you don't even know it." After Ashley and I are gone their fan numbers will probably continue to dwindle. It's likely Speed-Disk will pull their act entirely. Who knows.

In my last indies blog with Ha;qch and Valluna, I didn't really properly say "good-bye" to them on the blog because it hadn't really sunk in that I'd never see them again. Especially dear Chihiro from Ha;qch. I know you guys are probably thinking "what do you mean, you'll never see them again? You're going to visit Japan again, right?" Well yeah, but these are indies bands. They don't last. How many of them will survive the year? I mean really? Few of them ever make it even this long. I find it unlikely that hardly any of the bands I know will be waiting for me when I return. It's the same for VAJRA. They'll probably be gone too. Valluna's doing well (they're going to do a one-man at Shibuya O-West soon - that's a big fucking deal) so they might live, but Ha;qch and VAJRA? Who knows.

VAJRA's last show left a bitter taste in my mouth. I noticed the last time we saw them (when they were Odoburu) that Nesting Girl had been staring at Ashley and I repeatedly. Especially when we were behind her on the stairs. Being the weirdo that she is, Nesting Girl's expression is completely unreadable 99.9% of the time. Still, the way she looked at us it seemed as though she was as curious about us as we were about her. That was how I interpreted the staring. At this show, Club Leader was glancing at us continuously in much the same way. It was a look that said, "I've seen you guys at nearly every show these past months but I still don't know who you are." It left me with this feeling of guilt. Every time Club Leader looked over, I just averted my gaze. By the end of VAJRA's set, I was feeling extremely unhappy - and not about VAJRA. It's far too difficult to explain in detail here (plus it's nobody's business but my own) but seeing VAJRA for the last time made me realize that a lot of mistakes had been made. I let too many things change who I am. Even on this blog I can see it. My first posts compared to these posts... it's like a different person wrote them. I'm not going to explain how VAJRA got me thinking about this but... let's just say, I don't like what I've become. I've become a lot of things I despise. People can rip on Nobro all they want but fuck, who the hell is any better? We're all trying to find ourselves and we're probably going to fail at it for a long time. This year left me with a lot more questions than answers. Oh well.

I guess all I have to say for this blog is... bye bye VAJRA.


  1. so what are you going to do when you go back? what will your blog be about if you cant go to vk concerts and stuff?

  2. i cant believe the person who made the first comment would say that?! are they freaking serious?

    sorry for them! thank you for your reports until now. if I ever go to Japan, I hope to meet someone like Nesting Girl, or someone with opinions just like yours. i find it very heartbreaking that good things must come to an end and you have to leave Japan. you had such great words for reports and I think i will miss that, from the small number of concerts I go to here near me it will never be as seeing indies in Japan even through your eyes/views.

    thank you!

  3. Here's a collective reply to all of the previous posts since I last commented. As always, I've kept up to date, never falling more then two posts behind, but I fail at leaving a small acknowledgement on each of them.

    I'm glad you've gained some level of followship :D

    I think it's actually nice that the first commenter is concerned about what your blog sill become after you leave Japan.

    Perhaps we should snag each other on Skype soon here and start up a conversation from where we left off on Facebook. The sooner the better because our in-person time will be limited. I suggest we Skype now, discuss when you get back, and continue discussing after I head on over :D

    As always, your attention to detail is superb, and your conveyance of the shows has been thrilling to read. I'm glad I can live that vicariously through you.

  4. Aaaaaaw, thanks for the comments you guys! It's okay, I'm not offended by the first one, this really has become a blog about nothing but concerts and I can understand that someone might be feeling concerned about the blog's fate.

    I'm glad that I was able to bring people along on this journey with me, even if it was through words alone. I've had such a great time writing this blog and I'm glad people have had a good time reading it.

    As for what will happen to the blog... well, first of all, I do see concerts in America too. I already have tickets to see D'espairsRay in Chicago on August 9th ^_^ Outside of that, I'm not yet sure what this blog will become, but I'll probably continue to update it at random. Perhaps I will continue randomly translating blogs to keep up my Japanese. I might review JRock CDs or music videos. I'm sure I'll see bands like Dir en grey in the U.S. And I plan to visit Japan again. I do plan to come back. I guess... hopefully people will check this blog occasionally and find that there are still reasons to give it a peek! We'll just have to see what happens! I'm horribly chatty and wordy, so I'm sure I'll find a good use for the blog ^_~

    Also, hey Evan! Yeah, Skype would be sweet. But what is it that you want to discuss? FB me ^_^

  5. um to the second commenter... im sorry if i seemed offensive, i only started reading recently... i was only wanting to know what it would be about when she leaves... sorry...

  6. It's okay, Anonymous #1! Really, no worries at all! I didn't find your comment at all offensive! It would only make sense for you to wonder about the fate of this blog now that I only have a couple of weeks left. No worries! I appreciate that you left me a comment at all ^_^

  7. I really enjoyed reading you're blog, and I'm going to miss all you're blogs about concerts and Japan and such, it's sad...

    I hope someday I'll go to Japan to and have as awesome of experiences as you have had!

    Thank you so much, and I'm still looking forward to your blog posts!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. PS: As a side note, I just wanted to say again: THANK YOU! You're blogs were so real, it was like I was really there, and I became attached to a lot of these bands by just reading you're posts. I felt you're sadness when I read about you seeing VAJRA for the last time, I felt you're rejoicing when I read about you being the ticket ninja and snagging tickets... Really, I think it's an amazing experience for me, following you're blog... I don't know if you get what I'm trying to say, but that's okay, I don't completely understand myself, just:


    And I am very much looking forward to reading what you have to post later, I will continue reading you're blog!

  10. Aaaaw, thank you so much for your sweet comments! It means a lot to me that people enjoy this blog! I write what I write so that I'll remember everything that happened to me, but at the same time it makes me very happy that other people are able to enjoy the ride with me through my blog! Really, thank you very much! You're too kind :-)