Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Live Report, Urawa Narciss: Tora Sky Walkers

Last night was a great, great show!

First, we met up at 11am at Narciss and rehearsed for a couple of hours. It was the first time I'd met our lead guitarist, Kuma, from AibeLL. Kuma is a fantastic guitarist who got his own ESP model made for a hefty price. It's vaguely strat-like but quite an amazing guitar. He has extensive experience in BeaU as well as some non-visual bands.


The rehearsal went well, and it finally got me comfortable with the songs to the point that I was no longer worried about screwing up too badly or forgetting where the songs went. The songs were standard old punk fare, but sometimes the songs did some interesting things that were a bit uncharacteristic.

Kayuki, vocalist of Homura, was borrowing their guitarist Mitsuru's red Gibson SG and effects pedals. Kayuki is more of an acoustic guitarist so he was quite nervous, but I think he did a good job. Mitsuru also manned our merch table for us. He's a very small shy dude so even I took part in playfully teasing him. :3


It was also the first time in a long while that I've played with a live drummer, and I can think of few other drummers I'd rather play with than Yuichi. He keeps time very well and doesn't rush, and I like the way he mixes things up. He makes playing bass very fun and easy to play around with. Yuichi is G.O.Z VII's drummer, and he also does support for all the other Narciss-label bands with drummer problems.


After the rehearsal, Hidetora still had to work in the office that evening, so he turned us loose and just said to be back in the dressing room by 5 for hair and makeup, as well as photos. I was thinking of going home and taking a rest, but the other four of us ended up going out to lunch and then shopping at the Parco that was recently built on the other side of the station. Kuma in particular is very keen on clothes shopping, and Kayuki, Yuichi and I were glad to come along. Kayuki is a huge Gundam and Kamen Rider nut and excitedly questioned if I liked any of that. I had to admit that I wasn't terribly familiar with Gundam, which he seemed saddened by, but I said I do remember Kamen Rider being broadcast a bit when I was little. He seemed glad about that. It was pretty adorable. Hidetora and I talked about Voltron and Transformers a bit too, because that's more his generation.

At the music store in Parco, I sat down at a piano and played a little bit, and they other guys whipped out their phones and snapped pictures. Kuma put a pic of me playing up on his blog.

We did hair and makeup with the staff (well, Kuma and Hidetora did; Kayuki, Yuichi, and I all did our own) and then took polaroids. We signed them and then shuffled them all together.


At the merch table, which our hair/makeup staff and Mitsuru were in charge of, there were mirrors, towels, and a small handful of t-shirts with the T(S)W logo on them, as well as current CDs from AibeLL, Homura, and a few leftovers from G.O.Z VII. Finally, for 500yen, you could pick one of the polaroids, but which one was decided vaguely lotto-like.

And then it was time for the live. And then the nerves struck. But all that quickly melted away as we took the stage. Now, Hidetora, Kuma, Kayuki, and Yuichi are all signed to Narciss's label and work for their offices, so they're fairly well-known. I was the nobody. So people were surprised when I came out. I stepped up onto the block, threw my arm up and struck a rockin' pose, and the crowd response was really loud. I heard a loud chorus of shocked "Kakkoii!" and wondered if they weren't talking about someone else, but Yuichi was already at the kit and Kayuki hadn't come out yet.


Hidetora's on-stage banter is top-shelf stuff. All his jokes revolved around the idea that were were coming to the tail end of a ridiculous world tour; when Kuma was out of tune at the beginning of the song and asked to start over while he fixed it, Hidetora said, "I expected it from Kayuki, but not from you! Last night in Moscow it was Kayuki out of tune all night!", "Tomorrow night is the last show of our career, at Tokyo Dome", and "We picked up Jimi a few days ago at CBGB in New York". He was able to create this crazy Tora Sky Walkers mythos in the 30 seconds between each song.

He also took the time to let the audience know what bands each member came from and what was coming up for them; he told them that Laverite was on hiatus for now but that in the mean time they could catch me in various music videos. Which also got a huge response. And then he said Tommy February instead of Heavenly. :3

Before our set people had bought the towels and were waving them around for most of our performance; it felt like a Japanese reggae show. Another thing that I noticed was that with 5 people on a stage, things get cramped! Ryota was awesome and came to see us and came back to the dressing room afterward and said, "you didn't move around as much as usual." WHAT D:
If I moved to the right, I'd hit Kayuki; if I moved to my left, Hidetora was guaranteed to come body-check me out of sheer exuberance; if I stepped backward, I'd be accompanying Yuichi on drums with a Cobain-like crash. My options were limited, although I did have a couple of well-timed jumps with Kuma.

After our last song, the call for an encore came IMMEDIATELY; unfortunately we'd exhausted our repertoire. In a last-minute decision, we played the first song again, this time with "Urawa Narciss" in place of "Hibari Hills" in the chorus. (They rhyme in Japanese. I promise.)

The energy was just right, the members felt good, and the crowd was just so wonderful, with quite a lot of them calling my name by the end. :D It's a very strange feeling since I'm so used to, and comfortable with, sort of hanging out on the fringe or background.

At the merch table, they were selling the pictures we'd taken, and Mitsuru told me that many were aiming to draw mine. Several girls who got mine approached and asked if I would sign them. Despite my pointing out that they were already signed, they wanted me to sign the back as well. O_o Lovely girls, every one. Just such positive energy.

The other 4 guys are part of the Narciss label so they were guaranteed a tiny percentage, but that night they treated me as if I was as well and let me in on the cut. We easily oversold the base amount of tickets, and that, combined with the merchandise sales, gave me quite a bit of take-home money. So basically I decided I should keep doing high-profile sessions!

I was lightly mobbed as I tried to leave that night; I had made many new fans and they were all interested in trying to talk to me. A small handful attempted some English, which was sweet. I left like an hour and a half later than I had intended, though!


Basically these dudes are the best and I'm so glad I got to pump out some jams with them. They all were eager to tell me that if they ever need a bassist for anything, they'll give me a shout. This is what playing in a band should feel like, and now I think I have a better bead on what I'm looking for.


Bob-chan said...

Well you know those little livehouses are tiny as hell... its too bad you couldnt move but hey, youll get like.. EXPERT AGILITY in no time!! ^^

You guys look great!! :D Glad the show was awesome ^^

Marius said...

That sounds so wicked cool!

JEEZ I wish I lived there so I could come see this stuff...

liath said...

That sounds like the MOST FUN EVER!
It's so great that you're getting to do stuff like this ;)

ken said...

I'm glad this experience renewed your interest in performing; you seemed kind of iffy about the whole thing for awhile.

I need to get off my ass and get over to Japan, seriously.

fuzzurin said...

So awesome, Elec. Congratulations.

nook said...

I'm glad it was so successful! It must've been a lot of fun. Keep working hard!

cj said...

man I love this blog!
digging the polaroids it's so retro and behind the music-y! lol
hope you have a good time with this session band man

jen said...

Hahah how funny, I wish i could have been there to listen to the "world tour" story!
Keep it up man!

kagitsune said...

awesome. I'm glad you guys had such an amazing session. Any plans to work with the "Tora Sky Walkers" again time soon? :) Good luck with these guys and with Laverite!