Monday, August 22, 2011


A foreigner is never truly lost if he can find a Mr. Donut on his road.
From 2011_08_13

On return, Mandi came up from Kagoshima, and it was a sort of non-stop dinners-with-NeoShiso fest, with break only for the quasi high-school-reunion that is a gathering of more than two 'wervs' in one place, that place being SummerSonic. After getting lost (what else is new?) along the way (I should probably invest in GPS if only I knew how to get this), we finally made it to the Osaka concert venue in time to stake out a sweet tarp-spot amongst the weeds.

I really did want to sit in the weeds.
From 2011_08_13

My solo excursion to see Blues Explosion
From 2011_08_13

I wandered off almost immediately and discovered the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, which I enjoyed for various reasons, and when it was over, I meandered back toward the Ocean stage, stopping for a bite along the way because the lady onstage before X Japan sounded a bit off-key and I was in no rush. The diversity of the lineup at the stage was cool though.. the metal band who started just as we arrived was followed by pop idol girl, followed by rock legends of Japan, followed by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

From 2011_08_13

From 2011_08_13

Wervs and I about to see X Japan, almost in range of the hoses.
From 2011_08_13

There's a lot I didn't know about X Japan, so I'll drop just a sprinkling of knowledge on you, being a serious n00b myself. Previously known as X, and around since the 80s, they're pretty foundational to the whole J-Rock thing. From what I'm told, Yoshiki, the band leader, is very particular ("he's a bastard, wervs"). It sounds like he has a lot of talent and ambition, and therefore perhaps a shortage of patience. He played those drums like a demon come to claim them (although I'm told he's toned it down due to the neck problems that has given him.. and he wore a brace anytime he was drumming), and with a look that said he just fucking loved every moment of it. Clearly intense, he was rather mesmerizing, and of course very pretty. He first waltzed out in black shiny pants and a long red jacket with lace on it.. soon he was shirtless though. I'm amazed to read that he's 45. Dude did not look 45. When he spoke to the audience, his voice was light and, as wervs and I chorused in surprise, kind of cute! He cried as he talked about how Osaka is kind of their home, and he talked about their deceased band members, and about March 11th. He called for a moment of silence which was actually achieved, even in that deafening place (the guy behind us in the crowd press kept shouting "Yoshiki! Yoshiki! Yoshiki!" ... like he can hear you, man). I had considered the X Japan part of the concert to be a mostly wervs (Mandi and Laureno) thing, but I really liked it. 

The breeze + Sugizo's outfit = phototastic. Oh, and violin + piano = awesome, while we're at this.
From 2011_08_13

Next of course was RHCP, and the crowd which HAD been merely a hot, uncomfortable mass of sweating humanity became an intense crush. Kam and I managed to get rather close to the stage, but it didn't matter, because we couldn't see any better for it. We held on to each other for dear life as the crush moved us around (seriously.. "Ocean Stage" felt rather apt), and we watched a guy launch himself into crowdsurf. After two songs, this deathgrip situation was no longer fun, so we retreated to the tarp to enjoy the music from there. We could actually see better from further out (well.. that's not necessarily true.. I accidentally pushed my contact out of place so I was kind of one-eyed squinty for the rest of the night), and there was cool air in motion out there, a freakin' luxury if we ever felt one.

I wish I hadn't screwed up my contact, because the visual aspect of live shows is half the fun. I also lost visual capacity on my camera.. the screen stopped working entirely. The RHCP banter was pretty hilarious, and having never been to see them in an English-speaking country, I don't know whether it was any different than usual for Japan, but they talked about Thanksgiving, and water, and Flea. They played a lot of great old favorites, and we swayed and sang along. They played some new stuff too, with the unassuming intro of "You ready? Wanna play some new shit? Let's go!"

My own videos are pretty craptacular, given the fact that I was using my older camera on its last legs, but here is a link to some other people's videos.. can't really vouch for their quality, other than that they seem better than mine! While I'm at it, here and here are video examples of some X Japan, just for kicks.

"Anybody wanna feel Flea's oats?" 

1 comment:

  1. Color me jealous of your Summesonic experience; I really wanted to go myself, but I had just gone to the Nano Mugen concert in mid-July, and I had just gotten back from my SE Asia vacation, and I'm an old man now, so I just wanted to lie down and rest my weary joints that weekend, and read some long Faulkner sentences for blog comment inspiration.

    Too bad you couldn't get a good view of RHCP. They put on great shows. That's the cool thing about older bands; they're total pros at doing live events etc.