Monday, October 17, 2011

MERRY x -karasu- Tour Final, 10/9

Tokyo Dark Castle was awesome!  I'll report on that soon!

Soooo anyways, I did actually wind up going to the MERRY show, even though I said I might not go.  As I mentioned earlier, I was a dumbass and thought I couldn't go because it's so hard to get back to school on Monday after a Sunday show in Tokyo (without missing part of the show).  Well, I'm an idiot and failed to realize Monday was a national holiday and a day off for all the schools.  DUUUUR.  So of course I was gonna go, since MelJay accidentally bought too many tickets anyways.  The third ticket was intended to go to Caroline, but she wound up unable to go, so the ticket was passed on to a friend of Caroline's.

Anyways, the show was at Shibuya CLUB QUATTRO, a venue I've heard of a million times but never wound up at.  Place wound up being unnecessarily hard to find because Google Maps lists the entrance as being down the wrong street.  If you see an Outback Steakhouse, you're going the wrong way.  It's one street over to the right, lol.

Anyhoo, MelJay and I spent the morning "hibernating" so we'd have a lot of energy for the show.  Sushi and sitting around a Starbucks seemed the best way to do it, lol.  But we had to head over to CLUB QUATTRO fairly early to exchange the ticket with someone we'd never met, so that gave us plenty of time to stand around watching the MERRY fans frolicking.  Or wallowing in darkness.  Whichever.  CLUB QUATTRO had this dumb system where A tickets (basically fan club tickets) stood inside the venue, while B tickets (everyone else) stood outside the venue.  Discrimination!!!  Well, whatever, the whole thing turned into a big mess when they decided all the people outside were creating a roadkill hazard and moved them all upstairs before they were even done calling A tickets.  Which meant they crammed a couple hundred people in a very tiny space, and it was stupid.

Also, MelJay and I hesitated so long on tickets that we were some of the last people to get called.  Super embarrassing.  Since we figured we were screwed either way, we went and checked out the merchandise.  Which was really meh.  MERRY, I am disappoint.  There was nothing I wanted, so I didn't buy anything, but MelJay bought a really cute MERRY key cover.  Once we got inside the venue, we realized we were so far back we might be stuck back in the bar area.  I wasn't gonna take that shit for an answer, so MelJay and I pushed in through the side of the crowd, where we realized there was a giant pole blocking everyone standing behind it.  Who built this stupid venue?!  We decided to slip through one of the back rows and get into the middle.  I felt like a complete tool shoving in front of a whole row of people, but I was hoping the show would push up later and ticket numbers would stop mattering anyways.  Trying to make things right, I asked the girls behind us if they wanted to move in front of us.  They said no, and looked more offended by my asking than by the fact that I pushed in front of them.  Oooookay.  Suit yourselves, ladies.

Also, the music playing while we waited was the most horrible, annoying shit I've ever heard.  It sounded like some kind of bizarre Japanese Disney soundtrack in opera.  I don't know what it was, I just knew I wanted it to stop.

Well, as expected, the crowd shoved up in a crazy stampede the moment -karasu-'s intro started.  I don't give a crap about -karasu-, but I ran up there with everyone else so I'd have a good spot for MERRY.  SO SUE ME.  Wound up only about six rows back from the stage, squeezed in on all sides by a very pushy audience.  By the way, I need to make sure people aren't confusing bands named -karasu-.  There are two of them.  There's Karasu in katakana as カラス, and then there's -karasu- who writes their name in kanji and English as 鴉-karasu-.  Karasu in katakana is a visual-kei band made up of members of a bunch of famous VK bands.  -karasu- in kanji is the band I saw on Sunday.  Kiiiinda confusing.


Anyways, here's the correct -karasu-:




Sorry for the totally gank picture, but this is about as good as it gets.  Anyways, I was a little baffled when -karasu- started up with some extremely MERRY-like jazz intro.  For a moment I even thought MERRY was gonna turn the tables on everyone and go first.  But no, it was -karasu-.  From what I could tell, a lot of MERRY fans are also -karasu- fans.  At least up in the first ten rows.  Lots of dudes up there too.  Anyhoo, what to say about -karasu-........  So they were a lot like MERRY, to be honest.  They were basically baby MERRY, without the hardcore.  Jazzy, bluesy, rock music.  Take a MERRY song and pull out the screaming and the speed and you've got -karasu-.  I guess that's why the two bands decided to tour together.


For the most part, -karasu- didn't leave a huge impression on me.  Musically, I'd say they were very talented, and the vocalist - who had a great voice - was also the one and only guitarist.  I even highly recommended them to a friend of mine after the show.  They were definitely good and I was never bored.  They were of the "serious musician" variety.  Buuuuuut... the vocalist might've been a little too serious.  As in, he came off as a totally self-absorbed asshole.  I know, I know, music should come first.  And it does, which is why I recommended the band to a friend and why I praise their skills and nodded my head to the music and enjoyed myself.  But still... the vocalist seemed like a total tool.  He had this really smug look on his face and tried so hard to look deep and meaningful while playing that he often looked like he was having a stroke.  MelJay leaned over to me at one point and whispered, "this vocalist seriously needs to take it down a notch."  At one point, the vocalist actually had the nerve to make us all wait while he stood there slowly tuning his guitar and getting ready for the next song.  For, like, four minutes.  Um, dude, seriously?  Way to bring the performance to a crashing halt.  During the MCs he spoke in this little whisper, still with that damn smirk on his face.  Hey, why so full of yourself?!  Cuz you can play guitar and sing?!  Well, halle-fuckin'-lujah, let's get you a badge to pin on your hipster sweater!  After the show, MelJay told me she enjoyed the band but flat-out hated the vocalist, lol.  She said he seems like a real douche bag XD


Well, whatever.  Enough ranting.  The thing I found most baffling was that, despite not exactly being "hardcore" music, the crowd behind us started moshing.  For real moshing.  I mean, the audience was really pushy during -karasu- and I had to pay attention to my footing the whole time since everyone was pushing and shoving (and hopping?) so much, but I didn't expect full-blown moshing behind us.  I first realized it was there when something came down hard on the back of my leg and scraped it.  I whipped around, furious, and saw that a mosh-circle had formed and a bunch of people were punching and throwing each other.  A guy had been tossed out of the circle and his shoe decided my leg was the best way to keep from falling.  I sighed and ignored them, but it was only a few minutes later that something suddenly bludgeoned me in the back of the head with enough force to give me a headache afterwards.  I whipped around again and discovered that someone in the mosh-circle had literally thrown a guy at me.  Gee, thanks.  Just what I always wanted.  Also, there was a hilarious fight in the circle.  A tiny girl and a massive dude both had their fists up boxing-style and were circling each other.  I kinda wish I'd watched the fight, but my head hurt and I was annoyed and ignored them, lol.


You know, I'm amazed I have any brain cells left.  I can't believe how many times I've had my brains knocked out at a concert.  I got a full-blown concussion at a Dir en grey show after I looked up at Die in the balcony and failed to realize the vocalist of The Human Abstract was flying into the crowd (he landed on my head with his belt).  I also crowd-surfed Yuuki from UnsraW one time and made the mistake of putting him on my head when my arms couldn't hold him up anymore, which gave me a violent headache for the rest of the night (sorry, Yuuki, I love ya, but you are a seriously big dude).  Not to mention the time a Dir en grey fan accidentally punched me in the head in a fit of excitement.  I really can't believe I'm not a vegetable yet, lol.


Uuuum... enough about -karasu-.  Let's move on to the reason I went to the show.  Our headliner for the night is MERRY!



For some reason, MERRY didn't seem to have much of their own staff.  The stage was being set up by a bunch of -karasu- roadies in -karasu- shirts and, when that wasn't sufficient... Tetsu and Yuu came onstage themselves and started setting up.  The fuck?  I mean, it was some nice pre-show eye candy but... why?  Does MERRY seriously just not have their own staff to do that shit for them?  Also, goddamn Tetsu is tall.  He was a head taller than all the roadies, lol.

Anyhoo, lemme go look up our fancy setlist aaaand... here it is:


Crisis Moment
Yakou
Japanese Modernists
Zetsubou
Friction XXXX
sweet powder
Tasogare Restaurant
Zaa Zaa
-sabbat-
Fukinkou Kinema
[human farm]
Oriental BL Circus
T.O.P.
finale

Encore 1:
Identity

Encore 2:
Shoudoku

Encore 3:
Crisis Moment (acoustic version with Nero on drums, Yuu on rhythm guitar, and -karasu-'s vocalist on lead guitar and vocals)
Yume (acoustic version of a -karasu- song with -karasu-'s vocalist on guitar, Gara on vocals)

Phew, that was a complicated setlist to type up.  Had to translate it all from Japanese off a Japanese person's Ameblo, plus all that weird bullshit during encore.  Anyways, on with the show!

The concert opened up with that creepy intro off the new MERRY "album" (yes, I put album in quotes for personal reasons, lol).  I like that intro - it gave the concert a good, creepy aura.  Everyone started pushing up even more and I wound up in what appeared to be fourth row, on Yuu's side.  Yay!

How to go about this review...?  I don't really wanna go song-by-song because I've reviewed these songs at other MERRY concerts before, and I'll be seeing MERRY three times next month and I don't wanna overload the blog with MERRY.  Let's do this by "highlights" shall we?  Lest this get too long.......

The band came onstage looking very snazzy.  They don't wear make up anymore, but they're still nicely dressed.  Already knew what Tetsu and Yuu were wearing, though, since they had to roadie themselves!

Sooooo Crisis Moment was a good way to get the concert on its feet.  The crowd wasn't into beating each other up like the -karasu- crowd, but there was a lot of fist-throwing and jumping and headbanging.  A girl in front of me was attempting furi in that tight space.  Hah, as if.  That was followed by Yakou, which is reeeeeally pretty in my opinion.  And then Japanese Modernists.  Gee, big surprise.  But this was MelJay's first major concert in Japan, and her first time seeing MERRY.  And MERRY's her favorite band.  So, needless to say, this made her very happy.  I was surprised to see Gara is still pummeling himself in the head with his microphone.  He did it during the part where he makes the audience sing, "chichi yo, haha yo" etc. etc.  MelJay couldn't believe how awful it sounds in person when Gara beats his brains out.  Still, despite that, Gara seemed kinda tired at the beginning of the show.  He wasn't quite as hyper as usual, although his band mates actually seemed really into it.  Tetsu took me by surprise by being one of the most animated members of the night.  He's usually the stoic one, but he was all over the stage headbanging and making lolzy faces.

Uuuuuuuum blah blah blah more songs.  More fun times.  Something that amused me during sweet powder was that the audience - even the moshy people - still did the furi.  The furi is so much fun I don't think anyone can resist it, lol.  The next interesting thing that sticks out in my memory (which, unfortunately, has gone to shit since I waited so long after the show to type this), was Tasogare Restaurant.  I've seen this song live before (one of my favorites!) but not the way it was performed this time.  For some reason, Gara decided to turn it into a depressing, melancholic rendition of Tasogare.  The rest of the band played it the same way they always do, but Gara spent the entire song sitting sideways on the school desk at the front of the stage, his knees drawn into his chest with his head resting on them.  He sang the whole song like that, curled up in a sad little ball.  And Gara's skinny as hell, so he can curl up pretty tightly, lol (to his credit, it looks like he's put on a good 10 lbs.  10 lbs he desperately needed).  Anyways, this made for a very touching rendition of Tasogare Restaurant, which ended with Gara getting up and slinking silently off the stage without a single glance at us the moment the song ended.

While he was out, the sound of rain filled the venue.  I'm stupid.  I was like, "I wonder which song involves rain?  Sayounara Ame?"  Then Gara came back (now he was smiling, like he'd had a total change of heart backstage) and the band went straight in Zaa Zaa.  Oh, duh.  Right.  Anyways, Gara's mood picked up considerably after his little emo ball during Tasogare.  His lethargy seemed to melt away and he got progressively more hyperactive as the show went on.  In fact, by this point he had a pimp cane with red and black diamonds all over it that matched his snazzy microphone stand.  Hehe, pimpin'.

Oh, and they did -sabbat- (which, on the "album" in quotes, was just a live version of Ve-doro from what I could tell), but they only did it briefly, for about a minute.  No singing or anything.  It was kinda weird.  Also, I don't remember when MCs happened, so let's say it happened here.  Turns out Gara has decided to go back to his roots.  He is no longer speaking on stage (at least, not at this show).  Instead, he pulled out paper and ink and did calligraphy on the desk, just like the old days.  At one point, while we screamed, Gara wrote "motto!" ("more!") on a piece of paper and held it up.  After surveying the crowd a bit, he bent over and wrote "motto!" again, lol.  Aaaaaaaaand just like the old days, this "MC" ended with Gara grabbing the bottle of ink, pouring the whole thing in his mouth, and then spitting it up all over himself.  Eeeeeeew, lol.  Unfortunately, Gara was drenched in sweat (and shirtless!) by that point in the show, and the ink mixed badly with the sweat.  It made him look like he was sweating black water, lol.  Oh, this also marked the first moment where I noticed Gara and Yuu were having a mini fight on stage.  See, Yuu anticipated that Gara wouldn't need any time to vocally rile up the crowd, since he's not talking again.  But Gara wanted to at least scream something.  What wound up happening was Gara took a deep breath, and then Yuu suddenly started playing.  Gara exhaled, looking surprised, then turned and gave Yuu the Glare of Death.  I figured Gara was just mad at Yuu for the moment, but we shall see...

Uuuuum, more blah blah blah.  Gara got really hyper and there was lots of wild headbanging until his hair was sticking up in all sorts of crazy ways.  He kept sticking his finger in his mouth and making obscene gestures, and rubbing his pimp cane between his thighs.  During one song he jumped up on the desk, turned around, and wiggled his butt at everyone, lol.  During that one song where it suddenly breaks down into clapping... I don't remember what song, but the whole audience applauded appropriately, Gara rubbed the pimp stick between his thighs while making an obscene face.  Then the audience stopped clapping (because it doesn't go on for that long during the song).  But Gara wasn't impressed, so he paused, then started doing it again, and made everyone clap over his lewd behavior, lol.

It might've been during [human farm] that I noticed Gara throwing more glares at Yuu.  I dunno what his problem was.  Then, during that song, Yuu made a grave error.  Gara was backing up into Yuu's area, and Yuu happened to back up at the same time and collided into Gara, knocking him several feet the other way.  Oh.  My.  Gawd.  The look Gara gave him.  This was beyond a glare.  This was beyond fury.  The look on Gara's face said, "I will murder you the moment the show ends, and then I'll resurrect you and murder you again."  Chilling, that look was.

Um, whatever, let's say it's over and the band has left for encore.  The band returned to do Identity, with Gara re-clothed and wearing a black, fuzzy fedora.  It was time for Nero to take over the MC, especially since Gara is no longer speaking.  Nero ran on stage and, when everyone screamed, he pretended our screams had hit him and he stumbled.  Lol.  Gawd, I can never understand a word Nero says, though.  It's probably because I'm not all that familiar with the Kansai dialect, but I think it's also because he talks like he has peanut butter in his mouth.  All I could make out was the stuff he said to get us excited, nothing more.  Whatever he was saying, Gara was nodding and smiling, so... yeah, lol.  Then they did Identity.  Then they left.  Damnit MERRY, why do you always have to do that?!  Every song has to be its own encore!

Well, anyways, they came back after a few minutes to do Shoudoku.  This time, Nero once again pretended our screams had attacked him, and he did another MC I couldn't understand.  During this song, Gara finally realized he'd been pretty mean to Yuu during the show.  He ran over to Yuu, threw an arm around him, and gave him a big squeeze and a smile.  I guess he was apologizing for all the evil glaring, lol.  I mean, seriously, none of that shit was Yuu's fault!  Ken'ichi also spent a lot of time over on our side.  Man does that boy sweat a lot!  Geez!  Gara also went up to Yuu while he was over on the other side and shoved the microphone at him.  Yuu looked surprised, then confused, then looked like he wanted to resist, but Gara practically threw the microphone at him, lol.  Then Yuu had to do some singing, lol.  Also, in a totally adorable moment, Gara ran over to Tetsu and convinced him to headbang with him.  This was especially funny because, once he managed to get stoic Tetsu to do it, he waited until Tetsu was blinded by headbanging and hair before running away, leaving Tetsu headbanging alone.  When Tetsu finally stopped, he looked around all baffled, lol.

Then the band left again.  After one song.  Typical.  We called for more encore, and this went on for awhile because the roadies came out and started setting everything up for an acoustic song.  They put down the floor drum stuff, two acoustic guitars, and a microphone stand, with a chair in front of each one, and a stand with sheet music.  When the band came back, though, it turned out the guitars weren't for Yuu and Ken'ichi.  They were for Yuu and the vocalist of -karasu-.  And Nero on the drums, of course.  Soooo of course Mr. Smartypants vocalist sat there all smugly setting up and telling us he wanted to play his favorite MERRY song (which made the audience go, "oooooooh!").  While Mr. Smartypants talked, Nero nodded and watched intently with his mouth hanging open.  A pretty typical Nero face, I believe.  Every nod and smile was weirdly enthusiastic and exaggerated.  Which is just Nero, ya know?  He's just kinda weird, and I don't even think he notices when he's being weird.  But the audience did.  While Mr. Smartypants was trying to talk about what he was about to do, the audience was watching Nero and giggling.  At a particularly excited, open-mouthed nod, the audience burst into laughter.  Yuu looked up, surprised, and Mr. Smartypants stopped talking, looking confused.  Then Yuu and Smartypants both whipped their heads around and stared at Nero simultaneously.  Who else could the culprit have been?!  The audience cracked up, and Nero ducked his head, looking embarrassed and guilty.  Then the threesome went into Crisis Moment.  Smartypants sang it in his usual, over-emotional, I'm-so-deep-no-one-understands-me way.  He was also doing his best Gara impersonation, from what I could tell.  He also played lead guitar, with Yuu stuck on rhythm (which pissed off MelJay, since Yuu is more like lead guitar in MERRY, and Ken is more like rhythm).  Aaaand Nero played with as much open-mouthed, lurching enthusiasm as possible.  Because he's Nero, lol.

Anyhoo, they left after Crisis Moment and the roadies took away one guitar and the floor drums, but left the rest of it sitting there.  After some more encore-calling, Mr. Smartypants came back, this time with Gara in tow (and Gara's hair was all flat, lol).  Gara sat down in the chair beside Smartypants, who explained that they were going to play a -karasu- song.  Gara nodded silently.  Then Mr. Smartypants started tuning his guitar.  Are you serious?!  But you know what, apparently I'm not the only one who thinks -karasu-'s vocalist is seriously full of himself.  Gara sat there with his legs crossed, one eyebrow raised quite high, and a smirk on his face while he watched Mr. Smartypants setting up.  A couple times Gara's eyes flitted towards the audience and he smirked like, "can you believe this guy?"  The audience giggled.  Eventually, Mr. Smartypants noticed the giggling and looked up, confused.  He glanced at Gara, who nodded, like, "...ready?"  Smartypants nodded and said he was ready.  Not believing him, Gara nodded again, his eyebrow rising ever higher.  Smartypants looked rather humbled when he realized Gara was mocking him, and he immediately stopped what he was doing, lol.  Thank you, Gara.  Someone had to take this guy down a peg!  Then Gara sang a -karasu- song while Smartypants played guitar.  Gara sang the song in his own way, rather than impersonating Smartypants.

Then they left with some smiling and bowing.  Then we all started calling for encore.  Then that obnoxious soundtrack music started playing again.  Then everyone looked around, baffled.  Then the house lights went up.

Soooo... the show's over?  Well that was an awkward way to end a show.  And an even more awkward way to end a tour.  We didn't even get to see Ken'ichi or Tetsu at all at the end!  Or Yuu or Nero for the last song!  What the hell was up with that?!  MERRY should've at least come back and done one more song together or something.  Suuuuuper awkward.

Oh well, what can you do.  MelJay and I just shuffled ourselves out of the venue and went off to Miami Garden for pizza.

And that was the show!  Sorry for the scatterbrained, half-assed report.  I wrote it too long after the show, and I'm also anticipating a ton of MERRY coming up later, which made me hesitant to write too much.  Hopefully I can make better reports in November!

Next up is the Tokyo Dark Castle Halloween party (which is more like a concert event, lol)!  Stay tuned!

2 comments:

  1. Never thought you would be such a fan of MERRY O:O. This must be expensive like hell xD~looking forward to the Darkcastle thing.

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  2. I've always been a big MERRY fan ^__^ I saw them about four times during my study abroad year. They were one of the first JRock bands I ever heard waaaay back in the day, lol. And no worries, I'm workin' on the Dark Castle post! Just had a busy couple of days that kept me away from my computer =___=

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