2011.12.23 Great Hunting vol 25

2011/12/23 - GREAT HUNTING NIGHT VOL 25 X'mas SPECIAL w/ MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS / The Salovers /赤い公園 / 田中茉裕 @ Shibuya WWW

There used to be a movie theater at the top of Spain-zaka that I remember watching a few movies at (eg Kisarazu Cats Eye). To my surprise the movie theater had been recently converted into a state-of-the-art live house (or rather a concert hall). It was my first time seeing a show at WWW and I would compare it to something like Massey Hall in Toronto but with a darker and more modern looking interior.

Great Hunting is a series of concerts curated by EMI where they showcase upcoming talent that is either signed to EMI or on the radar as potential candidates. (for example, Great Hunting vol 19 was held at Shinjuku Motion with 赤い公園 × 股下89 × きのこ帝国 × 田中茉裕 × CRYPT CITY <--- that would have been insane to watch!)

田中茉裕 (Mahiro Tanaka) was first up. She's an 18 year old singer-songwriter who plays piano and has a distinct, slightly nasal soprano voice which may sound awkward at first but definitely has character. Her performance didn't stand out notably compared to the myriad female singer-songwriter-pianists around but she seems quite talented for her age and I have to big her up just a little bit since we share the same surname. :)

赤い公園 f*cking DESTROYED! They started the set with drummer Utagawa Nao pacing slowly around the stage juggling what looked like a jumbo-sized hacky sack (maybe it was a Gachapon) in the air with one hand. Nostalgic and serene music was playing in the background and Nao had the cutest smile on her face. She stopped center-stage and tossed the "ball" into the back of the crowd, then picked up another "ball" and tossed it near the front right where I was. The guy to my left ended up snagging it though. Nao-chan then seated her self behind the drumkit and proceeded to work a beat on the bass drum. Hikari-chan then entered from stage-left and laid down a bassline. She was later joined by Tsuno Maisa from the right on keyboards (instead of guitar) followed by Chiaki-chan on vocals. They played a new song called "一拍目裏" that sounded great. (察すがMaisa!)

Setlist: (courtesy of nakaのブログ)

1. 一拍目裏 2. ハイハイ 3. ずっと 4. 透明 5. もんだな 6. 塊 7. のぞき穴 8. タヒチの夕焼け 9. ふやける

I thought because of the venue and somewhat mature crowd with record execs that Akai Koen would play a less aggressive, poppier set. It started out that away but four songs in Hikari beasts out with the abrasive bass screechings on 透明 and they shift into hardcore/noise mode stunning those in the audience virgin to 赤い公園's performances. Chiaki slipped up the beginning to ずっと (recovering ingeniously) but otherwise the band was utterly amazing this night showing they're clearly ready for bigger venues. WWW had the best sound of any livehouse I've seen Akai Koen play at so far.

The SALOVERS are a power-pop band in the vein of andymori but with a much more aggressive guitar driven sound.

They joked how extra-appreciative they were to be invited to this event since the Great Hunting series tend to favor female-fronted bands. They played a loud, energetic set that did a great job warming the crowd up for:

MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS Tonight was drummer Yoshino's swan song performance with the band. I was reminded how powerful an adrenaline rush it is to watch this band perform live. Natsuko wore a scarlet red dress and was as charismatic as ever crooning on the mic, roaming the stage and thrashing the %^&# out of her bass. Since Qomolangma Tomato are becoming more active these days MOTFD were joined by a new support guitarist (?Meguri) who looked like a taller version of ex-member Chiemi. Long story short, MOTFD blazed and the crowd loved it. Many people must have thought this show could potentially be MOTFD's last so they were extra enthusiastic in showing their support.

The setlist consisted of

1. She is inside, He is outside 2. かくいうもの 3. If a Surfer 5 new songs followed by "Highlight" and "Bears" with Ogura Naoya (Qomolangma Tomato) joining as 2nd guitarist.

The energy during "Highlight" and "Bears" echoed by the fans was awe-inspiring and a killer way to end the night. A lot of famous drummers showed up to express their support and best wishes towards Yoshino-san. Kumiko (ex-Chatmonchy), Bobo (54-71/Miyavi) and Nishiura (Soutaiseiriron/Luminous Orange) to name a few. It was nice chatting with Kumiko who seems to be enjoying her new life and career post-Chatmonchy.

After the show all of the bands, guests and staff went to a nearby izakaya for an uchiage. Holy %$^& it was hell because it was the type of seating arrangement with very low tables and no chairs; therefore, you had to eat while kneeling or sitting cross-legged. I'm a big guy with muscular legs and below average flexibility so sitting in those positions for extended periods of time is essentially torture. Leo Imai who is half-Swedish & Japanese sat next to me and felt the same way. Here's a photo of Leo Imai and Yoshino with Chiaki and Nao of Akai Ko-en:

We stayed ~3 hours at this joint until closing and the hardcore among us (myself included) went to another izakaya to continue eating/drinking until the trains restarted at 5am. :)

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