It was worth every penny. Or yen, but ‘penny’ sounds better.
This is the concert report: http://www.jack-itb.com/2008/report/report.html
It started out by waiting in line for about three hours just to buy stuff. The line was crazy long. As a result, I missed the introduction for Session A, but hardly anyone was recognizable on stage anyway. The concert overall was about 7 hours long, as expected when there are so many performances.
For anyone who doesn’t know, JACK IN THE BOX (formerly called ‘DANGER’) is a concert held annually around the end of December featuring various artists from the MAVERICK DC GROUP, one of Japan’s music production companies. Their recording company is called DANGER CRUE RECORDS, which you could call a type of indie J-Rock label. This is where L’Arc~en~Ciel, MUCC, and other popular bands have gotten their start.
I had a particularly…okay seat. It wasn’t a seat at all, I was in the stands all the way in the back. But the good thing was that I was on the South side, facing the stage directly.
I was surprised at how well I could identify certain small things throughout the concert. As I said, I missed the intro for Session A, but from watching them perform I knew yukihiro (Laruku) was the featured drummer, because I recognized the way he moves when he plays drums.
I was also able to recognize when MUCC was about to perform. They changed the drumset to one that has two bass drums, and from the way the bass was being tuned I knew that it was Yukke that would be playing. (a lot of MUCC’s music is very heavy and bass-driven.)
Anyway, I’ll try to say something short about each performance.
After Session A was girugamesh. I was really pleased that all three songs they played were songs that I knew (I don’t listen to them all the time). They were really great, and if I ever felt like headbanging I would surely go to one of their lives.
Session B was pretty cool, mainly because they covered two NANA themes–‘rose’ (1st opening theme for the anime) by Anna Tsuchiya and GLAMOROUS SKY (theme for the first NANA film) by Mika Nakashima. My favorite featured member from that group was Miya (guitarist from MUCC), of course. I don’t recognize giru’s members by name yet, and I don’t even know Zoro. (Can someone tell me if Zoro’s bassist Tatsuhi is a guy or a girl? Normally I can tell, but…)
Speaking of Zoro, they were the next act. I liked their music, so I’ll probably go look them up a little later. They’re a really colorful band. At first I thought Tatsuhi was a girl because of the skirt and leggings, but after a while I wasn’t so sure. He/she was awfully cute on stage, though. And Zoro’s drummer is pretty good-looking, I must say.
I don’t know too much about SID other than a few songs here and there, but I was surprised to see that their drummer Yuuya was playing guitar for Session C. Also performing was Yukke (MUCC), Mao (vocalist for SID) the drummer from Zoro, and one of SID’s support members on keyboard. I absolutely love Mao’s voice, and Yukke is one of my absolute favorite bassists, so I was happy to see them on stage together.
Session D was a big surprise. Normally the vocalist is introduced last, but this time he was introduced first, and for a reason. The vocalist featured was Tatsurou from MUCC. A lot of people in the crowd screamed for joy. And then came the surprise: He was performing with jealkb, a popular and up-and-coming visual kei band. The most unique thing about jealkb is that they have seven members, and they are all comedians. Everyone started clapping along when the group opened with Laruku’s ‘Link’.
SID was up next. I admire them a lot for what they’ve managed to accomplish so far throughout their career from 2003. They started out in the visual kei scene, but they cover a wide range of music genres, with pop and jazz-inspired sound. They dropped the VK image around 2006, and now they’re extremely popular in Japan. Their performance definitely stood out from other bands, especially with Mao’s powerful vocals.
Ken (guitarist from Laruku) was also really great. He opened up with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock and Roll’ (I played bass for that song in the CP Scholars Arts Fair earlier this year, so I should know it). Of course his Japanese accent is so heavy that I could barely make out the words, but I didn’t care. After performing his first solo single ‘Speed,’ he told the crowd that he was in the middle of recording, and then performed two new songs. After his performance it was announced that he’s releasing his second single in March and an album in April, as well as doing a live tour during the summer.
Session E…Oh, Session E. The first two introductions were puzzling to me, one of whom I didn’t know at all. The other is a support musician for L’Arc~en~Ciel, but I don’t know how to read his name. Miya made another appearance, and then Aki was introduced as the bassist. The excitement just kept building up, and then the vocalist was introduced: hyde!!! So he was performing, after all! Hearing him sing ‘All Dead’ made me so happy, especially with Aki and Miya. hyde even had this little moment on stage with Miya, it was so great.
So with that, I’ve covered about half the concert. I’ll continue the other half later.