On a rapidly warming Saturday morning I took the train bound for Chiba. There were the usual disney tourists in their mickey mouse shirts. There were the gamers and otaku on their way to the Tokyo Game show. Then there were the band shirts, the black clothes, the big hair and the clashing colours. 
As we passed the mass market distractions and their consumers had dis-embarked they were all that was left.

They… We were heading to Chiba Port Park for Buck Tick's 25th anniversary. The Buck Tick Fest. On Parade 2012. and what a spectacular festival it was!
buck tick fest 2012
After  going through the rigmarole of getting my wristband, I entered the venue. Venue is not really an accurate description as it was just a park with a stage in it. A big park with a big stage but yeah. Out door rock concert… you get the Idea. The area in front of the stage was divided into blocks, A1 and A2 were in front of the stage, B1 and B2 behind the A blocks. Your ticket determined the block you were in, I was in B2. It was not too far from the stage but it was not terribly close either. As it turned out over the course of the show however, it was THE BLOCK to be in.

buck tick fest 2012 
A short time after getting in and getting my first Beer, Merry was up. Yes Merry was the opening act. And what an amazing opening. They didn't have any first band syndrome at all. from the get go people were jumping and dancing and moving. Their funky hardcore sound was everything I expected it to be live and so much more thanks to the sheer size of the event. 

I have been a fan of merry for a long time and while they were never my favourite VK outfit they were in the top 10 always. I have never seen them live however. I knew they had a reputation for energy but somehow I don't expect that much. Especially not from the first band in a fest. 

They played some old classics and newer tracks. the pinnacle for me was 'Japanese Modernist'. I zoned out and just absorbed the music through every pore in my body after that point.  A few girl circles formed but I was in my zone. 
A zone that I would reach many more times before the weekend was out.


The band I wanted to see most this fest was MUCC. I have been a fan of their unique and powerful sound since before I even left SA. Their lives sell out at fangirl pace and so I had never gotten the chance to actually see them. Merry had charged me up and I was ready to release some of that energy. They came on without a bang. Which took me back a bit. after Merry's explosion I had expected MUCC to come on even stronger. But they didn't. They started slow with 'Jupiter', a Buck Tick cover, and built it up. As it built through, my already brimming energy levels were starting to go critical. They ended the set with 'Ranchuu' and the first pit of the fest was spawned. It was not terribly huge mind you but it was a pit. and it was a good one. It hit the spot and it gave me the energy release I needed. MUCC was everything I was expecting live. I only wish their set was longer. They have such amazing skill and presence… and they way they worked the crowd was masterful.
With Merry and MUCC preceding them, cali≠gari had a fair job cut out for them to keep the energy levels up. They are a world class act no doubt but they are very different too. They didn't disappoint. As one would have expected, Ao was the catalyst for everything. His clear and strong vocals coupled with his over the top personality and stage presence filled in the power vacuum that was left by going from MUCC's musical style to theirs. I like cali≠gari. But They would not have been a make or break act for me. They kept me in my block though. They had a beat which was uniquely theirs and I had a great time stomping to their act. So much so that I actually want to see them live again sometime.

BREAKERZ (this bit is the 'bloody hyenas' rant… you can skip it if you want):

Daigo's band… complete with his signature "WISH". Well how do I say this diplomatically. I was hungry. and their name indicated that it was time for me to take a break… so I did. On my way out of the block I made friends with a nice young man who was very keen to buy me beers. I took 2 before telling him that I was not interested in anything more than the beers. But he was a good sport.

buck tick fest 2012

I then got another beer with my own money and went to socialise… In doing so, I came to an interesting realisation. I always thought VK shows had a very closed and unfriendly atmosphere for anyone who didn't fit into the herd, but at a big ass festival I figured things would change… not so much. Groups of chicks clustered in their own packs and only talked to each other, even if there were other people right next to them. there was almost no spontaneous friend making… not with me, or anyone else they didn't know.

The guys who let loose in the mosh pit and some of the (male and female) festival goers who looked like they listened to more hardcore tunage however all hailed me from afar we thunked our plastic beer cups and had some fun small conversations. Any attempts to interact with nearby packs however were met with frosty albeit polite bitchiness… Apart from 3 polish girls who i helped translate some Japanese for, the bar ladies, some girls I met in the mosh pit and 3 others who thought I was hitting on them and didn't seem opposed to it, Most of the women there were as sociable as dog shit on a sunny day. Which is all well and good but as anyone who has been to woodstock/motherfudd/Loud Park any other festival/metal show from my past will know. I am a social monster and I love to meet new people and interact with likeminded beings. Especially since we are such a rarity in this world of plastic Mickey mouse bullshit. I just want to party with as many peeps as possible.
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It is not even a woman thing because at Loud Park, clubs like Ageha or the XTREME HARD dance events, interacting is never a problem. I could even understand if it was just me (being the huge, foreign, loud, beer drinking, moshing, awesome mofo that I am) I may be a bit much for people, but not interacting with ANYONE other than their tiny group is no different to the AKB cliquey bitchery that their music and their lifestyle is against.

Acid Android:

Yukihiro's more dark and experimental side project was just that. It was good, but not my thing… Churros and beer however were… so I sat on the hill and enjoyed the show on the big screen.

The Lowbrows:

Back in block B2 I was pretty keen to see what an electronic duo was doing at a rock festival. Buck Tick had selected each all the artists themselves so they all had skill. That was a given but there is no accounting for taste. I had never really listened to them before so apart from the writeup I wasn't sure what to expect, but being a fan of electronic music too, I figured that if nothing else they would at least be dark. They were. They dropped the bass too. I liked that. They didn't really fit into any one electronic genre. There were bits of dub-step, drum and bass, dark trance, hardcore and industrial all swirling around in there. They were good though. Very good. My body was driven by their beats. You know when the music takes over and you have no choice but to dance like nobody was watching you. I was engulfed in music. It also alerted me to something interesting…. I was the only person dancing to them. Many people were moving and doing fist pumps to the beat, but nobody really cut lose and got down. Their loss I say. The lowbrows were the jolt i needed to bring back some of the energy that I had lost in the last 2 acts.

Buck Tick:

The headlining act for both days. Their set was largely the same aside from outfits and one or two songs. I will speak more about them in detail in part 2 though.

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