So, MelJay and I returned to Takadanobaba AREA on a Saturday, because we wanted to see BORN, and I also remembered Para:noir being good, and I'd never gotten around to seeing -OZ- before. This would be MelJay's first "super indies" show - those are the shows with the super popular indies bands - the ones that might go major. As I explained to MelJay, "super indies" shows are about accepting a lot of love and a lot of hate. There are always things to love, and always things that make you want to kill everyone in the venue. I'm not sure to what extent she realized how seriously I meant that, lol.
Anyhoo, the show was insanely crowded. Possibly sold out? Our ticket numbers were exactly 399 and 400, which I thought was the cap for AREA, but I believe they sold 450 tickets. So we all had to stand outside in a long line winding around the building. Eventually we got inside and MelJay and I slipped up towards the front of the second barrier area to try and make sure we had a possible escape route up front if something we wanted to see was onstage. Unfortunately, the order of the bands was a complete mystery and all our guesses seemed to be unbelievably wrong.
Starting with........ Para:noir! Sorry, I didn't have time to get really updated pictures of the bands. I wrote this post at a Tokyo hostel, lol. So here's Para:noir, circa sometime recently maybe:
I could not believe they went first. Never saw that coming. And now MelJay and I were stuck in the back wishing desperately that we could be up there enjoying the band. But it was a literal wall of humans in front of us and we blew our chance during the intro music. Damn. We just had to resign ourselves to standing grumpily in the back and attempting to headbang as much as we could back there. The other thing was, I seriously did not recognize Para:noir at first. My gawd, they've grown up! They were just little babies when I used to see them during study abroad, and now they're all grown up with serious super-indies costumes and hair and a big audience and stuff. Made me feel so out of the loop, lol. They definitely were not super indies when I used to see them. Anyways, they're still really, really fun (even if you're stuck in the back, damnit). Their music has such a good rhythm it makes you want to jump up and down repeatedly. They have a strong techno influence, which I usually don't care for, but it makes their music really fun the same way it made D'espairsRay fun. MelJay and I vowed to actually move up front for them next time.
Then came the next big band order mind fuck of the night. Another band I wanted to be up front for and who I totally never thought would play at the beginning suddenly appeared. Time for -OZ-! Picture of unknown date ahoy:
Wow, um... I thought they'd be close to headlining. Who knew. Anyways, they were really good, and I wish I'd been up front. Their music had a very strong sound, in a way that made me want to move around. The vocalist had good charisma too. Now, I've had friends tell me that -OZ-'s music lately... it hasn't gone downhill, but it's gotten boring. Well, I thought it was kinda funny that the music was really intense and fun (to the extent that MelJay was like "wow, -OZ- is really good!") and then the vocalist said the music was "hisashiburi"... basically meaning they were playing their old stuff, lol. Veeeery interesting. Also, their look sure is different from what I remember seeing pictures of. If they hadn't said their name, I'm not sure I would've known who it was, lol.
Aaaaaand everything just goes downhill to shit from there. The next band up was a total unknown for me n' MelJay cuz we couldn't find much info on them online (so we thought they'd be first... what the fuck). We decided to start some strategic spot-saving for BORN, so we moved down to the back of the front audience area (which involved climbing over everyone sitting on the stairs and a maze of shoes people had left behind).
BIG MISTAKE. Next band up is...... L&DS. Enjoy one of the only pictures I could find:
I'm sure, just from looking at the picture, you can tell what I thought of the band. IT WAS CRAP. The vocalist looked like a fucking hamster and he sang like one too. It was painful. And I'm positive I've seen the vocalist and bassist in another band together before, but I can't for the life of me remember where in the world I've seen them. VKDB has no info on the band, unfortunately, so I can't look it up. Oh well. Let's move on to a band we all know I just loooooove (sarcasm).
Unfortunately, by now, MelJay and I had moved up a pretty significant amount. And I really hate when people spot-save and move up and take a ton of space during bands they don't like and then don't participate. Cuz then they get in the way of the people who actually want to see that band. You know what that means, right?
Yeah... I participated during HERO. And died inside as a result of it. Seriously, it was painful. I can't stand this band. The vocalist is so fake cute. You can tell he doesn't even really want to be cute, but that's his job. Multiple times I wanted to throw him off the stage. First, during the MC, he decided to do a comedy routine that went on for, like, five minutes... and wasn't even funny. Then, during one of the songs, he demanded that the entire audience run back and squish themselves behind the second barrier. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, I'M ONLY PARTICIPATING BECAUSE I'M SPOT-SAVING!!! I honestly thought if I lost my spot because of HERO's stupid bullshit, I was gonna go kick the vocalist in the knees. A lot of Velbet and BORN fans appeared to be spot-saving because they were all huddling near the barrier staring back at the vocalist in horror, like, "really?!! Do I have to?!!" Luckily, we all managed to get right back to our spots when it was over. But yuuuuuck. We had to do things like, put our arms around each other and shit. I refused to do it. I couldn't go that far. But the girl on my left seemed determined to break me. She left me alone for awhile, then she finally started throwing her arm around my shoulder and forcing me to move around. I'm pretty sure her goal that night was to try and squeeze some kindness and cuteness from the gothy foreigner. I grudgingly humored her and played along.
BUT NEVER AGAIN!!!!
Next up is something only slightly more bearable. Welcome back, Velbet:
Yeah, we've seen these guys on the blog before. The major GazettE ripoff band. Who are still pretty much ripping off The GazettE. They even have designated members that each match up with a member of The GazettE and are dressed like them. It's kinda funny. I don't remember much about Velbet. At that point, my feet were killing me, I was so thirsty I thought I would die, and I was grumpy from having to participate during HERO. I realized all this meant BORN would headline, and now I didn't even think I had the energy to actually enjoy BORN. Well, whatever, I survived Velbet and I was now up fairly close to the front in time for...
BORN! Slightly out of date photo!
Okay, so BORN was the band we actually came to see. What an unfortunate lineup we had! Two bands I wanted to see, followed by a steady stream of crap, and then BORN was last. Terrible timing! Anyways, BORN was......... also not the best. It actually concerned me a little. I know PS Company's been all over BORN and their image looked so different I couldn't believe it. They're also turning into a baby GazettE. And the band was just... they seemed very subdued. I would dare say they all looked... pensive. Kind of funny, but... guitarist Ray was staring at MelJay and I with a strange look for a lot of the show. Later on, he wrote a blog that was, as expected, very pensive, and he said, "even people from far away places came to see us today." Yeah, I came from so fucking far away. All the way from mother-fucking GUNMA, lol. Hey, that's kinda far :-(
Anyways, yeah, the band was just kinda blah, and all I could think was that PS Company had finally caught them by the balls and was attempting to tame down my beloved BORN.
Note: Some reading my blog are probably wondering when the hell BORN became my "beloved BORN." Didn't I used to skim over them on the blog? Didn't I used to not move all the way up for them? Didn't I used to borderline criticize them? Yes, yes, and yes. Then I came back to America and decided to give them a real try and listened to all their music. Then I fell in love. They are just so much fun!!! Their music is so intense and strong and catchy I just couldn't stop listening! That's why I'm suddenly going to see them a lot.
Anyways, yeah, the setlist was good, but it wasn't quite what I was hoping for. They played about ten songs including encore, but only a few of the songs I really, really wanted to hear appeared. And Ryouga was so dead. No stupid dancing. No crowd-surfing. No spazzy headbanging. He wasn't the Ryouga I remembered at all, and I was disappointed.
BUT THERE IS HOPE!
I'm writing this post after seeing the BORN two-man and I can tell you the real BORN is still alive and well, and Ryouga is still his old self! They just had an off show for some reason. I assure you, the next time BORN appears on this blog, it will be awesome!
Also, the audience sucked. During the side-to-side jumping crap, they just got way too out of control. They were basically moshing instead of jumping. That's fine and all, but... people were getting hurt and not enjoying themselves. At one point, a girl slammed her fist into MelJay's face really hard. She was wearing glasses, so the punch left a cut across her eyebrow that bled. I must've looked furious because the girl who did it looked terrified of me, lol. People were getting trampled and it was just a mess. Also, my right ear drum blew out for some reason, which was really painful and uncomfortable. I'm not sure why it happened. I think my ear was still trying to recover from the excessively loud show at Shibuya BOXX the week before and it hadn't fixed itself yet. Basically, MelJay and I left the venue looking like hell. She was holding her eye so people wouldn't see the blood, and I was clutching my ear. It was just so uncomfortable because I could feel the air passing through it since it had burst. Don't worry, though, it's happened before! It heals within 24 hours! I've probably been steadily losing hearing since I started going to rock concerts at 13, so it's not a big deal, lol. But I felt bad for MelJay getting hurt at her first super indies show, so I bought her some BORN merch, lol.
Then we ran to the nearest Saizeriya and abused their drink bar as much as humanly possible.
So, basically, the show was so-so at best. Maybe this one was more hate than love. But, as I said, I've got the DIAURA one-man post coming, and the BORN two-man event post coming, and those will be waaaay better! So stay tuned!
My next post will be a brief discussion of teaching my little hellions. Then the DIAURA post. I'll be caught up soon!