Tokyo Dark Castle. I'd never gone before, but it sounded like fun. I didn't have a costume prepared yet or anything, but I figured it was a good excuse to put on some goth shit and go have a good time all night.
Unfortunately, I don't really have any goth shit on me these days. Totally stupid. Did I think I'd change upon entering the work force or something? Hell no. If anything, being a teacher has further enforced all the reasons why I want to retain as much "me" as humanly possible. But I was able to throw some last-minute stuff together so I wouldn't look like a total tool at the party.
So Dark Castle is a Halloween "party" but it's really more like a concert event with DJs that play between each act. It even takes place at a concert venue: Shinjuku MARS. It's also an excuse for people to doll themselves up all crazy in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
Soooo MelJay and I prepared some gothy shit and then plastered a bunch of make up and glue on our faces. Result:
Wanna know where this picture was taken? It was taken on the Ginza subway line, lol. People were staring at MelJay and I like we were crazy (it was already after 11 pm). This one guy standing in front of us turned to his wife and was like, "how do eyelashes get that long?" To which his wife replied, "they're fake." Um, DUUUUH.
Anyways, we met up with Caroline in Shinjuku and went off to the party. It was so weird arriving in Shinjuku that late. 95% of the people in the station were standing in groups waving goodbye to each other or were already seriously drunk (a couple people were being carried through the station, and we had a puker outside the exit). But hell, our night was just starting.
Well, I'd never been to Shinjuku MARS, but Caroline knew the way. The number of serious weirdos increased as we headed in that direction. People in full-body leather, people in giant wigs, people in Renaissance dresses. Some people weren't really dressed up, but that accounted for only, like... 3%. We all crowded around outside the venue, waiting for midnight.
Eventually we got in and headed downstairs, where a DJ was already doin' his thang. Uuum... I'm no good at keeping DJs straight. Super sorry to the DJs. There were three DJs and they were all very good, but I'm not sure which one was which........... I think it was DJ KENZO-A:
And his set was mostly dubstep. I'm not the biggest fan of dubstep, but it was a good choice for getting people into the "underground" mood as more and more costumed people piled into the venue.
Anyways, the first band up was AUTO-MOD:
I don't think this is any kind of official picture, but I'm making do with what I've got, lol. So the guy with no hair is the vocalist, and he's also the guy who hosts and runs Tokyo Dark Castle. So a special thanks to him! The one who appears to be a woman is actually a man named Selia, and he's kind of awesome and appears at a lot of underground parties in Japan (he was also at Tokyo Decadance). Selia did backup singing, where he sang opera like a woman. I'm not too familiar with Selia, so I actually thought it was a woman, just because of the voice. But he's almost six feet tall, so I wasn't sure. MelJay admitted there was a point during the performance where she thought Celia must be a woman. But no, just a really convincing drag queen. He kinda reminds me of a real life Blind Mag. Anyways, AUTO-MOD's music was a lot of fun. It was like hard rock Halloween music, and included a song that served as the "theme song" to the party. Very good stuff.
Then we went back to DJs. Can't remember if it was the same DJ or if they switched yet. I think it was the same. DJ KENZO-A won a lot of brownie points with me by doing some mixing of Combichrist's Get Your Body Beat, and Nine Inch Nails's Wish. Thumbs up, mah man. Anyhoo, next band up is Royal Cabaret:
So I think this band was going for the "hot mess" angle. Chick vocalist (yes, she's a real chick, trust me), and the music was some kinda... rock... something. Fairly straight up music, but still really good. Probably memorable enough that I would recognize their songs if I ever heard them elsewhere, particular because of the vocalist's shrill, warbling way of singing). But definitely the vocalist was going for "hot mess." She came onstage dressed in what I guess was supposed to be a Black Swan costume. Except her whole ass was showing. No, really. Less was covered than if she wore a tight bikini. She pulled the stuff out of her hair fairly fast and spent most of the show screaming, messing up her hair, and making a big scene all over the stage. But I enjoyed them, they were good.
I think we switched to a new DJ then. I could be wrong, but I believe it was DJ †nAo12xu†. If you can read that, you get a cookie. Picture:
Anyways, he was pretty good too. His mixing involved a lot of hardcore music combined with Halloween-esque tracks. Unfortuntately, I don't remember a whole lot.
The next band up is Kaiki Gesshoku:
This band. I have no idea how to describe their music. It was like some kind of rock... metal... hip-hop... thing. The stage was crazy over-crowded with people, too, which only added to the chaotic feel of their music. They had tons of musicians up there, multiple vocalists, a couple of girls dancing around in tight leather... just a big, crazy bonanza. And their drummer had his face painted like some kind of evil mime-clown with shock-blond hair, or something. Anyways, they were also really enjoyable, particularly because they just sounded so different.
Next up was DESTRUCT SYSTEM:
I know this is a repetitive statement at this point, but this band was also very good. So far I'd really enjoyed every act, and that's pretty impressive. Yay, Dark Castle!!! This band was more of the angsty rock variety. Something that amused me... now, I don't know, I didn't ask these people, this is just how it looked to me. This group of foreign guys seemed to be mocking the band at first, by hopping up and down to the repetitive intro riffs. However, their mocking actually seemed to turn into legitimate rocking out, as the band proved their worth after the first couple songs. Just a good, solid band. The vocalist seemed very quiet and downtrodden to me, until the last song where he suddenly turned into a spazzy maniac. I'm not sure what prompted the sudden transition, lol.
Once again, we switch DJs to DJ Chihiro:
IIIIIIII don't really remember, sorry.
Now time for the absolute worst thing of the night. Highfashionparalyze:
I'm not even sure that picture is actually him, because I made an effort not to watch this performance. This act never should've happened, especially not as late as it did (it was already approaching 4 am). Basically, highfashionparalyze was one guy standing on stage moaning and wailing and warbling randomly while also randomly strumming a guitar. That was it. There were no "songs," just 25 minutes of a guy making noise. It. Was. Awful. I'd been sitting down on the floor for a lot of the show because I somehow managed to horribly twist my left foot two days before the party (that's what I get for stepping on a big rock in flat shoes), but this was the first time I sat for a reason other than foot pain. And not just me. The whole party, there were always small handfuls of people sitting, but more and more people started sitting down during highfashionparalyze because it was just so painful. What's more, some people even fell asleep! There were people against the walls totally sleeping! Gawd, I just couldn't wait for it to stop, especially since the only band I'd been interested in before the party was the next one, who was also our "headliner."
One more DJ switch. The next one up was definitely my favorite DJ of the night, though his set was tragically brief. This is DJ P.R.D. I found one picture of him, but you have to view it at the site cuz it's copyrighted:
I can't quite put my finger on what I liked about his work. I just liked the way it all sounded. His mixing had a great beat, but was still spooky, and just overall made me want to move around. Also, he was dressed like Marilyn Manson, lol (in a pinstripe suit with the creepy makeup and hair swept to one side). Anyways, as much as I enjoyed his set, he only got to play for about fifteen minutes before getting cut off, since some of the acts had been running late and the party needed to stick to its schedule. When his music stopped, the audience went "aaaaaawww."
The last band up is Calmando Qual:
Well, Calmando Qual was certainly interesting, lol. They were a lot of fun. As far as nostalgia goes, I enjoyed seeing their guitarist, Tak, since I saw him perform in THE SOUND BEE HD during my study abroad year (he still plays for them. He's in both bands simultaneously). But, in general, the band was just ridiculously amusing. As many know, Calmando Qual's vocalist Hibiki is known for being... a strange fellow. He was dressed in some kind of Mad Hatter meets Chucky outfit (as seen above) and had been walking around the audience without me even realizing who he was (he gave my friends and I a seriously creepy smile at one point). Anyways, his performance style is hilarious. Between his bizarre, pompous MCs, his creepy villain laugh, and the fact that he couldn't stop dancing or moving for one damn second the whole performance, it was definitely a good way to end the night. Or morning? Also, someone threw a hat on stage during an MC, so Hibiki picked it up and balanced it on top of the bassist's hat, lol.
Well, the rest of the party was spent having the different bands and DJs give out gifts to audience members. It ranged from small things like Pikachu pajamas, to huge things like Tokyo Disney Resort tickets. Unfortunately, no one could find Calmando Qual after their performance, so their gift was never given, lol. Also, the clown-faced drummer from Kaiki Gesshoku was really, really drunk, and had to be politely scooted from the stage.
All in all, it was a really fun party, and I had a really great time. It was certainly a lot more fun than Tokyo Decadance, which I'll get to in the next post. After the party, MelJay and I took advantage of the fact that we had a hostel booked for the night and went back to get a whopping three hours of sleep before we had to check out. Yaaaaaaay.
Also, can anyone tell me whether it's better for me to keep the posts brief like I just did, or if my usual long, rambling style is better?