Monday, December 12, 2011

Indies, 12/10, Takadanobaba AREA

Okay, sorry, we're gonna do things out of order again.  I know I said I would write a post about the Vampire Cafe (and, actually, it's about 1/3 written), but then some stuff came up, including a sudden infection (with no known cause) that I had to go to a dentist about, and a sudden, double-surprise-birthday party for a couple friends of mine in Kiryu, and I had to work on Christmas-themed lessons for the students (which isn't easy for me, since I wasn't raised in a Christian household and know absolutely nothing about Christmas), and... bottom line is, by the time I actually had some free time to write, I was back in Tokyo with no computer, and seeing an indies show.

So!  If I may be forgiven, the Vampire Cafe post will be posted after this one, but I'm doing indies first because a lot more goes on at those shows and it's easier for me to forget everything if I don't do it right away.  Then I'll do the Vampire Cafe, and then I'll do a post about Japanese dentists, because I think that's a bit of a hot-button issue for foreigners who come to Japan, and it might be interesting (and informative).

Sooo!  I returned to Tokyo for the weekend to go see an indies show with MelJay.  It was our first concert in three weeks!!!  Can you believe that?!  My gawd, I'm surprised I didn't get gangrene of the soul, hahaha.

The show was at Takadanobaba AREA, which I haven't been to in a ridiculously long time.  Lately, I always wind up at Black Hole.  Anyways, I was irritable about this show at first, because I thought MelJay and I were breaking our 2-3 rule.  This is a weird technique we use for choosing shows, where a band is assigned the number 2 or 3 based on how much we like to see them.  What this means is... if we kinda like a band, then they become a 3, meaning they have to be at a show with at least two other bands we want to see, or it's not worth it.  A band we really like is given the number 2, meaning only one other band we like has to be at a show to make it worth it.  And I don't think a band is ever assigned the number 1, because I don't think we'd ever go to a long event just for one band (at least, I never would), but a 2 band is something we'd go to a one-man or two-man over.  Does that make sense?  Basically, we number them by cluster.  Three 3's = let's go.  Two 2's = let's go.  And any combo of that. 

Anyways, -OZ- and Lycaon were at this show, but they're both 3's.  I felt like we were breaking our rule by not having at least a third band we were interesting in seeing.  That is, until I got a text from MelJay while I was on the train saying something like, "I know you're not interested in this show, but I'm gonna move up for BORN if that's okay."

BORN...?  What BORN...?

I hastily pulled out my ticket and stared at it.  And there was BORN's name listed among the six bands.  It'd been there all along.

I'm so fucking stupid.  And unobservant.

Okay!  So suddenly this show went from "meh" to awesome!  Now we had two 3's and a 2!  Sweeeet.

MelJay and I stopped off at a Denny's before the show, where I got way too hopped up on caffeine (bottomless coffee should never be offered to me), and then we did a little shopping before the show.  Then we stopped at a Segafredo, and I had more caffeine.  Was that really necessary?  Probably not, but I was still in a bad mood for unknown reasons and generally needed a pick-me-up (I think I was still having a slightly negative reaction to the antibiotics I was given for my infection - they made me pretty nauseous the day before.  I was also simultaneously coming down with a cold).  We dallied quite a bit and didn't make it to the venue until fifteen minutes after doors opened, but it didn't matter because our ticket numbers were crap, so we were actually just in time.  A girl from Australia stopped us and asked us for help getting to the venue and stuff (which we were more than happy to do), and it was her birthday and she wanted to see -OZ-.  Unfortunately, though the show wasn't listed as sold out online, a sign outside the venue definitely said it was sold out.  My theory is that people showed up an hour or two before the show and snatched up the last of the "toujitsu" tickets (the ones you buy day-of) and that was why the website wasn't updated enough to say the show was sold out.  Man, that sucks..............  I wish I could've helped the girl out, and MelJay even asked the staff about it, but...... at that point it was impossible.  That.  Sucks.

Anyhoo, it was really crowded in the venue, which is to be expected when 400 people get in ahead of you.  For some reason, MelJay and I reached this mutual agreement that we would just stay in the back.  We had a good spot on the second platform just a few rows back, and we could see really well, and there really wasn't any need to move up, since we weren't expecting dog-piles and stuff.  We pretty much never stay back, but we kinda chilled out for this show.  It was kinda funny though, cuz there was a crazy amount of foreigners at this show, and most of them were in the back.  I'm guessing it's cuz -OZ- and Lycaon, and BORN were there, and they're what I call Foreigner-Magnet Bands (because they're the bands who usually get the most exposure online, release music abroad, or have been to conventions abroad, and attract a lot of foreigners).  I would venture to say there were at least fifteen foreigners at this show, and you never see that kinda thing.  We also had some dudes, and one of them was a very confused-looking young man I named Apprentice.  We'll come back to Apprentice later.

Well, enough babbling, let's get on with it.  The order of bands at this show was completely fucked, as you'll soon see.  But, despite their obscene level of popularity, our first band is quite new (formed in March), so I suppose I can understand them playing first.  To begin this post, I'm happy to introduce... MEJIBRAY:


A little history on MEJIBRAY (all of which I discovered after the show, but is kinda important so I'll put it here): MEJIBRAY's vocalist, who goes by Tsuzuku, is actually vocalist Genki from the now-disbanded VanessA.  MEJIBRAY began as Tsuzuku's solo project with support members, until they all became official (it originally included a drummer, bassist, and two guitarists, but one of the guitarists left just a few months after the band became official).  Their bassist Koichi is also from VanessA.  That's why, despite the band only being formed in March, they have a huge fan-base.  VanessA was a pretty popular band that was around for several years, so a lot of their fans followed Genki-turned-Tsuzuku to MEJIBRAY.  To be honest, I wish I'd known all that before the show, because - due to me being a huge UnsraW fan - people used to recommend VanessA to me a lot.  Unfortunately, I'm extremely lazy and usually need music forced down my throat to bother with it, so I never checked VanessA out despite so many telling me I should.  And then VanessA disbanded.  But now we have MEJIBRAY. 

And MEJBIRAY is pretty cool.  Although I'd been hearing the name a lot, I didn't know what to expect.  MelJay said she thought she'd seen a picture of them and that they were a "dark" band, but "dark" doesn't mean "good."  On the way to the venue, I asked the Australian girl if she knew anything about them, and she just said she'd heard a little bit of their music and it had "good riffs."  Being the cynic that I am, I just assumed the band would suck like most stuff at these events.

Let's just say I was quite happily surprised.  First, drummer Meto came on stage, and I was like, "the fuck...?"  He was dressed like some kind of weird clown (you can see him second-from-the-left in the picture above) and he was clutching a large teddy bear, which he then propped up on the drum set.  He had this look on his face like he wanted to vomit, which caused me to give him the nickname Pukey-Face until I could figure out his real name after the show (even MelJay started calling him Pukey-Face, hahaha).  Then we had bassist Koichi, and guitarist MiA (who has really weird onstage equipment that looks like a giant computer-screen propped up on the amps.  If anyone knows what that is, lemme know).  Just looking at their costumes, I could tell this was an oddly sexualized band (which would fit in well with Lycaon later).  My thought was confirmed when vocalist Tsuzuku came on stage wearing a mesh shirt with his pants so low they looked like they'd fall off any second.

A note on Tsuzuku's name, by the way.  His name is written in hiragana as つづく, meaning it uses the weird づ sound.  On his own blog, Tsuzuku romanizes his name Tsuduku, whereas websites like last.fm write it Tsuzuku.  It's really neither one, and more a combo of the two.  You would actually pronounce the zu/du like "tzu" (so like "tsu" but harder).  But spelling it Tsudzuku looks kinda stupid (even though some online dictionaries spell it that way), so let's just go with Tsuzuku.

Anyways, where do I even begin with MEJIBRAY...?  Their stage presence is super dark, and super intense.  It's more than just "good riffing"... it's great guitar solos, heavy bass, intense drum rhythms, and Tsuzuku is, uh... out of his fucking mind.  I actually wish I could've been down in the front and participating because it looked like so much fun (there was so much hair flying around in the audience it looked like a storm blasting through a rainforest down there).  But I had to settle with standing in the back doing cramped hand-furi.  So much of it came down to attitude with these guys.  Meto played drums as if he was trapped in prison and forced to play for days on end to win his freedom (I don't know how else to explain it... but I think it's because that nauseated expression was on his face the whole time he played, and he was thrashing his head and body around as though he was about to fall over).  And MiA and Koichi both had that "I'm too cool for school" attitude while they played.  And Tsuzuku, well... my first thought about him was, "damn, that bitch can scream like a motherfucker."  He could sing really well too, but his screaming and growling voice was damn impressive for such a skinny little guy.
But I think the thing that really needs to be said about Tsuzuku is his absurd energy level.  It's like he's incapable of feeling fatigue or something.  He was just a whirl of motion up on the stage, thrashing around and shrieking and throwing himself all over the place.  I started to wonder if he had bones.  Even his (horribly forced) attempts at fan-service looked more like he was grabbing the bassist or guitarist and humping the living shit out of them.  Most vocalists would just rub the string section seductively or lick them or something, but not this power house.  Fan-service meant throwing himself at a member and nearly toppling them over, lol.  There was one point where he sat down on the crate facing away from everyone and screamed over and over and over while full-body-headbanging in a creepy, repetitive motion.  He did it so fast and with such intensity that I honestly felt sorry for his brain.  MelJay later told me all she could think while watching him was, "that guy's gonna knock himself out."

But the truly epic performance was the last song.  I believe the song is called Hakuraku, which is a word that means "to peel off."  For this song, Tsuzuku did a marionette routine.  And that's no big deal - marionette routines are common in music.  Ryuutaro from Plastic Tree, Kyo from Dir en grey... it's common.  Hell, even Ayumi Hamasaki pretends to be a puppet in her appropriately-titled song Marionette.  But Tsuzuku's act was different... and I don't know how to explain why.  It's like... he has no bones, but he's all angles.  It would be like if someone tied Jack Skellington up with strings, wrapped those strings around their own fingers, and wiggled them to watch the puppet dance.  The audience got really still and quiet watching Tsuzuku's creepy lurching and gyrations, all of which was performed with much screaming, moaning, gasping, and strangling-sounds.  I found myself absolutely mesmerized in a way I haven't been in a loooong time.

And then this strange, broken-puppet routine turned into the single most incredible onstage temper tantrum I've ever seen.  For about two minutes straight, Tsuzuku screamed, threw himself around the stage, threw his body in ways that looked positively painful, and generally freaked the fuck out.  I didn't even want to blink, lest a miss a second of that chaos.  He even started doing that crazy headbanging I always associate with Kyo during Obscure.  It's that headbanging where you throw your whole body forward while kicking up your legs behind you.  Which really isn't very easy to do, and requires a lot of energy and coordination to keep up.  And Tsuzuku was able to do it continuously.  The amazing thing is, rather than getting tired, Tsuzuku's tantrum grew more and more intense every second.  Some people in the audience started rustling uncomfortably watching it, and the girls behind me started whispering like crazy.  At one point, as Tsuzuku screamed and violently arched his whole body back so far his jacket nearly came off, one of the girls behind me started going, "Kowai!  Kowai!  Kowai!" ("kowai" = "scary!").  Honestly, I have no words to describe this incredible display of onstage ferocity.  Picture, like... old-school Kyo from Dir en grey having one of his most epic freakouts, and you might have an idea of what was going on here.  I was actually worried Tsuzuku was going to break his back, his neck, or accidentally smash himself on something.  So of course it was inevitable that, when the song ended, he threw himself to the ground and didn't get up.  Before I could even try to get on my tip-toes to see what happened, the staff came out and drew the curtain closed.

Yeesh.

There was a moment of silence, during which I tried desperately to come up with a word for the way I was feeling.  I turned to MelJay with a lost expression on my face and MelJay, her eyes wide, said, "respect."  I burst out laughing and hit myself on the chest twice with my fist and made a peace sign like a gangsta.

Respect.  Yeah.  

The bottom line is, I was impressed in a way I hadn't been in a damn long time.  Here was a band with explosive attitude, kick-ass presence, intense, in-your-face music, and a vocalist who apparently installed a power plant inside his body or something.

I would have to learn more...

But of course that would all have to wait until after the show, so MelJay and I just stood there "ooh"-ing and "aah"-ing about MEJIBRAY until the next act.  She and I couldn't get over how impressed we were, and how much we were looking forward to finding out if the band was worth checking out for real.

So we'll get back to them at the end of this post (includes a funny story!).  If you're interested in MEJIBRAY, be sure to read the stuff at the end.

Buuut, as I said, the order of the bands was fucked and weird.  So, for whatever reason, the second act was -OZ-:


Then again, I suppose -OZ- has been going on early a lot lately.  There seems to have been some demotion.  Anyways, because the band was sort of "off" at the first couple shows I saw, I always start out by trying to see what kind of mood -OZ- is in.  Cuz it seriously makes a huge difference.  They opened with this really slow, pretty song that I'm actually extremely fond of, but I wasn't sure it boded well for the rest of the act if -OZ- was starting off with a song that didn't require any movement or physical involvement.  I became even more worried when, in the middle of the song, Natsuki completely zoned out at the microphone.  Well, actually, it was kind of hilarious.  He didn't have to sing for about thirty seconds, so he used that time to rest his arm on the microphone stand and stare, unblinking, at nothing.  After awhile I started to wonder if he was even breathing.  Then I started to wonder if he would remember to start singing again, lol.  It was pretty much half a second before it was time to sing that he finally blinked and came back to life.  I wanted to laugh, but decided it was an inappropriate time, lol.

But you know what, don't judge a band by their first song.  After that song, -OZ- suddenly exploded and became a whole new band.  Suddenly, they switched over to loud, angry music, and Natsuki turned into a screaming demon.  He was like a whole different person.  The rest of the band came to life too.  Their right-side guitarist (forgive me, I don't know who's who in -OZ-) got so happy, he started hopping around the stage with a big smile, mouthing along to all the words.  Man, I swear -OZ- is bipolar sometimes.  I once again kinda wished I could go down and participate a bit more, but it was also kinda nice to be in the back and get a chance to see everything.  One of these days, I should get off my lazy ass and try out some -OZ- music, because they've been really enjoyable the last few times I've seen them, now that they're out of their temporary funk.  I think the songs I've been really digging at their shows have been their older songs, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth a try.  Besides, I've seen them enough times now that I know the songs and can do the furi without watching anyone.  I'll have to de-lazy myself some time.

So, band order being fucked and all, our next act, for whatever reason, was Lycaon:


As always, very enjoyable to watch, though their music isn't really my cup of tea.  Usually, I feel like I'm the only person who's surprised by the band order, as if all the Japanese people have psychic powers and just naturally know who's playing when.  But not this time.  Everyone was just as surprised as I was that Lycaon would go on so early in the show.  Lots of girls were like "heee?!", and overzealous Lycaon fans started pushing to get up front.  A couple girls next to me dissolved into squeals of delight, which was actually kind of annoying.

Uuuum, not much to say here.  Enjoyed the show, enjoyed the catchy music, enjoyed watching Yuuki roll his shoulders like a stripper...

Oh, and Apprentice.  We should talk about him.  The reason I called him Apprentice was because he looked like he may have been a potential, future-VK performer who was observing.  He was by himself, didn't seem to be there for any particular band, looked generally confused by everything, but watched the show very intently.  So the thing that was funny about Apprentice was, well... that he'd obviously never been to a show.  And the utter fear this seemed to invoke in him.  Especially during Lycaon.  When all the girls started whipping their hair around - and quite a lot of it was smacking Apprentice - he cringed and flinched as though the girls were whipping him with burning chains.  Which was especially funny because this guy was about six feet tall, and obviously in good shape, and should not have felt even slightly threatened by a bunch of girl-hair in his face.  As if that wasn't amusing enough, the Lycaon fans began to do their usual side-to-side moshy-thing.  

I.  Lost it.  I could not stop laughing at Apprentice.  He looked like a cat caught in the current of a river, struggling to get out.  As the girls forced him one way and then the other, he had his hands up defensively and had this panicked look on his face like, "Why, why, why?!  Oh god, oh god, oh god!"  My row in the audience didn't join the fray, so I just stood there laughing hysterically as I watched him.  I laughed so hard, MelJay patted me sympathetically on the back.  That is, when she wasn't laughing at Apprentice too, lol.  I mean, come on, man!  Those girls are literally half your size!

Anyways, our next band up, to my surprise, was Velbet:


I mean, I was surprised because... why the hell was Velbet going on after Lycaon?!  That's just weird...

So here's our dear, baby GazettE.  To be honest, I wasn't sure if it was Velbet or the band LANDZ on stage (since I'd never seen LANDZ before), but then I remembered that each member of Velbet is basically cosplaying a member of GazettE.  It was their "Aoi" that tipped me off.  Ah yes, I thought.  This is definitely Velbet.  And the little Ruki frontman is a bit of a give-away too.  Anyways, I've been seeing them for awhile now - all the way since I studied abroad - and they never really grow on me much more than just mildly enjoying them.  As in, I would never "get into" them, but I never have any problem with them and they're not bad to watch.  But I don't really have much to say.

Our next band is LANDZ:


 Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew.  What the shit?!!  Why in the world did this band go on second-to-last?!!

Are they an older band?  No.  They formed in May and they announced their first single was coming out soon.

Are they made up of any famous people?  Not really.  The vocalist is from Zip.er and their guitarist is from _Van;lla】, which were vaguely popular bands, but not enough to explain them playing after acts like -OZ- and Lycaon.

Okay, the show was hosted by PS Company.  Are they under PS Company?  Not that I could find.

Did they even fit in with this show?!  No!  They were essentially a pop-rock band.  And a really boring one at that.  What's funny is, after Lycaon and Velbet, about a quarter of the audience bailed and went out to the lockers to drink, smoke, and loiter.  And honestly, I don't really blame them.  This wasn't exactly the show for LANDZ.  I really don't think MEJIBRAY fans are interested in this brightly-colored band swaying happily back and forth and smiling.  Bleagh..........

Fun fact of the day: Takadanobaba AREA's pamphlets, in the fine-print, claim you have to be 18 and over to attend their shows.  HAH.  As if.

Anyways, it stands to reason that, the moment LANDZ was finished, a stampede of people came rushing back into the venue to try and get a good spot for BORN.

So duh, the next band up is BORN:


Uuuuuuuuuuh, same as always, had a really good time, really enjoyed BORN, etc.  For some reason, Ryouga was extra spazzy and, like... had a bunch of silly accidents.  Which was especially funny because, despite being the band's frontman, Ryouga's weirdly shy.  In fact, MelJay and I were talking about how Ryouga, despite his funny dancing and screaming, always has this air about him like he doesn't actually want to be seen.  Which makes it even funnier when stupid stuff happens and he gets embarrassed.  First, during his MC, the mic made this crazy loud, horrible noise in the middle of his sentence.  Rather than jumping or swearing, Ryouga scuttled backwards with his head down like a turtle crawling back into its shell.  What the hell kinda reaction was that, lol?!  Later, when he was trying to wave goodbye to the audience before encore, he didn't realize one of the guitarists was walking in front of him, which resulted in Ryouga punching the guitarist in the face.  Cue more embarrassed Ryouga.  When the band came back for encore (where I believe they played MY SWEET BLACK), Ryouga tried to talk to the crowd, only to discover that he had backup in his throat from all the screaming, which caused him to choke and cough in the middle of a word.  The crowd started calling to him and Ryouga, looking very embarrassed, giggled nervously and said, "zen zen daijoubu" (meaning "I am totally okay").  Man, he is so hilariously awkward, lol.  Ryouga also said they didn't want to do an encore but were gonna do one anyways, which I thought was an odd thing to say (he literally said, "ankooru shitakunakatta kedo, yacchaimasu!" with a fist in the air).  

I should add that, as usual, the audience got way too out of control during BORN.  This seems to happen a lot with them.  Especially during the side-to-side thing.  We had two pretty epic wipe-outs.  The first one happened when a girl a few spots over from me fell down (yes, the area behind the second barrier was also doing the jumping shit), which then toppled over another girl, and then another, and another, until there was suddenly about ten girls crashing to the floor.  The girl next to me grabbed my arm to stay up, but... I'm sorry, it's every man for himself, and I yanked my arm out of her grasp to save myself, and MelJay grabbed my other arm and pulled me away from the disaster-zone.  The girl who grabbed me apologized to me after the song was over.

There was another side-to-side disaster later that I wasn't involved in, and I couldn't see it that well, but it looked bad.  Some girls fell, and it looked like they fell near the stairs, which makes me wonder if someone fell down the stairs.  I saw a lot of people rush over and some were bent over for a long time, like someone wasn't getting up, and I later saw a girl crying near the stairs, so I think someone had a nasty fall.  I saw poor Ryouga noticed, too, but there's nothing the band can do about it.

Actually, maybe Apprentice really does have a reason to be afraid, lol.

Maybe because we all got so wild, Ryouga thanked the audience over and over and over at the end of the show and seemed super happy.  All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I was able to get out most of my aggression, since most BORN songs are written for the sole purpose of being able to punch the air as much as you damn well want to.

Aaaaaaaand that was the show!

So that night, MelJay and I returned to the hostel and used the internet to look up all kinds of stuff like, "what the hell makes LANDZ so special?" and "who the hell was that psychopath vocalist in MEJIBRAY?" and "is MEJIBRAY actually worth checking out?" and "is it true birds don't fart?"  Okay, no, we didn't look that up.  But fun fact of the day: they don't.

Some YouTube samples told us, yes, MEJIBRAY is worth checking out.  And then MelJay, as usual, checked MEJIBRAY's blogs, where she discovered that the band members are obscenely popular online compared to other new indies bands.  That's when we got suspicious and checked out their origins.  Although the band's origins can't explain how drummer Meto has 1,200 blog followers (MEJIBRAY is his first band ever).  Hell, Tsuzuku has 2,000 followers.

Well, they'd just put out a mini-album a few days earlier and we figured, "ah, what the hell, maybe we can buy it."  But trying to buy indies music on a weekend in Tokyo fucking sucks because so many stores have in-store events, and MelJay and I are too lazy to visit the stores earlier in the day.  We went to Like an Edison in Shinjuku and got cock-blocked by an event.  Amazingly enough, the indies store across the street from it was also having an event.  We went to the Like an Edison in Laforet in Harajuku and got cock-blocked by another event (that surprised me).  Alright, there was still one more option... the ZEAL LINK in O1O1 One in Shinjuku.  We went back to Shinjuku.  Then we went up the seven flights of escalators.

And there was an event, which caused me to accidentally yell, "shit!" really loud in front of some foreigners.  Oopsie.  For whatever reason, MelJay peeked into the store to see what band was in there hosting the event.

And it was MEJIBRAY.

Pfffffffffffffft, hahahahahaha, what?!

OMG, lol.  How does this kind of stupid shit consistently happen to us?!!  You'd think after spending so much time in Japan going to shows, I'd be good at this kind of thing, but I'm just not.  Well, we looked at the clock and saw that it was 4:55, so we suspected the event might end at 5:00 if we just waited a little.  So we milled around Sex Pot Revenge and waited, while trying to get over the fact that we were preparing to walk into Zeal Link a minute after MEJIBRAY left and ask for the new MEJIBRAY album.  Duuuuuur.

As MelJay and I were staring at some cute sweaters, a bunch of guys suddenly walked past us.  I looked up, realized it was MEJIBRAY, and quickly turned away in embarrassment.  But not before seeing very clearly that Tsuzuku was looking right at us.  Faaaaaail.  I really hope MelJay and I were far back enough that the band didn't notice us at the show, because otherwise that's just kinda awkward.  Like we were stalking the event or something.  I hope, by turning away, I made it clear that I wasn't trying to spy on them.
Anyways, once MEJIBRAY was behind the staff door, MelJay and I went into ZEAL LINK to pick up the CD.  Of course, the cashier didn't say anything about it.  Japanese cashiers are trained to just smile and nod at everything, but I'm pretty sure a cashier in the states would've been like, "uh, you know you just missed them, right?"

So one last thing before I wrap up this post: I wanna talk about drummer Meto.  Due to some rather odd characteristics about him, some people are probably wondering what the hell his deal is.  I saw someone on the internet ask if anyone had any idea what the hell's going on with Meto, and that person never got a response.  Well, I can't say for sure what the hell's going on with him, but I can tell you what it seems like. 

When I first saw a picture of MEJIBRAY, I didn't register that it was them, but it was in a pamphlet I got awhile back.  Looking back on it, I remember being a bit surprised when I noticed one of the band members was in a wheelchair.  But I somewhat doubted that the guy really needed a wheelchair (I'm not saying people in wheelchairs can't play instruments, I'm just saying I don't know if that would fly in the indies scene here).  I figured it was just part of the guy's image, and that he was trying to be "edgy."

Well, now I know for a fact that Meto doesn't need a wheelchair.  I saw him walk on stage just fine, and walk past us at ZEAL LINK without a problem, plus he can play the petals on his drums.  So I shrugged it off as a weird gimmick.

But my CD came with a comment DVD, in which Meto sits in a wheelchair in front of the band, playing with his teddy bear continuously.  He doesn't speak, and Koichi has to introduce him.  And MiA was casually resting his hands on the handles of Meto's wheelchair.  At one point, using the high-pitched voice you'd use to talk to a baby, Tsuzuku tried to coax Meto into speaking, but Meto ignored him.  This is from a different video, but this picture should show you Meto's strange, wheelchair-ing (he's the one all the way on the right):


Oooookay.  Well, some people take their gimmicks very seriously, I guess. 

But then MelJay sent me a link to Meto's blog.  I don't really look at indies blogs anymore, but she seemed to think I should take a look at it, so I did.

And then I began to understand.

The first thing I saw was that his latest post was entitled: *g_syk.  Underneath that title was a weird, artsy photo.  It looked like a smoky image of the moon across a wooden floor.  All Meto had to say about this picture was: *w_ko1.

What.

Baffled, I continued to go through his blog, looking for some kind of sense or logic... anything.  It seemed there was none to be found.  Just artsy photos of himself and the things around him, and gibberish.  But then I noticed a small spot of light in the darkness.  The only time his posts are ever written out in legible words is whenever there's an announcement (and the band members don't write those, they just copy-paste them into their blogs).  Any time one of those showed up, Meto gave it the title: *nevvs.  For some reason, my brain latched onto that one, and I realized the two v's form a "w."  He means "news."  This was like finding the Rosetta Stone for me, and I began going through his blog trying to figure out what else I could make sense of.  I'm not positive about any of this, but examples I found include *rh, which seems to mean "rehearsal" and, *inst, which seems to mean "in-store event."  An odd one I found was a picture of some stuffed animal, with the caption *kwkn.  Somehow, my brain was starting to catch onto Meto's strange language and I realized he probably meant, "kawaikunai?", which means, "isn't it cute?"  Often, when he takes a picture of himself, he writes: me+0, which I later realized was his bizarre way of spelling his own name.

What I'm getting at is that, one way or another, Meto's trying to portray a mental illness.  And he's doing a bizarrely good job of it.  The time he spends in the wheelchair appears to have less to do with a portrayal of a physical handicap, and much more to do with his portrayal of a mental one.  Hence the teddy bear, the creepy stare, his refusal to speak, and the fact that his blog looks like a very uncomfortable acid trip.  What's amazing is how well he manages to stay in character.  Even when he performs, he maintains a bizarre expression on his face.  At my show he didn't do this, but it seems he's sometimes wheeled on stage.  The brilliance of his gimmick is that, unlike the black-and-white simplicity of simply refusing to speak, or having to wear a nose-band all the time, he's found a "character" with some wiggle-room.  Insanity can come and go, so his occasional bouts of walking, or the times when he takes a picture of himself looking more normal, can be brushed off as moments of mental clarity (or properly taking his medication).  The fact that he's able to keep up this character so well is actually kind of amazing.

Now, this kind of thing would never fly in the states, I know that.  Maybe other parts of the West would have a problem with it too.  After all, this is so far off the scale of "Political Correctness" that it's practically in outer space.  But the thing is..... there's something almost artistic about Meto's blog.  In fact, if I didn't know what he was trying to do, the whole thing would look like a massive online art project.  In creating an "insane" character, and with the unbelievable amount of dedication he's put into it so far, he's actually managed to create a small world of insanity around himself... and it's actually almost believable.

I'm not saying anyone has to agree with what he's doing, or even like it... but again...

Respect, I guess.

Anyways, the Vampire Cafe blog is coming!  See y'all soon!

8 comments:

  1. Weee! You posted it! Great post! I'm really looking forward to hearing form MEJIBRAY again. There was just something awesome about them. And I still totally respect them for being so dedicated to their performance. It's really intense. Next time we HAVE to go forward for them. I insist, especially after all that hell we went through to find their CD, lol.

    Lol at Apprentice, he was such a fail. I doubt we'll be seeing him in the audience ever again.

    I should stop being lazy and get my hands on some -OZ- too... they're pretty damn good if they're not in a funk. *nods*

    But yeah, the entire set up of that show was just so whack... I mean seriously, Lycaon 3rd?! Either way, good show and great post. Thanks for writing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why is it that the shows you two attend recently are getting better and better? ;).

    ReplyDelete
  3. great post!!!!

    that meto part was really true and i think it's really amazing how he keeps that imago up and stay's in this crazy-handicap-personality!! and i think it's such a thing what you don't really see in many vk bands that there is such epic personality~ like u said, there's only these noseband/silent types but not this artistic etc like meto~~~♪

    MEJIBRAY IS AWESOME RABU RABU

    ReplyDelete
  4. MEJIBRAY's vocalist is gonna hurt himself one day :P
    Meto sounds like an interesting character. It takes alot of discipline to stay in character like that.

    Oh poor apprentice, and that girl that fell. Hopefully it wasn't down the stairs. That just hurts.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Emotional Days: I think it's either the success and brilliance of our 2-3 system, or we've just gotten better at picking what shows/bands to go see. It always takes awhile to find what you really want, but it's always worth it in the end ^__^

    @tsuomasuトーマス: Great to see a fellow MEJIBRAY fan on my blog! RABU RABU indeed, lol ^__^

    @Colouring Needle: I think if I wasn't a MERRY fan and didn't know that Gara herniated his back, I wouldn't have been so concerned for Tsuzuku. But then I remember that, or I remember videos of Kyo fainting while headbanging, and I just have to worry about the poor guy, lol. And hopefully Apprentice learned a thing or two, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Old post but, I have to say, I've been reading your whole blog cause oh how I love blogs about indie VK events, there's a shortage of those, and now reading this it reminds me when I spent my time reading old livejournal accounts of some of the first VK girlies in Japan.. Nostalgia! I love your blog. I guess that's where I was headed.

    Anyways! I made a list of "bands to check out" while scanning the blog through, and only got to check out Mejibray today while having forgotten why I added them to the list in the first place, but holy..!!!!
    They sound amazing! It's so rare for me to like a random indie band, cause well we all know they mostly lack talent, but Mejibray! Hard AND melodic! And now I remembered that it was the band with the vocalist that impressed me just by reading your report (cause you're extremely good at depicting a picture. Kudos). Daymn, I need to check them out live. And of course Diaura is on the "live check out" too. Even though their music is less exciting than Mejibray as far as studio version goes.

    Thank you for your blog!

    (And you hang out at Khaosan annex x))) Rin and Asuka are well? Cause I suppose Asuka is at the annex too..)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was finding pic of Mia and I came in here...engrossed with your thing... ._.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can watch the best virtual strippers on my desktop.

    ReplyDelete