LoudPark 2009 (2009-10-18)



I think I have calmed enough to write about the greatest weekend of my existence. Admittedly LoudPark was only a part of it but it was the Icing on a rich and delicious cake.
I went to Tokyo on Saturday the 17th. The night before I had an amazing and late night with an amazing girl (I basically stopped being single). I rolled in to the big city at around 4pm. I decided to take my Blades along and go investigate one of the Skate Parks. After that I hit Harajuku for a crepe and to browse for a bit (I ALWAYS find myself hitting Harajuku when I am in Tokyo… even if its only for an Hour.) I rolled over (literally… city inline-skating is fun too) to the Freshness Burger in Shibuya and got proper supper, then went to a Sento for a good hour of relaxation… I was already tired and it was only around 9pm. I the headed to Shinjuku where I caught some relaxation in a net cafe before heading over to Kabukicho to the Tokyo Dark Castle party. It was a long long while since i last heard and danced to good dark industrial. So did. ALOT. till around 5am. I went in search of an all night sento to kick it but it was closed, so I got 1 hour zzz in a net cafe. I then went in search of the sento from the night before in Shibuya only to find it does not operate in the morning, I was forced to trek to the other side of Shibuya (that's a skate and a half, let me tell you) to use the showers at the Shibuya Capsule hotel. the trekking and bathing basically took till around ten when i finally got on the train to Chiba… and destiny.
I arrived, ticketed, dumped my bag and got a beer. HEAT was playing. I was wrecked from a crazy weekend and I didn't realise just what was happening. Whatever. I found a wall and scored another hour sleep (giving me a total of 3 for the weekend) I woke in time to take in the last half of Crossfaith’s show…
And so it began…

Crossfaith were the first of many surprises for me. A screamo hardcore band representing Japan and doing a stellar Job. Power, energy and passion were being imparted to the crowd and the result for me was an instant wake up call. I only listened to their stuff and bobbed my head but i was thoroughly impressed by their sound. It was typically screamo yet it had an edge… like Bloodstain Child is melodic death with an edge.. that Japanese-ness that sets it apart. Many local metal fans say that's the reason why Japanese bands suck… I think its the reason they rock… and bit did these guys rock.
The second surprise of the day. I went over to the 2 main stages for lack of anything better to do before Galneryus. I didn't go to the front and was not really paying attention. After all I had never before heard of Hibria and had no expectations. They opened their set with “Tiger Punch” and to be honest it felt like somebody blindsided me. I was not expecting anything brilliant (after all you cannot have a full line up of brilliant bands… something needs to be crap… right?)… I got Brazilian badass tiger punched in my soul… the headbanging started before I realised that the violent swaying was actually me and not something induced by lack of sleep food and the 1 beer I had. Sadly I only watched 2 tracks because it was time to move on…

The first band on my ‘must see’ list. With a new vocalist and bassist, I was anxious to see how their sound adapted… and I wanted to see them live too :p I was not disappointed. Taka (bass) has fingers of fire… Some of the best and fastest bass guitar work I have ever seen. Masatoshi Ono’s vocals suit the part and he spins steel with his voice. I was surprised by Galneryus fans though. NOBODY was headbanging.. there was shouting and singing and displaying the horns but no headbanging… well not from the locals anyway. Admittedly most of them have never had long hair in their lives but still at the time I didn’t have long hair but i still went berserk. hell they didn’t even do the silly whiplash inducing head shaking VK fans call headbanging. nada fokol. But hey if they had fun that's all that matters. I certainly did.
Royal Hunt
The second band I wanted to see on the day. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect as I have only heard a few of their songs and the few that I heard I really liked. They had the presence and skill of a world class metal band and the Japanese fans were going their special kind of wild but it lacked the energy that I (and judging by their reaction) the band expected. The did not seem to be feeding of the same wavelength as the crowd and as a result it seemed somewhat disconnected. I was not disappointed exactly, I just was not blown away like I was to the other bands.

Papa Roach
After some fudz and a few drinks I headed to the main 2 stages. I was preparing myself to stake out a perfect spot for Children of Bodom so i headed to the stage where they would play in 2 bands time. Papa Roach was the next one scheduled for the stage I was at so I decided I would put up with it for COB’s sake. I was near the front and in the thick of it. I was un prepared. The band came on, The crowd went bat-shit INSANE! I have never in my life felt that much raw energy coming from a crowd of people before. I rocked out 100% moshing screaming and even shouting lyrics (to the 3 songs I knew). It was only Papa Roach. The band I thought was the odd one out on the line-up. Clearly I was mistaken. I rate seeing Papa Roach live in Japan as highly as I rate The blind Guardian and Versailles shows… Yes. Papa Roach.

Fair Warning
Another one of the bands that I had never heard of was up next. They played the stage next to the one I was camped at but both stages’ sound was wired together so i got the full force of the music even if i was not in the throng. To be fair my legs were so damn sore I needed to sit down. I had already hit my peak and was literally running on the last remnants of my energy. Fair warning are that classic steel sound, powerful uplifting and almost spiritual. I was drawn to their music even though it was not the hardest stuff on the day. The vocals drew me in and and like the line in their song “Burning Heart” they set my soul on fire. It was an amazing discovery and I went and bought the tracks that hit me hard on iTunes the next day. Positive Power!

Children of Bodom
I have only had two major goals in my life. To come to Japan and to See my favourite bands on earth Live. I saw the Offspring and NOFX so all that was really left for me was Children of Bodom (yes there are a few more but the ultimate goal is… was Bodom) My favourite band of all time. The band i discovered one night on Barney Simon’s show when he still cared about good music. The moment that would give my life definition was upon me.
The band came on. The crowd went a level of insane that words cannot describe. The entire front area of the stage was a pit. Bodies shoving and pushing, jostling and surging. it was a stampede. There was chaos and there was screaming. And this was just the first track. 3 songs down and Alexi said that 10 years ago they played their first show in Tokyo.. He then asked if we wanted to hear some old stuff… the answer was unanimous. “Silent Night Bodom Night”…The first song of theirs that I ever Heard… The song that changed my life… LIVE!!! I died. I pushed my body beyond my spent energy limits I screamed beyond my vocal chord’s ability to produce sound I burned through my adrenaline’s adrenaline. It was EVERYTHING I could have imagined…multiplied by a number with many zeros at the end.
I needed a rest. If i remained at the front my heart or brain would have given out. I fought my way to a calmer section (which wasn’t really that calm at all) chilled for half a song and snapped this:
Needled 24/7” The calmer section erupted. near me a real pit started. Like a singularity, it drew me in. Sucking me into the madness. There were some big foreigners who were doing some good damage as well as a small army of crazy Japanese guys going at it like it was the end of the world. I was home. I had found the centre of my existence. In the words of the people of Kelewan… I had found my waal. At that moment there was nothing else on earth that I ever wanted more. I wanted to mosh as hard as I could till my body ripped itself apart.
At the peak of the show they ended their set on “In your Face”. By that stage I had gone beyond death, Beyond Life, Even beyond Timothy Leary.
I remember the Encore. “Hatecrew Death Roll”. I remember being more alive than I have ever been in my existence. The greatest single moment ever.

Rob Zombie
So after Bodom, was Zombie. I watched from afar. Amazing show and it would have been mindblowing if he had played before Bodom… but He didn’t. Having said that, He is a showman second to none. Anyone who has the chance needs got see him live because he is fantastic to watch.

Metal GODS. The guys that inspired Children of Bodom. By this stage I was broken. I really couldn't have cared. I didn’t care. They were amazing, but they were not Bodom.
I will see them again sometime on their own, because not even the Mighty Slayer could trump The greatest band on earth.

In the end…

You could say I had a pretty damn good time :)
LoudPark Photo Gallery: http://www.loudpark.com/09/gallery/index_18.html

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