#1: I went to the Sunshine City Aquarium the day before this show, but haven’t had time to upload my bazillion pictures, so I need to put off that post for a little while.
#2: I didn’t intentionally snub BORN at the show, so allow me to explain what happened below.
#3: This post is 50% ranting about things other than the show.
#4: Did you know it’s not butter? Cuz I can’t believe it.
So allow me to explain why I’m writing about a two-man with only one band, and why this post is so short. I mentioned in the last post that I wouldn’t be able to stay for all of BORN because of my Sunday show situation, but the plan was to see most of their set. I was only planning to miss encore. The show was to start at 6:00, and I fully planned to stay until 9:00, giving me more than enough time to get my money’s worth.
That is, until a certain asshole came rolling through Japan. And that asshole is named Typhoon 17.
Typhoon 17, you see, is a cranky old man. He can’t stand the sound of electric guitars, and he likes to jab the ceiling above him with a broom every time his Satan-worshipping upstairs neighbors play that gosh darn rock and roll all them kids these days are listenin' to, with their fancy shoes and skinny jeans and what have ya. Typhoon 17 was gonna wait until a lot of bands were scheduled to play before jabbing his broomstick into Tokyo and yelling at us to, “keep it down, gosh darn it, lousy kids!”
Actually, in truth, Typhoon 17 was a total pussy and did almost nothing. It… rained, I guess. And there were some strong winds. That’s about it. Could’ve been any late summer storm, really. So the real villain of this story isn’t Typhoon 17, but rather, Japan’s “hilarious” tendency to jump the gun by a mile, have a screaming fit over nothing, and ineffectually handle what is otherwise a normal, annual occurrence. Yes, this kind of thing happens a lot in Japan. I call it “Japan Logic.”
So it was a beautiful day up until about 4:00, when the sky began to take a dark turn. Now, I was thinking that didn’t really matter. I mean, if the typhoon hasn’t hit, who cares? Carry on, people! But then, while making a transfer at Harajuku Station, we overheard some rather… ominous announcements. Announcements about the Yamanote Line decreasing its train frequency, and several lines closing down.
At that very moment.
Not after the rain starts. Not after the typhoon hits. Right the fuck now. And already, Harajuku Station was filling up with people attempting to get wherever the hell they were going before the train system completely derailed itself and had a seizure across the tracks.
Figuratively speaking, of course.
So now I was thinking we were in trouble. There’d be no problem getting to Ikebukuro to see the show, but after? What comes after? That skinny jeans-hating typhoon was expected to “hit” around 6:00… right when the show started. There was no guarantee the trains would be running at all by the time 9:00 rolled around.
So, okay, maybe I get stranded. Then I leave in the morning, right? But the typhoon was heading in the Gunma direction, and weather reports online were saying the typhoon might continue through the morning. Then I’d really be screwed. I had work the next day, and even if a typhoon cancelled classes, I’d still have to show up. That’s just how it works in Japan, because Japan Logic.
Of course, I thought about bailing on the show entirely. It would’ve pissed me right the hell off, but the responsible part of me (a very tiny, microscopic part of my overall being, by the way) was thinking I should just get out of Tokyo while I still could. I checked online to see if the limited-express trains were still running, and it looked like they were on a diminished schedule, but that could change at any moment.
At Ikebukuro, I decided to ask a station attendant at the Tobu center about it (because the trains I take if I can’t take limited-express trains go through Tobu). When I explained my situation to the attendant, he made some phone calls and told me all the limited-express trains were cancelled. Already.
I asked him what my best “late night” options were (basically, how late could I stay out and not get screwed?), and he wrote down the “last train” scenario for the fucked up schedule. It looked like a long, ugly journey, and it meant having to leave the show by at least 8:00. So I’d probably only get to see half of BORN at best. If the trains were that messed up, there was no way to know if I’d get home in the morning. There was no way to know how bad the typhoon would get.
So do I go at all? Just watch DIAURA? Part of BORN? Watch the whole thing and gamble on the typhoon in the morning?
First things first, I decided to go to the venue and see if the damn show was even happening. It was possible they’d cancel it, and then all this fretting would be pointless anyways.
By the time my friends and I started towards the venue, it was finally starting to rain. It wasn’t exactly “oh god we’re all going to die aaaaaagh”-typhoon rain, but it was definitely annoying “soak everyone until they look like angry cats”-rain. But when we got to the venue, it was quite obvious that the show was still going on. Everyone in line looked somewhat wet and bedraggled, and I could see people checking train info on their phones, but it looked like this shit was happenin'.
On the way to BLACK HOLE, we ran into a girl from Austria and traveled along with her. It wasn’t until partway through our conversation (when I paused for two seconds to take a breath, since I don’t know how to shut the hell up) that I realized I’d met her before, a couple years ago at one of the Tokyo DIR EN GREY shows! We even took a picture together that day! It was sooooo exciting to see her again! What a small world! Hey, if you’re reading this, I’m really sorry I couldn’t say goodbye before the show was over! I really hope you had a good time! If you want, you can leave a comment and let me know how BORN was! I hope they were awesome!
Anyways, I had a game plan: see all of DIAURA, and half of BORN. Leave at eight. Good enough. The plan sounded solid, until one of the umbrella-wielding staff members outside the venue made a sudden announcement that caused a gasp of surprise from the crowd (and many people pulled out their phones again). Due to the screwed up trains, not everyone could get to the show on time, so the venue decided to push the start time back to 6:30 instead of 6:00.
Well fuck me with a pineapple.
Okay, so, like… I get it, people were running late, blah blah blah. But if the typhoon is coming, and the trains are about to get more erratic than ever, how is stalling the concert supposed to help anyone? I’m not the only person in the crowd who needs to travel outside Tokyo after the show.
So, okay, new game plan. I decided DIAURA would play for about an hour, until maybe 7:30, and then I was just gonna freakin’ go. No point in catching fifteen minutes of BORN. Like, I didn’t have to be at Kita-Senju Station until around 8:45 at the latest, but with the trains the way they were, there was no telling how long the normally 25 minute (or less) journey would take. You have to factor in walking times and delays and stuff. So I just mentally prepared myself for the fact that I was at a BORN-hosted two-man… and I wouldn’t be seeing BORN.
But that’s okay! I don't know if I’ve mentioned it on the blog yet, but I’ll be at the BORN/Moran two-man in less than two weeks, and it’s a proper Saturday, so no worries! I’ll be seeing BORN again soon!
So let’s get on to the actual show, shall we? Today’s one and only band is DIAURA:
|Who are attempting to tear down the fabulous barrier.|
Inside, the venue was very slow to fill up, since most people didn’t want to be out in the rain. Considering the situation, it was still a packed crowd. I guess the typhoon just couldn’t stop the die-hards from coming. The wait was pretty boring and annoying, though, since an extra half an hour was tacked onto it.
Buuuuut eventually the show started. When the cheesy soap opera music that opens every DIAURA show started up, I could see a drummer already sitting behind the drum set. Yeah, Yuu is still out with tendonitis, and the support drummer is still taking his place. Seems like Yuu’s just gonna miss the whole year at this point. The rest of the band came out one-by-one, still wearing their sparkle costumes. Yo-ka, thankfully, is blond again, but seeing Kei with blond hair was a real mind-fuck. I hated it in pictures, but it’s actually not bad in person.
Anyhoo, the band went straight into a song I didn’t recognize, because I’ve been waaaaay out of the loop on DIAURA. I can only follow so many musicians at a time, and someone usually gets sacrificed for awhile. That was DIAURA this time around. Whatever the song was, it was definitely meant to be a “hard-core” starter, and it had a lot of screaming and headbanging. So while I was thinking the new song was pretty intense, the crowd suddenly went surging forward.
Oh, okay. It’s a dog pile song. And DIAURA opened with it. Well then. As far as dog piles go, it was pretty harsh, too. Generally, during that kind of song, the pattern is fairly predictable. Everyone runs in, the “pile” lasts for about sixteen counts, and then everyone backs out into their old spots (as much as possible) and waits about eight counts. Then everyone runs back in again, and the process repeats. But there’s always that pause before the rush, so people have a chance to get ready. This DIAURA song… doesn’t particularly have a pause. Everyone runs in, fucks around for sixteen-or-so counts, everyone runs back out for a few beats, and then right the fuck back into the pile. Over and over.
Maybe with a tamer crowd it wouldn’t be “ouch,” but DIAURA fans tend to act like starved hyenas in these situations. I mean, I was running into the pit, of course, but I didn’t have that much of a choice. I was being slammed in by the force of a couple hundred people, and then getting pummeled repeatedly by them. There was a moment where I got my head thrown into somebody else’s body so hard, I was immediately trying to come up with a way to explain the bruise above my eye to my coworkers the next day. Thankfully, it didn’t leave a noticeable mark.
The band goofed off plenty. Shoya grabbed arms, although he generally avoids the crowd for the most part. He’s got a strong grip, though. I got grabbed a couple times, and I’m always impressed by his strength. And he has a long range, too. In the pile-up, I wasn’t expecting Shoya to grab my arm because I was too far back, but somehow he did, so I decided he’s a spider monkey. Kei came over too, and put himself into the crowd a bit. He kept leaning back and shaking out his head, and with that blond hair of his I kept thinking of a Golden Retriever. Yo-ka was up to his usual antics, grabbing at people and trying to rile them up. He stage-dove a couple times. He did an air-twist at one point and landed backwards on top of the crowd, so I tried to help catch him and wound up with my hand in his bare armpit.
Goddamnit, again?! Why is it every time yo-ka stage-dives, I wind up with my hand in his fucking sweaty armpit?! Soooooo gross. The crowd rolled him back pretty damn far, though. He got out about halfway into the crowd. I helped roll him back, mostly cuz I was worried he’d get lost at sea. Luckily, I managed to roll him back using his arm and side, rather than his goddamn armpit. When yo-ka got back on stage, he climbed up onto the barrier and grabbed hold of one of the stage lights and started singing into it. I’ve seen him do this before, and I always think that’s got to hurt his eyes.
Anyways, after the dog pile song, they went back to some more familiar stuff. I think the next song was MASTER. The band seemed to be in a high-energy mood, so the crowd was too, although some of them were maybe… a little too crazy. The girl in front of me kept swinging her head around in ways that were very dangerous, and she had no sense of the space around her. Neither did her friend. And, sure enough, one of them swung too hard and hit the older, forty-something-year-old lady next to me in the head, causing the woman to drop all the way to her knees in pain. Wow. Way to go, bitches. When the woman got back up, I looked to see if she was okay, and she gave me a reassuring smile, but she was holding her head and wincing for the rest of the song. The girls continued to do stuff like that despite the accident, and I had to move away before one of them smacked me in the face. Like, I get it, you’re into the show, but you’re ruining it for everyone else. There’s a point where being into a show becomes selfish.
The forty-something-year-old woman was pretty into it too, though. DIAURA played a ballad, which was Todokanu Tegami, and I couldn’t see shit because some six foot tall guy who’s always at DIAURA shows decided the third row was the best place for the tallest person in the crowd to stand. So instead I focused on the space around me, and the woman next to me was bawling her eyes out for the whole song. She was swaying back and forth, clutching her towel to her face, nodding her head, and crying. When people get like that over a song, you just know there’s some kinda story behind it. I’d like to know her story, but I’m sure it’s veeeeery personal. Maybe it reminds her of something, or it was something she listened to after something bad happened.
Um, what else, what else… so yo-ka did an MC, and he mostly talked about the damn typhoon. He told the crowd how impressed he was that we were all there, and said he understood that a lot of people in the crowd live outside Tokyo and were risking getting stranded. He thanked those fans profusely for their dedication, which made me happy. You’re welcome, yo-ka. And thank you for putting on a fun show and making me feel like the effort was worth it. Then yo-ka start yelling, “taifuu ni makenai zo!” (“we won’t give in to this typhoon!”) over and over and made us shout back in agreement. Essentially, we were all cheering, “fuck you, typhoon!” Although, like I said, it’s not really the typhoon should've been angry at, it was the Japan train system’s incompetence in the face of mild weather. Yo-ka also thanked the BORN fans a lot, although it really, really seemed like 75% of the audience was there for both BORN and DIAURA. I guess they share a lot of fans. I would’ve fully participated for both bands, given the chance.
Let’s see… what else happened during DIAURA…? There were a few other new songs I didn’t really recognize, but they seemed pretty good. I was fairly “meh” on DIAURA’s last few releases, but I don’t know if these new songs are “meh” recorded and good live, or if they’re just good songs. I’d have to hear a physical copy of them to know. They were good “live” songs at the very least, with a lot of jumping and headbanging and other fun stuff (and not too much side-to-side, which was a relief). There was some weird new furi. One of the moves makes the audience look like they’re effeminately flicking away a mosquito. The crowd was really hyperactive, though. One girl kept jumping into me thinking it was time for side-to-side, when it was just time to headbang. I was tempted to swat her aside and shout, “CALM DOWN!” But in general, I was glad the audience was so high energy. Last time I saw DIAURA, the crowd was really dead, but I don’t know if it’s because DIAURA was kinda “blah” at that show and it made the crowd “blah,” or if the crowd’s boredom made DIAURA bored. It’s a chicken and egg scenario. But everyone was high energy at this show, which was definitely a good thing.
Overall, it was a good show, and I was able to enjoy myself for an hour. The band had a good vibe and a good setlist, the crowd was really into it, and I mostly forgot about the trains for an hour and just had a good time.
When DIAURA was over, however, it was time for Hell. MelJay actually left the show with me, because we shared a locker at Ikebukuro Station, and she wasn’t so sure about her bus situation back to Chiba (internet said the buses were running, but she wasn’t so sure). I don’t want to bore everyone with details, so here’s a basic time-lapse scenario of what happened:
Run to Ikebukuro Station in pouring rain. Catch Yamanote. Yamanote train sits in Ikebukuro Station for twenty-five fucking minutes before starting. Get to Kita-Senju with barely fifteen minutes to spare. Tobu trains delayed. Catch Tobu with five minutes to spare. People in station look agitated. Take train to Kuki in Saitama. Catch last train to Ota. Catch train in Ota. Train stops several times due to heavy debris hitting the windows. Watch transfer time at next station dwindle while preparing for long night in Ota Station. Consider throwing self from train if it stops one more time. People on train look suicidal. Arrive in Ota. Run for fucking life. Transfer and catch last train home. Arrive at station. Catch taxi. Taxi driver says typhoon is pathetic. Metaphorically slam head into car window.
Although, admittedly, I felt like a total ninja by the end of it. I mean, the fact that I managed to see DIAURA’s whole set and make it back home to Gunma by 11:30 PM is fucking amazing. And I did all that without any food. By the time I got home, I hadn’t eaten in twelve hours. Seriously, I’m a concert typhoon ninja. For this one I say: achievement unlocked. So even if I missed BORN, I felt really damn proud of myself before the night was over. I proved, once again, that I can be responsibly irresponsible and still succeed. Fuck yeah!
Anyways, I’ll try to get the aquarium post up as soon as possible, but I don’t know when that’ll be. I’m kinda taking an interesting trip this weekend, and I think there will be a long post and a lot of pictures involved, so the aquarium might have to get pushed back a bit. But this weekend should be pretty exciting, so stay tuned!