Friday, April 27, 2012

Ameblo

Well, I resisted for awhile, but... I finally made myself an Ameblo.  I never really wanted one, but my Japanese is going to shit and I need to practice something other than just reading or listening to it.  I especially need to work on my vocabulary, kanji, and grammar, and actually working with the language is a great way to do that.  Anyways, I'm putting this here in case anyone who has some ability with Japanese and has an Ameblo wants to friend me.  Hell, if you have no Japanese ability at all but still play around with Ameblo, feel free to friend me.

I also plan on friending some indies performers so I can have access to their private posts like all the other fans, but the thought of having an Ameblo with nothing but indie musician friends kinda creeps me out.  That's not really what it's for...

So, yeah... I'll be writing all in Japanese, and I'm going to attempt to update at least a couple times a week.  Most likely, my Ameblo posts won't be focusing on concerts, other than the usual お疲れ様でした to the bands, and some highlights or amusing stories in brief.  Most likely my Ameblo will be more personal, like pictures of food, or stupid things with make up, or dumb stories from school.  Mostly just a way for me to practice casual Japanese.  I was thinking about trying a new type of grammar each time or something like that.

But a warning: I will make a lot of mistakes.  Japanese is obviously not my first language, and I only had a loose grasp of it in high school, and I didn't study very hard in college despite Japanese being my major (because I'm a terrible student).  Even living in Japan, I don't make an effort to pick up Japanese very much.  So please expect frequent errors or awkward phrasing on my part.

Despite all that, if you're interested, please feel free to friend me.  My Ameblo is: ameblo.jp/ticket-ninja

じゃあ、日本語でしましょうか?かいつまんで話せば、やっとアメブロが作って、アメンバーを探しています。私のアメブロに興味があれば、アメンバーになりましょう!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Food and Flowers

Y'all like food and flowers, right?  I mean, food and flowers are pretty awesome things.  I would like to share those things with you.

First thing's first, food.  I got to go to the army base near Tokyo with some friends of mine recently, and they have a cafeteria with American fast food.  Frankly, I never liked fast food in the states, but when you've been gone this long, you start to crave it anyways.  I was excited to discover that this place had...

1) Taco Bell with volcano tacos:

  

2) Pepperoni pizza (which I drenched in awesome hot pepper):


3) Holy mother of Cinnabon:


On the Japanese side of things, Mister Donuts is selling sakura doughnuts!


I also discovered this drink:


As for non-food related things... it's cherry blossom season.  I felt like a total tool taking these pictures like a goddamn tourist, but the flowers were there, and my camera was in my purse, so I sighed and took 'em anyways.

Thumb fail.
I suck at taking pictures...
This is the elementary school near my apartment.  WHO THE HELL LET ME TAKE PICTURES WITH MY PHONE?!!
Alright, here's a sakura picture taken with my actual camera:

Yaaaaay!  I finally took a good picture!  Juxtaposed with the old, abandoned train.  I'm officially an ARTIST.
Also, this is what I do to my face when I'm extraordinarily bored:

Raaar.


Hope you enjoyed!

See y'all next time!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Indies, 4/7, Shibuya Rex


Sorry this is a bit late.  The new school year just started, so I’ve been kept busy with ceremonies and staff parties.  I also decided to see what happens when my laptop consummates its marriage with ginger tea.  The answer is: the laptop dies.  And the tea probably rolls over, smoking a cigarette.  So I’m writing and posting this from a new laptop.  The only problem is, I haven’t reconnected this laptop to the school internet (and I’m not sure I ever will), so I’ve been doing all the research and fact-checking stuff for this post at home, rather than at work (I still wrote all this at work).  Not using school hours to make a blog post is probably the way things should be, but it also slows me down horribly.  Instead, I’ve been using school hours to read book 3 of the Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones series.  Fuck you, Cersei, you bitch whore.  That’s all I have to say.

Anyways, we’ve got quite a story for this particular show.  It was extremely eventful, which I’m more than happy about, since it makes for lots of good stories.

We began our day at a pizza place, where Peachy and MelJay and I all decided to get alcohol, despite the fact that it wasn’t even 1:00 yet.  We figured we’d start the day off with a bang, lol.  We goofed around for awhile before heading to the venue, which was Shibuya Rex.  We hadn’t been to Rex in awhile, and Peachy had never been there at all.

Our hosting band for the day was THE GALLO, but we also wanted to see a few of the other acts.   With eight bands in attendance and the THE GALLO obviously going last, we knew we were in for the long-haul.

Hmm… let’s just get right to it.  Shibuya Rex is shaped like a death trap, for the most part.  Although I like the venue itself, I’m always frustrated by venues that are longer than they are wide.  Rex is one of the worst when it comes to that.  At first, the venue was playing THE GALLO’s music, but then it started playing Signal, and we knew Signal was probably going to be the first band.  Being one of the main acts we wanted to see (and the one I named to the lady who took my ticket), we wanted to move forward and get a better view.  But trying to navigate through Rex is, as Peachy would probably put it, like trying to “ford the river” in Oregon Trail (old reference is old, I know).  We shuffled forward as much as we could for Signal, but we only managed to get about halfway up.  And I could tell the people around us didn’t give a crap about Signal, so I knew the whole thing was gonna be a bit of a buzzkill.  Damn you, spot-savers!

So, indeed, Signal was the first band up:


I’ve been meaning to see Signal again for months, but this was the first chance I had.  As I mentioned last time, I think Signal are totally awesome.  Awesome in a way where they don’t even sound indies to me.  But I didn’t know them particularly well the last time we saw them, so I was hoping I’d feel a little less WTF this time, lol.

So Signal came on stage, and I think they’ve changed their costumes a little.  They’re not radically different from what they were before, but they’re definitely, like… blacker and stuff, lol.  Yuri was wearing the same coat from before, but he took if off almost immediately (sometimes I wonder why vocalists even bother with coats). 

Ah, right, member introduction (I didn’t know them well enough to do this last time).  On vocals we have Yuri (the middle one in the picture).  Some might know him from his previous band, dizSOLID.  Also, fun fact of the day: the kanji spelling of Yuri's name is, in fact, the same kanji for "lesbian erotica."  In case any of you manga readers were wondering.  Good job, Yuri.  Moving on, the right guitarist is Rua (far right in the picture), and the left guitarist (the token female one) is ShinyA.  On bass we have SHION (second to left), and on drums is Korey (next to Yuri, with the black hair).  All the members, other than Yuri, appear to be first-timers in the scene.  Yuri’s been around since 2000, but the others aren’t listed in any previous bands.  It’s a little strange that these youngsters have more talent in their pinkie fingers than so many of their VK elders.  Just sayin’…

So Signal opened with their most recent single, GLOW BACK OVER SCARS.  They didn’t play GLOW last time, so it was cool to see it this time.  Just watching the band, I really can’t believe these guys are new.  Rua and ShinyA are absurdly good guitarists, and SHION’s fuckin’ sick on the bass.  His bass solo is just as awesome live as it is in the GLOW PV.  And Korey’s a total drumming-machine.  These guys play like they’ve been around for ten years or something.  At one point, I thought maybe they weren’t actually new musicians, but new to the visual-kei scene and unlisted on any of the visual-kei websites.  But I don’t think that's the case.  To be honest, they look young.  Rua and SHION, in particular, look extremely young.  I strongly suspect they’re first-timers.  So where the hell did Signal’s higher-ups find such talented n00bs?!  What kind of audition did these guys have to go through?!  Did they have to run through a pool of vipers?!  Tackle a moose?!  Bring peace to a warring tribal society?!  Seriously, where the fuck did they find these guys?!

Yuri, of course, is great, but he’s hardly a first-timer.  His screaming range is incredible, and he  can make some wild noises.  The sounds you hear on the CD are the sounds he produces in person, too.  Even the little-girl scream.  His singing voice is also very distinct, and not so different from his speaking voice.  In fact, the moment Yuri started calling out to the crowd before the first song started, I had to suppress a giggle at how Yuri-esque his voice is.  It’s very nasal, but also throaty.  So, like… one big sinus mess, I suppose, but I like it.

Anyways, like last time, Signal played four songs, yet only one of those songs has been released.  I had no choice but to play along and pretend I knew the songs, lol.  It’s frustrating to hear all this music that you have no access to, but Signal’s releasing a mini-album in May, so I guess I just have to be patient.

As expected, the crowd was utterly dead.  We had the same problem last time.  I get really frustrated in these kinds of situations.  Like, these girls scream and squeal over the most unbelievably talentless shit, yet the moment something with skillz takes the stage, everyone’s in a deadpan.  Peachy and MelJay and I wound up being a little fan-island in the Sea of Disinterest, which was awkward.  Yuri definitely noticed, too, and stared at us about 30% of the time.  It got to the point where I was actively avoiding his eyes because, every time I looked at Yuri, he was staring right at us.  And I don’t think it’s cuz we’re foreign, I think it’s just cuz we were the only excited people within a ten-foot radius.  Participation was basically the saizen, a handful of people in the second and third row, and us, about twenty feet back.  I wish more people would’ve gotten into it, but no one seemed interested.

Despite the zombie audience, Signal did their best.  Yuri’s extremely hyperactive.  I mentioned this last time, but there’s something strangely dorky about him.  One minute, he’ll be screaming like a banshee, and the next minute, he’ll be jumping up and down flapping his arms and doing a happy-dance.  There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to these mood swings, either.  He goes from hardcore death-metal screaming to giggling like a school-girl and hopping around shooting rainbows and puppies at us.  It makes the audience laugh, though, which is better than no reaction at all.  Every time Yuri suddenly started hopping side to side doing his little squee-dance, the letters WTF seemed to float above the heads of the audience in an inflated, oversized font.  I really don’t know how to describe this dance.  Last time, I said he did a Chicken Dance.  But this show's dance didn’t involve arm-flapping.  He had his elbows tucked in at his waist, his hands up under his armpits, and he was hopping side to side with a big grin on his face like this dance was the most funnest thing ever in the history of fun things.  But at least he didn't do a booty-pop at this show, lol.

Other than Yuri, the band did their best to be active, despite the less-than-stellar welcome they received.  ShinyA seemed a bit tired, so SHION was constantly bothering him and trying to make him smile.  Rua seems to feed on attention like a vampire feeds on blood, so he was always at the front of the stage, trying to get a reaction out of the audience.  He has this air of, “LOOK AT ME!  LOOK AT MEEEE!!!  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY AREN’T YOU LOOKING AT ME?!!”, but I think it’s good that he’s at least trying to be involved.  At one point, ShinyA had a guitar solo, so the Signal fans cheered.  Rua, seemingly overwhelmed by how much attention was being diverted away from him, ran up to the front of the stage and started waving his arms as if to say, “AAAAND RUA!!!  YEAH, RUA!!!”  It’s okay, Rua, you’re an equally awesome guitarist, and the fans know this and appreciate it.  It’s okay, buddy.

Something that’s nice about Signal is that they seem to appreciate their fans.  Korey’s blogged about how his favorite thing is to have the audience give him the finger.  During Yuri's MC, MelJay specifically flashed the middle finger at Korey, and got a grin and a finger back from him.  At one point, Yuri was demanding that people scream.  I hate screaming, but MelJay’s a goddamn loudmouth.  Her scream was pretty obvious above everyone else’s and earned her a smirk and a finger-point from Yuri.  It was one of those finger-points where you look like you’re shooting the person and going “aaaay” lol.  MelJay, having lots of good luck, also managed to get one of ShinyA’s picks.

After Signal was done being awesome, my friends and I moved to the back of the venue.  We suspected a band we didn’t care about would play next, so we moved back to make room for their fans.  Cuz, you know… we’re not spot-saving assholes, lol.  We went into the bar area to get some drinks (although I’d already had alcohol, I wound up just getting melon soda.  An alcoholic, I am not).  While back there waiting to get to the bar, someone squeezed past me with enough force to make me jump around.  Turned out it was Yuri, lol.  He was heading down the hall towards the merch booths, still wearing his black wife beater and big, shiny belt.  Not having anything we needed to purchase, we didn’t follow him out there and instead stood near the bar, drinking our sodas.  But the sound of Yuri shouting very loudly about something was wafting in front outside (it’s hard to miss that sinus voice of his).

Eventually, we went out there to investigate, only to discover Yuri manning the merch booth in the only way he seems to knows how: by screaming at every passing person to buy tickets to their first one-man show.  It was making people laugh, so it wasn’t an entirely ineffective method.  Attention is better than indifference.  I stood there watching in amusement until Yuri, apparently dissatisfied with his shouting range, suddenly leaped out from behind the booth and went rushing into the crowd of people milling around.  His new tactic: shove tickets in peoples’ faces and yell at them to go to their one-man.  He was trying to push deeper into the audience, but found himself blocked by the sea of shifting people, so a girl in the audience actually went up behind him, shoved him in the ass, and squeezed him through the crowd.  Well, that’s one way to get somebody moving.  Yuri was surrounded by a circle of girls giggling at his loud, spastic ways.  Whether or not he actually managed to convince any of them to buy a ticket, however, I have no idea.

By that point, Rua had come out and was also standing behind the merch booth asking people (in a much more quiet fashion) to come check out their stuff and buy one-man tickets.  His birthday was a few days earlier, so MelJay decided to go up to him and wish him a happy birthday.  I stayed where I was for the most part, but watching the transaction was pretty hilarious.  Rua seemed completely panicked by a foreigner suddenly speaking to him.  He was almost comically wide-eyed.  I guess he didn’t know what else to do, so Rua shook hands with MelJay.  Then he tried to ask her about the one-man show, because Signal is very seriously intent on selling tickets to this thing.  MelJay turned him down (and probably broke his soul), and asked about buying a chekki picture from him instead.  Rua held some out and let her pick one.  It turned out to be SHION.  When MelJay announced it was SHION, Rua just repeated the name in a hollow voice and looked around with panicked, shifty-eyes.  He was like a panther caught in a cage.  I was starting to feel kinda bad for him.  That kid needs a chill pill, lol.  By that point, the lights were going down for the next band, so Yuri went running back behind the merch booth and he and Rua disappeared.  But the Signal lolz don’t end there.  We’ll get back to them in a bit.

The next band up was Ziggrat:


I think this picture's out of date.  I think they only have four members now...

So we’ve seen these guys before.  It’s like the ‘80’s took a massive dump on them or something.   The thing I find frustrating about Ziggrat is that I don’t actually think they’re bad musicians.  And, in fact, they could probably be pretty good if they dropped the gimmick.  But, perhaps because they’re trying to feed their frivolous, fashionable gimmick, their music tends to have this repetitive, hollow feel to it that I just can’t get past.  I don’t know… I can’t put my finger on it.  They have all the makings of a decent band, but they’re somehow just not that great.  I don’t know why.  It’s not because I think their costumes are ridiculous.  It’s something in their music.  I just don’t know…

Anyways, after Ziggrat, I immediately heard the telltale sounds of the Yuri Voice behind us.  Boy, that didn't take long…  Yuri had Korey with him this time.  I turned around and watched them, and Yuri kept glancing at us, so I was preparing to turn away before anything got awkward.  But then Yuri gave us a big grin and waved at us.  He’s got an irresistibly cute smile, I must say.  I was hesitant to go over there, but Yuri started talking to us anyways.  He held up their GLOW BACK OVER SCARS single and asked if we were interested (by holding the single up to his face and flashing us another smile.  I think he knows he has a cute smile).  I hesitated, then awkwardly went up to him and said, “mou kaimashita kedo…” (“I already bought it…”).  His response to this was to jump back as if he’d been punched and go, “whooooa!”  Then he high-fived me, hahahaha.  The ice broken, Yuri suddenly really wanted to talk to us.  I think he was bored.  He grabbed my hand so suddenly, I almost hit the ceiling.  Please warn me the next time you want to shake hands, lol.  Korey was standing there smirking.  When Yuri was done shaking my hand, I looked up and saw Korey holding his fist out at me.  For a good five seconds, I stared at his hand, completely baffled.  Then I realized he wanted to fist-bump me, lol.  Laughing, I gave him my most ghetto bro-fist, hahaha.  Yuri, with his one-track mind, immediately asked if we were interested in going to their first one-man.  The truth is, we were extremely interested, and MelJay had been nudging me about it for weeks.  But the show’s on a Thursday, so… it seemed impossible.  We all glanced worriedly at each other, and MelJay and Peachy started saying all the maybe’s that you expect from people who really want to go to something and are willing to do something reckless to make it happen.  Finally, I turned back towards Yuri and asked him what time the show starts.  Apparently, he still hadn’t figured out that I speak Japanese, so his initial reaction to my sentence was to go “whoooa!” again, and give me a big thumbs-up.  Um… thanks…?  Korey was grinning rather devilishly at all this.  Yuri told us what time the show starts, and I explained to him that I live in Gunma, so it's hard for me to go to shows.  Then I told him we'd think about it, and my friends and I scooted out of the way and began discussing.  We made sure to do it in hushed voices, however, because Korey seemed to be listening, and we think Korey speaks English.

Do you speak English, Korey?  Are you reading this?  If you are, you understand all this, right?  You’re from Okinawa and you use really great English on your Ameblo.  Well, if you do speak English and somehow found my blog, we love you guys!!!  Keep on rockin’!  We're seeing you again on 5/26!

So anyways, back to our discussion.  We decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it.  We went back over to the merch booth and told Signal we’d buy their one-man tickets.  Yuri got very excited and handed us the tickets personally and thanked us profusely while their super nice merch lady did the money transaction.  I remember that lady from the last show and she’s super sweet.  Korey thanked us too, with perfect English inflection and no Japanese accent at all.  You’re fluent, sir, I can tell!  You’re not fooling me!!!   The lights were going down as we were making the transaction, so Yuri and Korey thanked us a few more times and ran off while we were still exchanging money.  The lady was very nice and finished up with us and thanked us even as the next band was starting,

Let’s see, who was the next band…?  It must’ve been the UNDERCODE band Vior gloire:


They were boring.  That’s literally all I can say about them.  Extremely boring.  The music relied too heavily on synth, and there was nothing exciting about their performance at all.   The band seemed asleep on its feet, and the music was pretty uninspiring.  I was ready to fall asleep myself, except………..  It had already come to my attention during Zigrrat that there were three people in the audience who absolutely should not have been there.  There was a man and a woman who were obviously a couple, and a female friend with them too.  Anyways, they were drunk.  And I don’t mean tipsy, or the kind of drunk where you’re still in control and enjoying yourself.  I mean, so drunk, they could barely stand up.  The man had to hold up his girlfriend the entire time because she kept falling into people, and the third wheel was swaying and stumbling this way and that and knocking into everyone around her.  The drunk group’s attempts at furi caused them to fall even more, and even slam heads together at one point.

Genius.

Anyways, as obnoxious as this was, I could’ve let it go if Third Wheel hadn’t gone and gotten into a fight with an older man.  That’s when I started to get angry.  There was a guy in the audience who was well into his forties, but he was very short and petite, and he was in the back not bothering anybody; just nodding along to the music.  Anyways, Third Wheel kept stumbling into him, so he finally started to push her away.  The girl got furious and started shoving him back and drunkenly swatting at him.  Drunk-fighting.  Real classy.  I turned to Peachy and went, "meow."  Anyways, the man – being the mature one of the two – gave up after a minute and moved one row back, then bowed his head in submission.  He obviously wanted the fight to end.  Apparently, this wasn’t enough for Third Wheel.  She kept turning around and shoving the poor man and trying to continue the fight, no matter how much the guy backed off.  He tried to stay in that area, at least, but Third Wheel kept turning around and giving him the nastiest looks possible and shaking her shoulders in a threatening manner.  Eventually, the guy moved all the way to the other side of the venue to get away from her.  The look on his face was absolutely devastating.  He looked so sad…  At that point, my blood was boiling.  All I could think was, if Third Wheel tried that shit on me, she was in big fucking trouble…

The next band up was… Saintia…? 


 I’m trying to remember what they were like.  I don’t think they were much more interesting than Vior gloire, if I’m remembering correctly.  The same uninspiring “meh”.  Nothing at all to say about them.  Unfortunately, my friends and I had moved up a couple rows, and now the drunk people were right behind us.  Guess what they were doing between Vior gloire and Saintia?  If you guessed “standing at the bar getting more drinks”, you win ten points!  Although I wasn’t finding Saintia particularly stimulating (honestly, it's like they're not even in my memory at all anymore...), that didn’t stop the rising tide of wrath inside me as the Third Wheel continually stumbled against my back.  It wasn’t the fact that she kept knocking into me that made me mad… it was picturing that guy’s miserable face over and over and over…  Third Wheel stumbled into me about ten times, and then she grabbed my ass to steady herself.

That’s when I lost it.  I whipped around and smacked her arm off of me, then started wrestling her away as angrily as possible.  She was so surprised, she just teetered back and forth like a bumper car between my arm and her friends.  Finally, she stumbled into me again, looking completely overwhelmed, and I caught her with my arm and held her back with the nastiest look on my face I could manage.  She managed to stand herself up, that same dazed expression on her face, so I turned away, hoping I’d taught her a lesson.  That's when I felt something patting me on the head.

DOES THIS BITCH HAVE A DEATH WISH?!  HOW DRUNK DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO CONDESCENDINGLY PAT YOUR COMBATANT ON THE HEAD?!!

I whirled around again and smacked Third Wheel’s hand away.  This time, I bared my teeth at her.  And yet, when I turned back towards the stage, I felt Third Wheel patting me on the head again.  I whipped around, this time prepared to start screaming, but instead I was met with the most submissively apologetic face I’ve ever seen on a human being.  Third Wheel had her hands clapped together in prayer and was bowing over and over apologizing to me.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to do in response to that, so I just frowned and turned away.  I thought it was over at that point and that I’d finally put the drunk girl in her place, but when I turned around a few minutes later, Peachy had her arm looped through Third Wheel’s arm, and Third Wheel was leaning on her with a big, drunken grin on her face.  According to Peachy, Third Wheel literally asked her, “can I lean on you?”  At that point, I was so baffled, I didn’t even know what to do.  I raised my eyebrow at Peachy, who just shrugged.  Well, I guess Peachy felt sorry for how sickeningly drunk Third Wheel was, and was willing to show her mercy, but I sure as hell wasn’t after the way TW treated that guy.  But TW only hung onto Peachy for a few minutes before I felt something tap me on the shoulder.  I turned around and saw Third Wheel bowing to me again.  Her and her friends were leaving the venue right there in the middle of Saintia’s performance, stumbling this way and that and apologizing all the way.

Huh.  I can’t believe my aggression actually worked.  I actually scared the drunk people out of the venue…  I didn’t think that would actually happen.  I mean, I’m glad it did, don't get me wrong.  Those three absolutely shouldn’t have been there.  They were a danger to themselves and others, and Third Wheel’s friend looked like she was going to throw up a few times (dropped to her knees with her hand over her mouth and everything).  That would've been the most disgusting thing ever.  To be honest, being physically violent towards someone goes completely against my nature.  I hate it more than anything, and I’ll do anything to avoid a fight.  But I have my limits, and Third Wheel crossed them.  If wrestling with a drunk girl is what it takes to get that hazard away from everyone else, so be it.  I just don’t want to have to do that again.

The next band up is TRIGGAH:


Their new look is weirdly bright.  All their previous pictures were all dark and sad looking, lol.   Also, you have no idea how much I like saying this band's name.  If you add a growl to it, it’s perfect.  TRIGGAAAAAAAAH…  Anyways, my friends and I were curious about TRIGGAH, and we wanted a good view of them.  I’ve seen them advertised a lot in stores like Zeal Link and Like an Edison, so I started to suspect one of the members was from a popular band.  I looked them up and, sure enough, the vocalist is from THE GLADROW.  I saw THE GLADROW once when I studied abroad, but the band was already in the process of breaking up when I saw them.  Nonetheless, I remembered them being kinda hardcore (and one of their members had the balls to steal a bottle of water right out from under yo-ka’s nose while Valluna was playing, which resulted in yo-ka furiously spitting water in the guy’s face, lol).  I decided to do some YouTube sampling of TRIGGAH, and was pleased to see that they’re a more “aggressive” band.  Having seen them live, I can confirm that they’re definitely more “hard-core” than a lot of other acts in the scene, and I’m definitely curious about them.  They were a lot of fun.  They weren’t really visual-kei, just a straight-up rock band.  But I find that refreshing.  I’ve never given a shit about visual-kei.

I wish I could say more about TRIGGAH, because I really enjoyed myself while they played.  Unfortunately, since I didn’t know anything about them, it’s hard for me to remember anything beyond a first impression.  The vocalist is very intense and screamy, and the music is loud and fast-paced and very in-your-face.  It was also fun, which is good, and the audience seemed to have a good time.   A lot of jumping and stuff.  There was some side-to-side, too, and I was very amused by the fact that the sad older man that ran away from Third Wheel was now back in his old spot and rocking out like crazy.  He was obviously at the show for TRIGGAH, and he even did the side-to-side in his own little area next to us.  He looked extremely happy, which made me happy.  I got yer back, man!  Anyways, yeah, overall, my first impression of TRIGGAH was pretty positive.  They’re actually hosting a show that I’m seeing next month, so we’ll run into them again.

Oh, and I think SHION from Signal sneaked behind the merch booth at that point,.  I didn't even recognize him at first.  He was wearing thick nerd glasses, and his hair is really dark and flat now.   But he was really shy and made no attempt to talk to anyone.  In fact, he wasn’t even behind his own booth for awhile, and was talking to the merch lady of a different booth instead.  Eventually, SHION was standing about five feet away from the booth, hiding behind his nerd glasses.  You should try and come out more, SHION!  Don’t be shy!

Oh, and Ziggrat’s merch lady gave us Ziggrat tissues.  See:


 No, I have no idea why she gave them to us.  We never made any move towards Zigrrat’s booth, nor did we ever show any interest in the band, but the merch lady just kinda held them out to us and smiled.  So… now I have Ziggrat tissues.  Yaaaaaaaaay.  

Yay?

The next band up must’ve been Elm:


We’ve encountered these guys a few times.  They’re the Halloween cosplay band.  Literally every day is Halloween for these guys, I guess.  As you can see in the picture, their current look is Alice in Wonderland.  The drummer is the Cheshire Cat, the guitarist is the Red Queen, the bassist is the March Hare, and the vocalist is the Mad Hatter.  Considering the last time I saw them, the drummer had his face painted to look like a pumpkin, I’d say the image change is rather extreme, lol.

Anyways, my overall opinion on Elm has always been that I'll never listen to them, but I don’t find them offensive when they’re at a show.  Like… I’ll never like them, but I don’t mind if I have to watch them.  The thing is, even if I find their music stupid and the gimmick a bit silly, they’re pretty good showmen, so I can deal with it.  They seem to actually enjoy parading around as trick-or-treaters (well… the bassist sometimes seems kinda unhappy, but he also has perpetually sad puppy-dog eyes, so it’s hard to tell if he’s actually sad, or if he just has the kind of eyes that make you want to feed him candy corn from your hand).  For the most part, their music is pretty silly, but the audience seems to enjoy it for what it’s worth.  Half the time, the band isn’t even actually playing the music, and a lot of stuff is prerecorded, but I don’t think the band’s really trying to hide the fact that they’re more of a fashion show than a band.

They started off with the vocalist doing this weird thing where the sound of chimes rang in the background while the vocalist was saying the Japanese equivalent of, “you’re getting sleepy… sleeeeepy…”  They played a song I actually recognized from when I saw them a few years ago, and it has this weird furi where it looks like everyone’s jabbing angrily at the air.  The thing is, when I saw Elm a few  years ago, the vocalist had Edward Scissorhands-style scissor-hands, so the furi made sense.  Now it’s just kinda funny-looking, like the vocalist is trying to pierce an invisible shish-kebab.  When the song was over, the crowd all held up their hands and made scissor-snipping gestures in the air.  I also remember the vocalist did this really weird MC.  He was like, “we, as a band, are going to keep changing, and you should continue to support us because bands change, like An Cafe.”  Of course, the audience all squealed with excitement at the mention of An Cafe, but I was just standing there scratching my head.  I don’t really recall An Cafe going through any huge change, unless you count Bou leaving, I guess…  I mean, I don’t care for An Cafe myself, but I have friends who do, and I don’t recall any of them ever bitching to me about some huge change in An Cafe.  Perhaps realizing his example was stupid, the vocalist was like, “or Dir en grey.  They went through a huge change too, but people still support them.”  Okay, see, that makes sense.  Few bands have ever changed as radically as Dir en grey did.  At the mention of Dir en grey, however, the audience had almost no reaction at all.
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. . . . SCREW YOU GUYS, YOU GODDAMN OSHARE-LOVING –

Just kidding…  But seriously, screw you guys :-D

Hmm… I don’t remember much more about Elm.  The Bunny Bassist was having ear malfunctions, I remember.  He wanted to have one ear down and one ear up, but the up ear kept falling down.  During the MC, he pulled it back up, but maybe a little too harshly.  Suddenly, he had one ear down, and one ear, um… very, very erect.  Like, he could’ve contacted a distant satellite with that ear.  It looked ridiculous.  The ear fell back down by the end of the song anyways, though.  Also, can I just say their drummer seriously creeps me out?  I’ve always thought he was creepy, but he’s even creepier as a cat than he was as a pumpkin clown.  Something about him gives me the willies.  I think it might be his laser-blue contacts and the fact that he has the face of a serial killer…  Then again, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what he wants to look like.

The next band up is Suzaku:


What…….. the fuck……. was this…….? 

So the band came on stage and started throwing white towels into the audience.  I thought they were just gonna throw enough to appease their fans, but they kept going backstage and coming out with even more towels.  I realized they were planning to throw enough towels for everyone.  After each band, more people cleared out, so there weren't that many people still in the venue for Suzaku, but they still needed to throw at least sixty towels.  I wound up not managing to catch one, not that I particularly cared.  But the girl next to me saw that I didn’t have one, so she smiled and handed me two towels, one for me, and one for MelJay.  Although I really didn’t care about Suzaku, I thanked the girl anyways.  I’ve seen her at a lot of shows and she’s always the nicest person ever.  The only thing is that now, after the effort the band and Nice Girl went through to give me a towel, I basically had to participate.

So this band………  I can’t describe the band in terms of bands everyone would know, because they’re not comparable to anything, like, famous.  I have to put it in Japanese indies terms.  They were like if someone crossed OROCHI with SOMATIC GUARDIAN.  Like, they had the Asian theme of OROCHI, but the variety show atmosphere of SOMATIC GUARDIAN.  If that sounds like a weird combination to you, that's because it is

The vocalist was completely cracked out, for one thing, and wearing devil horns.  He seemed to be high on pixie sticks and candy canes and it looked like he was going to explode half the time.  He had a really creepy smile that was always plastered to his face while he ran around like a maniac.  And their left guitarist, despite what you see in the picture, was wearing something even freakier than a Hannibal Lecter mask.  It was like a bondage mask for an insane person, covering most of his head in leather, with big metal bars going from nose to chin.  He was seriously creepy-looking.  The band’s furi was ridiculous.  We kept going back and forth between swinging towels,  waving fans, doing variety-show style para-para, and doing Asia-themed gestures that could’ve come straight out of an episode of Naruto.  WTFFFFF.  To be honest, the band’s music really didn’t do it for me.  There was something very repetitive and inexperienced about it, and too much synth.  To be honest, it sounded a bit too, um… indies…  But at least it was, uh… funny, I guess.  The audience had a good time.  I laughed a lot, but mostly because I had no idea what the fuck was going on.

Oh, and I think Suzaku and THE GALLO are friends, cuz the vocalist kept yelling at the crowd to stay for THE GALLO and check out THE GALLO and stuff.  Well, I was gonna do that anyways.

The next band up is our hosting band, THE GALLO:


 As usual, these guys were a giant pile of WHAT.  But that’s why they’re enjoyable.

Also, I haven’t mentioned this on the blog yet, but left guitarist Lulu is leaving the band for undisclosed reasons.  So that sucks.  But he’s sticking around through June, I believe.

Anyways, the band came onstage doing their usual Final Fantasy VIII intro.  Peachy, who hasn’t seen Gyaro yet, leaned over and whispered, “this band is totally trolling.”  Agreed.  They’re totally fucking with us.  Only about forty-five people stayed for THE GALLO, but there were some scattered people in the back who stayed out of curiosity.  I can only imagine what they were thinking as the band members came on stage holding lanterns while the audience banged spoons and bowls together in time to Liberi Fatali.  As usual, vocalist Jojo took up his own spoon and bowl and joined in towards the end.

Anyways , the band was in a particularly nutty mood at this show, and they were using Jojo as their medium through which to transmit this nuttiness.  They played some new music and Jojo, as usual, wanted to be in control of how the furi goes.  During their MC, he walked along the front of the stage explaining that he wanted the audience to attempt to do The Wave. 

......Seriously?

Jojo didn’t really explain this wave very well, either.  We were all rather confused about how, exactly, he wanted this wave to go.  Finally, Jojo had Kaede play some beats and made us give it a try.  We all fumbled it pretty badly, and Jojo smirked with his hand on his hip and was like, “wow, that was terrible.”  Screw yooooouuuu.  Jojo made us do it again, and it went a little better, but it was still pretty bad, lol.  With only that tiny bit of preparation, THE GALLO threw us right into the new song.  The wave continued to be a mess, but everyone was at least laughing.  It took me awhile to realize Jojo wanted the wave to go to the left and then come back.  You need to explain these things to us!!!  Then, in the middle of the song, Jojo started yelling, “Hashire!  Hashire!”  (“Run!”) and started running in place.  We all looked around at each other, baffled, and started running where we stood.  We looked like idiots, and I could barely remember how to run in place, but Jojo seemed to think this was all very funny.  In general, everything he did at this show was to fuck with us, and he had a dorky smirk on his face the entire time.

During the MC, Jojo also brought out the doll, Vivi-chan, and did ventriloquism.  His ventriloquism is so good, it kinda scares me a little.  While the doll was talking, Jojo did that thing where he suddenly moves the microphone away completely, yet the doll's "voice" doesn’t get any quieter, and Jojo's lips still aren't moving, even when they're 100% not hidden by the microphone.  Peachy was like, “what a show-off” lol.  Like last time, this show-off moment made me convinced there’s a trick to Jojo’s ventriloquism, yet I still can’t figure out what it is.  I looked around, and not a single other band member was near a microphone.  Hikaru and Andy were facing away for most of the MC, but they were drinking water or mopping up sweat with their towels.  Lulu was facing the audience and laughing at the silly MC, so he wasn't the one doing it.  I also suspected Kaede, but he was just sitting there, looking completely innocent.  Then I suspected the voice came from a speaker somewhere.  Even though Jojo’s lips moved once or twice, I thought he might be throwing in an intentional transparency to lure us off the trail.  But I noticed that, even when the microphone wasn’t near Jojo's face and his lips weren’t moving, Jojo’s throat still twitched occasionally while Vivi was talking.  Only a little bit, once or twice, but enough to convince me Jojo’s the real deal.  So….. the only explanation I can offer is that Jojo really is just that good at ventriloquism.  Man, how many years do you have to practice to get that good?!  It’s freakin’ spooky.

Oh, and I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on the blog before, but whenever Jojo does an MC, MERRY’s Tokyo Telephone plays in the background.  But I think I’ve mentioned on the blog before that THE GALLO and MERRY actually know each other, and Jojo’s personal friends with Gara.  So, for those who listen to THE GALLO’s music and think, “whoa, it really sounds like MERRY”, there’s a reason for that.

Let’s see… when Gyaro played ALICE IN DEAD END, the audience did side-to-side.  I don't remember it being that way before, but we went along with it anyways.  Peachy and MelJay and I were pretty far back, so we just did it in our own little area.  Hikaru, however, wanted to do it onstage, but couldn’t bother his band mates with that kinda thing.  Instead, Hikaru hopped back and forth across the stage behind his band mates, spinning in circles while still playing guitar.  His jumping was getting more and more spastic, until it seemed like a bubble of insanity was about to burst inside him.  And then it did.  And that was when Hikaru went running towards the wall on Lulu’s side of the stage, jumped about three feet into the air, and kicked backwards off the wall like fucking Mario.

HIKARU, ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?!?!?!

As expected, Hikaru didn’t land his wall-jump.  He ricocheted off the wall and crash-landed flat on his back like the spring on a mousetrap.  Probably due to extreme surprise, he didn’t get up for a moment, and Andy was staring down at him with a completely shocked expression on his face.  But then Hikaru got right back up, laughing his ass off, and went back to jumping in circles around the stage.  Hikaru… you... you are nucking futs… seriously…  You scared the crap out of me, asshole.  Well, Hikaru was fine, but I bet his back hurt like a bitch in the morning.

So yeah, as usual, THE GALLO/Gyaro was all kinds of fun.  I’m not usually a big fan of “stupid bands”, but THE GALLO’s kinda classy about how stupid they are, and their music is legitimately good.  It’s a damn shame that, like Signal, they seem to get thrown under the rug by the indies fans.  Gyaro’s been around for three years now, yet they still only managed to keep a tiny portion of the audience at the end of the show.  They deserve a bigger crowd after three years.  My theory is that they’re a bit too weird for some people.  Like, obviously Suzaku was pretty goddamn weird, and so is Elm, and LuLu’s one of the weirdest bands I’ve ever seen, but they went freakin’ major.  But THE GALLO’s a different kind of weird.  They’re the trolling kind.  You have to have a certain sense of sarcasm and absurdity to get these guys.  They don’t have a theme or any tendencies they can blame their weirdness on.  They’re not cosplaying or anything.  They’re just weird.  Not everyone’s gonna like that without a gimmick.  But I like that their gimmick is that they’re weird without a gimmick.  And I legitimately really enjoy their music, which is jazzy and rocky and fast-paced and catchy, yet still maintains that weirdness that is THE GALLO (I mean, they’ve got a song called SNOW WHITE AND THE THIRTEEN RxPISTS, where Jojo sings the “Hi ho” song with the voice of a murderer).

At the end of the show, picks were thrown.  One of Hikaru’s picks landed right at my feet, so I bent down and touched it, but I couldn’t get it off the floor and had to make a second grab at it (I don’t have any fingernails).  But the dumb bitch a few feet behind me decided it’s fun to take advantage of people without fingernails, so she nearly threw herself at my ankles and snatched the pick out from under my fingers.  WHAT A FUCKING BITCH!  I turned around and gave her the saddest look I possibly could, and Peachy gave the girl the finger, but that girl probably doesn’t have a soul, so I doubt my incredibly sad face fazed her.  Well gee, that was a depressing way to end the show…

The show also ran really damn long.  Gyaro only managed to slip in five songs and a one-song encore, which is a pretty small amount for a hosting band.  But, by the time they were done, it was already 9:45, and bands usually get cut off around 9:30.  There were just too many bands at this show, I think.  Hikaru came out to man the merch booth (by doing a weird little wiggle-dance between the tables), but they weren’t selling anything I don’t already have.  I don't think their new mini-album is out yet.  Soooooo my friends and I just left, and went to Gusto to sit and complain about pick-stealing bitches, and the lack of Signal fans.

And that’s my story!  Sorry, this post probably went on for awhile.  I had a lot to say (and a looooot of time to kill at work, since classes haven't started yet).  This show had some bad and some good, but definitely a lot of lolz, which makes it all worth it.  It was probably one of the more memorable events I’ve been to.

Anyways, I’m not sure when my next show will be.  I’ve got a lot of upcoming tickets stored up in my wallet, but they’re scattered randomly across the next few months.  I guess we’ll just have to see what comes next!