Anyways, I've been to some strange shows, but this one probably tops all of them in terms of strangeness. I've pondered the various ways I could write up this show, from playing Count the WTF to writing it like the script of a sitcom (just kidding), but I think I'm just going to tackle this one raw and see what happens.
First things first, let me set up a joke for later (a lame way to handle a joke, I know, but I don't know how else to do this). I recently watched an episode of Family Guy where a talking bottle of Jägermeister yells "GET TO THE CHOPPER!" in a thick Austrian accent (obviously meant to be an Arnold Schwarzenegger joke). This is the scene I'm talking about:
A discussion with MelJay about a German actor playing Jaqen H'ghar in the second season of Game of Thrones caused me to (rather inappropriately) start yelling "GET TO DA CHOPPA!" pretty much any chance I had, especially in the case of an awkward silence. Even after we met up with Peachy later, I continued to yell it. So let's just tuck that joke away for later.
So the show was at a venue I haven't been to before, in a part of town I'd never stopped in called Uguisudani (on the Yamanote Line, one stop away from Ueno). The venue itself is called Tokyo Kinema Club (using the weird "kurabu" kanji for "club"). Not sure if there was anything worth doing in Uguisudani, my friends and I started the day in Ikebukuro instead, and went to Ducky Duck, which is specializing in sakura (cherry blossom) desserts. Along with our pasta, each one of us got a different sakura dessert. Mine was mind-blowingly delicious and had green tea cake in it. The desserts were so pretty, we had to take a picture of them:
Anyways, other than food, we just wandered around Sunshine City for awhile before finally heading over to Uguisudani, especially since the show was gonna start a bit earlier than other event shows I've been to lately. Not sure where the Kinema Club was, but suspecting it was near the station, we exited the station, went down some stairs, turned a corner, and found ourselves face-to-face with a young man in a Nazi uniform.
Well then. I guess we found the place.
Actually, the boy was dressed up for the band SOMATIC GUARDIAN, whose vocalist dons military-type clothing. Although the guy's costume looked like a Nazi uniform, his arm-band was the Somatic Guardian symbol. Still, not something you see everyday, lol. There were a lot of interesting-looking people standing around outside the venue, actually, and I suspect it's because we had a rather eclectic lineup of bands for this particular show.
As for the venue itself... it's a damn interesting place. From the outside, it looks like a dump. It's got ugly old rainbow colors on the outside, and the Kinema is missing the "n" on the sign. But going inside the venue is a whole other journey. They let us in in groups of eight and had us ride up an elevator to the sixth floor of the building. Then we had to go down a curving flight of stairs to wind up in the actual venue itself. And the venue's actually really huge. Like, it looks like a major concert venue (and it very well might be). The stage was long and wide, and the audience area easily could've held a thousand people, although we only had maybe four-hundred, if even that. Because of the venue's size, people just spread out all over the place like it was an outdoor summer festival. Near as I can tell, the Tokyo Kinema Club was once a performance theater. It has a fancy drop-down curtain, and a set of stairs leading down from a stage platform to the stage itself. It's the kind of platform a performer would use for a grand entrance during a play. Fuckin' hell, I don't know theater terms. But the thing that makes the Kinema Club awesome is that it has a working popcorn machine next to the stage. And yes, they were actually selling popcorn next to the bar.
Anyhoo, maybe I should've been suspicious about this show, since the choice of venue was so unusual. An indies event at a fancy, ex-theater, major-sized venue? I should've found that strange, but I didn't really ponder it.
Anyways, let's get on with the show. The first band up is SOMATIC GUARDIAN:
Ah yes, I saw these guys before at the Halloween event I went to. I was surprised they went first, cuz they went fairly late in the Halloween show. Anyways, I found the band pretty goddamn annoying the last time I saw them, but they weren't nearly as annoying this time. I still didn't like them, but I also didn't want to pull my teeth out with pliers. They were peppy as usual. Their music is... strange, to say the least. Something between pop and rock, with a lot of electronics or miscellaneous background music that gives the performance the feel of a spastic Japanese variety show. I'm not sure I mean that in a good way. I mean, the band's funny, I'll give them that. When they're trying to be funny, it is pretty funny. But I think SOMATIC GUARDIAN might cross the "stupid barrier" for me. Their audience looked like it was having a helluva time, though. A lot of full-blown para-para dancing is involved in SOMATIC GUARDIAN. Their music is very fast-paced, so it at least kept my attention, if nothing else. At one point, MelJay told me, "if their music didn't suck, they'd be really awesome." I told her that's like saying, "this restaurant would be great, if only the food wasn't terrible." Sorry, but a band's a band, that's all there is to it. Anyways, during the MC, the vocalist said the band is breaking up. Oh. Guess that's why they went first (demotion). Well, they were pretty cheerful for a band that's heading into the massive garbage dump of Disbanded Indies. Also, their vocalist stomped up the stairs into the stage platform for awhile, and it suddenly occurred to me all the possibilities that platform could give the other bands at the show. Let's see who else finds it.
So the second band up is, oh geez... how do I... okay, in Japanese it's written N@H . Um... how do I romanize that? According to VKDB, it's just pronounced Noa. But another site labeled their picture as Nor. And a Japanese blog was calling them Noah. Also, according to VKDB, N@H means "nano human". Wait, what...? Um... so... let's call them N@H, but remember that it's pronounced Noa. Also, stupid Blogger can't handle an @ in its labels, so... they're labeled Noa, with a sarcastic reading in parentheses, lol. Well, whatever. Here's a picture:
Aaaah, wait, I just got it. The "a" is inside the "o"... that's what the @ looks like. So is it NoaH, then? Uuuuugh, who cares, moving on.
Apparently, N@H is a brand new band. They started activities in December. Although it wasn't officially stated until the end of the show that N@H is new, there were several things that indicated this to me during the performance, which I'll explain in a moment.
Anyways, N@H's members come from some bands with names that might be familiar to JRock fans. Their support guitarist is from ClearVeil, and their vocalist/guitarist and second vocalist/DJ (the two in the picture above) both come from the band Heisei Ishin (they were the guitarist and drummer, respectively). Heisei Ishin was a very popular band under Kisaki's UNDER CODE PRODUCTION indies label. This is important, because Kisaki and his label were hosting this show. Anyways, Heisei Ishin did well enough that they graduated from Kisaki's indies label last year with intentions to go major. However, soon afterwards, Heisei Ishin realized they didn't know what they actually wanted to do in the major scene and the band broke up. Now... I noticed something rather............ peculiar as I researched this.
Something very extreme happened on December 10th. No explanation was ever given, but vocalist Taku of Heisei Ishin died. Now, Heisei Ishin was already over when Taku died, but I noticed that, according to VKDB, N@H formed and had its first show on December 11th. So... the day after vocalist Taku passed away. Isn't that............. peculiar............? I can't believe the guitarist and drummer of Heisei Ishin had their first show the day after their ex-vocalist passed away. That's some fucked up shit right there. All I know is, I would not want to be Yukkie and Rai of N@H that day on December 11th.
Anyways, enough with the background shit. Back to the show. N@H took forever to set up, mostly because of the DJ thing. They had to set up a whole DJ booth and all the complicated equipment that goes with it. In general, the band has a slight case of "overcomplicated." They've got a vocalist who always plays some guitar, a second vocalist who does more of the screaming stuff, who is also their DJ and programer on stage, and then they've got two members who aren't listed as support members, but are sort of like... on the fringes of the band (that would be the guitarist from ClearVeil, and the drummer). They're like... unofficially official, or something.
Anyways, as I'm sure you can tell from the picture, the band is somewhere on the oshare-kei spectrum. They're not up to their knees in it like some bands *cough* DACCO *cough*, but the band is definitely shooting rainbows and kittens out of their asses. Now, the thing is, I want to give them points for at least trying to be different. And I would, had the execution been successful. And that's how I knew they were a new band.
My gawd, they were fucking nervous as fuck. They were a new band with two members each attempting the roles of more than one person, and they could not get their shit together. The DJ member had to constantly switch between scratching records, working the soundboard, and doing vocals. This meant his hands had to be in a million places at once, which involved him dropping his headphones about ten times, and fumbling the microphone. He dropped his headphones so many times that he finally just stopped retrieving or using them. But it wasn't just him. The vocalist/guitarist member had to switch back and forth between running around being an oshare-kei vocalist (which usually requires a lot of movement) and playing guitar. This caused him to, no joke, drop his guitar at one point. Both members were constantly fumbling for their things and nearly missing their cues because they weren't switching roles fast enough. By the time the DJ stopped picking up his headphones, I pretty much had my palm permanently glued to my face. But, I mean... I don't want to pass judgment too badly on these guys. On the one hand, it's cool that a guitarist and drummer from one band decided to try something radically different in another band (and don't compare that to what Eru did in Awake. That was just dumb). On the other hand, maybe N@H should stick to what they're good at...? I'm torn because I want to give N@H a pat on the back for trying something different from other visual-kei bands, but I can't help but feel like they're trying to do too much. Like, if you're good at guitar, you should just play guitar. It's sort of like, if you try to be good at a lot of things, you'll never truly excel at anything. That's how I felt about it. But, at the same time, the band is new, the members are working outside their element for the first time, and they looked like they were about to shit their pants in fear, so I'd say they need more time. I'm never gonna like them because I don't like oshare-kei music at all and it's seriously not my thing, but maybe they'll wind up being a good addition to the oshare-kei genre once they get their act together and stop dropping literally everything they touch.
Also, fun fact of the day: yo-ka from DIAURA and Rai (the DJ) from N@H became Best Friend Forever OMG Hearts and Rainbows backstage. I guess the two of them started talking despite their obvious musical differences and discovered that they're the exact same age. Then they became BFFs For Life and gushed about each other on their blogs like they'd each saved the other from a burning building. Seriously, Rai was all like, "OMG I'm so glad I can still make new friends at my age! Yo-ka's so awesome, squee!" and yo-ka was talking about N@H like some kind of advertising agent. They both took pictures with each other that they put on their blogs, and it was pretty funny cuz Rai's a lot taller than yo-ka, so yo-ka's attempting a serious "bad ass" face in both photos. Also, MelJay did some math. VKDB has Rai's exact birth date listed, including the year, and we know yo-ka's birthday (Halloween, apparently). If Rai and yo-ka are the same age, that would make yo-ka only twenty-four years old. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaw! He's just a baby, lol!
Anyways, that went on for way too long, sorry. I'm rambling. Next band up is Megaromania:
GET TO DA CHOPPA.
Seriously. Anyways, Megaromania finally took the stage. They're another UNDER CODE PRODUCTION band that started back in 2008. Most JRock fans have probably heard of them. Anyways, they........ just don't do it for me. I'm really not into power-metal or "dramatic" bands (with the exception of D, because they're dramatic in a way that's meant to be kinda funny). Watching these guys, I kinda just felt like I was watching Versailles, except less good. And really cheesy. Also, Mr. Vocalist, please learn how to lip sync better. I don't even know why you were lip syncing, but it looks pretty silly when your lips aren't even moving with the words. So yeah, Megaromania is reeeeally not my kinda thing. I mean, my antsy-ness wasn't helping, but I was thinking, "please finish, please finish, please finish" the whole time they played. When they were done, this unbelievably sad, dramatic, movie-style music started to play, so I turned to Peachy and grabbed her arm and wailed, "GANDALF, NOOOO!!!" and then pretended to cry. Cracking up, the two of us started blubbering to each other and sobbing things like, "Please, Mr. Frodo, just a little farther!" Sometimes you have to find interesting ways to entertain yourself, lol.
But there's one more thing I have to mention about Megaromania. During the MC, the vocalist was talking, and I wasn't really paying attention until he said a certain thing.
It... was... Kisaki's... birthday.
Oh my god.
That's right. I accidentally attended Kisaki's birthday event, and I didn't even know it. Goddamnit, the fucking internet and tickets didn't say anything about this being a birthday event! I knew Kisaki was hosting, but... I didn't... I didn't realize. That explained so many things, though: the huge, fancy venue, the massive gathering of UNDER CODE PRODUCTION bands, or bands related to the label...
What in the world had we gotten ourselves into?!!
Anyways, the next band up, thankfully, is Lycaon:
By playing the Spot the Towel game, we were able to figure out that Lycaon was next and move up further into the crowd. Finally, a chance to do something.
Slow, jazz-club music was playing, and the band was clearly onstage - although the lights stayed dim - but Yuuki was nowhere in sight. The audience was kinda looking around for him for a moment, until a spotlight suddenly came down on the platform next to the stage. Hah, look who found the pimp balcony. Figures Yuuki would be the next to find it. So while the jazzy music played, Yuuki tried to do a sexy walk down the stairs to the stage. Well, I mean... I think he was trying to sexy-walk. He had one hand on his fedora, and he was kinda swinging his hips, but he was also staring down at the steps and moving in a rigid fashion, so I think he might've been concerned about falling, lol. Not that I blame him. Dark stairs are a treacherous place for a vocalist! But the audience cheered anyways, cuz... I don't know, it just seems right for Yuuki to get a sexy walk down fancy theater stairs.
Anyways, Lycaon was fun as usual. They played the same four jazzy songs they always seem to play when they want a particularly bouncy audience, so I played along. It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed jumping and clapping and headbanging and all the usual Lycaon stuff, but then I kinda noticed something, and then I found myself horribly distracted for the rest of the performance.
Um... how do I say this...? How do I... put this delicately...? Maybe I can't, so I'll just say it: almost all of Yuuki's ass was showing. No, I don't mean his pants slipped a bit and his boxers were showing. And no, I don't mean his boxers also slipped and there was some ass-crack showing. What I mean is, Yuuki wasn't wearing any underwear at all, and his pants had fallen so low that I could see 1/2 to 3/4 of his entire butt at any given time. I'm not exaggerating about this. And I wanted desperately to stop looking, but how do you stop looking?! It was completely bare JRock ass, and Yuuki likes to put his left foot on the crate, so his ass was always facing my direction. The thing you have to understand is... I'm not attracted to Yuuki at all. I mean, obviously he's a damn good-lookin' fella, but I also think he looks like a twelve year old. I could never be attracted to him, because I'd feel like a pedophile. To me, Yuuki's like an adorable little puppy. So I wanted so badly to look away, but I couldn't. And it never went away. All four songs, full-blown Yuuki!ass. It seemed like he actually couldn't pull his pants up, so he kept trying to pull his shirt down instead. It didn't help. Eventually Yuuki seemed to just give up and accept that half the audience can now describe his ass in full detail (it's actually a very nice ass... were it on the body of an adult male, lol...). During the MC, Yuuki sat down on the crate to talk, most likely to keep his ass out of sight. But seriously... that's almost all I remember about Lycaon's performance is ass. So much ass. Damnit, Yuuki...
Next up... oh god... alright... um... next up is something called Kaiki!! Doubutsu AGITATOR, which means "Outrageous!! Animal Agitator". Picture:
I've written about some strange things on this blog, I know. I've been to a lot of shows, seen a lot of things, had a lot of adventures..... But Kaiki!! Doubutsu AGITATOR took even the strangest of adventures and kicked it in the nuts.
For starters, let me give you all the background information I really wish I'd had when I saw this. As I've only just discovered, one of those guys in the above picture is KENZI, from bands like ∀NTI FEMINISM and THE DEAD P☆P STARS. He's also the current president of Anarchist Records. Many JRock fans would probably go "OMG no way" upon realizing they saw KENZI. I know I did. Also, the other guy in the picture is CRAZY-SKB, the president of Satsugai Enka Vinyl and former pro-wrestler. Despite those two men being presidents of labels, the band Kaiki!! Doubutsu AGITATOR is under Kisaki's UNDER CODE PRODUCTION label (surprise, surprise). Now that I've got that information out of the way, let's dive into the Swamp of Insanity that this band brought us.
Okay, here goes...
While loud, spastic, industrial-style music played, the curtain went up. On stage was a chair with a seated, blow-up sex doll tied to it. The blow-up doll was naked, but it had black tape in X's over its boobs. It was also wearing a Barack Obama mask. Behind the doll was a large fat person (couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman... but I think it was a man) in a green, skin-tight, leotard-like dress, wearing a Michelle Obama mask and molesting the blow-up doll from head to toe. Wait, wait, this gets better. Up on the stage platform, a man and a woman - both in their late fifties at least - were wearing formal clothing (a tuxedo on the man and a fancy ballroom dress on the woman), while smiling and swing-dancing around the platform to the screaming industrial music. Sitting on the stairs was a young blond man wearing emo glasses, completely motionless, filming the blow-up doll molestation on stage.
Several minutes passed, in which we all just stared up at this sight in stunned silence. That is, until two men in suits and devil masks came running onstage, throwing their fists. They grabbed the fat man in the Michelle Obama mask and yanked him away from the chair. Then they proceeded to beat the shit out of him, including the bigger of the two picking him up and floor-slamming him, then dragging him up the stairs and throwing him back down. Meanwhile, the older couple continued to smile and dance, and the blond man continued to film in unflinching silence. After the masked guys were done beating the fuck out of the fat Michelle Obama, they each pulled out a pitchfork and began stabbing the Barack Obama blow-up doll to death. They gouged that thing mercilessly, until it was just a pile of rubber on the floor. Then, one of them stabbed the remaining Obama mask through the face, speared it on the end of his pitchfork, and started walking around with it. Then the masked guys suddenly pulled out a pair of plastic buckets.
You could feel the entire audience tense up suddenly. Some people were already backing away. Somehow, as the audience started to stir, the two masked men managed to get offstage, up the stairs, and into the balcony behind us. They each pulled the lids off the buckets and threw them frisbee-style into the audience, and MelJay actually caught one, lol. But we didn't have time to think about that. The masked men were leaning over the balcony with those buckets, getting ready to throw whatever was in them. The audience panicked. Everyone started running to get out of the way, and I was one of them. You have to understand... I used to go to a lot of VAJRA shows. Eru from VAJRA had no problem throwing whole bottles of ink into the audience, or spraying us with red juice (the one day I happened to be wearing white). And the vocalist of VAJRA, Nobro, didn't seem to have a problem fish-hooking and then spitting bloody water at us. So you can understand if I was a little concerned about what two masked men wielding pitchforks might have inside those buckets. As we all pushed against each other to try and clear the floor, I suddenly saw strange, solid objects falling out of the sky. Realizing it wasn't animal blood, fecal matter, vomit, or nuclear waste, I quickly bent down to pick one up.
They were plastic gold coins. They looked like those oval lucky cat coins (imagine the gold coin on the head of Meowth from Pokémon). Each coin had a different animal or object on one side, and Japanese written on the other. They showered tons of these coins on us. Some people looked relieved, some just stood there watching, and some - like me - immediately dove down to collect some. I wound up with a whole bunch, with manekineko cats, daruma dolls, frogs, insects... Here's a picture of some of the coins I took home:
For example, this coin has a frog waving at us outside his house on one side...
And the other side says "muji kaeru" which means "a return to nothingness." Which is meant to be a joke, because "kaeru" can mean "return" or "frog". So it's also "the frog of nothingness."
Aaaaaand that was the end of Kaiki!! Doubutsu AGITATOR. The whole thing lasted less than ten minutes. While the masked men exited the stage, the ballroom dancing couple stood up on the platform , looking down on us. The crowd didn't seem to know what to think, and looked around at each other confused. Feeling like, at the very least, Kaiki!! deserved a reward for pure performance art, I burst out laughing and started clapping. It seemed like my friends and I were the only ones clapping, but I didn't care. Actually, the two people in front of us (one of whom was well into her fifties, despite being a Lycaon fan that does the headbanging and everything), turned around and started laughing with us. The woman was saying the performance was "sugoi!" ("awesome!") and was very impressed and amused by all the coins I collected, lol.
Soooo, yeah... that was Kaiki!! Doubutsu AGITATOR. They're basically like surrealist performance artists, rather than a band (I watched their commercial on YouTube, and it looks like they do other kinds of performance art too). And don't be like, "hey, why do you forgive these guys for not actually being a band with instruments, but you got mad at DACCO at the last show for not being a band with instruments?!" Because Kaiki!! knows what they are, and kept it brief and to the point. The whole thing was maybe seven minutes at the most. Besides, as far as shock-value goes, it was pretty impressive for a silly little indies visual-kei show. And please, don't turn this into a "they mauled the face of the president, they hate America!" thing. This is KENZI of Anarchist Records we're talking about. It's just shock value, and there's little meaning behind it. They wanted to freak us out (like with the buckets), and they managed it. If that meant impaling an Obama mask with a pitchfork, so be it, I guess. When they were in the balcony with those buckets, it was the first time I'd felt real fear at a show since... well, since Eru was in VAJRA, punching fans in the face until they couldn't get up anymore. So... Kaiki!!'s performance was exciting, at least.
Anyways, let's move on! Next band up is DIAURA:
Who have, once again, had a costume change. The fuck?! Didn't they just change costumes a month ago?! What, did Shoya accidentally drop his in a toilet?! Did yo-ka trip and "accidentally" throw his in a microwave? I guess we'll never know. Also, no photo of their new costumes exists yet, so we'll just go back to the "hell feather" costume photo and pretend a rival band didn't sneak up on DIAURA and "accidentally" "fall" with a pair of "scissors" on their new costumes.
I can describe the new costumes, though. They're absurdly sparkly. Yo-ka and Kei both have pants that could burn an ant if they caught the sun right. And yo-ka's pants are crazy-tight. They all have sparkly material on some part of their outfit (or most of it, in yo-ka's case). Poor Yuu is stuck in frills. It's like a frilly, dress-like costume, mostly dark gray. I feel like Yuu wants to "accidentally" feed it to Kei's cat. Shoya changed his hair with his costume. It's kinda orange, now, and he pulls it back off his face and clips it to the top of his head, rather than covering most of his face with his bangs. They all look good in the new outfits, and the sparkliness is... cool, I guess. But poor Yuu, lol.
As for the performance itself, it was good, although brief and old-school (no new songs). I think they played, um... Imperial Core... and then MASTER... and then... um... one of their dog-pile songs. I forget which. I guess it was "an insanity". When it was time for yo-ka to yell, "WHO IS YOUR MASTER?!" at us before MASTER, he quickly realized he could go up the stairs and stand on the platform and yell that at us. Surprise, surprise, yo-ka marks the next vocalist to discover the pimp balcony. That's about as shocking as the sky being blue.
The other thing that was about as shocking as fire being hot and kittens being soft was the fact that yo-ka totally kissed Kisaki's ass during the MC. He went on and on about how Kisaki's always been there for DIAURA and supported them, and then he made the audience sing Happy Birthday to Kisaki. Sigh. And typical yo-ka, he didn't just sing Happy Birthday, he Mariah Fucking Carey'd it. What a ham.
After MASTER, yo-ka started yelling "last song!" and I was like, "what the fuck, only three songs?!" But yeah, it was repeater song, so it went on for about ten minutes, lol. Couldn't really manage a pile with such a spread out crowd, but there was a lot of gyaku-dive, and enough room for even someone a few rows back, like me, to do it. I got in at least seven bouncy jumps off the saizen girls. For whatever reason, yo-ka did attempt to stage-dive at one point. He's lucky he has dedicated fans, cuz only about six girls in about two rows were able to catch him. They put him back on the stage pretty fast, though, thankfully.
Yo-ka was in a weird mood. At one point, he grabbed Shoya and started kissing him repeatedly, despite Shoya's obvious dislike of being kissed. Shoya pretty much squirmed away, although he was laughing about it. Later on, yo-ka decided to start necking Kei continuously while he was on the crate trying to have a freaking guitar solo. Kei looked like he was gonna kill him, lol. Kei always seems so nervous, so breaking his concentration is just an all-around bad idea. I don't know why yo-ka felt the need to suddenly fanservice all over everyone, but no one seemed to want it, lol.
In general, yo-ka was just all over the place, like the size of the stage was baffling to him or something. In fact, at one point, he somehow fell (none of my friends can figure out how, though), and wound up curled up on the floor in the fetal position before finally dragging himself to his feet and staggering for a moment. It's not like yo-ka to wipe out on stage, so I was surprised. Maybe he tripped over the microphone cord, lol.
Nonetheless, the band was in a good mood. Shoya smiled a lot, and Kei was brave enough to actually put himself somewhat in the crowd during gyaku-dive. Peachy says she got a handful of his hair and agrees with my previous statement on the blog... Kei's hair is crispy, lol.
In general, it was a fun, sparkly performance, and it felt sooooo good to see DIAURA after getting cock-blocked at Sunday's show. Yaaaaaay!
Next band up is Black Gene For the Next Scene:
This band presumably went so late in the set because of Rame. Bassist Rame is from the band Vidoll, which used to be an UNDER CODE band before going major. Furthermore, Rame was in one of Kisaki's side project bands at one point.
Like last time, Black Gene was pretty fun. Ice has a knack for getting a crowd moving. Remember how, last time I saw Black Gene, I said Ice would have to fight yo-ka for the title of Best Audience Domination? Well, this was their chance! They were both back there in the dressing room together! They could've had an epic cage-fight or something! Ice is a lot older than yo-ka, though, so maybe yo-ka wouldn't dare, lol. Anyways, like last time, Ice started bossing the crowd around, and the crowd just went with it. He told everyone to get their crap out of the way, and he also told people that were planning to stand in the front but only do hand-furi that they should go to the back so the fans who want to use their whole body can have enough room to actually do it.
Seriously, thank you.
I've been saying that for years.
Ice also told us he wanted us to have a slam-dance pit, but he wanted us all to spin. Then he demonstrated how he wanted this to look, which involved him throwing himself around and bouncing off invisible people like a drunkard. Yikes, is that what we look like to him?! Well that's sad.
But then it was time to actually do circular slam-dancing, and damn was that fun. We all hopped up and down, spinning in circles while intentionally crashing into each other. And yeah, some people tripped and fell, and there were some mass wipe-outs, but we all kept it together pretty well, considering. It was really fun. I couldn't stop laughing while torpedoing in circles through the twirling audience members. Even though this went on for awhile, I was sad when it was over. I wanted to keep slam-spinning!
That is, until I stopped and noticed some girls pointing at me with very concerned looks on their faces.
What...? What is it...? Is something wrong? Do I have something on my - uh oh...
Then I figured it out.
My whole skirt was gone.
Fuuuuuuuuuuuck. That's the second time that's happened to me at a show. However, unlike the Dir en grey show, I didn't have thousands of people to hide the fact that I was wearing nothing but a shirt and tights. I pulled my shirt down (it was a long, stretchy shirt, thankfully) and fumbled around the floor for my skirt. After a few minutes, I found it under a girl's foot and quickly pulled it back on. A few girls laughed, but most had the decency to pretend they didn't notice. That's what I get for wearing a skirt that's at least two sizes too big.
Or was it punishment for staring at Yuuki's ass...........? Touché, Yuuki. Touché.
Black Gene For the Next Scene: so much fun, you'll lose your clothing.
When the show was over, for whatever reason, Ice ran up the stairs onto the platform, pressed his back against the fancy curtains, dropped to his knees, and started to crawl backwards under the curtain like a turtle. He'd scuttle backwards a bit, glance around grinning, and then scuttle backwards a little more. It took awhile for him to disappear. It was... a very odd exit, lol.
After Black Gene For the Next Scene, and before the next band, I went over to DIAURA's merch-booth, which is something I don't normally do. They have new bandanas that don't look like utter crap like their towels. Frankly, I didn't want a bandana that much, but they were cheap, and MelJay said they came with a chekki picture. Frankly, I have no interest in chekki (indies bands are people, not Pokémon cards), but chekki are expensive, so a chekki added to the bandana made the towel ridiculously cheap... sorta. If you can get past the obvious marketing bullshit there.
Anyways, here's the bandana, for anyone curious:
Why yes, I am wearing pink leopard print slippers.
I also got a chekki photo of Yuu (I pulled it from a deck at random). It's like... a ridiculously cute picture of him. Then my friends and I went to go get alcohol to prepare ourselves for the next band...
Lin -the end of corruption world-:
Kisaki's band. Dun dun duuuuun. Actually, my friends and I were only planning on staying long enough to glance at the infamous Kisaki, but it was Kisaki's birthday, and a lot of bands mentioned him during the MC, so we suspected the other bands would do something during Lin's set. Better to stay and deal with a band you don't care for than miss out on the bands you like potentially doing some stupid shit later.
Anyways, I guess I should talk about Kisaki, right? He's second-to-the-left in the above picture. I mean, most of the people who read my blog (at this point) are JRock fans to whom Kisaki should be a household name. But I still get readers who don't know much about my blog's main subject matter, so I should probably give some explanation.
Kisaki is a super important man of importance in the JRock world. Generally speaking, the oldest piece of information people know about Kisaki is that he played bass in a mid-90's band called La: Sadies. Why is that important? Well, the other four members of La: Sadies went on to become the super famous, rich, powerful, and awesome band Dir en grey. Kisaki seemed to be "the one who was left behind". But that's not really true, because Kisaki went on to do his own big things, just not with the other members of La: Sadies-turned-Dir en grey. At this stage in his life, Kisaki is the head of UNDER CODE PRODUCTION, one of the biggest visual-kei labels in Japan, and I believe one of the biggest indies labels in general. He's been in tons of bands, as well as produced tons of bands, as well as composed for tons of bands. His reach through the indies scene is terrifyingly long. I mean, consider the band Kaiki!! Doubutsu AGITATOR that I talked about above. That's two presidents of two different record labels, both of them in a band under Kisaki's record label. That means Kisaki's record label is big enough to devour smaller record label presidents. Spooky.
But, with great power, comes great hatred from the masses. In fact, there used to be a Facebook group (it's gone now) entitled "Kisaki is the devil incarnate." Generally speaking, Kisaki isn't well-liked. And that's not a phenomena of the Western JRock fans. I have Japanese friends who listen to visual-kei music who absolutely hate Kisaki. Kisaki's own fans are extremely dedicated and practically worship the guy, and half the bands in JRock seem to have a boner for him, but Kisaki's overall reputation is for being an arrogant jerk. And, recently, a tax-evading jerk at that. Personally, I have nothing extreme to say about the man. I'll admit, I've found some of his interviews to be... rather rude (example: speaking about Kyo of Dir en grey, Kisaki once said, "he's a runt. I could kill him with a pebble"), but I'm not in much of a position to judge. Kisaki just sort of exists to me. He's like... he's like the Once-ler from The Lorax story. He's just kinda up there, hidden in the shadows, being a boss, and maybe killing some trees, but I'm not The Lorax, I'm just a regular citizen, so I'm just gonna let the Truffula Trees die and enjoy the rest of the forest.
...did that make sense?
So, although I've seen tons of "UNDER CODE PRODUCTION presents" concerts, I've never actually run into Kisaki himself performing at a concert. That could partly be because he was extremely sick the year I studied abroad (we're talking brain surgery-levels of sick), so it was weird to know I was gonna see "The Devil incarnate" in the flesh (just kidding, lol).
Anyways, Lin is Kisaki's current band, despite the fact that he was supposed to have retired a couple years ago with the disbandment of Phantasmagoria. I didn't really know what to expect, so my friends and I just moved to the back of the venue and hid behind the rest of the crowd.
My final opinion is, uuuum... not a fan of Lin. Frankly, the band was just boring to me. The vocalist wasn't especially charismatic, and the music was pretty generic. The guitarist on the right wasn't even playing half the time. I was so bored, I eventually sat down and played with my phone, lol. I guess one thing I missed while sitting down there was Kisaki almost destroying an expensive gong (I heard this from MelJay later). There was this huge gong onstage, and Kisaki started hitting it with the stick so hard the whole thing fell down. Smooth. But yeah, my overall opinion on Lin was that it just wasn't very unique or interesting. At all.
But, as expected, stuff went down at the end, and that's why we stayed. Uuuuh, for starters... one of the members of the band... maybe the left guitarist... he sang a special birthday song for Kisaki, who didn't seem very impressed, and had the guy sing it again. Sigh. Oh, by the way, I looked it up. Kisaki turned 36. Goddamn, I thought he was older. I guess Dir en grey are just a bunch of geezers, lol. Anyways, Kisaki did some MC, said some stuff... I wasn't really paying attention, sorry. Then he had Rame from Black Gene come onstage, and he talked a bit too, and I still wasn't paying attention. Then they announced that they'd bring all the bands onstage.
Well, okay then. Sure enough, all the bands came crowding onto the stage amidst a lot of cheering from the audience. It was kinda funny seeing at least thirty visual-kei performers on stage at the same time. Well, except DIAURA. It looked like DIAURA didn't appear, at first. But eventually I noticed yo-ka and Kei hiding behind Lycaon. Oho, I guess Shoya and Yuu are too cool to celebrate Kisaki's birthday, lol.
Kisaki announced the bands one by one, in the order that they happened. First he announced SOMATIC GUARDIAN, who weren't wearing their make-up anymore, I think. Then he announced N@H, and had them come up front and get special cheering, since they're a new band. Then Megaromania, then Kaiki!! (only CRAZY-SKB was there, I think, wearing normal clothes, and no mask). Then they announced Lycaon, and Yuuki said they had a gift for Kisaki. He held it up and... and... and...
IT WAS A BOX WITH A REMOTE CONTROL HELICOPTER IN IT. HOW COULD I RESIST?!! I turned to Peachy and immediately yelled, "GET TO DA CHOPPA!!!" She pretty much died laughing, lol. Thanks, Yuuki. Clearly, this was destiny. Oh, and then Yuuki accidentally handed the gift to Kisaki backwards and upside-down, and Kisaki was pretty much like, "what the fuck" lol.
Next up, Kisaki announced DIAURA, and said it looked like they'd already left the venue. Everyone started looking around, at which point yo-ka stepped out from behind Lycaon and made the >__> face at Kisaki. Oho! I know yo-ka likes to make the >__> face at Shoya if Shoya so much as breathes near him, but I didn't think he'd make that face at someone as important as Kisaki. Impressive balls on you, Mr. yo-ka. After being pinned by the >__> face of doom, Kisaki apologized and announced DIAURA, even if only two of them were there.
Then they announced Black Gene For the Next Scene, and Ice went up to Kisaki with a gift, but it was wrapped, and Kisaki didn't bother opening it. Lame. I wonder what it was. It was small and round. Peachy thinks it was melted ice cream, lol.
Then they decided to have Lin play a repeater song while all the bands fucked around on stage. Which was... interesting... and awkward, lol. Awkward in that it wasn't actually a gyaku-dive song, so it's not like the bands could do what DIAURA and Lycaon did at the Bisexual tour final and just have a big ball pit all over the heads of the audience. Instead, the bands were left to run around to either A) rile up the audience B) play with each other, or C) stand there looking miserable. That's what Kei did, lol. Actually, I think that was yo-ka's plan too, but Kei grabbed his arms from behind and forced yo-ka to make the "yaaay!" gesture. The bands did the best they could to amuse each other, though. Except for Ice. He just stood there at the front of the stage looking like a disgruntled wildcat. He spent a lot of time just crouched there at the front of the stage glaring at audience members, and made no effort to socialize with the other bands unless they forced him to.
Some of the socialization was pretty funny, though. Seeing that yo-ka was just standing there looking lost and confused for the first time in his life, the pink-haired guy from SOMATIC GUARDIAN ran up to him, grabbed his hands, and forced him to jump up and down with him. Poor yo-ka, lol. Yuuki and Satoshi from Lycaon mostly roamed around the front of the stage riling up the crowd. Rito and Hiyuu looked rather uncomfortable socializing with the other bands, so they kinda walked around randomly, which must've been the worst thing for Kei, who was attempting to hide behind them. I actually started to feel really bad for Kei, who was obviously the most socially awkward guy on the stage. But you know what? Despite what his attitude would make you think about the guy, yo-ka never strayed more than halfway across the stage before running back to Kei to talk with him or try to make him laugh. Yo-ka, you're a prideful, irritable bossy-cow, but you're a good guy. Yo-ka seemed so dazed and confused up there, like he was torn between keeping Kei company, pleasing his fans, and trying not to upstage Kisaki while still being a good frontman. There were a few moments where I thought yo-ka was going to explode from being so neurotic. I think what I learned at this show is that yo-ka's an incredible frontman... when it's his own stage and his own show. But put him on an unfamiliar stage in a strange environment, and he suddenly seems like a scared little boy. Other performers were feeling sorry for him, though, like Rai from N@H, and they would come up to yo-ka and try to get him to laugh or jump around with them. Eventually, Kei seemed to give up on even trying to socialize, so he slouched over to the stairs leading up to the loft and sat down. Being the good guy that he is, yo-ka immediately abandoned whatever microphone he was yelling into and ran to go sit on the stairs with Kei. Which is sweet, but also just made me wish someone would stop the repeater song and put some of the guys out of their misery, lol. For guys like Pink-Hair from SOMATIC GUARDIAN or Satoshi from Lycaon, running around being crazy for ten minutes is easy. But it's not easy for all those guys. After awhile, yo-ka grabbed Kei's head and forced him to headbang, but that was his last attempt at getting Kei to creep out of the shadows. Poor Kei. You tried, buddy, you tried.
Eventually, Kisaki finally ended the onstage party, much to the relief of some, I'm sure. They had each of the bands take their bows one by one and exit the stage. I don't think yo-ka and Kei could've left fast enough, lol.
Aaaaand that was the show. It was basically a big, crazy mess. But a good mess. And full of stories. Which is the best kind of mess.
After the show, we realized there's absolutely nothing to do in Uguisudani, so we took the train one stop over to Ueno and got some McDonald's. Classy.
And that was the show! I already went to another show this weekend, so stay tuned!