Rivoli Day 2 and Divan Orange madness
The 2nd Show at the Rivoli was also sold out. In my opinion we could have fit an extra 20-30 people in the club but we had reached the legal capacity. Apparently last year someone had fainted due to overcrowding so they made sure we didn't go over capacity by even half a body. Sorry to all those we had to turn away and I'll think about other venues for October. However, I'm loyal to the Rivoli since they've been good to us from the very beginning. The band order throughout the tour is: Praha Depart, Charan Po Rantan, group_inou with Zazen headlining last. However, I felt bad putting Praha first each time and I wanted Fri & Sat to be somehow different so I let Praha play last on Saturday night. This backfired somewhat since group_inou and Zazen raised the bar a little too high. In hindsight I should have kept the same band order.
Charan Po Rantan are almost impossible not to like. They charmed the crowd with their personality and dropped jaws with their musical chops. They opened with their own rendition of The Magnificent Seven. However, the charm factor went through the roof as soon as Momo joined them on stage from then on. They were definitely the favorite band for a number of people on Saturday night.
group_inou rocked the house from start to finish. We were warned "NO CROWD SURFING" and although one girl broke the rule the audience managed to show self restaint and go buck-wild jumping, dancing, waving their hands and pumping their fists all through their set. Just like Friday night I got filthy sweaty and had to change my shirt. :)
Zazen Boys DESTROYED. They had most of the crowd completely mesmerized with their watertight musicianship, grandiose funk and powerful sound. However, because Mukai didn't bring along his sequencer for this trip Zazen aren't able to play what is arguably my favorite song to watch them play live: "Asobi." Asobi is so amazing to experience live it exalts and sends shivers down your spine with a sound and scope that seems larger than life. It definitely adds another dimension to the predominantly guitar-centric sound setlist they've been performing on the NMFT tour so far. Regardless, Zazen absolutely KILLED it saturday night.
A bunch of people had come specifically to watch Zazen and Praha Depart couldn't hold the momentum set forth by inou and zazen before them. But they tried their best and ending the set with DOT followed by an encore of "バードストライク" really highlighted their supremely intense and powerful sound. There were definitely those who felt Praha were the best band that night and I have no regrets having chosen them to round out the NMFT 4 roster.
Overall, Friday night had a much more fun and enthusiastic vibe. Saturday was great too but didn't reach the fanfare of the first show and of course there was no uchiage (after-party) for fans to look forward to since we had to leave early for Montreal in a few hours. But thanks to everyone in Toronto who came to either of the shows and to the people who tried to get in but got turned away due to Rivoli reaching its "capacity".
Quick summary of the show at Divan Orange:
People in Montreal are allergic to showing up on time. In Toronto, when doors opened at 8pm people were lining up like mad to get in. While at Divan Orange, it was similar to a ghost-town. Even at 9pm, there were only about 20 people in the club. I felt bad for Praha so I said I'd extend the start to 9:15... then.. 9:20... okay 9:30pm. There were about 40 people in the club when Praha started but within the next 15 min, the crowd doubled in size and then tripled by 10pm. No matter what you write down as the start-time, Montrealers won't show up until 10pm. That alone doesn't actually bug me BUT what does irk me to no end is the fact that half the people leave early because they have to catch the last Metro train. Seriously, what the F%CK!! If you guys showed up on time, the bands could start on time and you could watch the entire show. Final attendance for the show was just shy of 140. I guess that's not bad for a long weekend Monday night but to have half the crowd leave early and not stay for Zazen Boys was lame and inexecusable.
Anyhow, the crowd in Montreal really know how to cheer on a band. An audience of 50 in Montreal makes twice as much noise as a crowd of 100 in Toronto. The people who showed up on Monday really cheered their hearts out and the bands were so appreciative of the fanfare.
It was great to see Praha Depart get such a massive ovation and cheers for an encore... as the first band! Charan Po Rantan got even louder cheers and pleads for an encore which they obliged to the fans' delight. group_inou suceeded in creating the biggest maelstrom of cheers, bugging out and dancing and were the overall fan-favorite. I guess fans were too wiped from group_inou and with the threat of last train, many took off before zazen boys hit the stage. Those that did remain stayed right up at front and made so much noise you would never have guessed the room was half empty if you didn't look behind. The disappearing act prior to Zazen was disappointing and the show should still have been a sell-out despite it being the last night of a long weekend. But it was still a very memorable night for the bands and they really enjoyed the beautiful scenery in Montreal.
The lack of attendance gives me second thoughts about continuing shows in Montreal but realistically it would be stupid to not to do shows in Montreal since at the very least bands love sightseeing there. And I love any excuse to go to Romados and Schwartz's. hahaha.