Thursday, November 17, 2011

Indies, 10/29, Ikebukuro BLACKHOLE

Eeeeeeeeeeeer yeah, I kinda skipped this one and now everything's out of order.  My OCD is screaming bloody murder, but I'll post this (three-week late post) anyways, despite the out-of-order-ness.  I've only ever skipped writing up one indies show, and I don't even remember why I skipped it, but I'd like that to not happen again.  The truth is, I write up these posts for myself more than anything else.  I want to be able to always look back on these events and remember what happened.  This is like my own personal log/diary of all the stupid shit I did when I was young, and I want these details to remain when I'm old and senile, so that I'll always remember what a dumb kid I was.  So skipping shows, even kinda boring ones like this one, is a no-no.  So here we go...  This'll be short and brief, with DEZERT being the only story worth telling.

Let's see... well, for starters, MelJay and I went to Ikebukuro, since that's where BLACKHOLE is.  We went to Sunshine City to shop and have lunch, and while we were there, we discovered something so utterly mind-blowing and amazing, it broke the fabric of our universe.  In Sunshine City... there's a place... that sells Mexican food.  I mean, for serious, the Americanized tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and all that good shit Americans curl up and die without consuming often enough.  It's in the food court part of Sunshine City mall, a place called El Torito.  Seriously, go there if you're a foreigner missing Mexican food in Japan.  As picture evidence of this glory, here's what I ate (it was a taco sampler thing with a shredded chicken taco, a ground beef taco, and a fish taco):

See?!  Isn't that amazing?!!  And it tasted just like the shit back home, even down to the guacamole.  Good day was good.

After that happiness, MelJay and I continued on to BLACKHOLE.  We weren't at the show for much.  MelJay likes LeVert, so there's that.  And I was curious to see DEZERT again.  What's that, you say?  I've never written about a band on this blog called DEZERT before?  We'll get to that later.

Sooooooooo... I have zero recollection of who played first, so let's just start throwing darts in the darkness here.  Let's say it was............ VURNY:

Do I even have to say anything here?  I mean, really?  Isn't the photo self-explanatory?  We all know I don't care for oshare-kei.  Actually, this band wasn't even full-blown oshare-kei, and they did have some rock elements, but they just weren't that good.  They were wreaking of "n00b."  Also, this was the first band I've seen this year that has a truly token "female" member.  MelJay's never had the joy of seeing one live before, so she actually turned to me and went, "oh my", hahaha. 

Um, dunno.  Who might be next?  Let's throw out another dart and say it was Kid:

Yyyyyeah, we've seen them before.  And, like last time, I really have nothing to say about them.  Nothing exciting.  Because it was Halloween weekend, they were all dressed up, but I don't remember what they were wearing.  I think it was just, like... gothier than usual, at least according to them.

Moving on, um.......... must've been Le-vert.

As far as the Halloween costume thing goes, this band definitely pwned Kid.  I can't remember all their costumes, but the 6'2" (188 cm) tall, skinny-as-a-bamboo-pole vocalist was wearing a girl's school uniform, showing off his gangly legs under a plaid skirt.  Seriously, where the hell did he get a female uniform big enough for someone of his height?!!  Their bassist was dressed up in some kind of weird boys' middle school uniform and he was wearing thick glasses and had lipstick on.  Which was weird.  During the MC, the vocalist asked him what the hell he was supposed to be, and he said the name of some character from some manga, which no one seemed to recognize, including the vocalist.  Oh well.  I can't remember what the drummer was wearing, but their red-headed guitarist was wearing a full Spiderman costume with the mask over his face and everything, hahaha.  Anyways, that's about all I remember.  I've seen them a few times, and they're fine for a n00b band, though I don't really like them as much as MelJay does.  Let's move on.

Next band up is DEZERT:

If these guys look familiar, but the name doesn't, it's because I very fondly reviewed them once before, back when the band was under a different name.  The last time I saw them, they were called Acid Cherry King.  But, for some reason, they've undergone a name change and nothing else.  No change in the lineup, no change in music or image, just a name change.

This band is definitely more up my alley than a lot of the other stuff playing.  As I mentioned last time, they have kind of a D'espairsRay-ish sound, and I'm pretty sure the band knows it, cuz one of their songs is a total rip-off of D'espairsRay's Garnet (like, from start to finish, it was just like Garnet.  Guess they thought they could slip that one by without anyone noticing.  Typical indies, lol).  But, in general, they're just more my kinda thing, with a loud, dark sound, and lots of fun headbanging for the audience!

For DEZERT, I have a lolzy and extremely embarrassing story that actually caused MelJay and I to contact a JRocker for the first time ever.  This one revolves around their bassist, whose name is SaZ.  He's the one in the picture with the dreadlocks. 

Well, for starters, it happened to be SaZ's birthday.  It was during this time that I realized if I ever had to give a nickname to SaZ, it would be Poker Face.  I'm usually pretty good at reading people - which is very important in Japan, where people will almost never directly let on about how they're feeling - but SaZ was a mystery.  Everyone sang happy birthday while he stood there, completely stone-faced.  He didn't even twitch a muscle.  Then their vocalist, Chiaki, brought out a box with a cake in it for SaZ, who had absolutely no reaction to the cake whatsoever.  I even thought he was annoyed at first.  Chiaki handed the box over to their guitarist, who held it out for SaZ.  SaZ turned and stared at it, but didn't say anything.  After an awkward moment in which the guitarist tried to interpret what SaZ wanted, SaZ realized most humans can't read minds, and gestured for the guitarist to take the cake out of the box.  He did so, and very carefully handed it to SaZ, who set it up on the sound equipment.  Then SaZ went up to his microphone, still without any facial expression whatsoever, and began talking.  In a somewhat robotic voice, he thanked everyone, and said he got many fan letters wishing him a happy birthday.  Then he asked if it was okay to read one of those fan letters.  The audience was like "heeeeee?!"  So then SaZ pulled out a letter, unfolded it, and asked the staff to do him the honors.

At which point the venue began playing sappy, children's TV show, story-time music.  The audience laughed, and even SaZ maybe almost kinda sorta a tiny bit smiled.  But I might've imagined it.  Then he began reading.  The letter went something like this (note: I don't know what "kyappi" means.  MelJay seems to think it's the Japanese word for a smiley-face emoticon, but I couldn't find any info about that online, although I did find a few examples of people using it the way it's used in this letter.  Let's just assume it's a silly fad word until someone can explain otherwise).

"Dear, SaZ.  You are the best, kyappi.  I think SaZ is the most awesome person ever, kyappi.  I am so glad to know about the awesome SaZ [dramatic pause]... kyappi.  I love you soooooo much, kyappi.  I hope you have the best birthday ever [even longer dramatic pause]............... kyappi.  Love, Chiaki."

Hahahahahaha.  The audience burst out laughing.  Chiaki was trying hard not to laugh, but it was impossible, and SaZ was staring right at him, lol.  What a bunch of idiots XD

Anyways, I haven't even gotten to my story yet, but that should at least give some necessary background about SaZ.

So there was a song only one or two songs after SaZ read his "fanmail" that happened to be pretty intense, and involved gyaku-dive.  For DEZERT's entire performance so far, MelJay and I had done all the headbanging and fist-punching necessary, and didn't hold back or revert to lesser furi.  But when it came time for gyaku-dive, MelJay and I held back.  It wasn't so much that we didn't want to do it, but we were about four rows back and the first few rows obviously had a good turn-system going on, so why disrupt it?  And besides, it was only our second time seeing DEZERT, so it was probably too early to get ballsy and do gyaku-dive anyways.  Well, apparently SaZ did not agree with this logic.  He kept gesturing for MelJay and I to get our asses up there and do gyaku-dive, but she and I just kinda smiled apologetically and stayed where we were.  I think MelJay maybe made a couple attempts to move up, but then moved right back to where she started when she saw the next row taking a turn.  So SaZ kept gesturing at us, and we continued to stay back.  I mean, it's not a big deal.  It's not the first time I've had a JRocker try to get me to move up or do gyaku-dive, and I've found that they give up if you refuse long enough.  I mean, they've got better stuff to do than play "Pick on the Foreigner" for a whole song, right?

Count SaZ as the poker-faced exception to everything.  Maybe a better nickname for him would be Stubborn Fuck.  For a minute or so, it seemed SaZ had given up on getting MelJay and I to throw our over-sized American bodies at small Japanese girls.  I was content to just watch DEZERT rile up the crowd and run around having a good time, as bands are wont to do during gyaku-dive.  Somewhere in all that, I noticed SaZ climbing up onto the barrier and jumping down off the stage.  He went stampeding through the crowd and disappeared somewhere behind us.  I didn't think much of it, because it's not unusual for indies performers to roam around the audience.

That is, until something shoved me in the back so hard I stumbled in shock and nearly fell.  In that second I realized MelJay had also stumbled, and was whipping around to see who in holy hell pushed us.  Still in a state of complete disbelief, I turned around and came face to face with........ SaZ.  And his face was bloody murder.  He was coming towards us, so MelJay and I practically squealed and went pushing forward into the crowd to try and do gyaku-dive before the SaZ Monster came to kill us.  But that was easier said than done.  The turns had been set for quite awhile now, and no one was willing to let us through.  Every time I tried to get up to saizen, some girl would push past me and take her turn, or even move me out of the way.  Horrified, I look around for SaZ, only to discover that he'd gone up to the barrier, casually rested his arm on it, and was leaning against it watching MelJay and I with a look that said, "I'm waiting..."  I didn't want to make him mad, so I tried to get in a turn at gyaku-dive again, but it was impossible.  At one point, I almost pulled it off and the girls had left me an opening, when another girl finishing her dive suddenly darted back to her spot by running in front of me.  I missed the beat, and the gyaku-dive session effectively ended.  Thankfully, MelJay managed to get a proper dive in, and that seemed to satisfy SaZ enough that he climbed back onto the stage.  And he's kind of a big guy, so I was pretty impressed with how nimbly he hurtled himself back up there.

Anyways, I spent the rest of DEZERT's performance doing my absolute best in order to appease the SaZ Monster.  I've never had an indies guy actually get physical on me before, other than the playful kind of physical, like when yo-ka pulls hair.  But I'm not mad at SaZ.  Not at all.  In fact, I now have incredible respect for the guy.  Man, it takes serious balls to get physical on a couple foreigners in front of everybody.  I respect that he took the crowd unity that seriously.  He saw a couple girls not participating as much as he thought they should, and he took matters into his own hands.  I'm not at all mad at him, just in awe that he actually did what he did.  He is one brave motherfucker, and that's kinda awesome.  Point goes to SaZ, lol.

Anyways, that's about all I've got for DEZERT for now, so let's just finish this one up.  The next band up is SOMATIC GUARDIAN:

I don't even fuckin'............... I should just not say much about SOMATIC GUARDIAN.  Anyways, this band......... I don't......... just........... it's not for me, lol.  In fact, before they played, the venue started playing this really obnoxious music that sounded like the kind of music you might use for the opening to a hyperactive, comedic anime.  But then I noticed the girls preparing saizen - all of which had little crates that they were sitting on for some reason - were giggling and doing furi to the music.  I turned to MelJay and was like, "this couldn't possibly be the music of the next band, could it?"  To which MelJay responded, "no way, it couldn't be."

It was.

The band wore Halloween costumes, with the vocalist dressed like a vampire, and the red-headed guy dressed like Jason, and I don't even remember what the other two were wearing.  To make things extra creepy, they had two girls on stage wearing giant bunny heads and doing all the furi with the audience.  Except....... um, this band had the audience not really doing furi... it was more like full-blown para-para, most of which I tried to avoid as much as humanly possible.  I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in having a butt-wiggling, super-hero posing dance party.  With the two girls on stage doing the para-para as well, the whole thing looked like a fitness video.  I was pretty happy when it was finally over.

The last band up is VII-Sense:

Hey, wouldn't you think a band called VII-Sense would have seven members instead of six, lol?  Anyways, I'll confess that I had no idea until after I left the venue that the vocalist of this band was Juka from Moi dix Mois.  I guess he goes by SHAURA now.  Honestly, I just don't keep up with that gothic-y, lolita-y side of visual-kei.  Mana's projects and anything involving them, including its members, are usually pretty far off my radar.  But the vocalist being Juka would probably explain why there was a sudden herd of foreigners in the venue during that time.  Man, we had about seven foreigners in the venue during VII-Sense.  That kinda thing never happens.

Anyways, the band was......... not my cup of tea.  The main reason being that I found the three guitarists thing to be really distracting.  It just didn't sound good, in my opinion.  I think there's a reason why most bands only have one or two guitarists.  It always seemed like two of the guitarists would be doing something that sounded good, and then the third one would be doing something that just sounded really out of place.  The band has a perpetual third wheel.  I'm sure many people really like the sound of the three guitars, but I didn't care for it, personally.  That was probably my only real beef with the band, though.  SHAURA's singing was fine, but he's always had a pretty decent voice. I just think it's funny that I didn't even realize it was "Juka" till after the show, lol.  Oopsie.

Speaking of which, I heard SHAURA's scheduled for throat surgery any day now, isn't he?  Or he just had it?  I'm not sure.  I know he has a history of throat polyps, so maybe this'll fix it.  Well, good luck, SHAURA!  I wish you well!  Hope the surgery works for you!

Anyways, the last thing I'll say about this show was that, the whole time VII-Sense was playing, the SaZ Monster was sitting at a booth in the back.  MelJay and I sat down in the back for VII-Sense and, any time we turned around, SaZ was sitting there with this dark, evil look on his face.  He'd somehow gone from Poker Face to Demonic Face.  I was still feeling pretty guilty about essentially pissing off a guy on his birthday, so I tried not to look at him.  I actually planned on going up to him after VII-Sense and apologizing for having not done gyaku-dive when he asked us to, but he disappeared some time when I wasn't looking, and we didn't see him again.  Feeling bad about the whole thing, MelJay and I decided to get an apology to him online.  MelJay friended SaZ on Ameba, and I helped her write up an apology and told him we would definitely do gyaku-dive next time.  He didn't write back (we didn't expect him to), but he friended MelJay back pretty fast, so I guess he wasn't too mad, lol.

Well, that about wraps this one up.  I've since seen DEZERT again, and I'll post that story in a few days.  Did I manage to do gyaku-dive?  Did I appease the SaZ Monster?  We shall see!


  1. XD The SaZ-Mosnter thing sounds so funny! Btw, what's gyaku-dive?

  2. SaZ-Monster: Goes from zero to scary in no time at all :P

    I honestly don't know what I would have done in that situation. But you gotta respect the SaZ-Monster for the initiative.

  3. I would love to see VII-Sense,I like the sound of their guitarists (can't say how it is live,on cd it's good).

  4. @xfranczeskax: I will fully explain gyaku-dive in my next post ^__^

    @Colouring Needle: Hopefully you wouldn't have panicked and gone running like I did XD I'm a wuss, hahaha.

    @Emotional Days: Yeah, I can imagine it sounds better on a CD, where it might have a cleaner sound. I'll have to try it some time :-)