We just had another long weekend in Japan and slap bang in the middle of it was another one of those big small live festivals at Trust 55 in Takasaki. After making so many friends the last time, I knew my lady and I would have fun at this event. I was right…
Organised by a musician who goes by the name of Frankie (フランキー) Love rock was a double up early Halloween party/birthday party involving mostly cover bands and small-time underground groups. There were one or two bigger original bands as well, but the aim of the show was more party than a promotional live.
Because of that the crowd were as much friends of the bands as they were fans of the music. I was both supporting my new friends and listening to live bands.The atmosphere was much like one back home. Back in the Bugsy’s / Boho days. Being Halloween there were a lot of fancy dress shenanigans to be seen as well. When lubricated with a few beers, as you may have guessed, I was at home. However due to the friendly party atmosphere it will be very difficult to treat the show like a full on live. So I am just going to post pics and comment on the points that stick in my mind.
The first band was a great warm up. Two vocalists. Harmony. and a constant build up in energy till eventually one of the vocalists actually jumped into the crowd and got a small mosh pit (if you can call it that) underway.
The music itself was very middle of the road but very appropriate. They did their job well. We were all nicely amped by the end of their set. The bar was set.
The next band were also a cover band but they were a cover band with skills. They effectively threw petrol on the small flames that were kindled by the previous band. They truly got the party started. When I heard them play I knew things were going to get very good indeed.
The funny thing i that the music itself did very little for me personally. Good though it was it was the effect that they had on charging up the crowd that I appreciated more than the actual tunes. I need a whole lot more to get going myself. That said, Their cover of L’Arc~en~Ciel’s Driver’s High was pretty damn solid!
It was what came next that started to get me going. Again they were a cover band but this time they were covering Tokyo Jihen and the young lady at the front of the band had an amazingly powerful voice. The fact she was in a nurse's uniform didn’t hurt either, but She could really raise the volume. What she did have in power however, she lacked in vocal range. As my lady (a singer herself) said. If she didn’t try so hard to be Shiina Ringo and sang her own songs, written for her own vocal range, she would be mind-blowing. I was a little less picky and thoroughly enjoyed her performance. That said I do tend to overlook skill when the energy of the act gets my blood pumping.
Even more awesome (and the real reason I loved their set) was the bass. Without a doubt one of the best bass performances I have seen in recent memory. He was one with his instrument. It was more of an extension of his body than a tool that he used to create music. every bass playing technique was used liberally to create a vibrant and solid bass line that reverberated through every fibre of my body. Thoroughly fantastic bass work.
The most important thing however is thanks to them building up on top of the other two bands I was wound up nice and tight, pulsating with potential energy ready to explode. I needed to enter the fray. The question is, could a show called “love rock” ever give me music that had enough energy and/or brutality to really cut loose and have some ME fun?