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BIGPAPA aka BIGMAMA’s Tour Finale

BIGMAMA, a five piece rock-pop band based in Tokyo Japan, just recently finished their tour throughout Japan to celebrate the release of their latest album 君想う、故に我在り. They are made up of a unique composition for Japan, with a violinist being a major component of the band. They are considered to be an emo-rock band here in Japan, though in my personal opinion they play very pop-like tunes, with beautiful melodies and a voice that accompanies it wonderfully. BIGMAMA consists of; Kanai Masato (vo/gt), Kakinuma Hiroya (gt/vo), Yasui Hideto (ba), Higashide Mao (vi/cho), and Ibe Riado (dr).

Although their tour finale was dated to be June 15th, there was a separate secret tour finale on the 16th to celebrate father’s day. On this particular day, the band appeared not as BIGMAMA but as BIGPAPA, for…well, father’s day. On this special day in which we honor our father’s, I was invited to go see this band play for the first time.

 

To be honest, I have had no previous experience with this band. Aside from a couple of drinks and a long intoxicated conversation with one of the members on a cold December night and a copy of their latest album, my knowledge of this band was far from lavish. Yet, I found myself sitting on the 3rd floor balcony overlooking the arena and stage surrounded by friends and business partners of the band.

My first show. I was quite excited about this show, to be honest. After getting lost on my way to the Tokyo Dome Hall, when I finally arrived at my destination, I was welcomed by the sight of a myriad of youths sporting black tshirts with the bands name printed across the chest. I had listened to their songs before hand, and I quite like the album, but I was not expecting to see so many people wearing the typical attire one would don in Japan for punk band shows (ie Dickies shorts with the band tshirt and sneakers…clothes that show support for the band while still being comfortable enough to participate in moshpits and crowd surfing).

As I sat on the third floor balcony in my comfortable plush seat, I had a clear view down in the arena where people moved about, resembling the image of a beehive split open for viewing with the worker bees clustered in the small space provided. To be honest, it is quite disgusting looking. Humans are odd creatures.

As the arena lights began to dim, the crowd cheered and I sat up straight in my seat with anticipation rolling through my nerves. Each member walked onto stage, bowing towards the crowd before picking up their instruments in their designated spots. The lights went black and in the next instant, there was a blast of music and bright colorful lights painting the insides of the Tokyo Dome Hall.

The band introduced themselves at BIGPAPA, a different band from BIGMAMA, who came together today to play this show. The audience laughed and went along with their little charade of being BIGPAPA. I did not recognize most of their songs, though they played an exceptional show with an amazing light performance. What intrigued me more though, was seeing the crowd’s reactions to these songs. How people would sit on top of shoulders, singing on the top of their lungs until the climax of the song when they would thrust their bodies back as a sea of hands would reach up to support them, carrying them towards the stage before they rolled down into a black hole. While this seems to be a common act at punk show concerts, it was an alien spectacle for me to see so many crowd surfers during these catchy pop tunes. I quite enjoyed this gap of music and action.

In the middle of the show, the vocalist asked the crowd if it was anyone’s birthday. Hands shot up in the crowd and a path opened up like the red sea to lead the individuals up front.

“Staff, please detain these individuals!” Kanai said. Once everyone had been taken backstage, poppers were passed around. Soon, the birthday boys and girls were led up on stage where they lined up next to the band as the band began playing their birthday song. Higashide, closest to the group, made sure to smile and interact with them as she played the violin, sending girls into fits of tears and spreading grins across everyone’s face. At the peak of the song, an explosion went off as gold confetti streamers rained down into the arena. I quite liked this “tradition” that the band had, allowing their listeners to feel special on the day they were born. It was very different from many of the other bands I have seen.

The show ended before satisfaction broke surface, and the crowd attempted to start a slow clap in the dark. The slow clap would speed up quickly before dispersing into a million jumbled claps. Sitting above the crowd, it sounded like I was at the ocean, the waves crashing down onto shore. Soon the stage lit up as Kanai walked out onto stage. He spoke about his thanks for the fans and asked if he could play in the crowd. A cheer mixed with hysteric screams erupted and with that, he disappeared off the stage, reappearing in the midst of the crowd. He serenaded an acoustic ballad to all the fathers; thanking them for the support and unconditional love they provide their children. After the song, he returned to the stage through an arch the crowd created for him with their arms. A couple more songs were played before they waved their goodbyes, once again, disappearing off the stage.

Photo Jun 16, 8 18 59 PM[the view from the 3rd floor]

The crowd was still not satisfied as the ocean clapping began once again. Soon enough, they were rewarded for their long bouts of clapping as the band returned onto stage to make a couple of announcements. The re-release of their first three albums and a new single.

“And with the release of our new single,” Kanai teased the crowd. “We will also be playing at Akasaka BLITZ for three days in November to commemorate this release!” there was an outburst of cheers from the crowd. A few more words were exchanged before the band sprinted through the last 100 meters of their tour.

 

It was my first BIGMAMA show, and what can I say? I was not disappointed. They played songs I knew, some I recognized, and many songs I didn’t know, yet I was still able to enjoy the whole performance. The atmosphere within this large space, it was just so electrifying.

After the show, I had the chance to go to the after party in which I was able to talk to the rest of the members who were very welcoming and humble. Happy announcements were made and many smiles and laughers were exchanged.

Photo Jun 17, 3 01 33 AM[My guest pass with Takinuma’s pick and Kanai’s essay book. Thank you for the gifts!]

Thank you, BIGMAMA, for providing me the opportunity to attend your show. It was spectacular and I would definitely recommend people listen to their music, and if you like it, go to their show. You will not be disappointed.

 

BIGMAMA:

HP http://bigmama-web.com/index.html

Twitter https://twitter.com/BIGMAMAofficial

 

 

Until next time,
Yoshimaru

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Atsuo of Japanese Rock Band Atsuo Claims Japan is ‘Brainwashed’

Japanese rock band, Boris, has been making waves abroad but the three-piece rock band also has quite an immense fan base back in Japan. Still, this hasn’t stopped band drummer, Atsuo from stating that his homeland is “brainwashed.”

Despite the obvious fatigue from Boris’ US tour, Atsuo, the drummer shares his tale of music with an interview with Christopher James of Perth. Japan may have its’ share of Japanese performers be it rockers or pop artists but not all sections of Japan may be welcoming.

“It’s like they’ve all been brainwashed,” explains Atsuo, adding, “Don’t have ideologies,” or something like that. I think Japan is full of complications. It’s really twisted; beyond twisted. Like the music scene and the music business, the structure and atmosphere is completely different to any other country. I think it’s a distinctive country; very distinctive.”

Like Atsuo’s taste in music, the Boris’ drummer also highlights Japans’ distinctiveness with his decision to become a vegetarian.

“There are many vegans amongst musicians, and when we collaborate together, I just thought I’d make a gesture to get rid of any walls between us. It’s something I started for the music.  And now, you know, of course I like animals too. I can’t really go out to a restaurant in a group of just anyone in Japan. In both American and Australia, it’s very possible to have people of differing values or ideologies sitting around one table and eating together. But in Japan, the atmosphere is that unless you share the values, you can’t join the table,” explained Atsuo.

Even with the wide fan base in Japan, Boris flies to various countries abroad for their performances where almost no one speaks the native tongue.

Avril Lavigne is Japan Billboard Awards Top Pop Artist

Avril Lavigne has scooped a gong at the 2012 Billboard Japan Music Awards. The singer was named Top Pop Artist by the ceremonys bosses but wasnt able to attend the event due to other work commitments.Artists eligible for the prize topped one of the Billboard Japan charts, including Billboard Japan Hot 100, Billboard Japan Singles Sales and Billboard Japan Top Albums. Fans cast their votes online and in return Lavigne thanked her supporters via the same medium.

Read the rest of the story: Avril Lavigne wins Japan Billboard Awards Top Pop Artist.

L’Arc~en~Ciel 24-hour show on Nico Nico Douga

The members of rock band L’Arc~en~Ciel are still celebrating their 20th anniversary, and their latest project is a 24-hour broadcast on video website Nico Nico Douga. Titled “Nico Nico L’Arc Station,” the show will feature their songs, music videos, and concert footage, plus a one-hour live segment with all of the members appearing.

The program will begin at 8:00pm JST on June 27. It will include 123 songs, ranging from their indie days to their latest, “GOOD LUCK MY WAY.” They will also air music videos for 44 songs, including the first-ever broadcast of the “Fullmetal Alchemist” version of the “GOOD LUCK MY WAY” music video. Footage from their “TOUR 2008~L’7 Trans ASIA via PARIS~” will also be shown.

For the final hour, starting at 7:00pm on June 28, all of the L’Arc~en~Ciel members will appear live to talk about “GOOD LUCK MY WAY” and their 20 years together. In addition, there will be a special segment in which L’Arc will communicate directly with their fans, using the “Nico Nico Denwa” (telephone) feature.

At some point during the program, there will also be a “L’Arc~en~Ciel Quiz” with a special present up for grabs.

At the upcoming Japan Expo in Paris (June 30-July 3), the Nico Nico Douga booth will replay the L’Arc~en~Ciel broadcast, though details are currently unknown.

The live broadcast will be available on both the Japan version and the international versions of Nico Nico Douga. The broadcast page can be found here (Japanese) and here (English).

Perfume included on “Cars 2″ soundtrack

Perfume’s hit song “Polyrhythm” will make its world debut this summer. The song will be used in all versions of Disney and Pixar’s upcoming movie “Cars 2,” the sequel to the 2006 animated film “Cars.” In addition, “Polyrhythm” will also be included on the movie’s CD soundtrack that will be released worldwide in June.

Like the first movie, “Cars 2″ features anthropomorphic cars in a story revolving around racing. “Polyrhythm” will play during a scene at a party the night before the World Grand Prix race in Japan.

The movie’s staff had been searching for music by a Japanese artist to use in that scene, and a Perfume fan on staff suggested the song to director John Lasseter. When they tried it out alongside the neon signs and other bright visuals in the scene, they found the cute pop tune to be a perfect match.

“Cars 2″ opens in the United States on June 24. In Japan, it will hit theaters on July 30.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebWsTKtTHzs

Guinness World Record – Kawamura Ryuichi successfully performs 100 songs in single concert

Last year, Kawamura Ryuichi declared that he would attempt to perform 100 songs in a single concert, a feat that would surpass the 70 songs he sang during his “70 no Monogatari” concert in 2008. The new attempt was originally scheduled for March 13th at the Nippon Budokan, but due to the Tohoku earthquake on March 11th, the concert was postponed until yesterday, May 3rd. And sure enough, Kawamura completed more than 100 songs, achieving a Guinness World Record.

In 2008, Kawamura had achieved 71 songs in 4.5 hours. His goal this time was to reach 100 in 6.5 hours. The concert started at 2:00pm in the afternoon, and after taking three breaks during the show, he finished at some time after 9:00pm. Immediately after the concert, the head of the Japan branch of Guinness World Records presented him with a certificate recognizing his achievement.

Although Kawamura ended up singing a total of 104 songs, his official record is for becoming the first solo artist to perform 100 songs within 8 hours. Guinness currently keeps only three categories for this kind of record – 1 hour, 8 hours, and 24 hours.

Kawamura divided the show into three parts, roughly corresponding to different periods of his career. He started with his hits from the time of his debut, working his way through his discography. He also changed outfits to match the themes of the different parts

Approximately 8,000 fans were in attendance for the concert. In consideration of the power shortages facing Japan since the earthquake, Kawamura performed the show with about 30% less electricity than a typical show.

Lady Gaga, AKB48 to Play MTV Japan Aid Show

Lady Gaga may be a controversial character for some, but she has won a lot of friends in Japan following the March 11 disaster.The performer contributed a song to the “Songs for Japan” charity album and contributed $1.5 million to relief funds from the sales of a wristband on her website.Now she’s set to perform live at a June 25 MTV Japan benefit show for the Japanese Red Cross at the massive Makuhari Messe exhibition center in Chiba, just outside Tokyo. The show, dubbed MTV Video Music Aid Japan, also doubles up as MTV Japan’s  10th annual video music awards event, and as such will feature a slew of big names in Japanese and Asian music.

Read the rest of the story: Lady Gaga, AKB48 to Play MTV Japan Aid Show.

Koda Kumi getting it on with Far East Movement

Koda Kumi (28) is collaborating with the Asian American electro/hip-hop group Far East Movement, it was learned on Thursday. They are each involved on one of the tracks from the other’s upcoming album, scheduled for simultaneous release on March 23.

Koda will provide vocals for Far East Movement’s “Make It Bump feat. Koda Kumi,” included on the Japanese release of their album “Free Wired.” The original version of the album was released in the United States in October 2010 and marked their major label debut.

Far East Movement, on the other hand, is featured on the song “POP DIVA DJ VIRMAN Remix – FAR EAST MOVEMENT” on Koda’s remix album “DRIVING HIT’S 3.”

Both songs will be available as chaku-uta ringtones on March 23, the same day the albums go on sale.

Far East Movement’s “Free Wired” is being released by Universal Music. In 2008, they released their first album “Folk Music” (2006) in Japan under the title “Round Round” through Avex.

AKB48 announces new “Nemousu TV” season

16 members of the AKB48 family took the stage at Saitama Super Arena on Saturday for one of the group’s mini-concert and handshake events. They set a new personal record for themselves, gathering approximately 22,500 fans for the event, surpassing the crowd of 20,000 that attended their handshake event at Kyocera Dome last December.

Saturday’s event was part of a series of eight handshake events across the country that started on February 20, celebrating the release of AKB48′s latest single “Sakura no Ki ni Narou.” The group has another one at the same venue on Sunday, making the fact that they brought in a record crowd even more impressive.

“Sakura no Ki ni Narou” was released on February 16 and sold more than 942,000 copies during its first week in stores. During the concert portion of the handshake event, Oshima Yuko announced that the single recently passed 1 million in sales.

The members also talked about the renewal of their television show “AKB48 Nemousu TV,” which is now confirmed to start its 6th season on April 24. The week before that, the show will have a 2-hour special aired on April 17, featuring six of the AKB48 research students in Guam.

On the same day as the event, new information was released regarding AKB48′s first original album, scheduled for release on April 6. The album is officially titled “Koko ni Ita Koto” and contains 16 tracks, 11 of which are new songs that have never been released on CD before. This includes the title track, sung by the members of AKB48, SKE48, SDN48, and NMB48.

The limited editions and the regular edition of the album will come with a DVD containing choreography versions of the music videos for “Ponytail to Chouchou,” “Heavy Rotation,” “Beginner,” and “Chance no Junban.”

Pink Lady to go nationwide reunion tour

The reunited ’70s idol duo Pink Lady have announced that they will do a 23-concert tour across Japan, starting in Chiba on May 21 and ending in Nagano on September 4. This is their first national tour since officially resuming activities last year.

The two singers, known as Mie and Kei, debuted in 1976 and released several hit songs, such as “Pepper Keibu,” “Nagisa no Sindbad,” and “UFO,” before disbanding in 1981. Ten of their singles sold over a million copies, and their total single sales amounted to approximately 18 million. The two have had a few temporary reunions since then, but they declared last September that they are back together again for good. In December, they released a “new vocal best album” titled “INNOVATION.”

Tickets for Pink Lady’s tour will begin sales on April 10.