We went into the studio the night before to tighten up the set list and hopefully get the new song in working order to be performed live. There were reservations as to whether we should have done it at all, but in the meantime we left it in.
Went to Osaka.
I've been friends with Yanagi from Swallowtail since before either of us were in our current bands, so for us to have the opportunity to play together is a real treat. Joe is friends with NoGoD, and Tenten and Joe are both friends with Moran, so really it all felt like one chill group of friends puttin' on a show.
Made quick friends with NoGoD's bassist Karin, who may be the only Japanese person I've met who had even heard of groups like Incubus, 311, Infectious Grooves, or Primus, all of which happen to be guilty pleasures of us both. He helped me work through a lot of my sound concerns.
And Dancho is a deep, deep thinker who seriously has some amazing things to say. And you know what, after these two shows, I feel like if you're unable to appreciate NoGoD in any way, you are probably a huge dork.
At the time I felt like the Osaka show went well, but upon consideration it was obvious that our set construction was a huge mistake from the get-go. The first few songs were all our heavy numbers, but it just... didn't work. We're not that kind of band. Anyway, I initially felt good upon leaving the stage, but Tenten was super down about it, and I started doubting myself further, like I was the only one unable to read the mood. Still, it was clear the crowd was having a good time and I definitely spotted Kellie and Midori in the audience and glancing over at them certainly gave me the strength to keep goin' crazy! (The Muse stage is huge so maybe I moved too much. :-P) Afterward Midori gave me some seriously awesome baked goods that really hit the spot.
So we drove to Nagoya, checked into our hotel (I shared a room with Joe), and had a very serious band meeting which initially left me doubtful and confused. In the morning we headed to Nagoya. Now, I was further anxious because the people of Nagoya sort of have a reputation for being cold; and if they're not really into you or your set they will sit down. Heck, we didn't even include time in our set for an encore because we were that scared.
But Nagoya was INSANE; just absolutely bonkers and I can never help but wonder if no one's coming out of there critically injured or what. Totally great. And then we got the encore, which surprised us, so we went out and did two heavy songs. Right after the first one I thought, "wow, shoulda just done the one" because seriously my body is at its limit right now. I'm cannot fathom how, say, Kuroyume could physically handle 200+ shows a year in their heyday.
I got FIVE bottles of iced chai from a darling girl who worked up the bravery to approach me as I headed to my van; you rock, ice chai chick.
And Schwarz, who has nearly never spoken a word to anyone that hasn't involved music or guitars in some fashion, came up to me after he had taken some time to go buy some supplies, and could barely squeak out, "Nagoya... look around, amazing... the women... wow..." So you know the guy's serious!
Anyway. Lots of ups and downs this weekend. I thought we had a bead on what we are as a band, but we all frankly discussed the fact that maybe we don't quite have a concrete image formed and that's a bit scary, considering all that's coming up for us. Still, I'm very glad we got that out, because somehow even in that mood, it made Nagoya way way better.
We're still not completely sure of ourselves, but I think we're getting there finally. This week and next are the real tests.
Things'll work out somehow. In the meantime I'm seriously on my last legs here! >_<