Friday, May 25, 2012

BORN One-Man, Agitate to the DOGMANISM Day


Okay, time for Round 2 of BORN. 

First thing's first, if you haven't seen this BORN video yet, watch this shit right now.  It will make any bad day instantly awesome:



Seriously, the hill outside Takadanobaba AREA... that shit'll eat you alive if you try to bike-surf it.

So this “report” is about BORN’s Agitate to the DOGMANISM Day, a retroactive revival of the band’s DOGMA mini-album era.  So this is what they looked like:


Anyways, I’ll try to keep this post a bit shorter than the last one, since there’s some obvious overlap, and I don’t want to overload the blog with BORN.

Anyhoo, the day was actually rather frustrating.  Why?  Thanks to the band I just blogged about: Awoi.  But we’ll get to that in a moment.  The Awoi post was loosely connected to BORN, and this BORN post will be loosely connected to Awoi.  I guess that’s what happens when two bands that are friends have one-man shows during the same weekend in the same area.

So we started out by going to Freshness Burger for the first time in ages (they have onion rings!).  We went to the Freshness Burger in Shinjuku because we wanted to be near Like an Edison.  Why?  The new LIPHLICH single and Signal’s first mini-album were both out and we wanted to purchase them.  However, a very excited blog update from guitarist Shin from Awoi alerted us that the band was having an in-store event in Like an Edison at 1:00, so we were gonna have to hover around the area until they were done.  Sigh.

After goofing around in Freshness Burger for awhile, we got antsy and went to check on Likea.  But of course it was still being taken over by Awoi, so we tried another store, but they had an in-store event too (not sure what band it was).  Bored, we went shopping in a used indies store and then Closet Child, but that still didn’t waste enough time.  When we came back hours later, Awoi was still in Likea!  What the hell, Awoi?!  I guess they were taking pictures with fans, but for hours?!

After hovering around a little while longer (and stopping at a weird vending machine where each of us bought really weird juice to see what it tastes like – I bought a pineapple/lemon juice, for example), we went back to Likea.  And freaking Awoi was still in there!  By that point, they were taking so long, other people were standing around outside the store, trying to peek through the windows to see if they could go in.  Some of them were muttering to each other in annoyance.  Thankfully, a staff lady came out at that point and took orders from frustrated customers, so we decided to latch onto her.  It was getting close to the BORN show and we wasted way too much time in Shinjuku.  And we didn’t even hibernate, despite the Awoi show the day before.  Not good.  So we told the lady we wanted LIPHLCH and Signal, and she brought the items out to us and let us pay her, and then we ran off, leaving Awoi to get consumed by their ravenous fans.

We really didn’t have much time, so we went to Takdanobaba (where MelJay and I, once again, used a locker we cleverly grabbed earlier in the day).  Then we sat around in McDonald’s for a little while, surrounded by other hibernating BORN fans putting on their bandanas and towels.  I brought the new leopard print towel, but I also brought the old DOGMANISM bandana, since I figured it might be the last time it really gets any use.  This is what the old bandana looks like:

No, I don't know what the fuck this is supposed to be.  Personally, I see an insect dominatrix with heart-shaped boob-pasties in the pose of the Starbuck's mermaid.  Oooooh, wait, it's the girl from the RED DESIRE music video (the boob-pasty girl with the erotic turkey baster).  There's two of them, back to back.  I see it finally.  Weird as hell...
 I like to tie the bandana around my wrist so that the word “BORN” is showing, which is actually really tricky and took me several minutes of manipulating the fabric.

After only thirty minutes, it was already time for the show, so we made our way out to the venue to join the back of the line (damn our shitty numbers).

Inside the venue, I noticed a significantly smaller number of boys compared to last weekend.  I guess all the boys showed up for the super hardcore Black Threelease music, but weren’t as interested in the more “pimp style” DOGMA music.  The cosplayers were back from last weekend, although they were (very impressively) dressed in the VIGOUR costumes.  Truly amazing handiwork on the costumes and make-up.  They had the whole band other than K in that cosplay group. 

Um, let’s see…  They didn’t play Rob Zombie before the show this time.  Instead, they were looping some kind of gothic dance-track music.  It almost sounded like Marilyn Manson at first (and we all know Ryouga’s a huge Marilyn Manson fan), but it turned out to be something I wasn’t familiar with.  Also, like last weekend, the band waited until five minutes before the show to play a pre-recorded track of all the band members introducing themselves and the show and the venue rules, and telling us to hold our horses and be patient.

And then, not much later, the show started!  To my delight, the band opened with the DOGMANISM intro!  Even though I returned to Japan in time to catch the tail end of the DOGMA tour, the band always came onstage to THE ANTHEM intro instead (the “welcome to the 666” one).  I always wanted to hear the DOGMANISM intro, and this was my first chance!  Also, it wasn’t until very recently that I finally figured out what Ryouga’s saying in the intro.  My friends and I had various guesses, but it always just sounded like gibberish.  But then a Japanese friend of mine made a comment about her commute on the train feeling like a “mosh pit”, and the way she said “mosh pit” made me suddenly realize what Ryouga’s saying.  He’s saying, “Mosh pit.  Make a mosh pit.”  But he says it in Japanese katakana, so it’s, “Mosshu pitto.  Meeku ah mosshu pitto.”  I felt soooo much better after I solved that mystery.

Anyways, the band made their way on stage, dressed up in their finest pimp clothes (as seen above).  My first thought was, “Ryouga, your pants are waaaaaaay too tight.”  And I’ve seen a lot of tight pants in JRock, so for me to single out Ryouga’s pants as being particularly too tight, well… we’ll get back to his pants later, hehehe.  Anyways, like last weekend, the band looked super happy to be onstage, so that was good.  It’s so much easier to enjoy a show when the band’s having a good time.  I think BORN really enjoyed this retroactive thing.

Also, no setlist again, so I’m just gonna wing it.  I don't want this post to be too long since I just talked about BORN, so I’ll just go over the highlights.

So the band opened with SIX DAMIAN, which made me super happy.  Even though I returned to Japan at the tail end of the DOGMA tour, the band never played SIX DAMIAN, which I found odd.  In fact, if you look at some of the older BORN posts on this blog, I frequently wrote, “BORN, y u no play SIX DAMIAN?!”  And MelJay even made a comment about how she hoped they played the song at the show (to which I said, “of course they will”, because DOGMA only has seven freaking songs).  So when BORN straight-up opened with it, MelJay and I both looked at each other like :-D

I also remember that the second song was not at all from DOGMA.  I was like, “oh, um… okay.”  In fact, it was something very much not at all from DOGMA.  I think it might’ve been something from the Black Threeleases.  Jokes on you, boys who didn’t show up for the DOGMANISM show!

Let’s see… so Ryouga was in quite the mood.  He was getting into those “out of control” stage fits, where every inch of him is flailing.  There were a few moments where he got so worked up in the middle of a song, he’d start shaking his head frantically until the words turned into a bunch of gibberish, like when a child’s trying to talk while being bounced on a parent’s lap.  Whenever that kind of thing happened, Ryouga would sound like, “MOTHER FUCKTP;AIE;NDKVad;ighoanklemb…………”  I love when Ryouga gets like that, though.  At one point he had such a fit of spazziness, he sat down on the crate, leaned back, and started kicking his legs up in the air like a child having a temper tantrum.  At another point, he got so excited, he tripped all over himself and practically fell right on his ass.  Oh Ryouga, you are utterly crazy.  Although, he looked really embarrassed about the falling.

The band played a lot of songs I didn’t expect, other than DOGMA songs.  I remember they played stuff like mad whistle, Mosaic, the new song IN CREATURE, MY SWEET BLACK, etc.  So the setlist was really all over the place, and the only thing that made it a DOGMA day was the fact that they played all seven songs from DOGMA, and also dressed the way they did back then.  But I didn’t mind, I prefer variety.  Some of the DOGMA songs were nostalgic.  Like, I hadn’t seen RED DESIRE live in forever (the audience claps while swaying side to side for that one).  The only thing is, I anticipated the DOGMA setlist being “calmer” than the Black Threelease setlist.  I mean, the songs from the Black Threeleases are some of the most fast-paced and intense songs that BORN’s put out, so of course the show was gonna be crazy.  But BORN actually paced the Black show, and even put in a slow section with songs like White Harmony and Ruisai no Hana in order to let us recover in the middle of the show. 

This show was not like that.  There was no pacing.  Every single song was rapid-speed, and there was significantly more jumping than at the Black show.  Within a few songs, the entire audience was covered in sweat.  It was absolutely exhausting.  Yet, somehow, Ryouga never seemed to tire out.  He was just a continuous whirl of leopard-spotted energy.  So of course we all had to keep up with him.  And here my friends and I had just gone through an Awoi show the day before.  The sad thing is, I thought the Black show was paced poorly, and rolled my eyes at BORN about it later.  Little did I know how much more exhausting it could get, lol.

As for amusing tidbits about the band…  Let’s see, at this show, when they came back for their first MC, they once again said Ryouga and TOMO were having trouble backstage.  So it was just Ray and KIFUMI and K up there.  So Ray was saying how, at the Abnormal Head Machine show, he sang White Harmony (fuck, I’m kinda sorry I missed that), and at the DEAD THEORY MANIA Day, KIFUMI sang MY SWEET BLACK.  Well, today it was TOMO’s turn to sing.  Of course, we were all wondering, “well, if TOMO sings… who the hell’s gonna play the drums?!”  It’s not like just anyone can play the drums.  Also, that means they’re making poor K sing at his birthday show!  That’s so mean!

Anyways, TOMO came on stage, and he was explaining that he decided he couldn’t bring himself to do a BORN song, so he was gonna sing a ballad from another musician instead.  After he said that, our new drummer headed back behind the drum set.  It was K!  The audience was like, “oooooh!”  MelJay leaned over and was like, “can K even play drums?!”  I was like, “I guess…”  K looked pretty nervous back there, and tested out the cymbals without looking at anyone.  Meanwhile, Ray went to K’s side and picked up an acoustic guitar.  And I think KIFUMI stayed on bass.  Then TOMO tried to play off his ballad option as a “change of pace”, but I thought it was fairly obvious what was going on.  He was really nervous about singing, and he wanted to sing a song he’s done at karaoke a million times that he’s comfortable with.  And shiiiit was he nervous.  I mean, it’s not just that he told us he was nervous (because he did), but he was visibly tweaking out.  He was clutching the microphone for dear life, rocking side to side, stalling and rambling as much as possible, and he couldn’t bring himself to look at the audience.  I actually felt really bad for him, and I wanted to go up there, pluck the microphone from his hands, and tell him to go take a break, lol.  He had this air of, “aaah, don’t look at me!” about him.  But, eventually, TOMO couldn’t stall any longer, and it was time to play. 

K played the first few hesitant beats, and the band went into a ballad I didn’t recognize.  Probably some famous Japanese ballad that I’m just not familiar with.  It only lasted about two minutes, much to TOMO’s joy, I’m sure (and maybe that’s why he picked it).  TOMO’s singing voice was, well… it was okay-ish, I guess (I’m just being nice).  He’s no Ryouga, but he’s no Yuu from DIAURA either (sorry, Yuu).  He had no confidence in his singing whatsoever, though, and he seemed really embarrassed, even as he tried to put as much emotion into the song as possible.  As for K, his drumming was very good, but he also didn’t have enough confidence, so he didn’t always hit the drums hard enough.  Still, overall not a bad job, and Ryouga didn’t have a chance to come on stage in the middle of the song and fuck everything up like he did when KIFUMI did MY SWEET BLACK.  When the song ended, we all cheered, even though I think TOMO wanted to crawl under the stage at that point.

Then it was time for them to pull ticket numbers for fans to take pictures with the band backstage.  This time, TOMO made a point of being like, “look!  I’m shuffling the tickets!  See, I’m shuffling them!”  Hah, I knew my theory about the last show was right.  Those idiots forgot to shuffle the tickets, that’s why they were all C tickets.  After they pulled four tickets (one got within, like, three numbers from Peachy’s), they explained that the high-five thing was gonna happen after the show again.  Sigh.  Another $20 high-five.  However, K and TOMO were the only two on stage at that moment, and they did a demonstration of how the high-fives should really look.  Apparently, they should be extremely energetic.  TOMO showed us how sad it looks when someone does a “low tension” high-five, as he put it.  He told us K is Ryouga, and then he went up to “Ryouga” and gave him a sad, pathetic high-five, and “Ryouga” was like :-(   Then TOMO showed us a proper high-five, which involved a running leap into the high-five while screaming “YEAH!”  I guess I was half right last time.  Then, while K and TOMO were talking, K suddenly karate-chopped TOMO in the ribs out of nowhere, and TOMO almost fell down in surprise.  Some BORN fans might be laughing very hard at this news.  As some know, K is a big fan of karate-chopping his band mates in the ribs when they least expect it.

Proof:



So just imagine that, right in front of everyone, lol.

Anyways, Ryouga was late to come on stage, and they said he was still having some trouble (“as usual”, according to them).  When Ryouga did finally slink on stage, he came on wearing a fedora and red sunglasses with red lenses.  Damn, dat shit be pimp, yo.  KIFUMI kept pointing at Ryouga and laughing, but it took awhile before we realized KIFUMI was pointing at something specific.  Eventually, Ryouga had no choice but to confess what happened.  He turned around and showed everyone that…

He split his fucking pants.

No joke.  He had two long tears across his right ass cheek (thankfully, he had white underwear on underneath).  Ryouga seemed pretty embarrassed, but the audience was laughing hysterically.  My guess is, he either ripped his pants when he was having a tantrum on the crate, when he fell, or the pants were simply too fucking tight.  They’re all good possibilities.  Their wardrobe lady must’ve been piiiiiissed.

Anyways, BORN picked some awesome encore songs.  Naturally they played RADICAL HYSTERIA, followed by Ranshido (they did that same order at the DTM show, and it’s a fucking cruel combo.  It’s basically seven straight minutes of nonstop jumping).  Actually I think those two songs happened right before encore.  But whatever, my memory’s fuzzy after waiting six days to write this.  Anyways, I don’t think I mentioned this last time but, during Ranshido, the audience spins their towels over their heads while they jump.  Some bands have a designated “towel song”, and BORN’s is Ranshido (you can tell they’re gonna play Ranshido when Ryouga pulls out his own towel and holds it up).  As for actual encore, it included the band’s new song, BLASTED ANIMALS (fuuuu, I forgot to mention that in my last post too, they played it at the DEAD THEORY MANIA show).  BLASTED ANIMALS doesn't come out until July, but BORN’s already playing it at shows.  It’s a lot of fun and involves a lot of jumping.  It has a very typical BORN-like chorus, but it’s the jumping dance beat that kinda sets this one apart.   

Also, did anyone catch "BORN da Born" on NicoNico this month (I just watched it, actually)?  There was a short clip of BLASTED ANIMAL's music video.  Let's just say, you guys are gonna SHIT A BRICK when you see the ridiculous thing Ryouga's wearing, lol.  This was my face watching the clip: O_________O

Encore also included stuff like DAZZLING MOB, which further proves that Ryouga’s lyrics are about 40% “whoa” and “yeah” (plus I’d been wondering where the hell that song was for most of the show).  They also, completely out of nowhere, played Grave Dancer Punish from the new VIGOUR album.  WTF?!!  When that dance beat started up, I was like nooooo waaaaaay!  That song… it’s the stupidest song ever, but fuck is it fun.  Musically, there’s almost nothing at all redeeming about it (poor TOMO has to sit behind the drum set doing absolutely nothing for parts of it), and it’s not even that good of a dance song.  But it’s soooo much fun for some reason!  And Ryouga parties it up on the crate.  When I first encountered Grave Dancer Punish at a show (and had no idea what it was), I noticed some people in the audience started changing the fist-punching gesture to punching the air from right to left like a bad ‘80’s workout routine.  Well now the whole audience punches the air that way, and Ray and KIFUMI and K actually rock side to side with us while they play, lol.  Seriously, that song is so dumb, but I love it.

Um, after the show, we had to wait around again in order to do high-fives.  This time I was ready to do it LIKE A BOSS.  When I made it up to the band, I decided to do a running high-five with a “YEAH!” for each band member, just like TOMO suggested.  It was a lot of fun, but I think I scared the hell out of Ray, lol.  Whatever, I do what I want, biotch.

After the high-fives, I actually attempted to run to the train (as in, I actually went running in public, using the adrenaline fuel from the concert) because I had a theory that if I caught a certain train, I could make it home without a taxi and save $20.  Well, my theory was almost correct.  Long story short: I was in such a hurry, I bought the wrong ticket at Kita-Senju, and it was $10 more than necessary.  When I tried to explain it to a station attendant to get a refund later, he didn’t understand what went wrong and I think I wound up paying him a couple more dollars… but I think he might’ve refunded the money on my card…?  I have no fucking idea, and there weren't any Suica machines around for me to check (other than the one the attendant was using).  I’m just going to call my experiment half a success, and try to pace myself better next time I attempt it.

So that was Round 2 of BORN!  Unfortunately, I won’t be going to K’s birthday show (it’s sold out anyways, and it on the same day as the show I’m going to tomorrow).  Tomorrow will be one of my only upcoming event shows.  Bands include: Signal, Quinstet, GALEYD, TRIGGAH, ALSDEAD, DEZERT, and the hosting band is NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST.  So if any of those interest you, stick around!

See you next time!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Awoi Tour Final, 5/19


Today’s awesome band is Awoi:

I'm gonna refer to the members by name a lot, so let's get this straight.  From left to right: Shou, Saki, Otogi, Ryo, Shin.

So I finally got to see Awoi again after six months!  That’s the problem with Awoi being an Osaka-based band – they’re never around!  And on the occasion that they hit up Tokyo, it’s always on a weekday or something.  But it just so happened that the tour final for their new mini-album, Kumo no Ito (Spiderweb), was in Tokyo, and on a Saturday!  What luck!  Being excited and all, MelJay entered a presale lottery, so we even wound up with fairly decent numbers for once.

The only bad luck was that both MelJay and Peachy (who’s kinda new to Awoi but decided last minute to check out the show anyways) had work obligations on Saturday.  MelJay had to do some Saturday classes, and Peachy’s school had mothers’ visitation day.  MelJay was able to get out of school fairly early, at least, so we met up in Ikebukuro, although we met up a little later than we normally would.  I took a funny-looking train to Tokyo, since the semi-express trains are advertising the opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree:


Then MelJay and I wound up going to Sunshine City for Mexican food because yeeeeeeah...

Make your own tacos!!!

Tastes like victory.
After that, we also stopped off for Mister Donuts.  By then, it was already time to head to the venue.  Peachy had already texted me, however, saying she wasn’t sure she’d make doors.  We had to head over without her, hoping for the best.

The venue of the day was Ikebukuro EDGE, and we all know how much I looooooove EDGE.  And I hope you read that last sentence in a caustically sarcastic tone.  The stupid venue sits at a weird angle down a street, and they kinda stuck all the Awoi fans behind these restaurant advertisement signs, so MelJay and I walked right past it and got lost for about five minutes, before starting over.  The second time, we finally noticed the mass of black that was the Awoi line.  It was really weird how all the fans were fenced away from the street like farm animals.  I wasn’t even sure if we were supposed to join them or not.  Instead, MelJay and I just loitered around the venue until our numbers got called and hoped we could jut slip through the side of the burger sign fence.  Thankfully, that’s exactly what happened, and we were able to go in when our numbers got called, which was around 100 in a crowd of 250 (the show was sold out).  So not bad.

Inside the venue, I once again shook my head in dismay at the setup of EDGE.  It’s so much wider than it is deep, like a big pencil case.  And the door is all the way in the back against the side wall, meaning people were already getting blocked from entering, and it wasn't even that crowded yet (like the last time I saw Awoi, a lot of people held back and stayed far from the stage for some reason).  I couldn’t help but look around and think, “I can’t believe UnsraW’s last two shows are gonna be at this stupid place…”  What a shame.

Anyways, while BORN played nothing but Rob Zombie before last Sunday’s show, Awoi played nothing but System of a Down.  Seems like a rather odd choice for a more “brooding” band like Awoi (since System of a Down is more, like… frantic and political), but I like when bands play more aggressive music before a show, because it gets the audience excited. 

Speaking of BORN, I was kinda wondering if BORN would be at the show.  See, I didn’t know this until recently, but Awoi and BORN are friends (I found out when Ryouga and Otogi spazzed at each other on their blogs about having one-man shows during the same weekend).  Of course, I wondered how the hell two bands from completely different cities with completely different musical styles who aren’t even the same age would wind up being friends.  Turns out, a few years ago, BORN and Awoi did a three-man tour together with Lycaon.  That’s how they met.  And I guess they hit it off pretty well, too (especially Ryouga and Otogi).  So while I was standing around nodding my head to System of a Down, I was glancing at the VIP area in the back to see if anyone familiar was back there.  There were definitely musicians back there wearing VIP passes, but none of them looked especially familiar to me except one wavy-haired blondie, who was talking to a black-haired guy.  The blond guy looked really familiar, especially his rather prominently forward chin.  I was thinking, “Ryouga……?”  I’ve seen Ryouga without make-up, and I was pretty sure it was him.  But while I was looking at him, he looked right back at me, and held my gaze without flinching (as opposed to the black-haired guy, who noticed the stare-off and suddenly flung himself behind a table and disappeared).  I decided it couldn’t possibly be Ryouga, because Ryouga would be embarrassed about a BORN fan recognizing him and would surely look away.  This guy stared back at me in a way that seem straight-up defiant.  “Oh well,” I thought.  “I guess BORN didn’t come today.”  Of course, Ryouga later blogged, saying he and Ray and TOMO were totally at the show, and that the show was awesome and stuff.  So that probably was Ryouga!  And he totally psyched me out!  That bastard, lol.

Anyways, while we were standing around, it came to our attention that the girls behind us were gossiping about us.  Wow, that’s not very nice.  They probably assumed we didn’t speak Japanese.  They kept referring to us as, “the people in front of us” and making rude presumptions.  But what really got me was that they made a comment like, “the people in front of us probably don’t even know the band members’ names.”  Okay, now that made me mad.  Do you guys think we’re stupid or something?!  This isn’t the first time I’ve come across this bizarre attitude at an indies show.  Despite the fact that a couple foreigners managed to find out about the band, figure out when the band’s playing, figure out how to get presale tickets to the show, and find the venue, there’s this assumption that we somehow know absolutely nothing about the band.  Like we go through aaaaaall that work to just show up and stand in the fifth row because we have nothing better to do on a Saturday in Tokyo.  But no, of course the stupid foreigners don’t know the names of the band members.  We don’t know any songs either.  Never seen a music video.  Nope.  We don’t know a thing.  We just showed up because we saw a crowd outside and decided to join it.  Probably traded for the presale tickets by giving a couple fans some free cheeseburgers.

Does any of that make sense?!  Of course not!  I turned around and gave the girls the Evil Eye in the hopes that they’d stop talking about us (and to show that I understood what they were saying).  I was tempted to start talking really loudly and be like, “BOY, I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE IF SHOU HAS A PAINTED GUITAR TODAY.  AND I WONDER HOW LONG IT’LL TAKE BASSIST SAKI TO TAKE HIS BANDANA OFF.  OH, BY THE WAY, I THINK DRUMMER RYO HAS GREEN HAIR RIGHT NOW.”  I didn't do it, but it was tempting.  It’s a shame those girls were being so rude, because everyone else around us seemed really nice.  There were a lot of guys in the audience (which I love), including a group of about six boys in the middle near us who looked like they were freakin’ sixteen.  One of them had pretty serious cut marks all over his forearm, though, the poor bastard.  There was also a small child in front of me who I remember from the last show.  She can’t be older than ten, I’m serious.  But her big sister was with her, standing behind her to shield her from any roughness in the audience.  Now that’s a cool sister.  I mean, I went to my first rough concert (Korn) when I was thirteen, but I was a tall, tough thirteen year old.  This girl, on the other hand, looks like she could get snapped right in half if one of those boys forgot she was there.  Generally speaking, though, the people around us seemed very friendly, and everyone was wearing Awoi towels or wrist-bands or t-shirts (including the hardcore little girl).  I was wearing the black and pink CHILDREN scrunchie around my wrist, but it seemed anyone in the audience wearing a scrunchie was wearing the purple one.  No appreciation for pink in that audience, lol.  Oh, I don't think I ever showed the scrunchies on this blog.  Here they are:

All the fans with multiple colors wears them together like this.
Anyways, enough pre-show jabber, on with the show.  Awoi came on stage about twenty minutes late, which was great luck for Peachy, because she showed up only a couple minutes before the band did (and of course got stuck in the doorway, because EDGE is shaped like a sociopath’s torture prison).

The band opened with this intro that really reminds me of a goth version of We Will Rock You.  Or maybe Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar intro.  Something like that.  We all clapped along to it too, while the band members took the stage one by one.  First we had drummer Ryo, looking awesome as always.  He’s not a particularly large person, but he seems tough and fierce for some reason.  I was surprised by how green his hair was in person.  He had his fist up and looked ready to fuck shit up.  And then right guitarist Shin came on stage.  He’s adorable-looking, but he used foundation to make his lips the same color as his skin, which made him look really creepy and corpse-y.  As always, his eyes were roving everywhere in that strange way of his.  Then bassist Saki came on stage.  As usual, he started with a big, leather-bandana wrapped around his face under his eyes, but I knew he’d lose that thing within a few songs.  Nonetheless, his heavily-eyeliner-ed eyes were wide and freaky looking.  He always scares me a little bit, like he’s just waiting to punch out an audience member or something.  He came right up to the edge of the stage and I felt myself instinctively pulling back a little.  Next came left guitarist Shou, the fanged snake-dancer.  At least, that’s what I like to call him.  Shou’s the shit.  His hair is orange at the ends now, which looks kinda weird with his red-painted nails, but he was wearing black clothes perfectly tailored to emphasize his sneaky-snaky-ness.  He jumped up on the crate and a spotlight came down on him, and I was soooo excited, because I thought he was gonna do one of his snake dances.  The audience went wild.  Shou started to dance a little bit, but instead he wound up undulating into a few different dramatic, slinky poses.  Then he clapped his hands together in prayer above his head and brought them down slowly beneath his chin.  Then he jumped off the crate, just in time for vocalist Otogi to make his appearance, with wavy black hair and a bright red coat.  The audience cheered like crazy and Otogi held up his fist but, in typical Awoi style, they skipped any initial talking and went straight into music.

And, thanks to Saki, I have a setlist to work with.  Which means this post might not go to complete hell.

Setlist:

-desire-
darling
Melancholy
Kanashii Uta
-SE-
heaven
Ashita
under a skin
Wana
NARAKA

~Katari~

Fukaki Taidou
Mizu no Naka no ABYSS
Wasurenagusa
Shuuyatou
-SE-
blind
kaleido
bastard
Suzumushi
Aria

Encore:

closet in my room
sunnyday
abelcain

Thank goodness for Saki.  I always write much better with a setlist.

So, as I mentioned, the band went straight into –desire–, which was the song off the new mini-album that got a music video and stuff.  It’s a very pretty song, so it gave the show a bit of a “chill” and “calming” opener, despite the hardcore intro.  So I was a little surprised when Otogi’s pretty singing and the nice music suddenly turned into darling.  Last time I saw Awoi, darling was an encore song, but I guess they wanted to bring up the pace really suddenly after –desire–.  Soooo much jumping during darling, and Saki’s mask, as anticipated, came right off.  Fucking hell, he scares me even more when his whole face is showing.  Something about the way he bugs his eyes out.  Keeping up the crowd-pleasing goodness, the band played Melancholy, which is one of my favorites.  I rocked out like crazy and made sure my furi was perfect so those dumb girls behind me would know I wasn’t an idiot with no knowledge of Awoi.  This was actually my third time seeing them.  Not much by bangyaru terms, but more than nothing.  If you're interested in seeing Melancholy live, check the video towards the end of the post.

The fourth song was Kanashii Uta (the title literally just means “Sad Song”, by the way).  Kanashii Uta is actually an old song, but Awoi redid it for the new mini-album.  I think the new Kanashii Uta sounds much better than the old one.  Cleaner and more professional-sounding.  The furi’s kinda funny.  During the part where Otogi goes “shita shita shita shita shita shita shita” etc., the audience holds up their hands, palms facing the stage, and waves them forward and backward frantically like they’re slamming angrily at a locked door.  It looks pretty funny, but it kinda fits the song.  Ryo was singing along to a lot of the song, even while playing the drums (he’s the most casual drummer I’ve ever seen), and Shin was singing along too, but making really serious, almost desperate faces while doing it.  Sometimes it seemed like Shin wanted to drop everything, steal Otogi’s microphone, and take over because the guitar wasn’t channeling his feelings well enough.

Then there was an –SE–, meaning Otogi just kinda made some noise for a bit, and Shou snaked around, and Shin stared at The Thing in the Upper Left-Hand Corner.  Then Otogi muttered, “I love……….. heaven.”  MelJay and I turned to each other and were like, “uh… me too…?”  So the song is called heaven, but I didn’t recognize it.  And it wasn’t until after the show that I remembered I ran into this problem last time I saw Awoi.  There’s a song called heaven that I keep forgetting I don’t have.   It’s one of the bonus songs from the CHILDREN release, from a version of the CD I didn’t buy.  Well, I have the song now, and it jogged my memory pretty good.  Man, heaven’s such a fun song!  A lot of fist-throwing to a really dance-like beat.  Saki got the audience to clap along to some parts of it.  It makes me sad that so many indies bands these days release multiple versions of singles and mini-albums to squeeze more money out of us for the same songs.  I know the economy’s bad, but songs like heaven should belong to everyone who bought CHILDREN.  I’m not going to pay for three different versions of the same album.  Granted, my friends and I will sometimes go in and each buy a different version to get all the songs (or music videos, or comment DVDs, or photos, or whatever ploy the band’s management is pulling that day), but then we all just wind up file-sharing anyways.  I dunno, I’ve been meaning to bitch about it for awhile.  NO MORE MULTIPLE-RELEASE ALBUMS!!!

The next song up was Ashita.  Shou took over most of the background screaming, which is pretty impressive because that’s some pretty intense screaming.  Unfortunately, Shou’s microphone wasn’t turned up loud enough, so it was hard to hear him sometimes.  Noticing this, Shou kept screaming louder and louder, and his mouth kept getting wider and wider.  With those teeth of his, he started to look like a yawning cat, lol. 

Next up was under a skin.  I was soooo glad they were playing music off of CHILDREN.  It’s such an amazing mini-album.  By that point, Otogi was quite done with his red coat, and he had a shirt on underneath.  Nonetheless, he was sweating pretty badly.  Freaking EDGE.  It’s not that the venue doesn’t have any air-conditioning, it’s just that there’s no circulation.  The cold air doesn’t go anywhere.  Poor Otogi.  I think it might’ve been during under a skin that Otogi, free of his coat, started making scratching gestures at his chest (he’s very recently discovered that he likes scratching himself on stage).  However, he still had his black gloves on.  Instead of just taking them off, he rubbed at his chest in a frustrated manner, which was really weird.

Let’s see, then they played Wana (which means "trap").  Wana’s a bonus track from Kumo no Ito that I failed to have before the show (I have it now though.  I’m sneaky).  That song is hard to the core like whoa.  It’s basically four minutes of Otogi screeeeeaaaaamiiiiiiiing while we all headbang until it hurts.  I think it’s because of songs like that that some audience members choose to stay back.   Also, I think it's funny that the end of Wana sounds exactly like the end of DIR EN GREY's song Karasu, lol.  Also, I might have Wana confused with something else later, but we'll get to that in a moment.  Continuing with the super hardcore Kumo no Ito tracks, Awoi played NARAKA.  I’d been dying to hear NARAKA.  That’s song’s intense, yo.  And Otogi actually performs it the way he does on the CD, by warbling more than singing.  I think his microphone had a filter effect too.  It sounded so awesomely evil.  Shou was doing some of the backup screaming, and like I was saying before, there’s nothing crazier-looking than a man with real vampire fangs screaming as loudly as possible into a microphone.  Even jut a few rows back, I found myself pondering the mystery of Shou’s teeth (or his “fangies”, as Peachy calls them).  Are they real…?  Are they fake…?  They’re kinda uneven which makes me think they’re real, but they could be caps over his naturally uneven teeth.  And yet, Shou doesn’t seem to have any discomfort.  The fangs aren’t in the way of anything.  Of course, a nutty cosmetic surgeon could probably make that happen.  Someday I just want to run up to Shou and scream, “ARE YOUR VAMPIRE FANGS REAL?!!”  I’d love to hear his answer to that, lol.  Oh, right, I was talking about NARAKA.  Um… it was super awesome.

After NARAKA came something Awoi’s setlist marks as ~Katari~.  “Katari” means, like, a story.  It’s the same “katari” from “monogatari” (the “k” becomes a “g”).  Anyone who’s studied Japanese literature would recognize “moogatari” from things like The Tale of Genji, which, in Japanese, is Genji Monogatari.  So what exactly was Awoi’s story…?  Hmm… I’m not sure.  I’ve been trying to solve the mystery of when a very unusual performance occurred during this show.  I originally assumed it was one of the songs I didn’t have yet, but… none of those matched up with what I remembered.  So I’m defaulting the performance to ~Katari~ because I don’t know where else to put it.  So if I’m wrong and this wasn’t ~Katari~, I’m very sorry.  My theory is that if it wasn’t ~Katari~, then it was actually Wana and I’ve got things mixed up, but I don’t really know.  Let’s just go with this for now.

Basically, ~Katari~ was a song, but maybe a song that only exists at shows (unless I’m confusing this whole thing with Wana).  It started with Otogi doing what sounded like a Kyo-style acapella, with a lot of weird noises and strange, warbling singing.  Shou kept putting his hands together in a prayer gesture and lifting his arms up and circling them forward, back to his chest, and then up again.  But then Otogi started making weird, like… snuffling noises.  He was bent over, but when he stood up, I realized he had the entire head of the microphone crammed into his mouth.  Now, I’ve noticed many times that Otogi’s got an unusually big mouth, but this just seemed ridiculous.  The “song” was starting, and the audience started doing furi and headbanging, but Otogi wasn’t taking the microphone out of his face.  He started making all kinds of weird noises while singing and moaning around the microphone.  Then Otogi started stumbling around, headbanging and wordlessly singing, all with his mouth completely blocked by the microphone.  He started to turn kinda red, and I was a little concerned that A) he wasn’t getting enough oxygen like that, and B) the microphone would get stuck and he’d never get it back out of his mouth again.  Probably trying to emphasize how uncomfortable this whole thing was – and to make the audience especially uncomfortable – Otogi stood on the crate with the microphone jammed in his mouth and repeatedly clutched at his throat and bugged his eyes out as if he was choking.  The way his face turned red, it was actually kinda scary looking.  The song went on for quite awhile with Otogi strangling on the microphone.  After awhile, drool started pouring out of the corners of Otogi’s mouth.  When the song ended and he finally managed to pry the microphone out, I was seriously relieved.

The ~Katari~ rolled into a short MC… kinda.  Otogi doesn’t do a whole lot in the way of MCs.  The band took a break during that time, during which Otogi pulled off his shirt, facing away from us, but then put it back on like he was embarrassed.  When he turned back around, I think he said some stuff to us.  He spoke in his impossibly deep, sultry voice, getting us ready for a round of slower-paced songs.  He specifically announced that the next song was Fukaki Taidou, which made me go “yaaay!” cuz I love that song.  But I love every song from CHILDREN. 

Fukaki Taidou makes me want to bring up the subject of drummer Ryo.  Ryo is Awoi’s newest member.  He joined a few years ago, after Awoi’s previous drummer left.  Personally, I can’t help but notice that the bad-ass level of Awoi’s music has increased since Ryo joined the band, and he’s credited as being a song writer, despite being a new member.  So, as one would expect, Ryo’s pretty bad-ass on stage too.  I don’t know much of anything about drums, and I don’t always pay a lot of attention to what a drummer’s doing on stage because it’s all zeros and ones to me, but I love watching Ryo.  He’s fascinating, and Fukaki Taidou is one of the times I most notice it.  He’s got this overwhelming confidence about him, like the pieces of the drum set are extension of his body and part of his normal motor functions.  During Fukaki Taidou, it’s like he’s not even thinking.  At the end of every measure during the chorus, he twirls his right drumstick around his head, which makes it look like he’s dancing while playing. 

MelJay and I got into a discussion about Ryo’s drumming because MelJay knows a lot about drums, and I wanted to know what her take on Ryo is.  I told her I didn’t think Ryo’s drumming was particularly better than any other drummer in indies, so I wanted to know what it is about him that makes him stand out to me when I listen to Awoi or watch him on stage.  If it’s not his skills, then what is it?  According to MelJay, it’s a combination of his confidence behind the drums, the fact that he’s atrociously well-rehearsed, the fact that his cymbals are set up in a way that makes him move his arms in interesting ways, the fact that he likes to hit the cymbals on the opposite beat you’d expect, and the fact that he mixes certain kinds of drumming into songs where you don’t expect it.  Fukaki Taidou is a good example, since one wouldn’t expect so much cymbal-crashing during a ballad-like chorus.  MelJay also pointed out that she noticed a song during the show where Ryo was incorporating poppy, punk-style drums reminiscent of Blink 182 in a very non-poppy, non-punky song.  The way he plays is jarring, but also fascinating.  I love watching him.  He gives off this aura of, “fuck yeah, I’m a drummer, and I am aaaaall up in this drum set.”

Anyways, enough about Ryo.  Next up was a song called Mizu no Naka no ABYSS (literally, “Underwater ABYSS”).  It’s one of the bonus songs on one of the versions of Kumo no Ito, but… I forgot to get a hold of that one too (I bought the version with kaleido).  Turns out MelJay had that song but never gave it to me, so… oops.  It’s a ballad, and a very nice one at that.  The next ballad was Wasurenagusa (the “forget-me-not” flower), another ballad from Kumo no Ito.  It was really pretty, of course, and had Shin on an acoustic guitar.  Then they played Shuuyatou (“Night Light”), which was the ballad from CHILDREN.  It was lovely.  Otogi has such a nice singing voice.  Normally I get annoyed when a band plays, like, four freakin’ ballads in a row, but Awoi picked such pretty ones, and they were so nice to watch that I didn’t mind at all.  And, like before, Shin was singing along as if he was the vocalist.  Never close enough to the microphone for us to hear him, but with a passionate, furious face.  Shin was into the music way beyond just the guitar.  His facial expressions were so painful, it was hard to look at him sometimes.

Then there was an –SE– but, once again, I think Otogi just made a lot of noise.  He was doing some really high-pitched screaming, which was pretty impressive, and bludgeoning himself in the chest with the microphone a lot (he was bare-chested by then.  When he finally pulled his shirt off, I turned to MelJay and went AAAAAW YEEEEAH).  Unfortunately, Otogi was hitting himself so hard, red marks were starting to appear on his skin and it sounded pretty painful.  He whacked himself pretty hard in the forehead a few times too.  This whole onstage self-violence thing is new from what I can tell.  Otogi scratched his chest up a few months ago on stage and said it made him feel better.  Then he took a picture of it and declared it “art” on his blog.  Now he seems to be hooked on it.  When his bare chest was showing, the welts and scars from previous scratch-fests were still showing.  But still… actually bludgeoning oneself hard enough in the chest to leave marks……. ow.  At one point, Otogi kept making us scream each time he hit himself, and it started to feel like he wasn’t going to stop hitting himself until we screamed to his satisfaction.  It was actually kind of uncomfortable.  It felt like we were cheering him on for hurting himself, and also caught in a trap where Otogi wouldn’t stop hurting himself until we cheered.  I don’t know what his intent was, but it was definitely uncomfortable for me, at least.  By the end of it, he’d hit himself so hard, the grating-pattern from the microphone was visibly imprinted in his chest. By the end of the show, a very large, green bruise had spread across his chest too.

Once Otogi was done suffering, the band went into the fan favorite, blind, which was awesome.  I couldn’t believe how many great songs they were playing.  I mean, I know a tour final is the time to pull out the big guns, but the setlist was just so much fun!

After blind, however, Awoi finally managed to get a full-blown “squee” out of me.  They played kaleido, OMG!  Even though it was another “extra” from Kumo no Ito, and only available on one version, kaleido quickly became my favorite KnI song!  As soon as that spirally music started up, I knew exactly what it was.  Prior to the show, MelJay told me not to get my hopes up about the band playing kaleido, since it was a bonus track.  So when it started up, I turned to her with a face like :-D  Shou continued to crack me up.  During the beginning of the song, Shou spiraled his entire upper body in crazy circles, arching his back so far, he could’ve won a game of limbo.  Shou, you’re awesome, seriously.  We all clapped along to the beginning of the song, too.  I was also really excited that Otogi was able to seamlessly hit the high notes in the chorus.  It’s not even that the notes are that hard to hit, it’s that Otogi slides into them from a really low note, which isn’t easy to do.  But he nailed it every time.  I sang along to the entire song, even though Japanese fans don’t often sing along at shows, and it caused Saki to stare ponderously at me a few times.  Of course, that wasn’t exactly what I wanted, since Saki scares the crap outta me.  Something about his eyes says, “I eat kittens for breakfast.”  In fact, between kaleido and the next song, Saki got this weird, pensive look on his face, like he’d never before considered that the white chick might know the Japanese words.

The next song up was bastard which was, as you can imagine, super intense.  Otogi was sweating so badly by then, he was dripping all over himself.  Unfortunately, he wore these really shiny pants, so every drop of sweat became a glaring stain on them.  His pants were completely spotted as if a bird took a poop all over him, lol.  Next time, wear better pants to a hot venue, Otogi!  Perhaps wanting to kill us, bastard went straight into the fan-favorite, Suzumushi.  It was kinda funny, because Otogi was visibly tiring out, even though he expected us all to keep up with the monstrously fast setlist.  Still, we all headbanged as much as possible, trying to see the show through to the end.

If you’re interested in what Awoi looks like live, here’s the only live video that exists on YouTube.  The first half is Melancholy, which I talked about above, and the second half is Suzumushi.  This video includes things like Shou’s backup screaming and Ryo’s happy-casual drumming.  Enjoy:



Isn't Otogi's hair beautiful?!

After Suzumushi, Otogi started yelling “last song!”  In the end, we finished off with the KnI song Aria, which is both a pretty song, and a rock song.  The audience put their all into it to give the show I good pre-encore finish.  When the song was over, the band left the stage pretty quickly, just raising their fists and letting us cheer before running away.  Then it was time for encore-calling.  We had to call for quite awhile, but I figured it gave Otogi time to recover.  He seemed pretty exhausted.  Because Awoi’s an Osaka-based band, they often have to travel a lot when they tour.  So it makes sense if they’re kinda tired.   

When the band came back, they played another intro song, as if they were coming on stage for a whole new show.  I remember they did that last time I saw them too.  When the band entered, they were all wearing t-shirts, including Otogi.  I noticed immediately that Otogi looked a lot better, and his face wasn’t so red anymore.  When everyone was onstage, Otogi suddenly launched into a very uncharacteristic MC.  Normally, he doesn't talk much, and when he does, he tends to do it in a very melodramatic fashion.  But this time, he was talking in a friendly manner, even smiling.  What was he so happy about?  Well, this was the first time Awoi had a tour final in Tokyo that sold out before the day of the show.  He said their last tour final (I’m guessing he means the one I went to around New Years) sold out because enough people showed up for day-of tickets.  But this show sold out even before that.  So Otogi thanked us profusely in that weird, rambling way of his.  When his rambling got too extreme (he thanked us about seven times), he finally noticed the bemused or dead-panning faces in the audience and went, “aaah, I’m so nervous!”  Like I said, he doesn’t usually talk to the audience, so this was unusual for him.  When he did a small MC at the last tour final, his nervousness showed through when he rambled so badly he didn’t even know what month it was.  Poor Otogi!

Trying to deflect his own nervousness, Otogi decided to get his band mates in on the MC.  He looked around at them and was like, “so, are you guys having fun?”  All his band mates just stared at him in silence.  It was really weird.  Ryo was so still, he didn’t even twitch.  Obviously perturbed, Otogi was like, “are you… are you guys tired…?” 

Silence.

Finally, Otogi gave a nervous laugh and was like, “I guess everyone’s being ‘cool’ today” (he literally said “kuuru”).  The audience cracked up at that, and so did Ryo and Shou, but Shin and Saki were still staring at Otogi with frozen, mask-like faces.  I’ve mentioned before that Shin has a freaky “thing in the upper-left-hand corner” stare, but this was just crazy.  Otogi, realizing he could go somewhere with this, turned towards Shin and started slowly lurching towards him like they were having a Cowboy face-off on a dirt road.  The audience was like, “oooooooh.”  Shin didn’t even flinch, and the icy glare never left his face.  Then, when Otogi got close enough, Shin started to play these ominous notes on his guitar, which made the audience laugh.  Otogi and Shin got within inches of each other before Otogi finally started laughing, and then Shin broke down and laughed too.  Then Otogi whipped around and ran over to Shou, who tried to put on his best glare.  When Otogi got up to Shou, he dropped to one knee in front of him like a knight before a princess and bowed his head.  In response, Shou hit one lowly “twang” on his guitar.  Otogi jumped up and backed away.  There was an awkward silence, and then everyone, including the audience, cracked up.  Through all this, Saki had been glaring at Otogi as well, and I think he was hoping Otogi would have a stare-off with him too.  However, Otogi values his life, so he didn’t play the game with Saki.  Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect, and Saki’s exaggerated glare turned to an actual glare of annoyance.  I think he wanted to play, and he wasn’t too happy about the snub.  That look on Saki’s face made me shiver.  He could've turned Otogi into a snowman with that look.

Anyways, the amusing MC over, Otogi started screaming at us to get us ready for encore.  We all cheered, more than happy to get back to music.  Then the band went right into closet in my room.  Aaah, another awesome song from CHILDREN!  So much awesome!  Since we were all refreshed from the break, the audience was ready to rock the fuck out!  I put my all into it because, last time I saw Awoi, they only played one encore song, and I thought it would be the same this time.  I think it might've been during this song that Otogi strode over to Shou and moved up behind him.  Then he reached out and started tugging at Shou's guitar-strap.  Shou was looking at him like, "what... what're you doing?!"  Then Otogi pulled the guitar off of Shou, threw it over his own shoulders, and started playing instead.  Everyone was cheering, and Otogi was grinning evilly.  Shou, left with no other options, ran over to Otogi's microphone and took over the vocals.  The audience was cheering like crazy and Shou put his foot up on the crate and did his best vocalist impersonation.  He didn't seem confident in his singing voice, though, so he mostly supplied the screaming, since he's not so bad at that.  Meanwhile, Otogi played the whole guitar part.  After a minute or so, Otogi put Shou out of his misery and gave the guitar back, lol.

But when closet in my room was over, despite my suspicion that it would be the last song, Otogi announced that they were gonna play sunnyday!  I know this made MelJay very happy, since sunnyday didn’t show up on the last setlist!  Then Otogi was yelling “last song!” (for real this time), and the band finished up with the audience favorite, abelcain!  Such a fun ending song!  But I’ve done too much describing in this post and the word count's getting ridiculous.  If you’re interested, here’s the abelcain music video.  If you watch carefully at 3:18, you can get a glimpse of Shou's fangies:



When the song was over, Awoi roamed around the stage, letting us cheer for them before they left.  Saki kept coming way up to the front, which was terrifying.  Shin jumped on the crate and looked around at everyone, smiling.  He kept having these weird little giggle-fits while he was surveying the audience.  Ryo and Shou were roaming too, making sure to give both sides of the audience attention.  Otogi left pretty quickly, but he always does.  When the whole band was gone, Shou stayed behind to talk to us and thank us for selling out the show and stuff.  It’s times like those that make me wonder if Shou might be the band leader.  Anyways, Shou talked to us in the thickest Kansai dialect he could come up with.  Holy shiiiiiit, Shou, we know you guys are from Osaka, but damn.  His Kansai-ben was so strong, it didn’t even sound like Japanese anymore.  He also speaks in a very effeminate way, which is really funny.  I mean, he looks pretty girly, so it stands to reason that he might sound kinda girly.  Shou rambled on for so long, MelJay started to make the “awkward turtle” gesture where no one could see it.  But then Shou finally bowed and took his leave, and the show was over.

Then MelJay and I claimed Peachy, who was standing on our side, at the back (she said she finally got mad and just pushed people away from the door).  Then we ran off to Jonathan’s on the exact opposite side of Ikebukuro, only to discover many other Awoi fans had the same idea for some reason.  The restaurant shoved us in what we dubbed The Goth Corner to sit near the other Awoi fans.  A male fan at the table near us was wiping up spilled water with his Awoi towel, lol.

And that’s the show!  Sorry, that went on for way too long!  The BORN post is next, but that one’ll be a little shorter since I discussed BORN a lot last time.

See ya!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

BORN One-Man, DEAD THEORY MANIA Day


Oh gawd, where do I begin?  I’m bad at writing one-man shows, but with BORN it’s just a jumbled mess, most likely because I headbanged all my brain cells out of my ears. 

Okay, I’m gonna do my best with this one.  I have a lot of stories to tell, so if you’re willing to stick through my rambling, there’s some good stuff in here.

This particular show was part of a four-show series that BORN put on, one show each Sunday.  The shows were called bug screamo” CRAZY” section 1~4.  Yeah, fuck if I know what that means.  Each “section” was meant to be a retroactive performance.  So the first day was the Abnormal Head Machine Day, based on BORN’s first album.  I didn’t go to that day.  The second day, which is the one I’m writing about right now, was themed after three mini-albums that BORN put out a few years ago: BLACK DEAD MUZIC, BLACK THEORY MANIA, and BLACK BORN MARKET.  At the show, Ryouga kept calling them the Black Threelease (literally “burakku suriiriisu” in katakana).  They combined the names of the three mini-albums to give this show its name: DEAD THEORY MANIA Day.  The third “section” (which I’m also going to next week) is called the Agitate to the DOGMANISM Day and will be based on BORN’s DOGMA mini-album.  The fourth show, which I won’t be attending, isn’t retroactive, but the “theme” is K’s birthday.  I think K’s gonna pick all the songs, and they can come from any release he wants.

Anyways, BORN actually went so far with this retroactive thing that they changed their costumes and their hair to look like the era the show is based on.  I didn’t realize how far they were gonna take this until Ryouga blogged about the Abnormal Head Machine day, saying he dyed his hair pink to look like the old days, and TOMO even went so far as to shave the side of his head just like before!  But then, after the AHM show, Ryouga wrote another blog entry that said, “bye-bye pink hair”, and I realized he was going to switch over to that crazy blond-plosion hair he had when I used to see BORN during my study abroad period.  My first thought was, “oh no, Ryouga’s poor hair!”  I mean, he was brunette a few weeks ago, so he’d have to bleach the hell out of his hair to get it vibrantly pink, and then bleach the pink out again just a few days later.  How would his hair ever survive?!  My second thought was, “holy crap, this is gonna be nostalgic.”  When I studied abroad, BORN was kinda at the tale end of their Black Threelease period, so they were gonna be dressed the way they were when I was a student going to indies concerts.  I was pretty sure my brain would implode from the nostalgia.

The show was on a Sunday, as I mentioned before.  I hate going to Sunday shows, but every now and then I make an exception.  The Black Threeleases are some of my favorite BORN releases, and BORN’s leaving for all of July for their first one-man tour around Japan.  These shows are my last chance to see them until August.

We knew we needed to “hibernate” for BORN, however.  They’re the most exhausting indies band I know of, and using up energy on anything not BORN-related on the day of a BORN show is just idiotic.  In fact, believe it or not, this show was my first BORN one-man ever, so I was making that judgment call based on experiencing them at two-man or event shows.  Anyways, to conserve energy, my friends and I met up right in Takadanobaba.  MelJay and I used a locker in the station to make sure we could keep it later when the BORN fans were likely gonna try to take all of them.  Then we went off with Peachy to Saizeriya to chill for several hours.  Once we felt like we’d overstayed our welcome, we went to a café, but it was too full, so we went to a Royal Host, which is a fancier version of Saizeriya.  I seriously recommend Royal Host if you’re in Japan looking for a place to eat.  The food’s awesome, they have crazy desserts, and they offer drink bar with really elaborate tea selections.  I wasn’t hungry, so I just got some fries to share with everyone and used the drink bar.  They had things like maple tea, or plum tea or weird mixed-flavor teas…  All kinds of stuff. 

Anyways, while we were hanging out in Royal Host waiting for the show to approach, we noticed something rather, uh… interesting outside the window.  Two Ryougas and a KIFUMI talking to a bunch of girls, lol.  Yes, obviously they were cosplayers, but they were fucking good cosplayers.  One Ryouga was dressed to look like the current VIGOUR look, and the KIFUMI one was from some era I wasn’t sure of…  The one that really blew my mind, though, was the girl dressed like Ryouga in the PSYCHO DIVA music video.  Holy crap, she was like his twin!  She looked just like this:


Seriously, where did she get that fabric?!  How did she put it all together?!  She even had the hat!  Totally amazing!  Her make-up and hair was perfect, too.  We watched the cosplayers and their friends through the window for awhile, before finally deciding it was time to head back to the station to reuse the locker.  Of course, MelJay and I had to go through the ticket gate to do it, which you’re not supposed to do, but fuck da police, or somethin’…   As expected, there were a bunch of BORN fans using the lockers, and some of them were watching hungrily as MelJay and I opened ours, thinking we were abandoning it.  One boy in a BORN hoodie was so starved for a locker, he actually reached past me and opened my locker while I was shoving something into my backpack on the floor.  MelJay’s stuff was still in there, though, and I hastily apologized and told him we were still using it.  MelJay quickly explained to him that there are lockers near the venue, and he seemed grateful and headed in that direction.  Those lockers are tricky to find, though, so… I hope he actually managed to get one.

Probably not, though, because we stopped off in that area a few minutes later (after lying to the station attendant about making a mistake so he’d let us go back out the ticket gate without charging us any money).  Peachy wanted to use one of the lockers near AREA, but they were all completely full.  I guess a lot of BORN fans were putting, like, one tiny purse in a locker, rather than sharing with each other.  Typical.  My friends and I have talked about this before, but Japanese students aren’t really taught much about sharing when they’re in school.  Ever gone to a crowded café in Japan and seen a Japanese person taking up a four-seat table because they want to put their bag on a seat on the same side of the table as them?  Yeah, that happens a lot here.  So I wasn’t too surprised to hear all the lockers were taken, but not full.

But no biggie, because there are lockers in the venue too.  So moving on, we made our way to the venue!  The BORN fans loitering around were so obviously BORN fans, even if they weren’t in line.  More and more, BORN is starting to have the feel of a major band.  It’s not just the fact that the band’s having a one-man tour, it’s more than that.  First of all, there were a lot of boys attending the show, and boys show up for major bands far more than they show up for indies bands.  Also, the BORN fans go way out of their way to show their loyalty specifically as BORN fans, just the way major fans do.  Every single fan we saw was walking around wearing BORN wrist-bands, or BORN t-shirts, or BORN hoodies, or BORN towels wrapped around their necks.  And they all had a mutual style, with almost everyone wearing black with random flashes of extremely bright color (it looked like early 2000’s Hot Topic out there).  A lot of people had brightly dyed hair, like pink or red.  Plus, you almost only see cosplayers at major shows, rarely at indies.  I’m not saying BORN’s gonna go major any time soon, I’m just saying they’re way farther along the path than most indies bands I’ve seen lately.  I actually felt under-dressed, especially with so many people in hoodies (I think every male in attendance was wearing a BORN hoodie).  But I planned on buying the new bandana and towel when I got in the venue, so I just had to wait until I got inside.

So then we went inside!  I did buy the towel and bandana, because they’re both awesome.  PS Company knows what we want, and what we want is more pink leopard print, and fangs.  I guess Ryouga’s excited about them too, because he’s been wearing the bandana non-stop and showing it off every chance he gets.  It has a fanged mouth on it, and Ryouga seems to like that (in fact, the “ga” in Ryouga’s name means “fang”).  Behold, the awesome bandana:

Then I guess I choose to suck your dick...?
 And behold the awesome-ness of what it looks like when you properly wear it:

Of course, I don't look nearly as good wearing it as Ryouga does, sorry...
As for the towels, Ryouga was pretty excited about those too.  When the shipment arrived, he went on his blog and wrote down the exact moment the towels showed up, then wrote something along the lines of, “they’re here!  They’re here!”  Here’s the awesome towel:

No... I have no idea what that's supposed to mean...
I quickly wrapped the bandana around my wrist the way BORN fans usually do (I used to do this with my other BORN bandana from DOGMA) and wrapped the towel around my neck.  Then I felt appropriately pimp.  It was a freaking hour between doors opening and the show starting, so I dedicated a lot of that time to trying to figure out the best way to wear the towel.  And also dancing.  Most bands play stupid, boring music before their shows, but not BORN.  They played nothing but Rob Zombie while we waited, which was perfect for getting the mood going.

Anyways, at about five minutes to six, BORN’s intro THE ANTHEM (the “welcome to the 666” one) started playing, and everyone was like “bwuh?!” and looking around.  The curtain didn't open, but a voice suddenly started talking over the loudspeaker.  It was TOMO!  He was being kinda silly, so everyone was laughing.  He was soon joined by some of the other members too, and they goofed off and told jokes as they went over some of the venue rules and told us to be patient and wait for the show to start.  Then they signed off, leaving us to wait for a few more minutes, giggling.  My friends and I were joking that Ryouga was probably backstage re-checking his make-up a hundred times.  We were like, “Ryouga, you look fine, get your ass on the stage already.”

Anyways, the band finally came onstage.  I thought they might come onstage to the intro they used when I studied abroad, which was just Marilyn Manson’s The Bright Young Things.  But they didn’t, they just came on to THE ANTHEM.  It’s a good intro, even for a retroactive performance.  The band members came on stage two at a time, first drummer TOMO and bassist KIFUMI, who stood there trying to pump us up before taking their instruments.  Then guitarists K and Ray took the stage and tried to get us excited (although those two are kinda shy, so I’d say they just did their best).  Last was Ryouga.  Honestly, I just couldn’t even believe it, seeing the way the band was dressed.  It was like a chunk of my past was carved out of my brain and splatted at my feet.  Between KIFUMI’s striped scene-kid hair and TOMO’s dreadlocks and Ryouga’s blond-plosion, it was like reliving my study abroad days all over again.  Even though this picture was taken years ago, this is exactly what the band looked like:


Aaaand now I’ve waited a whole day to see if anyone in the band would post a setlist, and they didn’t.  Damnit.  We all know what happens when I attempt to write a one-man blog entry without a setlist: chaos, pandemonium, and disjointed nonsense.  You’re probably thinking, “why do you need a setlist?  It’s a themed show, they only played stuff from the Black Threeleases.”  Well, not really…  That wasn’t all they played.

In fact… I didn’t recognize the first song at all.  Neither did MelJay or Peachy.  Was it a new song?  Or just a really old release from that time period that I never managed to get my hands on?  No way to know without a fucking setlist.  Despite the fact that Ryouga came on stage looking like he was in a good mood, the mysterious song had a slow start that seemed a little odd at first.  Everything sorta came to a standstill.  But the song picked up, and it wound up having parts that would suddenly explode into the fastest drum beats possible.  It was like, “song… song… song… song… rageragerageragerage.”  But after that they returned to Black Threelease music.

EDIT: So I'm dumb and only recently remembered that BORN used to be D&L and that I should look into that.  I just heard some of D&L's music for the first time, and I'm fairly certain the song BORN opened with was The God Star from their THE PUBLIC CIRCUS release.  It fits my description and memory perfectly.  I feel so enlightened now.

The band was in a very bouncy mood.  Ryouga shouted at us that we were gonna “go to the black” (“burakku ni ikou ze”).  There was a lot of jumping around and general spazzing.  Ryouga even stage-dove once, and I haven't seen him do that since I studied abroad.  The Black Threelease songs are good for all that nonsense, although it means the audience has to keep up an extremely difficult pace for the whole show.  They played things like MY SWEET BLACK and Ranshido and Mosaic and [B.D.M.] and other generally frantic songs.  I think the second song was MY SWEET BLACK, where Ryouga told us he wants us to “listen to black music.”

Ryouga, honey… 


I remember during MY SWEET BLACK, Ryouga became so overwhelmed by the urge to jump around that he turned to KIFUMI and just started hopping up and down over and over and over.  He started jumping so high that he was tucking in his knees and cannon-balling up and down.  It’s like he’s got springs in his legs.   But when the performers put that much energy into something, I feel obligated to keep up that pace (even though I’m sure Ryouga’s in much better shape than a chubby white girl).  Still, every song had jumping, or moshing side to side, or continuous headbanging…  Within a couple songs I was already thinking, “how the hell am I gonna see this through to the end…?”

The band tried to pepper the setlist with some calmer songs, probably for Ryouga’s sake as much as our own (I don’t know what happened the last time I saw BORN, but I got the feeling Ryouga exhausted himself).  So they also played songs like White Harmony and Ruisai no Hana.  I was kinda surprised by White Harmony, because I wasn’t sure if that was really part of the Black Threelease era or not.  When it started up, I was just like, “oh, okay.”  But I can’t help myself with BORN.  Even though it’s supposed to be a more chill song, I found myself bopping side to side in time to the running bass-line anyways.  But it’s alright, cuz I saw some other girls doing that too.  One of the girls on second saizen was practically jumping.  BORN fans make me laugh. 

During Ruisai no Hana (I think… fuck me if I’m wrong), Ryouga sang on his own for the first couple minutes without any instruments.  I remember not too long ago, MelJay made a joke about Ryouga’s singing voice, and I was kinda surprised, because I’d never really thought Ryouga couldn’t sing.  But when I pondered where MelJay got that impression from, I realized it’s because Ryouga’s voice on albums is usually autotuned or harmonized to make it sound nicer.  They do it that way at shows as well.  There’s usually a lot of pre-recorded Ryougas singing (which really can’t be helped, because a lot of singing and screaming layered together is kinda BORN’s style).  Anyways, this two-minute acapella probably laid aside any doubts MelJay – or anyone else – had about Ryouga’s singing abilities.  It was beautiful!  There was no layering, just pure Ryouga-voice all on its own.  His voice sounded absolutely fantastic.  He sang really passionately and got all Mariah Carey on us and shit.  I was damn impressed.  Don't ever doubt whether or not Ryouga can sing!

But BORN didn’t play very many slow songs, and even songs like NEO SCREAM aren’t really that slow (I caught TOMO singing along to that one).  It wasn’t long before we were getting blasted with stuff like Karasu and more Deep.  The audience was really rocking the shit out of this stuff.  I remember the first side-to-side that happened was during the second song, and a girl went down and got trampled within moments.  And I should add that we were on the second platform in the back, so it’s not like we were down in the killzone here.  I can’t even imagine what it was like down there.

I got to hear so many songs I’d never had a chance to hear before, like BUZZ.  Or Mosaic, which I’ve only heard once before now (I like to replace the fist-grabby move with a middle finger, since the band keeps yelling “fuck you!” over and over).

Let’s see…  Ryouga had a really funny MC.  He was talking about his hair, and he was like, “so last weekend, I had pink hair, right?  And then I wrote on my blog, and I said, ‘bye-bye pink hair.’  And then I received tons of messages from fans, asking if my hair was gonna be okay!  Well, my hair is just fine, so don’t worry!”

I almost died laughing.  I mean, I was definitely concerned about his hair when I realized what he was gonna do, but I didn’t think for a moment to message him about it!  According to Ryouga, he got worried fanmail asking if he’d have to cut his hair because of all the damage, but he assured us he had no plans to cut his hair, and that it was doing just fine despite the extreme abuse.  I can’t believe it was enough of an issue that he had to MC about it!  However, even if Ryouga’s hair is fine, he blogged a couple days ago saying his scalp really hurts from all the bleaching.  Ryouga… seriously…

Ryouga also commented on all the boys.  He had the boys shout out on their own, but the boys sounded kinda shy when they did it, which made all the girls laugh.  Then Ryouga gave the boys a lecture, saying they shouldn't hurt the girls, but they should still let loose and go crazy.  He was like, "be careful around the girls, but tear this fucking place down" or something like that. The boys cheered a little more strongly at that.

Also, I think Ryouga has temporarily been possessed by the spirit of Valluna-era yo-ka.  I used to make fun of yo-ka because, back when he was in Valluna, he would obsessively check himself out in a mirror he propped up on Kei’s sound equipment.  It was like every other song he would go up to the mirror, check himself out, fix his hair, etc.  One time, Peachy and I actually started counting how many times he did it, but gave up at about seven.  Well, Ryouga wins.  He had a mirror set up on the equipment right where we could all see it, and I swear he went up to it literally every other song.  I counted, but once he passed seven, I knew it was futile to keep track.  Ryouga kept fixing his hair, or poking at his make-up, as if any of us gave a shit what that blond flurry of spaziness looks like up on stage.  I’ve never seen Ryouga look in a mirror before, so I was a little confused as to why he gave a shit alluva sudden.  But it was funny watching him have his own little fashion show over there every five fucking minutes.

Um, what else…  Well, even though it’s not exactly part of the Black Threelease, BORN played RADICAL HYSTERIA, which seems to be their theme song now, or something.  Y’know… I never knew until recently that the chorus is Ryouga screaming “SUCK MY DICK OR DEATH” over and over.  When I realized it, I just about died.  But it makes the song that much more fun.  Especially because we go side-to-side for that one.  Ryouga was doing the forward, Western-style headbanging that he usually does for RADICAL HYSTERIA.  It’s so very Ryouga, the way he holds his arms out when he does it.  I found myself headbanging the same way as I hopped around.  With his new blond-plosion hair, Ryouga’s headbanging looked more spastic than ever.  KIFUMI was doing his high-kicks too, and K was spinning in circles.  If you want an idea of what all this looks like, here’s a video taken from the actual Threelease period, which looks the same as what I saw on Sunday:



Um, when the band left the stage, we called for encore, of course, and they came back wearing the various BORN t-shirts and hoodies.  Only the string section came out at first, and they said TOMO and Ryouga were having some trouble backstage and would be out later.  My friends made jokes about Ryouga frantically fixing his make-up.  I said he was probably on oxygen.  I have a bad sense of humor.

So Ray and KIFUMI were trying to explain to the audience how things were gonna go after the show.  It was something about a lottery, and some fans getting to take pictures with the band, and then something about high-fives.  There were very specific instructions that KIFUMI wanted to impart on us, but he couldn’t get them right, and he was confusing the hell out of us and making Ray extremely annoyed.  K just stood there not saying anything, but KIFUMI was being like, “so then, if you have to go to the bathroom, or you wanna use a locker, you go out and then stay out there, because we’ll give high-fives out there.”  And then Ray would be like, “no, don’t stay out there, come back inside.  Otherwise you’ll block the doors.”  And KIFUMI would be like, “oh, right, so come back inside, and then we’ll do high-fives, and then the lottery winners will take a picture with us and – ” and then Ray would be like, “NO!  We’re going to take the pictures while people are using the bathroom and the lockers, and then we’ll do high-fives!”  This went on for five minutes, I’m not even exaggerating.  Eventually, KIFUMI was so utterly confused by his own instructions, he completely froze with a blank stare on his face.  I turned to MelJay and was like, “is KIFUMI broken…?”  Ray sighed and told us to just ask the staff what to do, lol.  Meanwhile K just stood there smirking at his idiot band mates.  From then on, every time KIFUMI tried to butt in on whatever Ray was telling us, Ray would go, “urusee na!” (“just shut the hell up!”).  It was really funny, because KIFUMI started interrupting him just to drive Ray crazy. 

Eventually, TOMO joined them on stage, and they talked about some stuff, and then they decided to draw lottery to see who would get to go backstage and take pictures with the band.  They said they were gonna pull four ticket stubs out of the bucket.  I cringed.  I didn’t wanna win.  I don’t like awkward situations like that.  Anyways, KIFUMI pulled the first stub, said the number, and then immediately his band mates were like, “you have to say the letter too, stupid!”  See, the tickets were in sections A, B, and C, so 17 could mean A17, B17, or C17.  The first number was in the A section, but the last three ticket numbers were in the C section (and KIFUMI had to be reminded one more time to check the fucking letter).  The band was all like, “whoa, how weird that they’re all C numbers!”  I, on the other hand, was face-palming myself into unconsciousness.  Isn’t it obvious what happened?!  The fans enter the venue by letter and number, so those dumbasses collected the tickets in order and dumped them in a bucket without shuffling them.  So of course the numbers in C section were on top!  Duuuuuuuuur.

When that stupidity was over, KIFUMI suddenly went running up to the vocalist’s microphone and pulled it out.  I thought KIFUMI was just being stupid, but then TOMO went back behind the drum set while K went over to KIFUMI’s bass and Ray went over to K’s guitar.

Wait, what…?

KIFUMI was like, “we’re gonna do a song!”  Everyone was laughing and cheering, and I was just thinking, “wow, seriously…?”  MelJay leaned over and whispered, “can KIFUMI even sing?!”  I had nooooo idea.  Next thing we knew, the band was playing MY SWEET BLACK, with KIFUMI on vocals, K on bass, and Ray on the wrong guitar.  But when KIFUMI was trying to pump us up for the song, he started letting loose some serious screams.  I was like daaaaaaamn boy.  Honestly, all things considered, KIFUMI made a damn good Ryouga.  Can he sing?  Yyyyyyyynot really.  In fact, KIFUMI replaced most of the singing with growling, because he can’t really sing, isn’t confident in his singing, and it also just sounds cooler, I guess.  So we did all the furi and cheered the band on while TOMO laughed his ass off at his band mates’ attempts at performing the wrong roles.  At one point, KIFUMI turned around, leaped into the air, kicked his legs out almost into the splits, and landed one of the most epic jumps off a crate I’ve ever seen.  There was a moment there where I was like, “aaaagh, he’ll never make it!!!”

About halfway through the song, Ryouga came bopping onto the stage, wearing the BORN hoodie with the hood pulled up.  He made no move towards the microphone, just hopped around in the background, nodding his head to the music.  Then, right before the guitar solo, Ray frantically gave the guitar back to K.  While K did the solo, Ray returned to the other guitar, and KIFUMI ran back to his bass.  Ryouga wasn’t really heading towards his microphone, though, and the guitar solo was almost over.  Then he finally strode over to it, and joined in…

At the completely wrong time.  Woooooow, Ryouga, way to go.  He only made it through “shiroku kasumu hibi ni…”, and I think maybe the band could’ve recovered it, but TOMO was laughing so hard that he just stopped playing, and the whole song came to a screeching halt while Ryouga was mid-sentence.  Ryouga, probably really embarrassed but attempting to cover it up, started repeating the line over and over like a broken record.  He was like “Shiroku kasumu… shiroku kasumu… shiroku kasumu… WHAT’S THE MATTER?!  Shiroku kasumu… shiroku kasumu… SERIOUSLY, WHAT ARE YOU ALL LAUGHING AT?!  Shiroku kasumu…”  He even had the nerve to jokingly blame TOMO somewhere in all that.

The broken record went on for awhile while the audience was laughing themselves to tears and the band was in hysterics.  I’ve never seen TOMO laugh so hard at anything.  Poor Ryouga.  I’ve seen Rouga embarrass himself at shows before and he usually seems pretty horrified about it, but he definitely took this one in stride.  To make up for the fact that the song was completely ruined, Ryouga decided to turn it into an MC instead.  During the MC, he mentioned he was sick and had a runny nose.  Aaaaaaaw.  I could tell, honestly.  Although he was as hyperactive as ever, he started losing his voice about 3/4 of the way through the show, and I’d never heard him lose his voice before.  At first I took it to mean that, as usual, he overdid the show (even his band mates have written on their blogs that they sometimes worry he’ll explode up there or something), but being sick makes even more sense.

Then Ryouga casually put his foot on the crate and was like, "hey, isn't it Mother's Day?"  At that, the audience cheered.  Then Ryouga suddenly glared around the audience and was like, "then what the hell are you all doing here?!"  The crowd was like, "ooooooh."  Then Ryouga gave us a big lecture and told us we should all call our mothers after the show.  Wow, um... okay.  He also did rock-paper-scissors with us for some reason.  In Japanese, rock-paper-scissors is "jan-ken-poi", but when Ryouga did it with us, it became "jan-ken-POW!"  Lol, Ryouga's so awesome.

After the MC, BORN went into their closing repeater song.  I’ve never been sure what exactly this song is…  Like, I’ve never heard it on an album.  Some bands have repeater songs that only exist at shows, (for example, The GazettE’s Ride with the ROCKERS only exists at concerts, right?  I don’t think it ever appeared on a CD).

EDIT: By complete accident, MelJay found a BORN video that included the repeater song with its name listed on the screen.  The reason I didn't know about it until now is because the song wasn't actually released by BORN.  It was released by D&L, which is the band BORN was before they decided to change their name and become a "new band".  It's from a D&L maxi-single called THE PUBLIC CIRCUS.  The more you know.  So glad I figured out this D&L thing.

Anyways, shrive is usually pretty exhausting.  It involves doing the weird fist-grabby thing over and over.  On the last count, it also sounds like the vocal track is yelling “goodbye!” lol (no idea if that’s true, though).  After we’d done it, like, a million times, Ryouga yelled out, “raasuto gokai!” (“last five rounds!”).  I was ready to kill him.  It’s not uncommon during a repeater song for a vocalist to yell out “last three!” or even sooooometimes “last four”, but “last five”?!  Damnit, Ryouga.  That was another five minutes of exhaustion, lol.  Knowing it was the end of the show, though, I tried to make it really count.  That was probably when I lost most of my brain matter and sweated out my remaining life juices.

When the song was over and we were all cheering, Ryouga leaned back and screamed “YOU’RE ALL MOTHERFUCKERS!!!” at us.  Whoo, same to you, buddy!

When the show was over, I was kinda excited because it was only 8:00.  I’d have no problem getting home on time, and I might even be able to avoid a taxi!  But BORN was playing a very long recording over the loudspeaker where the band members goofed off and went over every single show on their upcoming one-man tour, and all the fans were sitting down or loitering around as if they were waiting for something.  I knew the band was backstage taking pictures with the lottery winners, but I had no idea what else was going on.  KIFUMI had so utterly confused me with his instructions.  Something about high-fives…?  I know Ray said to just give up on KIFUMI and ask the staff, but I don’t really like bothering them.  Especially at AREA, where the staff isn’t exactly known for being friendly.  After standing around for ten minutes unsure of what to do, MelJay asked a girl near us what was going on.  As it turned out, the girl is an exchange student from Taiwan but, thankfully, she speaks near-perfect Japanese (but no English).  She explained to us that, if we waited around for a little while, we were all gonna line up and go outside to get high-fives from all the band members.

Ooooookay.  So we stood around for awhile and talked with the Taiwanese girl a bit.  She wanted to get our contact information afterwards.  Eventually, the staff started herding everyone outside to go do high-fives.  All I could think was, “uuuuugh, awkward.”  But who am I to turn down a high-five, I suppose.  When we got out there, the typical AREA staff members were screaming at us to get moving and go go go.  They were even physically herding some people forward.  God, the AREA staff piss me off.  They were mean three years ago and they’re still mean now.

Anyways, the band was lined up, although I don’t remember the order (Ryouga was in the middle, that’s all I remember).  The AREA staff herded us through the band in under two seconds.  Still, when I was in front of the first member, which I believe was TOMO, my initial instinct was to politely say, “otsukaresama deshita” (“good job today”).  So I did, and lifted my hand for a high-five.  But the moment TOMO lifted his own hand, I suddenly felt this flash of wickedness go through me.  See, I always make fun of the fact that BORN’s lyrics are like 25% “whoa”, “yeah”, and the occasional “are you ready?!”  So when TOMO lifted his hand, I couldn’t resist the urge to high-five him as hard as possible and go, “YEAH!”  I then proceeded to do that with all the band members, lol.  They seemed to get a kick out of it.  I think Ryouga wanted revenge for my painful high-five, though.  See, when Ryouga high-fived people, he’d say “aishiteru ze!” (“I fuckin’ love you!”) to some of them.  Given my enthusiastic “YEAH!”, I wasn’t too surprised when I received an “aishiteru ze” from him.  But, as I was moving away, he smacked me in the elbow with his left hand and shouted, “I LOVE YOU!” at me in English.  Pffffffffffft.  I love you too, buddy <3

Aaaand that was pretty much that.  They made us leave the venue as soon as we were done high-fiving, so we went back to our lockers, retrieved our stuff, exchanged contact info with the Taiwanese girl (she won’t be at next Sunday’s show, but she’ll be at the tour final in August!), and went on our way.  I dawdled too long, though.  I missed the train I wanted by about eight minutes and had to wait an hour for the next one (thank goodness for the Starbucks in the station), then take a taxi when I was near home.  I’ve been jokingly referring to the end of the show as my “Twenty Dollar High-Fives” lol.

And now, three days later, the green bruise I got on my right arm during the show is still there.  BORN fans, you be crazy.  Crazy awesome.

So that’s all I’ve got for you guys today!  Sorry, this one was really long and rambly, and probably not that great since I suck at writing one-man reports.  I’d love to promise the Agitate to the DOGMANISM report will be better, but I doubt it.  I have the Awoi one-man on Saturday, and the BORN one-man on Sunday.  How the hell will I be able to write two one-man reports from one weekend before next weekend?!  By doing a poor job of it, most likely, but I’ll do my best!

See you next time!