Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jrock no Tamashii 3

After my forage into the event last year, it's time again for a concert where japanese music aficionado gather! And this time, they even gotten an act from Japan itself as the headliner - the alt rock quartet, Haku. And we get some of the previous acts to return this year, along with a handful of new ones.

Something that I find slightly bewildering is that about half of the act performed prior to the event itself during Taylor Asaban Festival (which was going on at the same venue from morning until early evening). After observing the crowds during the earlier part, it can be said that there's some division between casual ACG goers and gig goers - more observation on that below...

The first act, Diving Judy... I've totally missed seeing the performance on stage - I was outside with a couple of dudes by then - so I can't really say much about them.

No prize for guessing the song being played here

The usual act to perform at ACG events, desu! was next, featuring their usual colourful stage presence, juggling of multiple instruments between band members, and catchy songs selection.

After going on with their first original, GACHA-LOVE!, they went with another piece, Choco Banana. I don't think their other originals having a guitar solo part, ahah. That's pretty cool!

The good ol' cheetah patterned Temjin follows, and they're a blast! With songs such as Lonely Soldier Boy, Zetsubou Billy, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (yup), they can do no wrong.

Hell yeah! moments aplenty 

Besides the handful of dudes and dudettes in front of the stage, the crowd is sadly rather anemic to their performance - well, the others are really hard to get riled up, since most of them don't seem to dig live music. 's a shame.

Strawberry Jam brings some metal to the concert: which is a good thing. Bad news: the crowds aren't really much into moshing, headbanging, and other things heavy. Their songs are somewhat darker (and longer) for the people who decided to stay on in front of the stage - and I wonder what the rest of the crowd were thinking during the performance...

'I thought this is a rock concert, hey?'

In a different setting, they'd be moshing aplenty - but not for this one, unfortunately.

Night dawns, and the restless crowds awaits in front of the stage. A sudden presence on the stage indicate that the whole thing was about to go rockin...

A wild tengu appears! 

And kicking it off is another metal act, Drako'Zen. Much like the previously mentioned Strawberry Jam, they don't have the exact crowd to do their songs justice. They're heavy alright...

But maybe the audience just needed some time to get warmed up. Moving onward, the next act...

The newcomer to Jrock no Tamashii, Prometheus was the second act off the night, and if memory serves me correctly, they were doing ONE OK ROCK covers for the night.

Plenty of sing-along from the crowd. Awesome.

Sound d'Sip, another newcomer - featuring some rather young uns - didn't rocked the stage. In place of stomping and rocking about, the audience danced about to their funky and jazzy songs.

The drummer playing is smooth as heck

And when the opening line to Mirai E was sung - the audiences were very much enthralled.

Double solo. 'ef yeah! 

Mystical Mirage was up next, and judging from what I could gather about the band's profile, they seem to be rather ambitious in their musical journey. I'm curious to see their future developments.

Compared with last year, they have some slight change in the lineup it seems. These guys are definitely awesome; a good choice for the final act before the headliner...

Everyone was definitely waiting for the main performance from Haku - there were plenty of false start, with the band members setting up their gears - and us commenting on the insanely packed-to-the-brim pedalboard, and then some - but when everything was on place, the stage was set for an awesome live performance experience.

Apparently being a relative newcomer, Haku music came immediately come across to me as post-rock (a bit of oversimplification, perhaps). The good stuff you'd expect - soft vocals, the shifting between harsh and smooth playing, and of course, exotic collections of pedals to get that particular sound.

When you're playing this kind of genre, you'd certainly need a commendable amount of proficiency. And they were certainly impressive. Hiroshige handled the brunt of operating the loads of pedals - I was looking over at his oddly patterned guitar too - and Shinya took the rhythm part of the drum. The frontman, Yuki, handled both the guitar and vocal part well, with plenty of fingers waving and moving about - I know that sounded very funny, but it's part of a stage performance, if you get my drift - but it was the crazy bassist and backing vocalist Haruna that I found the most charming aspect of the band.

(I have therefore come to the conclusion that female bassists are hot. Ahem.)

And what do you know, they came back for an encore - not once, but twice! (even with Yuki promising that they'd only do one last song) Mad cool.

Obligatory autographed CD

So compared to last year, despite the less-than-stellar venue, and the unresponsive crowd for the earlier part, the presence of Haku totally offset all those little nagging complaints to the side.

They definitely captured the meaning of 'the emotion of live music'. Mad props to the people who made the whole thing possible. Hopefully next year will be even bigger than ever!


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