Tuesday, October 12, 2010

sonic entertainment

A Canadian coworker has a band and he invited me and a bunch of other coworkers to come see him perform live. In Japan, most bands perform at a "live house" instead of a bar or club. These "live houses" are specifically designed for the concept of performances by small independent bands. The band getting paid is apparently hinged on how many heads they can bring in. So as a show of support, many of us descended on a dingy "live house" on the fifth floor of a nondescript building. The floors were sticky with spilled drinks, the air a bit stagnate. A small horde of people gathered in the entrance room, huddled in protection from the sonic assault of noise booming from the performance room that was behind a double door sound buffer. My coworker didn't go on for another hour. I had helped a friend of mine move her stuff into her new house all day, so I was a bit exhausted, but I made small talk with coworkers for awhile. Then I decided to venture into the inner room to get a peek at the wall of noise.

The band had an interesting mix of wild neon fashion for the lead screamer, a trucker hat for the drummer, and goth hair for the bassist. The lead screamer hammered on his guitar in lush ear splitting glory, the wall of noise was literally ear deafening. I enjoyed their oddness, but my ears were beginning to wine from the assault, so I retreated to the other room. I wasn't the only one, a large contingent of the assembled crowd joined me in the waiting room. A few bands later, my coworker's band took the stage.

They had a way more (comparatively) mellow sound. Hard rock with synthesizers and love searching lyrics. And a drum machine. They had the rockstar vibe down, but suffered from the relatively small crowd. They were the most popular band of the night though, with many guys and girls crowding around the bottom of the stage.

I couldn't help but think they might have been even better with some theatrics of some sort, but I suppose straight up rock n roll has it's place too. So after the show I was a bit drunk, but found my train home. I was a bit surprised to be sitting on the same local commuter train as the wild sonic assault band from earlier. They were clearly bummed out by the crowd reaction. They voices down, bitter small talk about how the crowd had just been "wrong" for their type of music and what not. It was a bitter-but-accustomed sound in their voices, I couldn't help but feel they rarely got the recognition they were looking for. I felt a bit sorry for them so I turned (they were right next to me) and said,
"I know this is a bit sudden, but your show was really interesting, can I take your picture?"

The happy surprise on their faces was vibrant, "You were at our show?" the lead screamer said, his voice conveying they rarely heard anything from "fans" at all. I said yes, and told them honestly that I had enjoyed their energy, and that although I hadn't caught most of the lyrics, I had fun listening to them. They were quite excited to talk to someone who had actually seen them perform, and we talked for the next 15 minutes or so until I got to my stop. They had been playing together for about 4 years total, but they often fought about the band they said. ("It's kind of like families, we just fight a lot.") They dreamed about playing overseas, but had no money for it. They had a lot of time though, they all seemed to be burned-out regular people. I guess it could be said they were True Basement Rockstars. I enjoyed our conversation, but then I jumped off the train and returned to the silence of the night.
All original content CC 2002-2012 BY NC SA - first design from dilarangmelarang altered by neonvirus and thunderbunny.