Sorry this post is so late, but I did have to survive two Dir en grey fan club shows the day after this event, so the blog had to be put to the side for awhile. Anyways, to get some chronology going, this live occurred on June 28th and was entitled A heretic sound music LAST PRESENTS [HELL drawing MAD to HELL -LAST-]. The event was held at Shinjuku HOLIDAY as heretic sound music's last event. I haven't really talked about heretic sound music on the blog too much, so some may not know what it is. Heretic sound music is an indies record label. The bands that were under the label include Navir and Ha;qch, and they also used to include Valluna and ALSDEAD. The label was run by Yukika who is, himself, in a band. Anyways, the label dissolved for whatever reasons and hosted a final event, which Ashley and I went to see due to a lot of bands we like appearing in it, as well as some strange things that were expected to be there.
Now, to be perfectly honest, I don't remember too much from this show, but I'll do my best to state the important things. Also, I feel waaaay too lazy to post about every single band, so I'm only going to write about the ones I came to see. For those who are into indies and curious, the other bands I saw at the venue included:
ALSDEAD also played, but Ashley and I were lazy and tired and left before their set.
Anyways, Ashley and I showed up to the venue at the beginning and we were ready to be pretty bored, since we figured none of the bands we came to see would come on until the end (which turned out to be totally true). Luckily, we had Nesting Girl around to keep things amusing (such as when she started doing kendo sword-fighting with a Japanese-style fan. She also demonstrated an Irish jig at one point). Much to our joy, however, our friend Caroline showed up before the first band. We had no idea Caroline would be attending. She adds a much-needed twist of sarcasm to the experience, so we were really happy to see her. Anyways, at some point, Nesting Girl appeared out of the bathroom wearing that Toy Story alien squeak-toy pajama outfit she wore at the last VAJRA live. Then she did what she always does: laid down in somebody's stuff and went to sleep.
Anyways, onto the important stuff. I'm not really going in order here, I'm just gonna throw bands around. Okay, first up, let's talk about Navir:
We haven't seen Navir on here in a long time. They were a band who appeared at my very first indies concert and I'd grown fond of them because they were hard-core while still maintaining an atmosphere of lighthearted fun. They were very friendly to us and always encouraging on stage.
Ashley and I have pet-names for people other than Nesting Girl, by the way. Navir's barrier always consists of two girls we refer to as Thriller and Polka Dots. They're both really awesome.
The band itself was going for a bit of a "classy" look at this show. Vocalist Maya had dyed his silver hair to a canary yellow and he was wearing a vest. He also had on his classic silver shoes. The rest of the band seemed a little more "classy" too. Anyways, they did a great job as always and it was a lot of fun. Their song ripper 【Z】 parade has always has some of the most fun furi that I know of.
Unfortunately, things got sad towards the end of the show, and that's why I'm putting Navir first - I'd rather get the sad stuff out of the way. During one of their songs, Maya suddenly started acting really weird. He kept getting strange looks on his face like something was bothering him. He seemed unable to keep his face from twitching and growing melancholy. Then he started shaking. I couldn't figure out what his problem was. Then, when a guitar solo started, he suddenly fled the stage. Bassist Uzuki kept looking around, seemingly worried and confused. Guitarist Suruga didn't seem to know what to do. The guitar solo was coming to a close and Maya wasn't back on stage. Not sure what else to do, Suruga kept signaling for the drums to continue the beat and he started making up shit on the guitar, trying to waste time. Eventually, Maya came back and continued singing, though he still seemed weird. Then they went into the MC.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't really paying attention to the MC. Maya was talking very seriously, but I was just sort of zoning out. It wasn't until I noticed that Thriller was holding her towel to her face and sniffling that I suddenly started listening. Maya was saying things like, "it's been a great ten months but... it's over." Wait, what? It's been a great ten months... with heretic sound music? And they're dissolving? Or... it's been a great ten months as a band and we're quitting? I mean, I found it hard to believe that Navir would be announcing a disbandment. Japanese bands don't announce disbandment at concerts. Those are announced on official websites and followed up on blogs. So what the hell? Then Maya told us they had a new song and he wanted us to listen quietly. The band went into a pretty ballad. The song was really lovely and I thought to myself, "they can't be breaking up, they have a new song, right?" When the song ended, Maya suddenly struck a pose. The band froze. Then the curtain zoomed across the stage at record speed and the band vanished. Then Thriller and Polka Dots and some of the other girls on the barrier started crying.
What the hell?!!
Okay, so I've been able to gather what's going on in the time since the show. Yes, Navir is breaking up. Maya and Suruga are heading off into another project. This is supposedly a case of "musical differences" but we all know that has about as much meaning as "irreconcilable differences" in a divorce. I find it to be a bit too much of a coincidence that heretic sound music dissolves and their original band is suddenly broken up. Sounds to me like the new record label took the two members it found most profitable and stuck them somewhere else. For someone who is supposedly starting a new project, Maya sure seemed upset. I smell bullshit.
Well, Navir, you had a really great ten months. You were at my first Indies live ever, and I saw you a total of five... maybe six times. You were a really fun band and you were really friendly and funny to talk to. You were always encouraging, never intimidating, and you truly seemed to want the audience to have a great time and nothing more. You will be missed. Good luck to Maya and Suruga in their next project!
Let's move away from the sad stuff, shall we? We also got to see Valluna:
Honestly... I don't remember much about the show, lol! It was a lot of fun and I had a great time, but no details are standing out in my mind. Probably because I was tired. Shinjuku HOLIDAY has a large space between stage and barrier, so yo-ka took advantage of it and jumped down and started stomping around the front trying to scare fans. Nobody can make scarier faces than he can. He was pulling hair and hanging into the audience and being crazy as usual. Kirimaru is still wearing non-colored contacts so that he can see. It's weird to see him making eye-contact with people. But yeah, I don't remember much so... let's move on, shall we?
So here's one of those "not something you see everyday" situations. Today I'm going to introduce for the one and only time: Odoburu:
For those familiar with VAJRA, you should recognize the one all the way on the left as Yuuri. Next to him is Nobro. The pink-haired one is Eru. In this photo, however, Nobro's name was Noburo and Eru's name was Taisuke. This is the band that existed before VAJRA. At the time, the band name was also written as O_DBLE. O_DBLE/Odoburu is meant to be a play on words of the Japanese pronunciation of hors d'oeuvre. Anyways, the band existed for a year and a half before breaking up about a year ago and reforming most of the members into VAJRA. For whatever reason, VAJRA decided to "resurrect" this band for one single performance at heretic sound music's last event. This is an admittedly odd move, but it sounded interesting. Plus, it's another excuse to see Eru.
I had no idea what Odoburu's music was like but I did know their bassist wouldn't be returning for the show. They would be using support drums and bass. For the barrier, we had VAJRA's Club Leader up in the middle and she was actually wearing an Odoburu shirt. Wow. I was hoping she would know the furi because I'd never seen the band before, and I doubted a lot of people remembered the furi after a year. Nesting Girl went over to Eru's side but, interestingly, didn't take barrier. I can only assume she wasn't around back when Odoburu existed so she was probably giving barrier to the old Odoburu fans who took barrier back when Eru was known as Taisuke. Also, there's a certain foreign girl who's been driving me crazy because she doesn't know any of the indies etiquette codes despite going to lots of shows. Anyways, she was in the spot that Nesting Girl would have normally wanted and, when they asked her to move out of the way, she refused. Um, yo, foreign girl... Eru has, like, "official" fans. This is the second time I've seen Nesting Girl's group have to ask this girl to move. She just doesn't get it. I've seen her at soooo many shows and she still doesn't know how to act. Also, two girls went up to Club Leader and asked if they could take the barrier on the left, stating they were Ha;qch fans. Wait, what? But Ha;qch's not the next band... Well, whatever was going on, Club Leader okay-ed them for saizen.
Anyways, then the curtains opened. I immediately took stock of who was on bass and drums. The drummer was... wait, Rohan? Rohan from VAJRA? Okay, VAJRA, what the hell? Your support drummer is your own drummer? That was the first surprise. The second surprise was the bassist. Why, it was Shibito from Ha;qch! I'd know that pink hair and long, goofy face anywhere! Shibito looked really happy to be playing support for Odoburu (then again, he always looks happy). No wonder those girls took saizen. Anyways, this was basically just VAJRA, but they replaced Kiyuki with Shibito. So, wait, why didn't they just train Kiyuki on the new songs? That makes no sense... then they would've had all of VAJRA up there and - oh, whatever. This "reunion" wasn't meant to be logical anyways. Also, I cracked up at the sight of Nobro. Holy Kyo cosplay, Batman. You know, in VAJRA, the one thing that separates Nobro from being a full replica of Kyo is that he doesn't dress like him. Apparently, in Odoburu, he did. He was wearing an almost exact replica of Kyo's trench coat from the Blitz 5 Nights DVD with identical make-up. He even had goggles around his neck like Kyo from Obscure. You know, even though Nobro is older than me (he's 23), I would love to just sit him down one day and go "son, you know what would make your life a whole lot better? If you found Nobro. Instead of trying to be Kyo so desperately, why don't you put all that effort into finding yourself?" Just some advice I'd like to give him. Yuuri and Eru were wearing all black. Eru's outfit looked almost clown-like.
So how was the music? Well... surprisingly, it wasn't VAJRA-like (meaning Dir en grey-like) at all. In fact, it really sounded like MERRY of all things. Odoburu was actually a lot of fun. It was a very odd twist. Their hardcore VAJRA furi was replaced with things like... jumping and clapping at the same time. However, the band was also really into slam-dancing. It seemed like every other measure they had the whole crowd hopping and pushing each other across the front of the stage. It got pretty intense at times and at one point I got shoved right to the floor (I believe this was, in fact, Ashley's fault, lol), landed right on my back, and nearly got myself trampled. The bass-lines were sooo catchy. The whole thing was catchy. At one point, Eru held his fist in the air and began shaking it warningly. Next thing I knew, he punched that obnoxious foreign girl right in the face and knocked her to the floor. Dayum. I'd love to think he did it out of malice, but knowing Eru he probably just punched her because he likes to punch anything that happens to be in front of him and smiling at the same time. He also started to do this thing where he would bend into the crowd and sweep his arms through it as fast as possible, knocking everyone to the floor. He was basically side-swiping the crowd right off its feet. Nobro seemed to be in a really bad mood, though. I guess he just doesn't want to be Noburo from Odoburu. Oh well, he toughed it out and did a good job. Even if he looks like a photocopy of Kyo.
So yeah, that was Odoburu. They were a jazzy, catchy, MERRY-like band who switched over to hard rock. I really enjoyed it and the crowd seemed to have a blast. I don't know why they brought back Odoburu for a day, but I'm glad they did. It was fun!
Anyways, the next thing up is also a "not something you see everyday" situation. Actually, I'm not even sure what the band's name is. It could be one of the ones I listed above - I'm not sure. The curtain turned into a projector and played a really demented music video with a totally deranged, scary vocalist. The band was playing at this event because of the vocalist. As much as this may surprise anyone who pictured a man in a business suit, meet Yukika, the leader of heretic sound music:
Now, actually, he didn't look like that at all. He had short, flat hair, no make up, normal clothes, and glasses. He looked pretty nerdy, in fact. Still, he performed as though he were up to his usual thing. The band itself was quite solid musically (the drummer especially seemed good). Most of the audience didn't seem to really know any furi for them, though, so most people just watched respectfully. So yeah, the band itself was fine, but Yukika's performance seemed a little strained. It wasn't just that he wasn't dressed up like normal, it's just that he seemed a little lost in thought. He MC-ed about heretic sound music and talked about how he started with Navir and Ha;qch, and how ALSDEAD and Valluna came to join them later... he talked about where his bands would be going (except Ha;qch, he didn't say much about them), and other such matters. He said all this with a strange air of aloofness. I think the dissolution of heretic sound music is bothering him. I wonder why he dissolved it. Still, it was an interesting thing to see. I've never had the chance to actually see Yukika perform, so that was kind of cool.
And last but not least, let's end with Ha;qch, even though Ha;qch didn't actually play last. I'm just putting them here for no reason. Well, it's been a looooong time, but welcome back Ha;qch:
Fucking out of date picture. Anyways, we haven't seen these boys in awhile because they've been in the recording studio. I was glad to be able to see them again. Especially since I've been following vocalist Chihiro's blog all along and I think he's hilarious.
Speaking of which, I haven't done a "Random Blog Translation" in awhile, and I've been requested to translate and post one of Chihiro's blogs from several weeks ago. We consider it one of his strangest and most absurd, so I'm going to post my translation here in the middle of this report! Chihiro posted a picture of a bunch of chicken bones in a KFC basket and wrote the following:
I cleaned my plate.
Yeeeah, aren't the bones laid out grotesquely?
I have established opinions on intolerance, but I seem to have a big stomach (note: this is a play on words. To be intolerant in Japanese is literally "to have a small capacity" so Chihiro is making a joke along the lines of, "even though I'm opinionated about people with small capacity, my stomach seems to have a big capacity").
The extent of my capacity (note: probably referring back to his tolerance level) is a little less than the bottom of a sake cup...
You could say that's just the way I am.
My mother who has fucked Japanese culture (note: he literally wrote the word "fuck" in katakana).
My father who has lost his job and has shrunk away.
And me, who is trying his best.
Interesting post, don't you think? Obviously, he was binging on KFC. He was in a bad mood, so he ate the fuck out of that KFC and blogged about it. I don't think I've ever seen anyone demolish chicken that cleanly. Oh Chihiro, this is why we love you.
Also, I don't think I've ever explained the meaning of Ha;qch's name on this blog. Ha;qch is pronounced hakuchi which is the Japanese word for "idiot" but used the same way English speakers call someone "retarded." So the band purposely spelled their name wrong because, well... they're "the retards." I think that's pretty funny.
Anyways, back to the live.
Well, Ha;qch looked reeeeally happy to be back on stage. They all ran onto the stage and were bouncing around like Christmas came early. Chihiro himself looked like a raging lunatic as usual and was making angry, growly faces at the audience. Shibito somehow looked completely unfazed and not at all tired, despite this being his second performance in one day. Then again, he seems really physically fit, so it probably didn't affect him at all. He was aaaall smiles.
Anyways, Ha;qch did a great job and they were totally on fire. I forgot how much headbanging goes into their concert. I felt completely dizzy by the end of it. Chihiro, being that KFC-binging caveman that he is, stomped around the stage barefoot and screaming his lungs out. I have to say, he's grown since the last time we saw him. It's only been a few months, but he's only twenty, so he's still growing. It wasn't really even his height but like... he's starting to fill out. There's all this muscle layering his body that wasn't there before.
Chihiro also took advantage of the space between the stage and the barrier and jumped down and stomped around. During saizen, he would put his arms on the backs of the girls and hold them onto the barrier. He didn't do any spitting at this show, but he looked pretty crazy. It felt good to see the ol' chap again.
I'm actually pretty sure that was the last time I'll ever see Ha;qch. I'm leaving Japan in three weeks and Ha;qch doesn't seem to have anything scheduled (this may have also been my last time seeing Valluna, but that's not 100% set in stone yet). If that's the case then... well, Ha;qch, it's been really fun. You were a bunch of weirdos and you gave us a great time. Some of my best concert experiences were during your set. Chihiro, you're adorable, never change. Your band could very well not exist by the time I come back to Japan so... I hope to see you again someday in whatever context! Rock on and enjoy your KFC!
Anyways, that's really about all I have to say for this post. I wish I could have been a little more descriptive about heretic sound music's last event, but Dir en grey shoved it out of my mind.
Anyways, I have another indies post coming on the way (I'm backed up on posts), so stay tuned!