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!

3 comments:

  1. Oh no comments yet! What?? Anyways, I'm first.

    I hate it when Japanese fans act like that. Even if they don't say anything, they give you this look sometimes like, what are you doing here?? Hello, I also paid for this ticket, I have just as much right as you do. And we know just as much about the band! It's very frustrating... But, there are a lot of nice people too, so it's better to focus on them.

    I should try to see Awoi! I'm probably gonna go to Osaka a lot this summer to see my sister:)

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    Replies
    1. Lol, no one has any love for Awoi. Any time I write about Awoi, the comments section is like jiiiiiiiiiii. Poor Awoi, lol XD

      But I agree, better to focus on the nice fans at shows, even if the jerks can be annoying. Although... my upcoming post is full of fury at other people, lol. Sometimes the bad ones make it hard to notice the nice ones >___< But then someone does something awesome and I'm like, "aaaw, yaaay!"

      And OMG if you get to see Awoi in Osaka..... that sounds amazing!!! You should totally do it!!!

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  2. kuke:

    Wow, that really was a lot of interesting literature, I read it all♥
    I imagined every single scene and omg xD those fuckin girls... I'd have beaten them by "mistake" while headbanging lol :3 ...
    Apparently, everything has been like the few lives I've seen of them... except the Otogi smiling and joking around... It must have been so adorable.
    It seems you wrote everything around you in that place that made me travel right there imaginatively ;-; ...
    The setlist was amazing
    I'd kill to go to a live of them ♥ but I'm so poor and live in Mexico, U.S border... lol *feeling lucky if Awoi comes to U.S* xDD
    Thank you for writing this, greetings.

    ReplyDelete