Sunday, September 23, 2007


(sorry guys. No pictures. They were pretty strict about the no picture rule, it seems)

I have some stuff to say about yesterday (in fact quite a bit), but I didn't take many pictures today and I just got back from a show, so I'm going to hit up all of my places I post things with this one.

So, tonight was my first show in Japan, and it was the Polysics, and man, what a great show. First off, it was 'free' and paid for by Myspace.

When I say "free" I mean, it was free, but there was a 500 yen charge, which included a free drink. So, essentially, you can either say it was 500 yen to get in plus a free drink, or you can say that was the most expensive 8 ounces of Mountain Dew I've ever bought. Either way, it was a bargain for a Polysics show.

I ended up with an extra ticket (nobody who wanted to go stayed in town), so I invited someone I didn't really know very well. She was nice and all, but word to the wise, a concert in Japan is not the best place to get to know someone. In fact, it's probably the worst.

First off, there was a DJ then a band and then a DJ and then the main band, which if you listened to everything, there was about 5 seconds of silence. And during these 5 seconds, along with any time tuning instruments or anything besides playing and waiting to applaud, the audience was dead silent. On a train filled with people, the silence is odd, but when you're in a concert hall listening to a loud band, when they take a minute to tune and NOBODY says anything, it's just weird.

When you walked into the club, if you looked straight, you would see a DJ stand with maybe 3 feet of room and a wall that went up a foot or so above waist level then there was obviously a shelf for equipment behind that wall, but you can't see it. To the right was the real stage. It was a full stage and had plenty of room to play, but when I walked in, there were curtains covering it, so I didn't notice it. So, first there was a DJ. He was playing some good music, but nothing really to write about. Then the first band went on.

The first band's name is something that I'm not sure of, but they were pretty good. I think they're called "Ogre You Asshole", because that's who is listed on the flier that doesn't say "DJ" in front of it. If so, it's a really odd name for a band that sounded like that. They should be called "Mildly original but quite good Indie band".

After the first band, another DJ played. His style of music was "old skool Japanese pop/rock" which is something that I couldn't relate to at all, so I left the room and went to the smoking lounge (which, to my shock, wasn't THAT smoky) and hung out.

I sadly missed the start of the concert, but what followed was a non-stop thrill ride of electronic rock. I've told some people before how great they were in San Francisco, but they were even more amazing here. The crowd was great and we were all squished up together and nobody seemed to mind. Well, some people did, and they went closer to the back, but it was a really good vibe in there. It smelled really bad, but it was a really great feeling.

Something to note is everyone was supposed to wear a blue shirt to the show, and damned near everyone did. Even the band was wearing blue jumpsuits instead of their normal red ones. I think it was a myspace thing, but it wasn't hard to fulfill. When I went to go pick up the free ticket, I was wearing my blue Poly-Sics (in a Pepsi logo shape) shirt to pick up tickets, and I was the only one with a band shirt. I always think it's in bad fashion sense to wear the shirt of the band that you're going to see, but I guess the rules are different here. I saw about 10 people wearing the same shirt I have and a ton wearing Polysics shirts. In fact, the majority were wearing Polysics + Myspace shirt. They were only sold at this show and I almost bought one after the show but they didn't have any big ones. Well, the design was kind of ugly anyways, so it's not so bad. Also, I spent too much money on other merch.

So, after the Polysics played, there was this guy who was either a DJ or a laptop musician (someone who makes electronic music not using anything but a laptop and maybe a keyboard). He wasn't that interesting, so I just chilled outside in the lounge some more. At this point my friend left. I was waiting for the Polysics to play a second set, because it doesn't make sense for the headliner to play in the middle of the show.

After the boring but calming techno set, this other guy came on. To call him a "DJ" would be missing the point. This guy was a true entertainer. Sure, he was playing songs that everyone knew and sang along with, but his opening number kind of went like this...

The guy started the song, and he got up on the ledge that I mentioned before, and he started jumping around and clapping and getting the whole audience to wave their arms in the air in the shape of an X. It was a metal song I didn't recognize, maybe X Japan? I don't know. Anyways, after a while of getting everyone excited about it, he started to AIR GUITAR! And this wasn't like an impromptu air guitar thing. It was planned out. This guy knew the song really well. But, he really got into it, and the crowd ate it up.

The thing that I thought was odd is after this first song, he did it AGAIN! The SAME SONG!! And the crowd loved it even more!

This guy kept 'preforming' along with all these songs. Some times he would air guitar/keyboard/drum, sometimes he would sing along, sometimes he would just awkwardly dance and clap. He seemed to be really good at keeping the audience entertained. I must say that personally I was quite confused and I only knew one song, which was the last song he did, and was a Japanese song. But, everyone besides me seemed to know every song. It made me realize how odd it was to be in a room full of people that have a different musical heritage than I do. I can now relate to my Japanese friends who didn't know Americans songs from the 70's or 80's.

So, when this guy finished, the Polysics were going to play again, right? I mean, it makes no sense for the headliner to play in the middle of the show. That would be like having an ice cream sundae but the cherry and whipped cream were between two scoops, not on top. So, now it was the Polysics time to shine again. Right? Right?

Wrong. That was it. The show was over.

I was by no means disappointed. The Polysics put on an amazing show. There was no encore, but it's my understanding that they don't really do encores for every show in Japan like they do in America. Also, the show was free, or 500 yen, depending on how you look at it. Either way, it was well worth it, and it was a fantastic time. I was just really surprised at the way it ended. I had a good time.

On my way out, this guy with a camera interviewed me about Myspace. In all honesty, I didn't really want to be interviewed, but this cute girl who was just an audience member was doing some translating for me, so I did it. I might have made my opinions about Myspace heard before (as in I'm not a huge fan), but as it is a tool that I use almost daily to keep in touch with friends across the world and as the ads for Japan are WAY less annoying than the American ads, I didn't mind saying a few nice things about a company that paid for me to see the Polysics. I did kind of want to mention that Rupert Murdoch owns Myspace, but nah, I'll let them have their fun.

I wasn't sure where to look though. Was I supposed to look at the camera, the guy asking the questions or the cute girl who did the translating? Well, hopefully they won't be able to use the material anyways.

So, that was the show. If you get a chance to see the Polysics (they're doing a US tour real soon) do yourself a favor and go. I severely doubt you'll regret it.


Michelle said...

But, everyone besides me seemed to know every song. It made me realize how odd it was to be in a room full of people that have a different musical heritage than I do.

I understand that feeling....Last weekend 3 of us were given 2 tickets to the Modest Mouse concert in we split the cost of the third ticket. And while I have of course heard of Modest Mouse, I'm not sure if I had ever heard Modest Mouse, so I was hearing each song for the first time. When the crowd would go exceptionally wild after just a few notes of a song, my thoughts were only, oh, this one must be a good one. It was a very interesting concert experience. Fun, but very different than seeing a band where you know all the songs.


Keith said...

Haha, yeah it's kind of like that. I know what it's like to go to a concert where you know OF the artist, but you don't recognize the songs. The main difference was I would say that 90-95% of the crowd were singing along to every song, and the act was based heavily on a nostalgia factor that didn't apply to me.

As a follow up note, I told my Japanese friend about the concert and the 'DJ' guy, and she was only surprised that I'd never seen something like that.