And, as mentioned in the last post, "labels" are slowly showing up on the side of this blog. But disregard for now, because they aren't even 1/20th complete, I think.
Anyways. Let's get this over with. This show.................... I haven't been to what I consider a true "shit-show" in awhile, but here we go. This took painful to a whole new level, and for once, even the Japanese fans seemed to be suffering. So let's discuss.
The show was at Shinjuku HOLIDAY. I haven't been to HOLIDAY in almost two years. It was my very first indies live house (we're talking November 2009 here, the day I first saw acts like ALSDEAD and Ha;qch), and I used to go all the time. But I've sort of moved past a lot of those dinky starter bands (for my own sanity), so I haven't come back to HOLIDAY since returning to Japan (since HOLIDAY tends to host bands still wearing their indies diapers).
Went down the ever-sketchy Sakura Street to get to the venue, and then loitered about and bought some candy for what was probably going to be a long-haul. Saw a few other foreigners at the show, but I swear the foreigners we ran into at the convenience store gave us the stink eye. What the hell?!! What did I do?!! Oh, what, are you mad because there are some other foreigners at this tiny, underground indies show, so you're not a special little flower anymore?! Well, pardon me. I don't care that you're at the show, so leave me the hell alone (note: please feel free to say hello to me at a show. I swear I'm a nice person, I just don't appreciate being glared at for no reason).
Anyways, I guess because of Christmas, when we went into the venue, we were immediately asked if we wanted alcohol or not alcohol. Oookay. If you said alcohol, they gave you a little shot glass of champagne. If you said non-alcohol, you got a little shot glass of what appeared to be some kind of juice. I was pretty sure I needed something more serious than champagne for this show, but I accepted it anyways. It wasn't the greatest champagne ever, but I've had worse, and I appreciated HOLIDAY making a festive effort.
The main reason I wound up at this event was curiosity. Horrible, horrible curiosity. The second reason was boredom. MelJay and I had nothing else to do on Christmas. Unfortunately, this Christmas show was sold out. Sold out meaning the venue thought it would be a good idea to sell about 350 tickets for a venue with around 250 person capacity. Sitting was impossible, and the staff had to constantly walk around yelling at people to move their shit, move up, get out of the way, etc. People literally couldn't get through the doors. Sigh. And we still had tons of people leaving their crap everywhere because, generally speaking, indies fans are assholes. More and more girls were changing into sexy Santa outfits, until I swear about half the audience was dressed that way. If they all thought they were about to be special little snowflakes, they were sorely mistaken.
Anyways, like DIAURA's Christmas show, a staff member came on stage and bullshitted with the crowd for awhile. He also revealed that raffles would be going on, so....... cool, whatever.
Let's just get this going. Our first band up is Awake:
That's the band I came for. No joke. But that picture isn't very accurate. Awake is actually a colorful, rainbow explosion of oshare-ness more extreme than SuG. I'm talking colors of the rainbow not yet invented are splashed all over these guys in real life, and the vocalist is wearing about fifty necklaces and a fuzzy hat on stage. You're probably wondering why in the world I would ever show up for such a thing. Are you ready for this? This is good shit, here. See the guy in the middle? Anyone who read my blog when I studied abroad, do you recognize him? No? I wouldn't either. It's 『L.』 (now called Eru.), the guitarist from VAJRA. Yes, 『L.』. The same 『L.』 who used to punch fans in the face and give them black eyes. Recognize anyone else? No? That's alright, it means you're still sane. This band also contains two members from Ha;qch. Yes, Ha;qch. Black leather, metal band Ha;qch. And their support bassist is in the band too (the one I used to jokingly call Shibbit). VAJRA disbanded, and Ha;qch vanished without a word........... and this is what they gave us. This. Fucking this. Literally the single most oshare-kei band I've ever witnessed on stage (and I've seen some seriously oshare shit before).
Don't think I didn't know. I was perfectly aware of what kind of a band Awake is before I showed up for this. But how could I possibly not see it? Eru. is now an oshare-kei vocalist, and two-ish members of Ha;qch are his happy, pop-music minions. I had to see it with my own eyes eventually.
What you see there above... is a musical Apocalypse.
Now, I'm not saying VAJRA and Ha;qch were great bands. VAJRA was essentially a Dir en grey rip-off parading around as a silent tribute band, and Ha;qch probably only had a small handful of songs, all of which were pretty typical kote-kei. That's not the point. The point is that these guys are so utterly lacking in any internal passion for anything, that it's a wonder they even bother. Rock music was in two years ago, so they did that. Now oshare-kei is in, so they do that. Do they actually care about anything (other than having a job)?! Or are they just dead bodies floating in the river, waiting to see where the tide will take them?? Changing styles is fine. When you really mean it.
But I don't think these guys mean it. First of all, Eru., honey, you're not an oshare-kei vocalist. You're a guitarist. That's what you're good at. Watching him up there... it was just outright boring. He did para-para for most of the show because it seemed like he had no idea what else to do with his hands. His voice is nothing special at all. He was relying on his oshare costume to attract attention (which it did - the whole audience was like, "kawaiiii!" at the sight of him), but it was all so shallow. He jumped off the stage and jumped right back up a couple of times. Fuck, in VAJRA, people would've run screaming if he did that. And they would've had good reason to. Eru. didn't do anything interesting, other than dance around, and the members of Ha;qch didn't look like they gave a shit. They looked just as bored in Awake as they did in Ha;qch (which is pretty damn bored). The only one who seemed happy was Shibbit (pardon me, he's FUGA now), but that's because he's been a support bassist up until now, so he's like a sellsword who's happy wherever he winds up. He looked just as cheerful in Ha;qch. Oh, and that new guy. I guess he was happy. Probably because he just is an oshare-kei performer.
During the MC, Eru. attempted to show off his old flare by being a big asshole. He was like, "I bet you're all thinking, 'what a cool guy that vocalist is! He's soooo fashionable!'" Or when he was talking to his guitarist, he made some joke like, "but I'm no. 1 and I'm always better than you, so HAH!" And yeah, that's what Eru.'s always been like, but...... this was so forced. His whole cocky asshole act just came naturally to him in VAJRA, and that was what made him funny. This just sounded scripted to win the audience's attention. It didn't really work, though. By the end of it, the audience didn't seem any more impressed by that colorful rainbow vomit than they would've been if Awake had done a tap-dance routine.
Damnit, Eru., you're killing me.
My first show ever at HOLIDAY, I saw Ha;qch. That was the moment I decided I wanted to keep going to shows, because they could be so entertaining. And now, two years later, I return to HOLIDAY......... and this is what's become of Ha;qch. Boredom, and necklaces with Kewpie dolls hanging from them.
Eff. My. Life.
Also, if anyone who used to read my VAJRA posts is wondering, no, Nesting Girl was not there. And I don't blame her. I wouldn't follow Eru. down that rabbit hole either.
After Awake was done, it was time to raffle off Awake's gift. Their gift? An envelope with 3000 yen (roughly $30) in it. How creative. If that's not a metaphor for Awake in general, I dunno what is.
Let's move on before I have a stroke.
The next band up was Downer:
Yeah, we've seen Downer a few times on this blog. They're not bad. I put them in my 4-ish category for bands that I won't get into, but who are entertaining enough, and not annoying or bad or anything. Vocalist seemed sick, though, so I felt bad for him, but he held up well enough and saw it through to the end. I don't remember what their gift was, though. I think it was signed merchandise. Certainly beats fucking 3000 yen in an envelope.
Next band up was a session band, I think. I don't remember much. I think it had a member of Spiv States in it. It was boring, and my feet were starting to hurt. And the girls behind me wouldn't shut up or stop whining that their feet hurting, that they couldn't see, that the music was boring, and JUST SHUT UP, OMIGAWD. My feet hurt too, but at least I wasn't whining continuously about it!
Uuuuum............ what came next.............? Maybe it was LuLu.
Lu... Lu... LuLuLuLuLu. I've seen them twice now (they'll come up again a couple posts from now). They're actually not an indies band, though. Believe it or not, these guys went major. So... I guess their genre is "doctor-kei" or something like that. Which is definitely just an image thing, and not a musical thing. They're essentially a cosplay band. The members are all wearing doctor coats (or, in the vocalist's case, a ripped up doctor coat with blood splattered all over it), and the stage was decorated with bloody gauze, ambulance sirens, and even a real, lit-up sign that read "shujutsuchuu" (in kanji: 手術中), which means, "surgery in progress." I'll admit, I was amused. As for the band itself....... hmm. I guess they weren't bad. They were amusing enough, certainly. Their music is of the rock variety, with pretty catchy choruses (got a song stuck in my head right after the show, and it haunted me for days). The vocalist is..... interesting. He's the only original member of the band, for some reason. The rest of the members have been shuffled around like Pokémon cards. The vocalist, oh hold on, lemme look up his name... Er, how do I read this? たぁ is his name. Is that just read as Taa? Ooookay. So Taa is kind of a weird dude, from what I can tell. He sings and all that but... it's like his face never changes. Like he's not registering human emotions or something. Didn't detract from the show or anything, but certainly added an element of strangeness to an already strange atmosphere. He also likes to stage-dive. A lot. And his fans are ridiculously good at catching him. Doesn't matter how surprising he tries to be about it, the audience will catch him and hold him up without letting him drop an inch. Which means Taa either stage-dives too often, or he weighs as much as a ten year old. They're both possibilities. I plan on talking more about LuLu more when they show up about... two posts from now. Let's just move on for the moment.
Oh, and I can't remember what LuLu raffled off either. I think it was more merch stuff. They might've been the band who gave away a signed drum-head.
Up next............. here's an interesting surprise. The next band up was not listed on our ticket, but it was listed on the website (or was at least posted there suddenly). Confused, MelJay and I looked the band up the night before. The band is called Tokyo Sadistic13's. When we searched for them on the internet.......... it appeared to be Girugamesh's, like... alter-ego band or something. But why would Girugamesh show up at a dinky little Christmas event at a crappy venue? Girugamesh are a major band already in the big leagues. They're not indies, and I would never expect to see them at a place like HOLIDAY. The ticket didn't mention them performing, and neither did Girugamesh's website, even under information about their Tokyo Sadistic13's tour. Ooookay. I brought it up to a friend of mine in America who's good at sleuthing the JRock scene, but he came out of the hunt as confused as me. MelJay and I decided it was either a typo, or a copy-cat band.
Buuuuut it wasn't. Tokyo Sadistic13's took the stage and, although I'm not particularly a Girugamesh fan, I recognized them immediately.
Well I'll be damned. As MelJay and I have been saying, "we accidentally the Girugamesh":
So I think Tokyo Sadistic13's is an alter-ego of some kind. I'm making that judgment call based solely on the fact that their music doesn't sound the way I remember Girugamesh's music sounding (but please bear in mind that I don't know much about Girugamesh). The members were all wearing shirts that read Sadistic13's on it, and they looked like normal Girugamesh, but the music was strange. It was, like... completely ADD. One minute rock, one minute pop, one minute rap, one minute punk, one minute cute, one minute intense. It was really, really strange. I mean, after seeing something like Awake, it was a breath of fresh air, but I don't think it was anything I'd ever go out of my way to listen to. Although I like some genre-bending acts like Maximum the Hormone, I found Tokyo Sadistic13's rather jarring. It was fun enough in a concert setting, but I think it would rattle my brains a little too much on an album. Especially the pop music parts. The music is hard-core one moment, and then suddenly there's happy, cheerful singing out of nowhere. It's really weird, lol. It was also funny seeing Girugamesh "surprise" this kind of audience, because we wound up with 1/3 of the audience jumping up and down and squealing and going crazy with happiness to see a famous band at an indies venue, and the other 2/3 of the audience were standing there like "whatever."
Oh, and like every band that had already played on stage was standing alongside the audience or in the back watching the show. I mean, a lot of these little indies bands probably really look up to Girugamesh, so they wanted to watch as much as the crowd did. Eru. was out there too, and I saw him staring intently at me, but I just ignored him. I was even wearing the shirt he nearly ruined with juice a few years ago. Man, I even let him pat me consolingly on the arm when he left VAJRA. This isn't how it was supposed to be, Eru.!!! Raaaaage.
Whatever, whatever, whatever.
Next up was another session band, I think. Anyone know about a guy named Shuuta? All I know is, the audience was going on and on and on for the whole show about wanting to see some guy named Shuuta, who I guess was in this session. If he was the guitarist, I'll admit he was pretty cool to watch, but this session wasn't much more interesting than the last one, and the indies girls were starting to piss me off so much that I was feeling pretty sour. They kept pushing, stepping on us, shuffling around, whining, and generally driving me crazy. Some girls behind me even won a raffle (might've been the session band's raffle) and then whined about how they weren't fans of those guys and didn't care. JUST SHUT UP AND TAKE THE FREE MERCH YOU INSOLENT BRATS!!! I know I wasn't the only one who "turned off" because of this show, though. I turned around during the session band and saw the girl behind me crouched on the ground using the light of her cell phone to read manga. Haaaah.
Next up was... Elm, I think:
Our Halloween band. Who couldn't really do Halloween at a Christmas show. Instead, they were more festive looking, although I don't really remember the details. The drummer was still wearing a clown nose, though, I remember that. The vocalist was actually kinda normal and make-up-less, and their girl member wasn't dressed like a girl. Anyways, they were fine, I guess. But they didn't play Halloween music, which was kind of a downer. They wound up just sounding like a typical oshare-band. But I know Elm isn't usually like that, so whatever.
At this point, I really, really wanted to leave. But we decided to stick around for AUBE because they weren't too bad last time. So next up is AUBE:
I remember the vocalist was wearing a reindeer costume with a fucking massive reindeer head that looked so uncomfortable, I don't even know how he was holding his head up. He and his band mates, however, were wearing yukata, I think. Uuuum, okay. And the vocalist didn't wear anything under the hakama, so his leopard print boxers were almost completely showing. Anyways, they were pretty whatever. They were definitely playing to an oshare-loving crowd, and they knew it, so the music was pretty dumb. I was pretty happy when they were finished.
There was another band left, but MelJay and I bailed. I couldn't take it anymore. After the crushing disappointment of seeing what happened to two of my favorite acts from back in the day, I don't think I would've enjoyed myself even if all the performers decided to rip their pants off in the spirit of Christmas. The only thing that made the show worth it was being able to say I "accidentally the Girugamesh", and LuLu provided MelJay and I with some bizarre, borderline hilarious discussion topics. Other than that............ fuck dat shit. MelJay and I used our drink tickets (which are always more expensive at HOLIDAY for some stupid reason) and got ourselves some Smirnoff Ice to make the bad go away.
Aaaaaand that's the show. Next up is going to be a (very short) post on the D tour final. Typing (and adding labels) as fast as I can!!!