Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Signal's First One-Man


Time to talk about the Signal one-man!  We need to get the member’s names straight, cuz I’m gonna refer to them by name constantly throughout this post, so here’s the guide:

             ShinyA                       Shion                                Yuri                         Korey                           Rua

As some might remember from a previous post, the only reason I went to this thing is because Yuri and Korey sweet-talked my friends and I into buying tickets, even though the show was on a freakin’ Thursday.  Now, admittedly, I have a soft spot for first one-man shows (like the time I ran off to DIAURA’s first one-man on a Tuesday).  But it was also hard to say “no” with Yuri batting his eyelashes and flashing us his cheesy, overly-enthusiastic smile.  He was saying the Japanese equivalent of “c’moooooon” and it was like, “uuuuugh, how can I say no to that face?!”  While my friends and I were discussing it, Korey was obviously listening in, too.  We’re such wusses, we wound up agreeing to it, even though it meant having to leave work early and shit.  But it kinda paid off in that buying from the band got us ticket numbers under twenty.  Holy shiiiiiiiiit.

Actually, there was more luck than that.  My schedule this semester is set up so that Thursday is actually the only day of the week I don’t teach classes in the afternoon, so it’s not like I’d be missing anything anyways, and there wouldn’t be any reason for a teacher to tell me I couldn’t leave.  So I left school right after lunch and headed out to Tokyo.  My friends and I wound up being at least an hour early for the show, so we chilled in the Mister Donuts near the venue (Shinjuku Ruido K4).  OMG, Mister Donuts is doing a special on ginger doughnuts right now!  OMG no waaaaaay, so excited!  I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but I love all things ginger, so this is super exciting.

Anyways, when it was time for the show, we joined the line, and our awesome ticket numbers even let us join the line inside the venue with all the other awesome low-ticket number people.  I felt like a pimp.  We also wound up standing near some familiar faces from the last show, which made me bristle, as people who read my last post would understand.  However, there was kind of an interesting twist.  So, do you remember me writing my inner-perspective on dealing with the Signal fans, and I mentioned a Japanese girl who spoke English (and how I considered punching her?).  Well, she was right in front of us, and she started talking to us.  But this time, she sounded legitimately curious about us, and I decided to give her a chance and see what she had to say.  Turns out, she’s actually very nice.

But wait, says the blog readers, twice you’ve written about her at shows speaking very rudely.  What gives?  Well, the answer is this: the girl – let’s call her Eigo, which means “English” in Japanese – learned her English from an American boyfriend.  This is actually a common phenomenon.  Basically, the person in question learns the new language from someone of the opposite sex and start talking like the opposite sex.  It’s really bad for people who learn from a Japanese partner, because the Japanese language changes a lot whether or not a boy or girl is speaking.  So guys who start dating Japanese girls will start speaking in a really effeminate way, and girls who date Japanese guys start talking like tough motherfuckers.  But it works that way in English too.  A Japanese guy dating an English-speaking girl might wind up using “like” or “no way” or girly things like that.  In Eigo’s case, learning from an American boy made her talk like an American boy.  So when she says things like, “are you buying something or are you just standing here?”, she’s legitimately asking and doesn’t mean to sound like a jerk.  That’s just how she learned English.  So we actually wound up talking to her for most of the show and it was really interesting.

Just one more thing I want to mention, though, before moving on with the show (I’ve been meaning to bring this up for months).  One of the first questions Eigo asked us is, “who’s your favorite member?”  When I wrote my inner-perspective at the last Signal show, you might recall a saizen girl also asking us, “who is your favorite member?” (and being really rude when MelJay said “Korey”).  I would say, nine times out of ten, when I talk to a Japanese person at a show, the first question they ask is, “who is your favorite member?”  Now, I can’t speak for all foreign people, but I know my friends and I personally FUCKING HATE THAT QUESTION.  I’m sorry, but like, if I like a band, I "like" all the members.  It’s like asking what my favorite point on a star is.  I don't fucking know.  Yeah, I might enjoy one or two of the members a little bit more than the others, but not enough to ignore the others completely.  And I usually don’t like to over-advertise who my favorite is because it’s unfair to the rest of the band.  I have a soft spot for vocalists, I suppose, but I don’t think they make the band.  A band without fully functioning limbs is a cripple.  Usually, I like one member more than the others juuuust enough to answer the question if I absolutely have to, but it’s usually such a close call that my answer is barely true, and it makes me really uncomfortable.  If I don't like all the members of the band, I probably don’t much care for the band (I suppose if I disliked one member, it would still be okay, but it’s only happened once that I can think of.  People who read my blog when I studied abroad probably know which band I'm talking about).  Sometimes there’s a band that makes me think, “oh, this band has a really cool vocalist” or “this band has a rockin’ drummer!” and then think, “ooooh, but everyone else is lame as fuck and the music blows.”  And then that band’s off my radar.  One member won’t save a band for me.  An arm without a body is useless.  And asking me to pick a favorite makes me feel so sorry for the other members who help make my favorite bands awesome.  They’re people too, and they're doing their best.

Sorry, I just really wanted to get that off my chest.

Anyways, there was a goddamn hour between doors opening and the show starting, and a dismally tiny turnout.  My friends and I sat down in the third row, which isn’t saying much, since the saizen had barely ten people, and the second row had barely more than that.  We sat down next to Eigo so we could chat with her before the show started.  It was actually really interesting.  I always really, really wanna hear the Japanese perspective on shows, but I rarely get the chance.  Even when I talk to Japanese fans, they’re still in “tatemae” mode.  I’m not going to get into a big spiel on Japanese culture here, but Japanese culture functions by “honne” and “tatemae.”  “Honne” is what you’re really feeling (and keep to yourself and your closest friends), and “tatemae” is what you tell others you’re feeling (due to societal expectations or what the situation calls for).  Japanese people won’t reveal “honne” to people they don’t really know, so talking to Japanese fans at a show just gets you a lot of positive, happy commentary about how great the band is and how much they love so-and-so, without the gritty, realistic details they’d share with their friends.  Which is cute and friendly, but doesn't tell me how Japanese people actually view the bangyaru experience.  Eigo, however, knows how to talk to Westerners, and talked to us for a very long time, so she dropped “tatemae” within ten minutes and spoke to us with real “honne” information and perspective.  Here’s some of the interesting stuff she had to say:

For one thing, Eigo agrees with us that a lot of furi is really stupid and boring, and that the ridiculously complicated shit the saizen comes up with isn’t even worth bothering with, because you wind up watching the audience more than the band.  She also seemed to enjoy our disdain at how stupid the saizen looked at the show, dressed in junior high school jerseys.  The fuck is that?!  Eigo also believes it’s ridiculous that a band whose musical quality and talent level is as high as Signal’s pulls in such a small crowd.  She also agreed with us that she thinks it’s peculiar that Yuri's an “older” indies performer, but his band mates are so much younger.  She told us the rumor is that Yuri’s thirty-three, Korey’s twenty-seven, and that the others are much younger than that.  When we told her Yuri certainly doesn’t act like he’s thirty-three, she told us all the fans say he seems like a junior high school student.  She also agrees with us that the small crowd might have to do with the fact that Signal’s too “hard-core” for the indies fans, but she was quick to tell us she much prefers hardcore bands, and was hoping Signal would try to make the fans do a “Wall of Death” pit.  Other than Signal, her favorite band is Decay (who I’ll be seeing this weekend).  Overall, it was just really interesting to hear the perspective of a JRock fan who’s actually Japanese.

Another interesting thing, bringing us back to my previous discussion about picking “favorites” and ignoring the other members…  When Eigo went to go buy cheki pictures, she only wanted Yuri because he’s by-far her favorite.  As usual, Signal’s extremely kind, motherly merch lady was working the booth.  Anyways, Eigo kept opening cheki envelopes and saying “iranai” (“I don’t need this”) to any cheki that wasn’t Yuri (and I think one other member).  I think the merch lady, being a bit of a mother to the band, finally told Eigo in her most tender, caring voice, that it isn’t kind to talk about the boys like that.

THANK YOU.  I’m glad someone finally said it.  They’re all people, with feelings, just like you.  You don't have to love them all equally, but if you like a band, you should at least appreciate the others too.  Without them, the band wouldn't be anything at all.

Oh, also, I handed in my stamp card to the merch lady.  If you got all five stamps, you got to go see Signal at work in the studio (Eigo went, but she said there were only, like, four fans there).  Obviously I couldn’t go to all five shows and get five stamps, but I had two, which got me a nice, shiny postcard of the band.  Yaaaay, prizes!

Anyways, I’ve rambled waaaaay too long.  Let’s talk about the show.  So it was Signal’s first one-man, meaning the band was going to make as big a deal about it as possible.  First one-mans are an important milestone for an indies band.  It’s basically the day they take off their training wheels.  As expected, the band was quite nervous, and ShinyA’s been writing on his blog about have recurring nightmares that he sleeps in or has something prevent him from getting to the show.  I knew Signal was gonna do something "special" with this show, because the left side of the venue had a big movie screen pulled down.

So, as expected, when the lights went down, the curtain on the stage stayed closed, but the projector screen lit up.  We all turned to look at it, and I wanted to sit down so I wouldn’t block anyone, but no one else did.  I felt guilty, so I kinda crouched down, even though most people stayed standing.  It just seemed like the polite thing to do.  The video they showed us had a bunch of words moving across the screen like a type-writer, being all dramatic like, “Signal’s first one-man, dun dun dun.”  Then they did something really funny.  One by one, they flashed five black and white images of babies, and we all started laughing and trying to guess which baby was which member.  Honestly, it was reeeeally easy.  Korey!baby had the exact same nose Korey has now, and he was also screaming and bawling in the picture.  Shion!baby’s face was so round, it was a perfect sphere, which is hilarious because Shion still has a really round face.  ShinyA, Yuri, and Rua were also adorable babies, especially Rua!baby, who looked kinda dazed and confused in his picture.  Then the movie paired each picture to a member, showing us the answers, and I was happy to see I got them all right. 

The next part of the video was even funnier.  First they showed us what was obviously ShinyA in the studio, but from behind with his hair down flat.  He was standing in front of a recording mic.  The video told us the non-vocal band members were gonna try singing some Signal songs.  I just thought, “oh gawd…”

So ShinyA sang, um… fuck.  I should’ve taken notes on this.  I don’t remember which song it was.  They only showed about a minute of it, but ShinyA actually sang really fucking well.  Like, really, really well.  I think we were all super impressed.  Since he wasn’t wearing make-up, ShinyA was facing away from the camera for the whole clip.  However, the moment his segment ended, he turned around and flashed the camera a make-up-less smile and a peace sign, and we all laughed.

Next up was Korey, and uh… I don’t remember what he sang either.  I feel like it was something from CHAIN, like Last Judgment or something.  Anyways, he actually wasn’t bad either!  Now I was feeling really damn impressed.  The guitarist and the drummer can both sing like professionals, perfectly on-key!  Korey was too embarrassed to turn around and show us his make-up-less face, though.

The next one up was Shion, and I think he sang Roots.  Shion…  Okay, so like, Shion can also sing really well, like the other two, except… he has absolutely no idea how to sing low notes.  Every time he attempted to hit a low note, he’d try too hard and wind up sounding like a dramatic opera singer.  We all laughed every time he hit the low notes, and the band actually anticipated that we would laugh at it, so the video flashed the kanji (which means “laugh”) at the bottom of the screen every time Shion attempted to sing low.  Poor Shion, lol.

The last one up was Rua, and his was by-far the funniest.  Rua, well… Rua knew he was gonna fail, so he set himself up for the best failure possible by taking on Lovers : Psycho.  Rua… I can’t mince words on this one.  I was as nice as possible when Yuu from DIAURA had to sing, and I was as nice as possible when Shou from Awoi was forced to sing, but Rua… Rua is one tone-deaf motherfucker.  Not only can he not sing or come even close to hitting the right notes, but his singing voice sounds like a violin played with a saw.  It was hilarious, and Rua knew it was hilarious, so he danced around in front of the recording mic like a complete idiot, waving his arms and doing jazz-hands and constantly turning to the camera and giving us knowing smirks.  The audience was cracking up, and the band knew we’d laugh, so they flashed the kanji for “extreme laughter” lol.

After the singing part was over, the video showed us images and clips of the band throughout the time since they began activities.  A lot of it was pretty funny, and a lot of the clips were extensions of videos Signal already released.  For example, anyone who’s watched the making of Signal’s MELT video (it’s on YouTube) has seen the part where Rua pulls a muscle in his leg while performing and collapses to the ground simultaneously writhing in pain and laughing his ass off (why?).  Well, they showed us footage of the aftermath, with the staff lady massaging Rua's leg while he's still lying on the floor, laughing hysterically for absolutely no reason.  They also showed Yuri preparing to get all messed up with fake blood on his face for that video.  Then they showed the band goofing around backstage and being idiots, and they flashed footage of Signal from previous shows.  They purposely put the clips in order so we could watch the band’s hair and costumes change.  It was especially funny with Yuri, who went from blond to a red and black perm, and then back to blond.  It’s embarrassing but… MelJay and I could see ourselves in a couple of the clips pretty easily cuz, uh… curly hair.  Sigh. The fans around us were pointing themselves out too, and being all "natsukashii!" ("nostalgic!") about the footage.

Then the band started playing really intense opening music while the video pumped us up with dramatic words like, “Are you ready?!” over a background of flames and shit.  It makes me laugh when bands act like their first one-man is the freakin’ Super Bowl.  Anyhoo, the curtain opened up, so we all turned to face the stage, even though dramatic flames and words were still flashing across the projector screen.  The venue was flashing lots of crazy flashing lights and stuff, mostly the color purple, I noticed, and then the band made their way on stage.

Korey came on first, and got up on the crate and flashed us a big smile and gave us all the middle finger as usual (he’s obsessed with the middle finger for some reason).  Rua came on stage and did his usual, “look at meeeeee!” routine.  ShinyA actually got up on the crate and waved cheerfully in his big, puffy skirt.  Shion was brave and also got up on the crate to try to rile us up, although I think most people in the audience were just like, “d’aaaaaaaaw!” cuz he’s so cute.  Last to come on was Yuri, who kinda strolled around casually with his fist up, like he’s too cool for us bitches or something.  While there were maybe only sixy girls in the audience, the back of the crowd consisted of, like, at least twenty boys.  A lot of them looked like other indies performers (and some were suspiciously hiding behind masks) and they seemed to yell even louder than the girls.  Lol, Signal fanboys.

Anyways, I have a setlist, but I didn’t get this one from the band.  Actually, on Ameblo, I’m friends with Signal’s staff blog.  My theory is that it’s the nice merch lady who runs it, though it could be any of the other helpful ladies (like the one who massaged Rua’s leg), or even the manager.  For some reason, Signal’s staff blog likes to “peta” (like a Facebook “poke”) the blog posts I write on Ameblo, meaning they’re reading them.  Weird as hell.  But anyways, Signal’s staff blog was nice enough to post a setlist for us, so this should go much easier:

GROW BACK OVER SCARS
Just for today
DEEP INSPIRE
black future
[RED]river
ATOMIC No.666
Animosity
Lovers : Psycho
Dead Crow
-SE- unleash from chain
Gerbera
Drum solo ~ Rhythm session
DARTY STAIN
The Last Judgment

Encore 1:
Guitar solo
Roots
-syoku-

Encore 2:
MELT

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to write anything past the first encore’s guitar solo, because I had to leave early to make sure I caught my train.  However, I wrote on Ameblo about having to leave early, and Rua specifically “peta”-ed my blog article about ten minutes later, meaning he read it.  So… I didn’t feel quite so bad about leaving early, since at least someone in Signal knew the circumstances.  Also, if that setlist seems a big short to you, it’s because Signal doesn’t have a lot of songs yet.  But they do have an ass-load of talent, so the show actually lasted about two-and-a-half hours.  How?  We’ll get to that.

So we opened with GROW BACK OVER SCARS (for the record, the single is called GLOW BACK OVER SCARS, but the song is called GROW BACK OVER SCARS.  Weird, I know).  Although I find the saizen’s furi to be really stupid sometimes, this one’s actually really fun.  Everyone turns sideways and punches the air over their head in time to the beat, and it actually feels pretty fierce.  It was a good way to start the show, since it’s like Signal’s “hit song” right now, and it’s pretty hard-core.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out Signal yet, I can’t recommend them enough.  You can watch the GROW video here:



Anyways, the next song was Just for today, which is from the new CHAIN mini-album.  Earlier, I told Eigo I thought the line “just for today” in the song sounds like “just fucking die” the way Yuri says it.  She thought that was funny.  I was feeling pretty confident about my ability to do all the furi for the show despite not having had CHAIN for very long, but then Signal went into a new song, which the staff blog says is named DEEP INSPIRE.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember it very well, mostly because the saizen are a bunch of idiots who can’t come up with furi on the spot to save their lives.  Half the time, the second row had to come up with it (and furi’s not rocket science, I generally knew what needed to be done for a certain part of the song, and was just waiting for the saizen to turn around and notice the second row doing it.  Seriously, the furi code isn’t fucking hard).  So, unfortunately, I was distracted a lot and don’t remember the new song well.  If I recall, it was a very “rock”-like song.  Not insanely hard-core, but not a light song either.  It felt very alternative-rock to me, with the kind of chorus more typical of the songs on CHAIN.

After that was black future.  Some of you reading this might have CHAIN and yet still be wondering what black future is.  If you bought CHAIN in a store, you got the seven songs on CHAIN.  However, if you bought CHAIN from the band at a show, you got the seven songs plus a bonus song, which is black future.  Honestly, it’s tragic that the song wasn’t readily available to everyone, because it’s awesome.  It has constant tempo changes, really fast-paced fist-punching parts, and Yuri likes to yell, “three, two, one, ACTION!” a lot.  There’s tons of jumping and just overall hyper-fun and awesomeness.   It’s actually one of my favorite Signal songs.

What’s that, you say?  It’s hard to read about a song you haven’t actually heard?  I feel ya.  I feel ya so much, it’s making me feel all kinds of generous.  I’m thinking if you email me at blackmagedad@comcast.net, you might somehow, accidentally, find yourself more knowledgeable about the song… if you catch my drift.  Just mention “black future” in the email and maybe the tubes of the internet will pass along a gift all by themselves, without any explanation or help from any blog writers.  Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Then the band played [RED]river (one of my favorites!) and Yuri got all “sexual” on us.  He was dangling the microphone over his head and licking it and getting his mouth all up on that thing.  It looked… very gay, lol.  But then again, Yuri’s name means “lesbian erotica” (no, I’m serious, it’s the same kanji and everything), and he claims GW doesn’t stand for Golden Week, it stands for Gay Week.  So there ya go.  You’re a strange man, Yuri.  Mouth-lesting the microphone eventually turned into Yuri’s hand rubbing seductively all over his belt and midriff.  I never really thought Yuri was much of a “sexual” performer, so I was a bit surprised.  But hey, who am I to complain?

Ah, next up was ATOMIC No.666, which MelJay can’t stand, so I patted her consolingly on the shoulder.  Then they played Animosity, which I said last time was a repeater song, but this time it stayed at its original length (although we did do gyaku-dive nonetheless, and the second row was pretty fair about letting the third row have a turn).

Up next was Lovers : Psycho, the big crowd-pleaser.  Neither a rock song nor a dance song, it’s something in between the two.  Thankfully, Yuri himself was singing this one.  Rua, you’re a mind-blowingly amazing guitarist, but please, for the love of God, don’t ever try to sing again.  As usual, Yuri did his “happy dance” during Lovers : Psycho.  Eigo told us she loves that stupid dance too.  We tried to explain to her that it looks like the Chicken Dance, but I’m not sure she understood what that is.  Anyways, I find it unfortunate that the saizen doesn’t seem to enjoy Yuri’s dance as much as Yuri does, since they don’t do it.  But my friends and I had been saying for awhile that we wanna do the stupid dance, so do the stupid dance we did.  Some of the girls in the row ahead of us did it too, because they’re awesome.  Honestly, it felt much better doing the dance than just jumping up and down.  Yuri does that dance for a reason – because it fits.  Plus, he seemed amused by people in the audience mimicking it.  Oh, and he did a booty-pop!  Yeeeeessss!  Yuri, you’re so weird!!!

Oh, also, just wanted to mention that Shion stares at the audience like crazy.  I actually found myself hesitant to look in his direction because, every time I did, I caught eyes with him, and I find eye-contact uncomfortable.  But he was staring at everyone like some kind of tracking-beam, and he always had this weirdly curious look on his face.  Maybe we're as interesting to him as he is to us. 

So next up was a song called Dead Crow, which I suppose is the prequel to DIR EN GREY’s song Decayed Crow.  Hahaha, kidding, obviously.  I think this was a new song, because I don’t recognize the name, and I didn’t feel like I recognized it at the show either.  Unfortunately, all the distractions around me kept me from keeping track and remembering how it goes.  After Dead Crow was an –SE–, where they played a recording of unleash from chain.  It’s weird, though…  The song is like a slow, wordless ballad with acoustic guitars, and I know the band worked really hard on that one in the studio, but they didn't actually play it.  It was just pre-recorded, while the band stood there in the dark.  I guess it was break time?  Yuri was standing there being all dramatic with his hand over his forehead like a woman swooning.  As one would imagine, unleash from chain flowed pretty effortlessly into Gerbera, since that’s more of a slow, ballad-ish song (or as ballad-ish as a Signal song ever gets).  The band actually played for Gerbera, and it was very pretty.

Then the band left the stage, except for Korey.  Ooooh, Mr. Korey gets a drum solo!  Now, I know both from having eyes and ears and listening to MelJay’s squeeing that Korey’s a ridiculously awesome drummer.  The kind of awesome drummer you normally can’t find in the Japanese indies scene, since good drummers in indies are about as rare as the days Marilyn Manson spends sober.  So Korey’s definitely a diamond in the rough.  So, of course, when we realized he was gonna get a drum solo, we were like squeeeeee!  And boy did Signal go to town on this solo.  Korey didn’t just do a solo, he did a solo with effects.  It’s kinda hard to describe, but they played this really sinister-sounding background music while Korey played.  The music was kinda electronic-y and goth-y and evil, and there was crazy flashing purple lights and strobe effects and stuff.  I mean, Korey sure as fuck doesn’t need any extra flourishes to make his drum solo completely insane, but by adding the lights and the eerie background sounds, his drum solo turned into some kind of crazy Drum Hell.  And, as I was saying, Korey’s amazing at drums.  He kept changing up the tempo and the rhythm so much that, even when the audience tried to clap along, they’d have to give up and start over because they couldn’t keep up with the twisting and turning of the solo.  I’m pretty sure Korey knows he’s awesome, because he kept getting this shit-eating grin on his face while he was playing.  Seriously, the way Korey plays drums, you’d think he should be in some super-famous major band.  Seriously, Signal needs more fans, this is ridiculous.

Anyways, while Korey was playing, Mr. Shion came on stage with his bass to a chorus of cheers.  OMG yay, it’s gonna be a rhythm session!  I’m a sucker for when bassists and drummers do a “duet” together.  So Shion strutted around the stage and tried to get us pumped up for some rhythm action.  It was kinda cute because Shion’s, well… he’s not exactly an intimidating-looking person, and this is his first band, so you could tell he was a little nervous, and not entirely sure how to lead the crowd.  He kept alternating between the right and left microphones, and the one in front of the crate, trying to get us to shout along with Korey’s drums or his own bass-playing.  He was a big fan of making the audience shout “why why why why” alternating with his bass breakdowns.  Then he’d try to pump us up at the microphone again, but the mics were turned down really low, so it was really hard to hear him.  And I think he’s too shy to shout.  But we all just played along, because it was kinda adorable.  Like I said, this was the day Signal lost their training wheels.

But Shion wasn’t content to just guide us through some rhythm participation.  Oh no, not Mr. Shion.  You see, as it turns out, Mr. Shion’s body is holding within it a level of awesomeness that would’ve been incomprehensible right away, so Shion was easing us into it.  Shion's bass breakdowns at that point were just a small salad before the fucking dog-sized bloody steak he was about to serve up.  He just needed to prepare us.  So Shion explained to us, while Korey continued the rhythm in the background, that he was gonna start speeding things up.  “Okay,” I thought.  “It’s probably time to step up the bass a little.”  So Korey backed out a little, and Shion played an epic bass breakdown.  “Ooooooh” we all thought.  But we all know Shion’s awesome at bass.  Did you watch the GROW video I posted above?  C’mon, wasn’t that bass solo sweet?  So then Shion was up at the microphone asking us how his solo was, and we cheered, so he said he was gonna step it up again.  So he did another bass breakdown, even faster and more complicated than the one before it.  It’s not like he was just playing faster, he was suddenly going all over the strings on that thing and it sounded insane.  When that breakdown was over, I was starting to wonder if Shion was going to keep getting faster.  Because what he just did was pretty amazing, but if he could do more...  So then Shion told us he was gonna speed it up again, and now I was thinking, “damn, Shion, you crazy.”  So Shion went into another breakdown, and it was fucking insane!  I’ve never seen anyone’s fingers move so fast.  That solo was so fast and so obscenely complex that all the boys and indies performers in the back actually started screaming and shouting, “whooooo!”  You gotta understand, that never fucking happens.  Usually male fans, and especially lurking indies JRockers, are like silent specters at the back of a good show.  They rarely come forward, do furi, or shout.  Especially the shouting.  Background Boys are usually completely silent.  So to have fellow indies performers whooping in amazement at Shion’s bass playing… that’s incredible.  

But guess what?  Shion wasn't done.  He wanted to do one more breakdown, as fast as humanly possible.  I was like “no way… no one can play faster than that…”  But… he… did…  The last breakdown was just… there are no words.  Shion’s fingers moved so fast, it was just a blur.  He played faster than the speed of a speed-metal guitar, and I felt like I was being blasted in the face with razor-sharp musical notes.  The Background Boys started whooping and shouting again, and some girls cheered with them this time.  It was honestly the most insane fucking thing ever.  I don’t understand how Shion was able to play bass like that.  He didn’t even break a sweat.  It was… it was literally ridiculous.

MelJay and I were talking about Shion the next day, and saying how weird it is that someone who seems to be very young (early twenties?) and has never formally been in a band before would be able to play bass like Shion does.  Eventually, we had to just throw the word out there…  “prodigy.”  Clearly, Shion’s just one of those people who can pick up an instrument and master the ever-loving fuck out of it until he’s at the skill-level of someone twice his age.  Some people are amazing at bass because they practice night-and-day and sleep in bed with the thing, and some people are just… prodigies.

The most tragic thing is that no one filmed it…

Anyways, when Shion was done, the rest of the band came on stage to return to music.  You might be thinking, “wait, what about ShinyA and Rua?  They didn’t want to show off?”  Don’t worry, we’ll get to ShinyA and Rua. 

The next song was DARTY STAIN, which I believe is a new song.  Because it’s a new song, meaning I don’t own a CD with it or anything, I can’t confirm if the Signal staff blog accidentally misspelled “dirty”, or if the official title of the song is misspelled as “darty.”  For now, I’m just going to have to leave it as DARTY STAIN until I know more.  Aaaand, forgive me, I don’t remember it at all.  I almost never remember new songs the first time I see them unless something really crazy happens so I can jog my memory later.  This might’ve been the song where ShinyA had a guitar solo and he got up on the crate, and Yuri snuck up behind him and lifted up his skirt.  Damnit, Yuri, bad dog, lol!

The last song before encore was Last Judgment, which was a nice way to end the regular part of the show, since the song kinda builds up as it goes along.  I was getting nervous about time, so my attention may have been wandering a little, but I remember it sounded nice.  I’ve seen Last Judgment twice, and Yuri always gets super into it and all melodramatic and stuff.  I’m guessing he really likes the song.

Anyways, then the band left, and now I was feeling really unsure about what to do.  It was already 8:15, and I wanted to leave around 8:30, though I was willing to push it if I had to.  I knew if I waited, I might get sucked into an encore from which I couldn’t escape.  But I decided to risk it and stay, just to see what would happen.  No point in leaving fifteen minutes before necessary, since there was no way to know what would was going on.

Thank Cheez-Its I stayed, though.  Otherwise I would’ve missed ShinyA and Rua’s chance to show off like Korey and Shion did!  So ShinyA and Rua came on stage and started talking.  Well, mostly Rua talked.  ShinyA almost never speaks.  I used to think it was because ShinyA’s the “token female” and he’s trying to do like Mana and not let his manly voice ruin his feminine persona.  But I don’t think so, because ShinyA does talk occasionally, he just doesn’t say much.  I think he’s just a quiet person.  He also has extremely bad teeth, and he seems really embarrassed about them, which is why he never smiles with his teeth showing.  So Rua told the audience he and ShinyA were gonna have a guitar battle.  Oooooooh.  He asked ShinyA if “Hime” had anything to say about it.  “Hime” (pronounced “hee-meh”) is the band’s nickname for ShinyA, and it means “Princess.”  So what did the princess have to say about the battle?  In his manliest voice possible ShinyA said, “makenai” meaning, “I won’t lose.” 

Oho, it’s on, bitches.

The way it worked was Rua would play a guitar solo, then turn to the audience like, “well, whaddya think?”  Then ShinyA would play a guitar solo.  During ShinyA’s first solo, Rua was shaking his head like, “psh, bitch, you got nothin’ on me.”  Then Rua did a solo, and ShinyA waved his hand through the air like, “hah, pathetic”.  The guitar solos kept getting crazier and crazier and, like with Shion, I felt totally blown away.  ShinyA and Rua play the kinds of guitar solos you just don’t hear in indies.  Those two could probably challenge a major band and send the seasoned, professional guitarists off sobbing.  Each solo was completely insane, with blur-fast fingers and ridiculous levels of speed and complexity.  Maybe the pressure was on with all the Background Boys at the show, lol.  After several rounds, however, ShinyA did a crazy solo and Rua was like, “ah, I can’t compete with that, ShinyA wins!”  Actually, I would say ShinyA’s solo was just as good as the one Rua had just done, but Rua wanted to be chivalrous and let the "princess" win.  Although ShinyA’s a “princess”, Rua says he wants to be the “prince” of the band (although he doesn’t act at all like a prince, I guess he kinda dresses like one).  I guess Rua thought it wouldn’t be very prince-like to declare victory over the princess.  But really, either one could’ve won.

At that point, Korey and Shion came on stage, and the band did one of those songs where each member gets a chance to do a show-off solo.  Although I seriously can’t fault Signal for showing off.  If you’ve got that much talent, fucking hell, please share it with the world.  There was only one problem: Shion overdid it a little on the awesomeness before, and hurt his finger.  He took a picture of it for the blog later, and let’s just say his entire index finger was a giant blister, and it was possibly one of the most disgusting photos I’ve ever seen.  So Rua was telling the crowd Shion was gonna do another awesome bass breakdown for us, and Shion was trying desperately to tell Rua he couldn’t do it because of his finger, but Rua wasn’t catching on to what Shion was trying to say.  I really don’t know how Rua didn’t understand.  I mean, I know Korey and ShinyA were playing and it was too loud for Shion to verbally tell Rua what was wrong, but Shion was holding up his finger and pointing at it repeatedly and making a sad “ouchie” face at Rua to show that he couldn’t do the breakdown.  But Rua just kept being like, “alright, give it up for Shion!” despite Shion’s desperate pointing and tragic face.  Left without a choice, Shion just shrugged, went up to the front, and did another totally ridiculous and amazing bass solo for us, and blew us all away despite his finger.  Uuuuugh, that must’ve hurt so bad!!!  But, as Peachy put it, Shion sucked it up and played that solo “like a sir.”

After that, Rua and ShinyA each went up to the crate, put a foot on it, and did a guitar solo together.  I turned to Peachy and whispered, "star power!" and she cracked up.  But seriously, that's what it looked/sounded like.  They went all old-school, hardcore Guitar Hero on us.  It sounded like something from an old hair band, or like something from a cheesy '90's cartoon where the two characters join their guitar powers to create a gigantic laser to take down the monster destroying the city.

Wait, what?

Also, a few times, Rua suddenly threw his guitar, let it spin all the way around his body by the strap, and caught it when it came back around.  It looked super insane, cuz imagine if he screwed it up and dropped the guitar?  But he caught it every time.  Basically, he hula-hooped his guitar, and then grinned cuz he was all proud of himself.

Oh, can I do one more complaint about the saizen?  It relates back to my previous talk about over-doing the “favorite member” thing.  Well, first of all, Signal’s saizen is so lame and boring, they rarely ever show appreciation for the awesome solos and stuff.  See, in indies, if a performer does a solo, the audience is supposed to hold up their arms in a “v”-shape, often with the palms facing out, although not always.  It’s the gesture for, “I appreciate your solo.”  Personally, I’ve always thought it’s the dumbest-looking gesture ever, but it’s so ingrained in the furi of the scene that if you don’t do it, the performer will take it as a snub, which is very hurtful.  Well, Signal’s saizen virtually never does the gesture, no matter how amazing a solo is.  They just stand there gaping at the band like grazing cows.  Now, I could forgive that if I thought the saizen just isn’t into stupid gestures and just wants to watch and appreciate the solo.  But, you see, the saizen likes to do this other thing that pisses me the fuck off, and that’s when they switch sides depending on who their favorite member is.  It’s a very oshare-kei-ish thing, and I don’t know what it’s doing at Signal.  So let’s say Girl X’s favorite member is ShinyA.  She will only ever raise her arms for ShinyA’s solos (or not, in the case of Signal) and, if ShinyA goes to the crate to do a solo, Girl X will actually trade spots with the girls to her right in order to be in front of ShinyA during the solo.  If Rua and ShinyA switch sides, Girl X will run all the way to the other side of the stage to follow her favorite.  Am I the only one who finds this extremely rude?  It’s like telling the band “no one matters except Member X.  You’re all useless to me.”  If Rua is up there doing an amazing solo, the only ones who will give him any love are his own fans.  To everyone else, he’s dog meat.  And vice versa for ShinyA and Rua, and even Korey, if you can believe it.  I really hate this, and the Signal saizen was doing it constantly throughout each song.  It’s fucking obnoxious.  How would you feel if you were on stage and girls were running away from you when you came to their side, then running over to the other side to cheer for another member of your band?  Wouldn’t that fucking hurt your feelings?  God, I’d be crushed.

Anyways, when the show-off session over, Yuri returned to the stage.  When Yuri got to the crate, I remember Rua got down on one knee and started doing jazz-hands at Yuri like “ta da!”  Then the saizen waited until it was quiet and called out congratulations to the band for having a first one-man.  Then they held up cards for the band.  I think the saizen meant to say the congratulations simultaneously, but they failed even at that.  Anyways, the members got cards, and Yuri was reading his out loud.  It was kinda… um… the saizen kept referring to him as ojiisan (“old man”) in the message.  I know they were trying to be funny, but… I’m not sure Yuri found it that funny.  I mean, thirty-three is hardly what I’d call “old” (hell, Yuri’s in the prime of his life from what I can tell), but for an indies performer, thirty-three might as well be seventy-five.  Usually, Yuri seems really nonchalant about his age on his blog, and sometimes he’ll show off funny old pictures from his previous bands and talk about “back in my day…”  Usually, he has really bad ‘90’s VK hair in those pictures.  But just because Yuri’s comfortable enough to tease himself about being “old” doesn’t mean the fans should.  Yuri didn’t seem very amused, and he was kinda hesitating while he was reading.  Stupid saizen.

After that, the band decided to something really weird.  From what I could tell, they had a competition to see which band member could write the most disgustingly cheesy love letter.  They did this before the show, and Yuri read each of the letters in the order he thought was the most disgusting.  It was pretty funny.  The letters were written with horrible shit like, “your eyes are like the moon on still water… flowing deep into my soul, and stirring the darkness within.”  Bullshit like that.  I remember one of them was really bad, and ShinyA was actually plugging his nose and waving his hand in front of his face in disgust.  But the winner for the night was Korey, who wrote such an atrociously disgusting love letter that the whole band was like, “bleeeeagh” and the audience was saying “iya da” (“gross”) over and over.  I think they asked the fans to guess ahead of time which member would win the love letter competition, and I think they were able to answer online or something.  I don’t think there were many winners, though, cuz who would’ve though Korey had it in ‘im?  Also, there was a guy in a baseball cap standing near the merch booth who I think was a friend of the band, and he kept shouting out really funny shit while Yuri was trying to talk and tripping him up, like yelling “why?!” at almost anything Yuri said, lol.

When the big MC was over, Yuri started shouting for us to get ready for more music.  But I’d been stalling and stalling, and I knew it was past 8:30, but I didn’t want to leave in the middle of the MC.  It was getting to the point where I think Peachy was ready to throw me out (she was like, “you’re gonna miss your train!”).  I decided this transition moment was the best chance I’d ever get, so I bolted suddenly and went running back through the audience to fetch my stuff and run out the door.  It was seriously embarrassing.  I mean, I was in the third freaking row at a tiny show, so my running away and disappearance would certainly be noticed.  Also, I had to crawl through that huge crowd of Background Boys, and any of them could’ve been members of bands I go see.  I hope they didn’t judge me too harshly.  Maybe they thought I was running off to puke or something.

When I got out the door, however, I saw that there were even more suspiciously indies-looking guys roaming around out there chatting.  I felt so embarrassed leaving early.  They were all staring at me, and I felt like I was walking the plank.  Some of them were smirking, but I don’t know why.  Maybe I just looked flustered.  I also couldn’t get the ridiculously heavy door to close, but one guy who looked like he was in a band decided to be chivalrous and come help me.  Thank you for not judging me and helping me out, random young man.

For the record, I did catch my train, and the one after that, and wound up twenty minutes early for the one I needed to catch the most.  Looking back on it, I probably could’ve stayed through Signal’s first two-song encore.  However, I got lucky with the timing on some of those transfers, so… maybe if I hadn’t been so lucky, I would’ve cut it a lot closer.  According to Peachy and MelJay, I didn’t miss too much.  Just three songs, and they’re songs I’ve seen before.  No crazy solos or anything.  I managed to catch everything worth catching.  I guess highlights from after I left include Yuri misjudging the distance between his face and the microphone and smacking his teeth on it, and the band giving a big thank-you MC at the end of the show, during which Yuri got all weepy and teary-eyed.  But it sounds like I didn’t miss anything too bad, so I don’t regret my decision to go to the show, and I’m not sad I had to leave early.  It was awesome, I made it home that night, and I was so not-sleepy or hungover-ish at the conference the next day that my fellow English teachers were shocked to learn what I’d done.  One of them told me I’m the most responsible reckless person she’s ever met.  You know what?  I take that as a compliment.

Anyways, the next post up is the DIAURA one-man.  To tell the truth, the band was pretty “off” at the show, so be prepared for that.

Also, I’ve added another show.  This weekend, I’m going to one of DEZERT’s hosting events.  Bands include: DEZERT, Blitz, Decay, DOPES., NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST, 4tune_UNIT, and Raddock, so if any of that interests you, stay tuned.

14 comments:

  1. Just started listening to this band last week! Oho, I was doing a little happy dance of my own when I saw this hefty post. Such joy, and it helped me properly learn the members names faster so that’s some good brownie points right there~

    Sooo… who is your favorite member? XD
    Seriously, that is the death question! If I’m ever asked to answer such a question I usually mention the one I am obsessing over at the moment if I absolutely need to answer. There is really no right answer for this in my opinion as every member is valuable, important –as you previously said- and unique in their own way. And the merch lady you mentioned made me smile. She was utterly cool and sweet! I literally yelled out “Hells yeah” when she said to Eigo how it isn’t kind to talk about the boys like that, lol.

    The root of Yuri’s name has finally been revealed to me! Admittedly, the lesbian erotica thing first came to mind when I saw his name but since I am no Japanese language whiz it was just blindly guessing. To think that it’s even spelled like that makes it all very clear now, hahaha. Strange but incredibly funny nonetheless.

    Judging by the description of those awesome, epic solos I can speculate that Signal’s members are actually undercover superheroes. XD with so much man power concentrated into one band you can’t help but believe something other than delivering great music is going on… hmmm…

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    1. Gaaaaaaah, the Evil Question of Doooooom >_______< Blaaaaaah, lol.

      And I do a similar thing when asked that question. Like, I either pick whichever member's made me smile the most lately, or the one I've been the most impressed with lately. Otherwise, I say the vocalist, because that's what they're expecting anyways, lol. I mean, sometimes I do have a member I "enjoy" the most, and I'll say that member's name, but they only get a little more love from me than the others. Just a little. And I still like the others.

      And here's the kanji, if you're curious. Yuri's name is actually spelled 百合, which is defined in the dictionary as "lesbian erotica." And here's another fun fact: in a previous band, Yuri went by the name ドナルドファック, pronounced Donarudo Fakku. So um, yeah... his name used to be Donald Fuck. Isn't that nice? XD

      And I very much like your theory that Signal are undercover superheroes. I guess they're the Super Friends, lol XD

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  2. Blogger just ate my comment >:-(

    Ooooh! I really liked this post! This was definitely one of the better shows we've been to! So glad we were reckless and went to the show even though it was Thursday :-P

    I remember random stuff you didn't mention, and I have more info about encore, so I'll just leave it here.

    So, I thought this was super cute. During Lovers:Psycho while Yuri was doing his happy dance, he'd go over to the other members. I think ShinyA, Rua, and Shion think his happy dance is awesome too, because each time Yuri came by them they'd stop playing for a second and join him in doing the happy dance. It pretty much made the performance for me!

    When they played -syoku- we all got on our hands and knees so we could headbang properly. It was super fun cuz the furi for that song is pretty intenese.

    I'm pretty sure they were celebrating early because after Shion's epic bass solo ShinyA came back on with a can of beer and shared it with Korey XD And when they came back for their final encore Korey was holding one of those giant beer cans. In fact, he wouldn't put it down even when it was time for everyone to connect hands and jump to finish the show XD

    Everyone threw a ton of picks and Korey threw at least 3 sticks and 3 drum heads. But Korey did a fail and tried throwing a stick from behind the drum set. Not only did it not make it to the crowd, it bounced off a light and nearly hit ShinyA XD He mentioned in his blog that he brought his entire drumset from home to the show, so I think he was having a hard time getting out from behind the massive collection he had XD

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    1. I just remembered something too! Korey kept coming onstage with a calendar picture of the Korean pop band KARA and holding it up at everyone. WTF was that, lol?!

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  3. Wow, this is so funny for me too, cause I also just started listening to Signal last week, due to having bought Chain last weekend in Tokyo. I really really wanna see them now... darn, you are always making me wanna go see these bands. But I don't have the money for it. I might not be able to go to Tokyo until December unless I'm able to pass my driving test before August...

    I love lover psycho it makes me wanna dance. I also really like the 666 song^^ I might have to make myself more knowledgeable about a certain song... lol

    That favorite member thing really bothers me too. Are there people who go to lives seriously for just one member?? That sounds crazy. But.. Sometimes I think they do. I hate that switching around thing they do too. It disrupts the show and it's disrespectful. About the favorite member thing.. a lot of times, although not always, in indies bands the best-looking members have the most fans, which makes me think.. these fans are just sexualizing (is that a word?) the members, and they don't care so much about the music. That makes me really uncomfortable to even think about.. Although of course I too appreciate the good-looking guys. But.. I wouldn't go see a band full of good-looking guys if they sucked as musicians. lol I feel really strongly about this too, so sorry for my ranting:p

    Also, hi MelJay^^ And thanks for your added info:) I wanna headbang on my knees!!

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    1. Yaaaay, spreading the Signal love! I really hope you get to see them live some time! Unfortunately, they don't play on weekends very often, so I don't get too many chances either :-( Actually, that was one of the things Eigo complained about with us is the lack of weekend shows (cuz she has a full-time job, so it's not easy for her either). But I really hope you'll get a chance! Also, OMG, the dreaded Japanese driving test O____O I'm am SO sorry, and I wish you gallons upon gallons of luck! (o__o)ノ

      And if you'd like to be more knowledgeable about a certain song with absolutely no explanation, just drop me a line and you'll be rewarded, also without explanation ^_~

      And I'm glad more people agree about the favorite member thing. Like, it's really okay to have a preference, but you can't just hate the others for not being your favorite. Like, a band is a single unit. When you say "they are playing in Tokyo" you use "are" because "they" is plural. When you say "Signal is playing in Tokyo" you use "is", because using the band name implies singularity. And that's important. And I agree that the most "attractive" member is usually the most popular. Which is stupid, because that doesn't mean they're the most talented, or even the most interesting. People need to learn to respect all the members for their strengths and weaknesses! :-O

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    2. Hey lovetoday! I am SO sorry you have to take the driving test. I actually just decided that I'm not even going to try taking it. I don't really use my car that often and the weather here is pretty nice. I live 15 minutes away if I walk to school and the elementary school I go to is only 3 minutes away. The only time it will suck is when it's raining or typhoon-like. I wish you the best of luck on the test. Don't be discouraged if you fail the first time. I hear they usually fail foreigners the first time regardless of how well they do.

      And OMG, I love it when the fans actually get into a song and we have to get on the floor to headbang without getting too dizzy. It's a blast.

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  4. Song is caaaatchy :D

    Those fans that move around amuse me. Horribly so. I mean if I'm at a concert I'm not gonna move around like that just for the sake of one person. It's kinda like a dog following a bone.

    I personally don't mind the question of doom, but I've had someone completely stop talking to me because we had "differences in taste" (her words not mine). Like yeesh!

    Wonderful report like always Miss Kita :D

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    1. Totally agree. It's like their favorite member is a Twinkie on a string XD

      And holy shiiiiit, what a bitch! I can't believe someone would stop talking to you over that! Man, that's whacked. I mean, even if someone who likes the kind of oshare-kei music I hate more than anything was talking to me, I'd still nod and respond politely. You don't just stop talking to them O_o

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    2. No kidding. Hell I asked her if she was serious. You have to accept that people will have differences in what they like or not. What a world....

      Twinkie on a string XD
      Now if I see someone running back and forth at a concert I'm just gonna ask them if they want a twinkie

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    3. Ugh, I'm glad you stood up for yourself. What a bitch. If we all liked the same kind of music, then all the music in the world would stagnate and completely suck. Man, people are so stupid >__<

      Lol, too bad the Japanese have never had the joy of eating a Twinkie. Ask them if they want dorayaki, lol.

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  5. Wow! I mean... wow!!! God! I loved your review! It's so complete and perfectly perfect! Thank you for making your reviews.
    So it's called Grow Back Over Scars... I gotta change something on Itunes...
    They played three new songs; that's great. Maybe a new single is coming (and hopefully a new PV).
    Yeah, it's pretty weird how they play so well; I have my theories XD. And how is it posible that Yuri is 30-years old? He looks younger and happy XD Damn make-up!
    Really nice review! I hope you get better soon and don't miss UnsraW's final live :(. Take care.

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    1. Aaaw, thank you ^____^ I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      OMG, I wanna know your theories! Tell meeeeee!!! And Yuri is definitely 30-something. His first band was back in 2000, lol. Even if he was 18 then, he'd still be 30 now. I think he's just really young at heart (and stays in good shape)!

      And no worries, even with a cold, I'll be at UnsraW's last live! I wouldn't miss that for anything! Fuck, I'd go in there with a broken leg if I had to, lol!

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  6. Hi~ I really loved your review, now I wish someday I could see them in a concert, everything you described here sounds so funny!!
    I have a little question, I don't speak japanese so I'm not sure at all about this, but it's supose that Yuri has 23 years old, well, thats what I understood in this video xD
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbwaU32Rv0M&feature=g-user-u

    Also, sorry for my bad english D: and greetings from Colombia :3

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