To improve our Japanese we have been watching Space Battleship Yamato 2199; watching anime is homework! The end credits reminded me that there are a number of J-pop songs which I like from other animes. Knowing that Gabby always liked Oreskaband’s Tsumasaki, I decided to look the band up. By pure fluke they were playing a gig in Tokyo 3 days later.
As a Golden Week treat to ourselves, we decided to go. I found the reservation page and I used my new hiragana and katakana option keyboard to get our names on the guest list to shave ¥1000 off the entry price! After a day walking around Meguro, Ebisu and Daikanyama we navigated towards the venue, Loop Livehouse, 10 minutes south of Shibuya station.
It was only a small stage and dance floor, entry was ¥2900 plus a ¥600 drink each. Although it was pretty cosy inside, there were only about 40 people in total. The four bands that would be playing made up 15 people by themselves and mixed in with everyone when their set had finished! The two supporting bands were ‘Gypsy Dreams’ ロイジプシー and ‘qrage’ くらげ. They were both entertaining, though more so for their novelty value and their mid-set banter with the crowd but you could tell that the main acts were who people had come for.
Draft King were obviously a popular new local band and they had drawn 20 or so hardcore fans. I say fans but they were more like Bayern Munich Football team supporters: they stretched and limbered-up before the band came on, they were dressed in gym clothes, they all had yellow ‘team towels’ around their necks, came in all shapes, ages and sizes, had seriously choreographed dance moves and were absolutely, shamelessly devoted to their band. Draft King, a young 4 member all female band, was doing a roaring trade selling their merchandise before and after their set. Erica, the lead singer was loving it up on stage, strutting her stuff and whipping the supporters into a frenzy of towel waving, jumping, head banging and eyes-closed fervency. The fans were great fun to watch as they had reserved their space in the front row with a rucksack or coat (which was respected if they left their spot) meaning that there was no jostling for position once the show had started. Suited salarymen were having as much fun as their teenage dyed blonde haired neighbour. After Draft King had finished they came out into the crowd to sell their stuff and talk to fans. I imagined from the manic admiration with which they were treated on stage that this could get a bit OTT for them pretty quickly but I hadn’t counted on the Japanese magic that turned these uber fans into polite, considerate fans that would spontaneously form a line to talk to their idols. They never once invaded their personal space despite having looked, moments earlier, like the kind of fan that would happily keep a popstar in a secret room in their cellar.
With Oreskaband it was definitely a case of best till last. These 6 schoolfriends from Osaka have been playing their Japanese ska across the world and gained massive prominence when their songs Tsumasaki and Jitensha were chosen for ending credit songs to Bleach and Naruto respectively. Veteran performers, they did their ska music full justice with the sax, trompone and trumpet players taking it in turns to storm the dancefloor and play their solos directly to the crowd. It was a great party atmosphere and we could even sing along to What a Wonderful World (you can click on the link to see their official video to the song on youtube and their particular brand of fun/madness). It was a such fun night and certainly not what we were expecting to be doing only 3 days earlier! For a city of 15 million, Tokyo’s seems to have found room for us!
More blogs about Tokyo…