Japan Nite 2008 Live

live report - 24.05.2008 22:00

A live report of the Japan Nite 2008 tour stop in New York City on March 16, 2008.

The annual tour kicked off each year after the famous South By Southwest Festival (or SXSW for short) held in Texas, the Japan Nite tour returned once again to the main stage at the Knitting Factory New York.

The lounge filled in to capacity as fans waited for the main stage doors to open. It wasn’t long until the staff let everyone pass through the doors where they all gathered anxiously in front of the stage.

The crowd cheered as the lights dimmed and out came SCANDAL, clad in matching school girl uniforms. With a giant smile on her face the entire time, drummer Rina kicked off the all-girls rock band's powerful set. During PLAY BOY, the audience picked up on the catchy chorus, joining in to sing until by the end of the song, everyone was singing along. Introducing themselves in English for their first MC, guitarist Mami took the mic after a short speech in Japanese from vocalist Haruna to say how delighted they were to be here. Mami gave the audience a brief lesson in Japanese, having everyone repeat what she said over and over. After the MC was finished, they began to play SL Magic. Tomomi and Mami switched sides energetically and after a few more songs and a short MC, SCANDAL gathered at the front of the stage and bowed together. As the left the stage, Rina handed off a single drumstick to a fan in the front, and off the girls went.

THE EMERALDS were next. After a brief sound check as they finished setup, drummer Akio said jokingly, "Thank you, see you next year!" The band, waving, left the stage. A short while later, THE EMERALDS re-emerged to the intro of Elvis Presley’s "Love Me Tender" playing in the background. Wearing leather pants, leather jackets, floral shirts and sunglasses, the trio took their positions as the crowd sang along to the well known Elvis tune. Kicking right off with LOVE FIRE, front man Kazuya pulled off his sunglasses dramatically as the venue floor shook from the fast paced music. Fans called out "mosh pit!" and formed a small circle, jumping and moshing into each other. After introducing themselves, Akio spoke to the crowd, displaying the merchandise the band had brought just for their fans. Then bassist Osuke took the mic and asked how his English was. Loud cheers rose in reply and only grew louder as Osuke held a sign above his head that said exactly what he told the crowd: "I love New York!" Inviting the crowd to say the opening of HEY EVERYBODY LET’S DANCE TONIGHT! with him, the crowd shouted "let’s dance!" as it went into the main part of the song. During the strong set, Kazuya and Osuke paced the stage, dropped to the floor on their knees and came right to the edge to play solos with impressive fret work while Akio kept the beat. Later, Kazuya rallied the audience into clapping their hands as LOVE IS ROLLING started. Calling out "hey, New York, Sunday night, rock ‘n roll party!" in a call and answer style, THE EMERALDS had the audience’s adrenaline pumping. After one last song, it was time for Petty Booka.

The unique girl duo came out on stage followed by a mandolin and guitar player. Dressed in matching short, blue denim dresses, cowgirl boots and hats, each carried a ukulele on which one said ‘Petty’ and the other said ‘Booka.’ Once they started their rendition of Don’t Laugh, the girls’ movements were in sync as they swayed side to side, strumming their ukuleles. They briefly introduced their mandolin and guitar players before they exited the stage. Then, the duo asked, "Do you know Ukulele Lady?" The crowd cheered as Petty Booka played the tune and even showcased a ukulele solo. Getting into it, the crowd swayed back and forth, some even holding lit up cell phones in the air. With the audience singing along, Summertime was their last song. Exiting the stage, the two held up a cloth banner, displaying the name Petty Booka until you couldn’t see them anymore.

Next up was ketchup mania. Their set started with a bang as singer Hiro jumped about the stage. The dress she wore moved with her as she jumped, showing off the long gold strings and charms that dangled off the black dress. Guitarist Dai’s guitar was an eye catcher - it was covered in holographic stickers. The band had several MCs, introducing the band and saying how excited they were to be here. "New York is NUMBER.1!" Hiro called before kicking off into the song. Fans threw their arms in the air as she asked, "Are you ready to get crazy?" During BAD!BAD!BAD!, the crowd really did go crazy. With such an intense set, bassist Yosei paused to adjust the ponytail holding some of his hair. "I’m so happy to be here with you! I love New York!" After telling the crowd to shake their body for the last song, ketchup mania was done.

Setup for detroit7 was done quickly and their set soon began. Vocalist/guitarist Tomomi was barefoot as she roamed the stage with her left-handed guitar in tow. Drummer Miyoko kept the band’s pace driving and strong while bassist Nobuaki headbanged to the beat, knocking into his mic stand. Tomomi smiled as the crowd cheered and jumped around, unable to stand still. She stood at the edge of the stage to play some guitar solos and then rushed back to the microphone to sing and switch guitar pedals. Jumping up and down on the stage, the crowd jumped with Tomomi during BUZZ OFF. Never missing a beat, Miyoko held her arms above her head, lit up drumsticks in hand, and got the crowd to cheer louder. After Owari wa hajimari, detroit7 left the stage.

THE BEACHES were next and were the last band of the night to play. Dressed in their usual stage outfits, Hisashi the KID had Hawaiian flowers draped around the top of his woven hat; they all looked like they were ready to go to the beach. r.u.ko’s keyboard stand sat high on stage, partially blocking some of the audience’s view with a large neon yellow and hot pink cloth sign with the band’s name on it draped around the bottom of the tremendous keyboard. Although the audience had been moving non-stop since the show started, THE BEACHES kept everyone’s energy going with their energetic performance. Hisashi the KID’s noticeably long hair swayed with him as he moved back and forth on stage with the crowd mimicking him. Much to the crowd’s delight, he got right down in the audience to sing while the crowd cheered him on. Loving the interaction, the crowd danced to the band's unique sound until the show was over.
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