After the last post's brief intermission from JRock, we now return to concerts with a one-man!
Choosing to go to THE GALLO's one-man was a tough decision, and I think it was a tough decision for a lot of indies fans. THE GALLO probably thought they picked the most awesome and perfect day ever to host a one-man, because it was a Saturday. Which was a great idea, until you factor in the fact that another venue, on the same day, was hosting an event with both BORN and DIAURA at the same show. Ouch. In fact, not only was that event drawing our attention away, but MelJay was also interested in another event on Saturday that included Kaya. So, between Kaya, BORN, DIAURA, and THE GALLO, we felt like we were being pulled in several different directions at once I mean, how often do BORN and DIAURA play at the same show? Like, never.
Buuuut, in the end, I told MelJay I thought it would be better to do the one-man, and she agreed. The reason we made that decision is because BORN and DIAURA and Kaya are doing events all the time, but how often do one-man shows happen? Not very often. Plus, THE GALLO, musically speaking, are such a goddamn good band... we felt they deserved our money, lol. Especially because we suspected that a lot of people who might've thought, "eh, what the hell" and gone to THE GALLO one-man probably blew it off to go to the other event instead. So... we had to support.
Even though the show was in Ikebukuro, MelJay and I decided to go to Shinjuku first because THE GALLO - who are spoon and fork and chocolate-themed - made us crave a sweets buffet. But then we discovered something truly horrible! The Sweets Paradise near O1O1 One in Shinjuku has closed down!!! NOOOOOO!!!!! Luckily, there are others, so we decided to go to Ikebukuro to try their Sweets Paradise for the first time.
OMG, now I see why the one in Shinjuku closed down. The Ikebukuro one is soooo much better. Not only did it have more sweets selections, it - unlike the Shinjuku buffet - has a chocolate fountain and a popcorn machine. Fuck yeah! The only bad thing was that we had to wait in line for at least a half an hour to get in, whereas we could just walk into the Shinjuku Sweets Paradise whenever we wanted. But so what? We had nothing better to do anyways, lol. But yeah, we totally gorged on sweets and it was awesome. I don't usually eat sweets at home and I hadn't been to Tokyo in weeks, so I was craving sugar badly. The buffet had the best strawberry pound cake.
But enough about food. We shopped around to burn off some of the sugar, then did karaoke before the show. Then we finally headed off to BlackHole for doors, which were at six.
As I expected, the line outside BlackHole was dismally small. Again, a lot of people who might've shrugged and gone to see THE GALLO were undoubtedly at one of the other events. We had only about fifty people waiting around outside the venue, so it was... a little awkward. There was also some guy attending the show who'd obviously never been to an indies show before, so he was walking up and down the line asking girls tons of confused questions before finally just looking around awkwardly and slipping randomly into the line somewhere.
Also, someone important left a freaking massive congratulatory decoration outside the venue for THE GALLO. All in pink. With balloons and flowers. Look at this freakin' thing:
Man, that is one hell of a congratulations card, lol.
Once inside the venue, MelJay decided to go to the bathroom, so I sat down about five rows back in the middle and put my stuff next to me to save MelJay's spot. But then a couple girls came over and one of them practically sat on my stuff, scooting herself and my stuff as close to me as possible. Ooookay... I guess I'm not saving that spot then. When MelJay came back, I got up and gave her my spot and went to the bathroom. According to MelJay, the Japanese girls who sat next to me were whispering to each other about how they couldn't believe I was probably gonna come back and try to squeeze back into that little spot. Um, pardon me, I was there first. Deal with it. When I came back, I squeezed in front of MelJay instead, putting me one row ahead of the bitchy girls, and sat on the floor. Sometimes you have to fight passive-aggressive with passive-aggressive. But I'm really not a jerk, so the moment the show started, I backed out of that row and out of the way of the bitchy girls and moved somewhere to the right of MelJay where it was vacant.
In total, we had about a hundred people at the show. Which is pretty small for a one-man, but the circumstances were unusual. Hopefully THE GALLO factored that into their research and weren't offended.
So yeah, today we are once again going to talk about THE GALLO (or The Gallo or Gyaro, or 9allo. Take your pick). Also, no more delicious fork-hat! I got frustrated when I couldn't find a picture of their new costumes, so I took an incredibly shitty photo of the new pamphlet myself (with my awesome new camera):
I promise I'll take a better pamphlet picture some time, lol.
So, as always, the show opened with Final Fantasy VIII's Liberi Fatali. Which makes me laugh every time, because I'm pretty sure THE GALLO have completely broken the nerd barrier with that one. Then again, the fact that I know what the song is doesn't make me look so good either, lol. The band members came on stage one by one, holding lanterns. We have drummer Kaede, guitarist Hikaru, guitarist Lulu, and bassist Andy. And let me be the first to say that, yes, when people in the audience are screaming "ANDY!!!" at the top of their lungs, it sounds hilarious. As the four members stood there, stone-faced, holding their lanterns, vocalist Jojo came on stage with a spoon and bowl. Some people in the audience were like, "Jojojojojojojo!" lol. About half the audience also had spoons and bowls. I actually brought a spoon with me to the show in case they were selling the bowls before the concert, but they weren't, so I was left prop-less again. But about half the audience didn't have the dishware either, so I didn't feel too bad. Anyways, Jojo led the audience into a frantic banging of spoons and bowls in time to the music. Except, like last time, Jojo never actually touched the spoon to the bowl, so I thought he might be in a bad mood again. Which later proved to be very untrue, so now I'm starting to wonder if he's just worried he's going to break his bowl after so many shows or something, lol.
Anyways, I'm not sure how to go about this post... I always find one-man posts difficult because they lack any order and structure (as opposed to going through bands one by one like I usually do). Well, let's go about this by stepping as far out as possible and then moving in to the narrow points. The show only ran for about an hour and forty minutes, but it was really, really fun, and they packed as much into that time period as possible. The show actually started late, with the sound check beginning after the show should've already begun. Nonetheless, THE GALLO delivered a really awesome time, and they definitely gave it their all. And, as always, seeing a one-man was a good way to get an in-depth look at the band just being itself.
One thing I've noticed before but never mentioned is the backup singer for THE GALLO. It's not one of the guitarists like it normally would be. And it's not even the bassist. It's drummer Kaede. Isn't that interesting? He plays drums and sings for almost every song. It looks really fucking hard. The microphone sits at his left, and he has to lean over pretty awkwardly to sing into it. I don't know how he doesn't break his concentration and fuck something up, but he never does. I mean, he's using both hands and both feet at the same time to drum, and then he's using his face to sing. So basically... he's using everything at once and not fucking it all up. It's kind of amazing.
Other things... guitarist Lulu is a frail looking man, but he headbangs more than all the others, guaranteed. At one point, he and Hikaru went up on either side of the crate for a guitar duet and Lulu just headbanged continuously through the whole thing, so no one even saw his face the entire time because it was just a whirl of blond hair.
Andy's kinda funny in that he always tries really hard to rile up the crowd, but he seems really shy, so he always runs forward and points at the audience and signals to them before running away like we're spitting acid at him.
Hikaru... is Hikaru. He is his own creature, and his chin-length tongue alone is a band member.
And of course Jojo is all kinds of funny. And his head is half-shaved now. There's that too. Also, I'm a little confused about one thing with him. During the show, I didn't notice anything strange or unusual about Jojo ("he wasn't weirder than usual" might be a better way to put it). But Jojo later made a post on his blog (which was private, so I'm a little iffy about mentioning it here) in which he was sort of apologizing for being off at the show because I guess he tripped over his shoelaces backstage and suffered muscle cramps in his legs/feet, causing him to eventually take his shoes off in an attempt to alleviate the pain. But honestly... I really didn't notice anything strange going on with him. So he's either really good at hiding his pain, or he's just so weird that it's hard to notice if he's any weirder than usual or not. Or a combination of the two!
Okay, I'm paddling around when I should just talk highlights. Okay, highlights...
Jojo is doing ventriloquism again. Apparently he hasn't been doing it lately (like the last time I saw them), because he said it was "hisashiburi" (meaning like "it's been awhile"). You know, I've seen a few ventriloquism acts here and there in my life, and I gotta say, Jojo is ridiculously good at it. As in, he's obviously "studied" to be able to do it. His lips don't move 98% of the time, and he can throw his voice so that it really sounds like it's coming out of Vivi-chan, his creepy gothic doll. But being able to throw one's voice isn't what makes a good ventriloquism act - it's being able to banter with the doll as if a real conversation is happening. I mean, Jojo even has the doll try to interrupt him multiple times during a sentence, and Jojo will get frustrated with Vivi-chan when she says something incorrect. The whole thing sounds like a real conversation, and Jojo's own band mates can't stop laughing while he's doing it. Actually, there was one thing Jojo did that really impressed me. Jojo always presses the microphone against the side of his mouth when he throws his voice, so I always figured he uses the microphone to make his voice travel to Vivi-chan. But, after their MC, Jojo decided to have Vivi-chan take his place and yell at the audience to get us riled up. To be funny, Jojo put the microphone in front of the the doll's face. Yet somehow, Jojo's voice was just as loud, and it was still coming from the doll. I even thought for a second that maybe the trick all along was that the voice comes from someone other than Jojo, like a recording, or even another band member. But the one or two times I've noticed a twitch of Jojo's lips give away his stunt tells me that it really is Jojo throwing his voice. He's just... weirdly good at ventriloquism, even without the microphone, lol.
Other things... the band played three new songs. Off the top of my head, I can say they were very jazzy (which makes sense, because THE GALLO is a jazzy band). One of the songs involved a stepping movement. It's like step right, pause, step right, pause, clap clap clap. Step left, pause, step left, pause, clap clap clap. One thing I found really funny was that Jojo didn't give the girls in the front row a chance to come up with the new furi like they usually do. Instead, he told us what to do himself. Any time the girls stood there awkwardly trying to figure out what would fit with that part of the song, Jojo would start doing a motion to encourage us to do what he thought would look best. Thanks, Jojo. That kept things from getting awkward and chaotic. Anyways, the new songs seem like a lot of fun, and I'm definitely looking forward to them becoming available.
There was chocolate. Jojo waited until everyone was headbanging and wouldn't see him doing it. Then, when we all looked up, Jojo already had a handful of melted chocolate and four finger-shaped chocolate smears across his face. Way to go, Jojo. The best part was that the band left after that song and, when they came back for encore, the chocolate was still all over Jojo's face. Sexy.
In general, watching the band play is just really freakin' enjoyable. A lot of indies bands are entertaining because they're entertaining performers, but THE GALLO has the added benefit of being really good at their instruments, so I find myself impressed and entertained at the same time. "Baby MERRY" bands exist all over the indies scene, but THE GALLO is a band who actually does it well. And they have Gara's blessing, since Jojo and Gara are actually friends in real life. And yet, despite that friendship, THE GALLO doesn't sound just like MERRY. They also have their own GALLO-like sound. Good for them!
The band has a new commercial on their channel that shows some live footage including everyone banging cutlery to Liberi Fatali, as well as Kaede singing and drumming, and other such stuff. You can watch it here:
Other stuff... Jojo did some MCs without ventriloquism, and it was the first time I've ever seen him do an MC without the doll (the time I saw him skip the ventriloquism act, he just didn't MC at all). Jojo's MCs are... as awkward as you'd expect, lol. A lot of, "uuuuuuuuuuh..........." going on. I guess they're having a concert on Hikaru's birthday soon, so Jojo was like, "and in honor of Hikaru's birthday... Hikaru... is going to sing, yay!" While the audience cheered, Hikaru began frantically shaking his head and waving his hand in front of his nose (the Japanese hand gesture for "no"). Jojo was like, "c'moooon, you're gonna sing!" and Hikaru kept shaking his head, looking horrified. He was also laughing a lot, which I think is the first time I've seen Hikaru smile, and he's surprisingly adorable under all that Hell-spawn make up (and when his tongue is properly inside his face). The audience was like, "kawaiiii!" The other members MC-ed a little too. Kaede was the most talkative, which might explain why he does backup singing even while he's a flailing drum-octopus. I guess he just likes using his voice! Andy gave a short, shy MC as one would expect. Lulu didn't know what to say, so he was like, "...minna daisuki" ("I love you all"). About half the audience was like, "aaaaw!" while the other half was like, "whoooooo!" and started making sexy noises, lol. GALLO fans are funny.
What else, what else... I'm bad at transmitting the "awesome levels" of one-man shows, lol. But it was an hour and forty minutes of jumping and headbanging and, at least in my case, dancing around whenever I wanted. I was kinda sad when it ended, but I also acknowledge that THE GALLO wants to be seen as a serious band ("serious" as in a "real band", not "serious" as in "not funny." Because you can't be "serious" with chocolate all over your face). Because THE GALLO wants to be taken seriously, they don't extend songs, and they don't do filler. And I think that's very admirable. We got two encores, though, which was great. I told MelJay the show wasn't allowed to end until they played ALICE IN DEAD END, and then they did, so yay! Also, I'd been feeling like there was awkwardness any time Jojo noticed MelJay and I the last few times we saw THE GALLO, and I thought it was because we keep running into the band out on the streets without their make up (which is dumb, since THE GALLO was on a music show recently for forty minutes with no make up). But, during ALICE IN DEAD END, I was overly-excited and I started flipping my hair side to side while jumping. Jojo noticed, and I got a huge, toothy smile out of him. Yaaaay! The awkwardness is broken! Maybe he finally realized having foreigners in the audience isn't a sign of the impending Apocalypse, lol. Before the second encore, the band came back, but without Jojo. Then the band stood around awkwardly, looking like they were waiting for Jojo, who didn't appear for another minute at least. When he finally showed up, he was really out of breath and flustered, which was odd. MelJay's theory is that that was the moment when Jojo couldn't stand his leg/foot cramps anymore and took his shoes off. I think that's a solid theory. And then second encore was awesome, and injury-free.
Anyhoo, after the show, two lines formed at the merch tables. One for buying CDs and miscellaneous stuff (like "chekki", which are those weird little signed pictures of the band members), and another line formed for a GALLO DVD! The DVD was 4000 yen, which is a bit pricey, but I decided I wanted it anyways because THE GALLO is funny and I want to own their lolz in a re-watchable way. And it came with a separate comment DVD. Lulu was immediately on the floor, manning the CD booth himself. Kaede took over the DVD booth right before MelJay and I got in the line. The whole time we were in line, Kaede was glancing at us with that dread look of impending doom that Japanese people get on their faces when they think they might have to speak English. Sigh. The moment we got up there, we made sure to say "otsukaresama deshita" ("good work today") and other such things to make it clear that Kaede didn't have to have an English-induced heart attack if he didn't want to. He looked a bit relieved, and thanked us and stuff, and we thanked him, and then ran off.
And then we went to Jonathan's to load up on caffeine. Because I have a caffeine addiction and I see nothing wrong with drinking a lot of coffee and tea at 9:00 at night.
So yay, that's my one-man report! It was great, and I'm looking forward to seeing THE GALLO again! I have two shows this weekend, so stay tuned! And I'll try to sneak more non-JRock-related things on here too!