Utakata no Razzle Dazzle Live Report

FISH TANKer's Only Tour 2011
Tour 2011 "Utakata no Razzle Dazzle"
January 22 & 23
Live @ Yokohama Blitz

With the growing visibility of hipster culture, irony is all the rage. Here on Not Greatest Site, we’ve been cultivating irony since long before American Apparel was able to charge $50 for a simple t-shirt, and handlebar mustaches came back in fashion (wait, handlebar mustaches were ever in fashion?) Really, I think we were cultivating that irony for our own amusement and the amusement of our lovely readers…I don’t think we ever expected that Buck-Tick was going to do the irony thing. But judging from the first two days of Buck-Tick’s Razzle Dazzle standing tour, I’m getting the impression that this time around, intentionally or unintentionally, irony is a part of their game. Imai even started the evening off with a little nod to all those kids over in North America with their sampling machines and big ugly glasses, by playing the Dandy Warhols’ “Bohemian Like You” first thing over the PA as the fans filed (or rather, ran like foaming wild dogs) into the venue.

Not that anyone bicycled onto the stage in skinny jeans and no socks, or that Imogen Heap showed up as a guest vocalist on “Dokudanjou Beauty,” or that Sakurai has decided to experiment with facial hair again (underage fangirls can be pleased to note that he’s still clean-shavenly pretending to be less than his 44 years). But when you try to take the big, brassy, Broadway bravado of the Razzle Dazzle live experience off a dressed-up theater stage and pack it into a rock club, you have to either take it down a peg, or poke some fun. For those of you who are not familiar with the touring conventions of Japanese bands: last fall was the hall tour, and the band played in auditorium venues, with big stages and assigned seating. But this winter is the live house tour, and now the band is playing in more intimate live venues that are mostly standing room only. The smaller stages can’t accommodate the big sets and stage effects of the hall tour, so the live house tour is more about direct interaction between the band and the fans, and the fans and the fans—boy do things get sweaty and hands-on in that mosh pit! But, Razzle Dazzle. There were top hats and scene changes and Hollywood lights. Without all the pomp and circumstance, wouldn’t the grandeur of the experience suffer?

Enter the irony. What the band wants to say to you is, “We’re Buck-Tick. We don’t need lights, or sets, or cool costumes, to dazzle you little pixies all the way to Solaris. All we need is our own strange, eccentric selves.”

On the first night of the tour, Imai seemed to be the one who was taking this idea the most seriously. He wandered onstage with his usual oblivious expression, but he shocked all the fans anyway—after Cher tresses for Kuchizuke, diagonal bangs for the Razzle Dazzle hall tour, and finally, for the Day in Question, a red and black two-tone bob that would have looked at home on a female My Chemical Romance fangirl just entering the 8th grade, Imai has finally simply given up, returned his hair to a neat dark brown, and cut it all off like a regular old salaryman. His businessman look didn’t stop at his hair, either—this time, he’d ditched the white satin balloon pants and elf shoes of last fall for a straight, simple pinstriped navy suit. At least the suit was velveteen, and he was wearing wraparound sunglasses, otherwise I’d have start to worrying that we’d all ended up working for Buck-Tick, Inc.

Sakurai, for his part, was employing another classic hipster fashion tactic—the “everything ridiculous and retro is cool” strategy. He appeared on the stage to wild cheers, dressed in a sort of re-interpretation of his outfit from the “SPEED” PV so many years earlier—broad-brimmed black hat trimmed with peacock feathers, ruffled wine-red shirt, and a loose, swishy black sarong, over a pair of lizard skin boots and skin-tight matte black spandex tights. “Noo, don’t tell me Acchan is wearing tights, that’s just terrible!” the girls immediately began whining, but seeing as the first thing he did when he got onto the stage was turn his back to the audience, hike up the sarong and run a narrow, black-fingernailed hand over one of his muscular buttocks, I’m not quite sure I can reconstruct the logic of the fangirl mind.

Hoshino, Higuchi, and Toll weren’t bothering to participate in fashion irony, and had instead chosen to appear in their usual minimalist suit-clad elegance, with Toll’s hair as razor-sharp and gravity-defying as ever, but perhaps this was some sort of statement in and of itself (actually I suspect they just don’t give a damn.)

Of course, as per usual, they made the fans wait for a good hour before coming onstage. But this being a fanclub-only show, they had extra special treats to entertain the eager crowd—footage from the Razzle Dazzle tour final, held on December 29th at the Budoukan, projected in tantalizing little snippets onto a good old-fashioned movie screen that had been set up in front of the stage. They went through two or so rounds of the Budoukan footage before hauling the screen offstage and, in keeping with the “we’re so over it” vibe of the evening, the roadies came onstage in full view of the audience to make last minute checks of the band members’ instruments. This happens quite frequently at small-scale indie shows, but Buck-Tick usually keeps it all out of sight behind a curtain. This time, I guess they were just feeling Bohemian like us! The roadie tuning Imai’s guitar, clearly not capable of Ziggy Stardust-style left-handing, had flipped the strap around so he could hold it right-handed. Behind him stood several sound techs with silver laptops that had been pasted over with large Buck-Tick tour stickers, one of them left over from Buck-Tick’s original “Buck-Tick Phenomenon” concerts more than 20 years ago.

They tapped the drums, thrummed the bass, and then, at last, took the lights down. But even before the lights went down, the crowd had already compacted violently and instantaneously into the railing, leaving the fans in the front row gasping and screaming in pain as elbows, shins, and the pyramid studs on leather belts dug invasively into their soft tissues.

“Please, calm down,” a venue security guard called into the crowd. “The fans in the front row are having trouble breathing, please, please, stop pushing and step back a little.”

It was nice that they even bothered saying that, but of course, it fell on deaf ears…though I might add that I really don’t understand why fans can’t be a wee bit more considerate of each other at shows like these. Twenty centimeters doesn’t make much of a difference in your ability to view Sakurai’s superhero tights (oh wait I forgot, you don’t want to see them anyway!) but it does make a hell of a lot of difference to the people in the front row…or more specifically, to their ability to breathe.

Since this first night was fanclub-only, the stage entrance music was “Theme of B-T,” in the same classical strings arrangement as the Day in Question 2008. The band members slouched onto the stage looking a little sleep deprived, like they always do at the start of a tour. Sakurai, in particular, had bloodshot eyes and seemed a little glazed, but this ended up being quite appropriate for the opening set, the point of which seemed to be “vampires ARE, they are not dreamed up by Mormon soccer moms.”

To capture this dark mood, the stage lights stayed very dim as the band opened with “Kuchizuke,” then continued with “Gekka Reijin.” Then, as if things weren’t dark enough already, they followed “Gekka Reijin” with a very beautiful rendition of “Yougetsu.” Sakurai stalked and swished across the stage, trailing his sarong behind him, as eerie lights shone up from the floor, making it appear that his skin had turned a vivid, acid green. On the instrumental break, the band members turned and looked at each other, jumping up and down and striking their instruments in unison while Sakurai just glared at an arbitrary spot on the floor. But just as they’d lulled us into the perfect intoxication of their dark world, the lights came up and Sakurai hailed the crowd.

“Fish Tank!!” he cackled, looking as always as though he wasn’t quite sure what he was saying, and was even less sure of what he was going to say next. “Our first concert this year, and it’s for all of you in Fish Tank! I love you all…Happy New Year…please come to the rest of the tour…now, let’s Razzle Dazzle!”

Toll clicked the drums, Imai whispered “one…two…three…ACTION!” And the band ripped into the eponymous song.

Though I was initially unsure about it, “Razzle Dazzle” has begun to emerge for me as one of the star tracks on the album. There’s something so glam rock and something so Broadway about it; part Chicago (yes Imai admits being inspired by Chicago the musical), part West Side Story, part Gypsy, with those sleazy burlesque brass riffs and Sakurai poking the round head of his skull cane through the round hole he was miming with his other hand, thrusting it a few times for good measure, just to make his meaning abundantly clear. Yes, he’s sure got a gimmick (if you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, watch this video). It was great to see this song with all the Hollywood lights but it doesn’t even need it. The band are more than in-your-face enough to carry it off without sets, and in the live house, the bass vibrated in a much more satisfying, full-body manner.

Likewise, with “Deadheat,” which the band played next, now that they have established a set of stage directions with the hall tour, they don’t even need the tech bits anymore to keep it going. Gone was the background projection screen and the computer-animated sperm along with it, but that didn’t stop Sakurai from miming swimming along with them as if they were still there. During the hall tour, his rendition of “Deadheat” had grown more and more explicit, including not only bouts of sperm-swimming but also a ridiculous move he kept performing on the line “Whatever could be left of love...” (here he rubs his hand suggestively between his thighs) “…it’s a one-way ticket…” (here he pulls his hand away, turns it over, and looks at it, scrutinizing carefully) “…no way!” (he pulls his head back as if surprised by what he has just seen, then tosses it away, turns to the audience, and grimaces). Hoshino, in this intimate setting, was even able to muster up a little attitude, strutting along the edge of the stage and wailing out his big guitar solo, but with an awkward smile on his face, he still seemed reluctant to make eye contact with the fans. This is another one of the best tracks on the album, mostly because it leaves the listener with the distinct feeling that the entire thing is a big, backhanded joke. If this doesn’t survive into the set lists of future tours, it will be a damn shame.

“Mugen” followed “Deadheat,” and then Sakurai addressed the audience again.

“Fish Tank! Since I love Fish Tank, I wanted to, you know…do all sorts of stuff…like this, or that…” he winked, and paused while the audience laughed. “But we don’t have much time, so…what I mean is…let’s…let’s tango, tango, tango …Tango Swanka!”

Watch out, Buck-Tick…if you keep this up you will already have played all my favorite songs before the encore. I know the most popular track on the album is “Hamushi no You ni” but personally, I’ll cast my vote to “Tango” for the catchiest. It’s clear the band loves to play it, and there’s something about its musical similarity to Lucy’s “Anaconda a Go Go” that allows Imai to show off a little more of his front-man style…though he still didn’t manage to do a high kick on the line “one, two, high kick!” I am still waiting! Come on, Imai, you can’t sing and kick at the same time?

But perhaps he was just saving his energy for the next song, “Hamushi no You ni,” the popularity of which indicates to me that Buck-Tick fans all secretly just wish Sakurai Atsushi were actually Kylie Minogue. Then, though there was no lowering of a special glittering curtain this time, the swagger in Sakurai’s step as he settled his hat back on his head let us know what was coming next—“Django!” They couldn’t not play it at the standing tour. Sakurai held the microphone stand out horizontally at arm’s length, shoving the microphone into the faces of random fans just in time to get them to scream “Django!” Imai, meanwhile, has added his own mouth to the song’s already robust percussion—during the instrumental break after the first chorus, he stuck his finger into the side of his mouth and pulled it out to make a popping noise that, with the help of electronic amplification, filled the whole hall (that’s right, hall, with “Django,” Imai’s got you all popping in his mouth…I didn’t say that yes I did.)

When “Django” had finished, the band members paused for a moment to sip some water, and Sakurai addressed the audience again.

“Since it’s a live house tour, after all…” he began, then lost his thread, and paused before starting again. “Since it’s a live house tour, there are some songs we thought we should definitely play…this is one of them.”

And all of a sudden, the band crashed into the violent opening chords of “love letter.” How fans manage to dance in such close quarters is beyond me, but it’s certainly painful. Luckily, “love letter” was followed by a more static, less violent, but no less anticipated song—“Madman Blues,” which I ought to add to my list of the best Buck-Tick songs you’ve never bothered to listen to. Lately Toll has been getting a lot of mileage out of playing up his “old man” act (he’s not quite there yet—Takahashi Makoto, who was the drummer of Boowy, is ten years older than Toll and still drumming up a storm.) Anyone who’s ever tried playing the drum part of a Buck-Tick song knows that the rhythms can be oddly stiff and unexpected. Toll hunched over the toms, striking them as if he was trying to surprise someone with his next move, but though his face may have looked tired, his rhythm never faltered. Meanwhile, his brother seems to grow younger with every passing year—in contrast to his stone-faced look from the Darker Than Darkness tour, Higuchi was now smiling and swaying while he played the “Madman Blues” bass line, which has got to be one of the best bass lines Buck-Tick has ever created. Sakurai fell back from the front of the stage, leaning toward the back curtain and letting Imai take center stage for these vocals, but vocally, the best part of this song is the end, with Sakurai singing the Japanese lyrics layered over by Imai’s calls of “Welcome to my Territory!” Those words never sounded better than when spoken by the one-of-a-kind strangeness that is Imai’s voice. Who would you sing along with?

They followed “Madman Blues” with another surprise—“Voo Doo,” in its first live performance ever. The recorded version of this song may have lacked a little something, but that something was there in the spark of the live performance. Not quite as psychedelic-rock fabulous as “Motel 13,” but edging in that direction and perfect for a live house tour.

Next came a series of (new-ish) old favorites—“Spider,” “Dokudanjou Beauty,” and “Baby I Want You,” before the band finished off the main set with a rousing “Memento Mori.” But coming back on for the encore, the band members were forced to play out the commercialistic fantasies of their hard-selling promotional manager. Sakurai still sounded confused as he made the announcement.

“Since it’s a fanclub show, after all…and soon, Yutaka’s gonna be THAT…” Yutaka ran past Sakurai, wiggling his behind. “I mean, we’d like to take a commemorative photo. And we have our photographer here.” Sakurai reached out his hand to the photographer, who bowed to the audience, then lined up the band so they were standing in front of the fans, facing the back of the hall. These photos of the band with the fans are being distributed in another completely pointless promotional lottery campaign, but I’m sorry, I didn’t bother to read the details.

Luckily, the photo-taking didn’t take long, and then it was back to the show. Now it was time for the real fanclub-pleasing. Time to play really OLD songs! First, the band played “Hurry Up Mode,” followed by “Empty Girl.” I couldn’t help but think about just how smooth and cool Sakurai was on “Hurry Up Mode,” as compared with his nervous, jerky dancing of 20+ years ago. “Empty Girl,” too, was so slick and smooth it was hard to recognize at first—Imai had ditched the clean guitar for a more fuzzy effect, punctuated by liberal use of the whammy. The old-song fun continued in the next encore, with “Sexual XXXXX!” (not quite as sexual as it could have been, but the band did seem tired) and “Physical Neurose” (clearly, Imai loves this one.)

Lucky Fish Tankers—they even came back for a third encore, with “Makka na Yoru.”

“We’re playing another show here tomorrow,” Sakurai said. “This is the last song now…but come back tomorrow for some more this and that. I love Fish Tank!”

And, in a slightly surprising but certainly not unwelcome move, the band ended the show on as dark a note as they had started it, with “Diabolo.”

FISH TANKer’s ONLY Tour 2011
January 22nd live at Yokohama Blitz
Set List

SE. Theme of B-T
01. Kuchizuke
02. Gekka Reijin
03. Yougetsu
05. Kyouki na Deadheat
06. Mugen
07. TANGO Swanka
08. Hamushi no You ni
09. Django!!! –Django the Dazzler-
10. love letter
11. Madman Blues –Minashigo no Yuu’utsu-
12. Voo Doo
13. Spider
14. Dokudanjou Beauty
15. Baby, I want you
16. memento mori

~en. 1
Commemorative Photoshoot

~en. 2

~en. 3
21. Makka na Yoru

The next day, more or less the same crowd of fans was back in the windy wastes in front of Yokohama Blitz once again, huddled together against the cold but stripping off their outer layers anyway, in preparation to dive headlong into the sweaty tangle in front of the stage. The tour had only just started but that hadn’t stopped fans from decking themselves out in tour goods right away; the designs this time are based on vintage playbills and make obvious use of the Broadway/showbiz theme. So far, the item with the most unique design is the tour pamphlet, which comes in the form of a deck of oversized playing cards, each bearing the image of a band member, sometimes embellished with details from the Aquirax Uno album cover (most of the queens are close-up shots of musical instruments, but naturally, Atsushi Sakurai is the Ace of Spades.)

This being a general admission show, it could be considered the official start of the tour. This time, the stage entrance music was not “Theme of B-T,” but Imai’s new remix of “Razzle Dazzle Fragile,” which sounds more or less nothing like the original version, but which was hard to concentrate on between the ecstatic screams of the crowd as Higuchi bounced out onto the stage, followed by a more stately procession of the rest of the band members. This time, the band opened with “Dokudanjou Beauty,” again mercifully free of any female backing vocals—for the record, Lucy, the vocalist featured on the album mix of this track, is Japanese. Most of the Japanese Buck-Tick fan base seems to think that she’s foreign because she has an English name and sings in English, but actually she is the vocalist of Lazy Guns Brisky, a Japanese all-female punk band, and “Lucy” is a stage name.

Tonight, as well, Sakurai and Imai at least could arguably have been borrowing more elements of hipster fashion—this time Imai having ditched his “I’m so ironic” businessman outfit in favor of the hipster favorite “I’m so cool because I’m wearing a really, really ugly jacket.” The Jacket in Question was made of a thick, semi-rigid plasticized material patterned with narrow, horizontal stripes in black and tomato red. Sakurai, for his part, was trying out the “animal-themed costume party” look, in a close-fitting suit of sleek-furred leopard-print fabric, with high-heeled boots to match, accessorized with a red silk neck kerchief and a vaguely Spanish-looking black hat. It was a brave attempt; what broke it down partway through was that the suit with its matching boots was so designer-label beautiful that it made Sakurai look more like a runway model than a loft party leopard wannabe. And on mentioning runway models I might add that some close field inspection confirms my previous suspicions that rumors of Sakurai having developed a beer gut were unwarranted. He might have been a bit thicker at the beginning of the hall tour, but the Law of Conservation of Buck-Tick Mass states that while individual band members may lose or gain weight, the total weight of the band members must remain the same at all times—thus, as Imai has stopped looking dangerously anorexic (was it all those New Year’s gyoza?) Sakurai has gotten nice and slim again (but there never was a beer gut, only extra flesh and a lack of Mr. Yagi being able to outfit Sakurai with pants and shirts that actually fit him).

Maybe it was thanks to the warm-up period of yesterday’s live, or maybe it was thanks to that hot leopard print, but whatever the reason, the band were much more energized and engaged with the crowd this evening. Though the first half of the set list consisted largely of songs the band had also played the day before, the band members all seemed more animated and interested in interacting with the crowd. Sakurai, who the staff members had provided with a legion of pre-opened, label-free bottles of Volvic, showered the crowd liberally with water, often via the intermediary of disposable paper cups, which he used and then cast aside until they littered the stage.

With “Baby I Want You,” the second song in the lineup, the band was already revved up to full power; Sakurai playing his usual games of tag with the grasping hands of the fans in the front row, and Imai and Hoshino coming down front and center for guitar solos, but still not deigning to actually touch anyone. After “Baby” came the heavy drone of “Madman Blues” again, followed by “Razzle Dazzle,” “Deadheat,” and “Mugen,” even more up and kicking than last night. On “Django,” Imai kicked and spun all over the stage, repeating his lip-popping performance during the instrumental break, while Sakurai stomped the tall heels of his leopard boots on the floor to great effect. Throughout the hall tour, Sakurai had been pointing to Imai on the line “the bastard’s a trickster,” but now, instead, he wiggled his finger in circles at a spot near the front of the crowd. I guess we’re all tricksters, now.

As “Django” finished, the lights went down and roadies rushed onto the stage, furiously exchanging instruments and cables. Time for something different—Higuchi’s much-loved standup bass. This could mean only one of several things, but the jangling Spanish chords emanating from Imai’s guitar were starting to make things clear pretty quickly—time for “Zekkai,” one of Sakurai’s perennial favorites and so much better with that acoustic bass. When “Zekkai” had finished, the roadies didn’t even come on to take the bass away again…we were in for another treat.

“Alcohol?” Sakurai cooed softly into the microphone, as Imai began tapping out a few chromatic notes on his guitar. The audience giggled.

“Alcohol?” Sakurai asked again. “Come on…give me some…sake?” The fans laughed again.

“Oh…sake…” Sakurai repeated. “Oh…sake? O-sake?” he wandered in the direction of Imai, who was playing more chromatic chords.

“Oh…Sakurai?” he said at last. The audience roared with laughter, and the lights came up on Imai’s guitar as the band launched into “Lullaby III.” No cheap barstool this time, and (too bad) no skull-baby either, but this is a great song, another one of Sakurai’s favorites, and probably in a minority when it comes to popularity, so I was particularly glad they played it.

From here, they took the heat back up, with “Tango Swanka,” followed by “Hamushi no You ni,” and “Memento Mori.” After “Memento Mori,” as if bringing the album track listing to life, they continued with “Jonathan Jet-Coaster.” This time, with his physical performance, Sakurai made the second verse more about death than sex, singing “my body’s a honeycomb gushing flowing Virgin Oil” while miming shooting himself full of holes.

Then, unexpectedly, the lights went down low and silver, and the band struck up the second Tenshi no Revolver track of the evening, “RAIN.” It’s possible that they haven’t played this song since the album tour, and while it seemed a little bit cheesy and overblown in comparison to the rest of the album, in retrospect, it sounds sober and mature compared to the Hoshino faux pas of “Message” and “Mugen” (the latter redeemed by Sakurai’s excellent vocals, the former redeemed by just about nothing.) But in this context, the retro kayoukyoku style of “RAIN” blended elegantly with the dance and show tune elements in many of the Razzle Dazzle tracks. “RAIN” could just as easily have been the end of the main set, but the band chose instead to finish on a more violent, rock-n-roll note, with “Makka na Yoru.”

Almost as soon as the lights had gone down and the band members left the stage, the fans near the front of the hall began singing happy birthday to Higuchi. It was likely that some sort of public acknowledgement of the bassist’s birthday had been planned, but perhaps the fans were jumping the gun a bit. It took the band a long time to come back onstage, and when they did, it was with a cake with no candles, and Sakurai back in his sarong and tights, but with a tour t-shirt on top, as if he’d intended to make a full costume change but had decided to give up halfway. “Noo, Acchan’s wearing a tour t-shirt? That’s horrible!” the fans started whining again…but they were missing the point. Superhero tights, a sarong, and a big, sloppy, sweaty band t-shirt…how much more ironic can you get?

But naturally, it was Higuchi himself who ran onstage first, fairly bubbling over with excitement, going down the front edge of the stage from one side of the hall to the other, slapping the hands of the fans in the front row.

“Since, you all came here for the tour,” Sakurai began haltingly, standing over the unlit cake. “Thank you all for coming here for the beginning of the tour, and celebrating U-ta’s birthday. Happy birthday, U-ta!”

Higuchi smiled and waved again, coming over to the microphone. “Thank you all!” he called to the audience. “I’m…forty-four now!” He’s 44 and he still looks 15. Fans should be lining up for the privilege of genetic recombination with some of this miraculous age-resistance! In fact, it’s like he’s growing younger every year.

Without bothering to cut the cake or show its design to the fans, Sakurai carted the cake offstage again. Was the cake decorated with another one of Sakurai’s amusingly spot-on caricatures of the band members? We may never know, since Imai’s blog has yet to tell us. But back onstage once more, things weren’t going as planned. Imai was strumming his guitar, but no sound was coming out.

“Looks like we’re having some technical difficulties,” Sakurai said after a few minutes. “I guess we’ll just have to be patient…”

After five minutes or so of frenzied efforts from the guitar techs, Imai’s guitar was back online for “Kuchizuke.” But when they tried to follow up with “Gekka Reijin,” it lost its sound once more, meaning that the band played almost the entire song sans Imai. Too bad.

It was a Sunday night and it wasn’t a fanclub-only show, so evidently the band wanted to finish things up early and not bother to grace us with a third encore. Still, they had some tricks up their sleeve. When they came back onstage again, it was Toll who came out first, and stood in the corner of stage right, Sharpie in hand, meticulously autographing a single firm, yellow banana, which he then tossed into the waiting arms of the crowd. Imai wiped his face ostentatiously with a towel and tossed that in too, then Higuchi, not to be outdone, followed up with a shower of bass picks. Even Sakurai handed out a Volvic bottle or two before the band members took their places once more, and started up with a much-loved song they haven’t played in a while—“Zangai”!

“You make me so happy,” Sakurai said after the song was finished. “We only have one more song, but…” he paused as the crowd shouted that they wanted more than just one more song. “We only have one more song tonight, but we’re playing more shows soon, so please come! But before then…sing it with me, in honor of U-ta!”

If they’d played a rock version of “Happy Birthday to You,” with Sakurai singing in English, it would have been pretty damn ironic, but instead, they played “Rendezvous.” Guess they really are serious after all.

For more information on hipster culture, click here.

Tour 2011 Utakata no Razzle Dazzle
January 23rd live at Yokohama Blitz
Set List

01. Dokudanjou Beauty
02. Baby, I Want You
03. Madman Blues –Minashigo no Yuu’utsu-
05. Kyouki na Deadheat
06. Mugen
07. Django!!! –Django the Dazzler-
08. Zekkai
09. Lullaby-III
10. TANGO Swanka
11. Hamushi no You ni
12. memento mori
13. Jonathan Jet-Coaster
14. RAIN
15. Makka na Yoru

~en. 1
Happy Birthday to U-ta
16. Kuchizuke
17. Gekka Reijin

~en. 2
18. Zangai


  1. ‘’ Hoshino, in this intimate setting, was even able to muster up a little attitude, strutting along the edge of the stage and wailing out his big guitar solo’’

    Ehm, a guitar solo in Kyoki no Deadheat? More like a small interlude. Wouldn’t call it a solo, really.

    ‘’ They followed “Madman Blues” with another surprise—“Voo Doo,”’

    Sounds great. I really would really like to hear that song live. Why nobody talks about Voo Doo is beyond me. Its a pretty cool song.

    ‘’ Time to play really OLD songs!’’

    Seriously, I really like the idea of these fan only concerts. Especially when they play those old songs for the fans. I don’t know but are those fan only concerts a common theme in J music scene? Kinda like the idea.

    ‘’ Lullaby III.” Indeed a great song. One of my favourites : )

    Also, Cayce, they played Memento Mori right? How did they played the solo? Did it sound like on the album? Because I felt it lack atmosphere at the memento mori tour.

    ‘He’s 44 and he still looks 15’, lol no. I really think he looks old by now.

    Overal, a cool story. No really, you wrote it down nicely. Keep up your work. Love these live reports.

  2. Hide actually rocked the guitar parts pretty hard this time, he just still was awkward about looking at the audience (he always is.) Yutaka may look old in photographs but in person there is something increasingly childlike about him, it has nothing to do with wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. For Memento Mori, Imai played the melody line of the song as the guitar solo and Hide did his usual acoustic strum thing.

    A lot of Japanese bands do fanclub-only stuff. It's essentially a marketing tool but the Fish Tank only tours are fun because they play old and rare songs they don't usually play otherwise.

  3. ''Hide actually rocked the guitar parts pretty hard this time'' which is a good thing imo. I mean, Buck-tick isnt about the guitar but sometimes i would like to see more complex guitar parts. Why not a ''dueling guitar sound''? I would love to hear songs with more emphasise on guitar. I like the thing they did to Tenshi wa dare da. But they play the guitars in a endless loop. Still a funny concept though. Wouldnt it be awesome if they would release a metal album with loads of guitars and a industrial atmosphere :D ?

  4. Very nice!! This gets me very excited for the two shows I'm heading over for in March. Maybe we will run into each other in Osaka!

  5. thank you for documenting the tours cayce-san :) i live in hawaii so it sucks a lot i can't see Buck-Tick live ~.~ i love how you write your reports. they're so descriptive (especially about the member's wardrobe and all the sexual things Sakurai does live XD) i check your blog every day and read almost everything on here! i thank you so much cayce-san i can feel happy everyday knowing what's going on with Buck-Tick!


  6. I agree with Anonymous, how do you even remember all these details while your having a good time at the show? I would be too excited to remember : )

  7. @Anonymous

    You're welcome!

    @Angel Tears

    Buck-Tick's music has always been about simple layers that pile on top of each other to make a complex and beautiful song. I don't want to see them do metal but I'm sure they never will. Imai doesn't play that way because he's not good enough to be a shredder, he plays that way because that's the way he wants to express himself. As to the remembering details...years of practice, but I've forgotten much more than I remember.

  8. Cayce, ''Buck-Tick's music has always been about simple layers that pile on top of each other to make a complex and beautiful song'', ye i know, but it would be cool if there would be more songs with focus on guitar.

    It doesnt necessarily have to be metal. Thats just an example. What about another Jazz song with jazzy interludes (Django Reinhardt style), or more in the lines of blues (a lá canned Heat, maybe?), or something symphonic (like they did with Kalavinka) with more emphasise on guitars.

    I even think Imai is capable of writing a full instrumental song. Dont know they ever did, but i would like it.

    I mean, i always liked those B-T songs with larger solo's, like Rapsody, Memento Mori (one of the best solo's ever heard on a album), Goblin and Solaris. Its just something i would like to see more. The fact Imai is capable of this has been proved by the songs i mentioned before. So ye, i would like so see more of that : )

  9. Angel Tears - they started as kind of a punk band -or what- so i hope they will remain a kind of minimalistic band till the end . they are good how they are

  10. i look foward to your next post cayce-san. i eagerly wait every day XD. i love reading your posts. makes me so happy X)


  11. Thank you, thank you thank you so much~ for these live reports!
    I always enjoy them!
    I love all the details and descriptions!

  12. ye, but whats wrong with more songs like Goblin and Memento Mori? I cannot see how thats a bad thing. It also nothing to do with the ''minimalistic'' thing. They already make these songs. The only thing i want is that they make much more of them, that's all. Also, compare their first album with Memento Mori or Razzle Dazzle and you see they evolved during the years. The guitar evolved, and is more complex now. Whats wrong with some change, with evolving? Thats how Buck-Tick's sound always was. Buck-Tick always changed, evolved. They never played the same genre's over and over again, but expended their style with other genre's (like Goth and Industrial). Imai is some many times more experienced as a guitar player then 20 years ago.

  13. i dont like Goblin and Memento Mori + those arent more complex than their older songs... (for example Brain, Whisper, Head, Hate is Noise or Angel Fish... ) ... probably it seems to You more complex because of the other instruments

  14. Truth to be told, but none of the individual parts of Buck-Tick's songs are particularly musically complex. Imai's recent guitar work has been very simple (on purpose, I'm sure.) Instrument-wise, Sakurai and Toll have the hardest jobs, hands down. Darker Than Darkness era was probably when they did the most complicated work technically (I'm thinking of "Yuuwaku" and "Kimi e," especially the bass lines.) Guitar-technique-wise, "Umbrella" is actually one of their more intricate songs. "Memento Mori" has a catchy rhythm but it's actually structurally very simple. On "Goblin" and "Angelfish" most of the hard work is in the rhythm section, again. "Brain Whisper" has a lot of cool effects that make it sound superficially a lot more complicated than it actually is.

    But, the overall complexity of music isn't necessarily what gives it its emotional power or ultimate value. Personally, I find the stripped-down simplicity to be one of the most striking things about Buck-Tick's work. By layering so many simple parts on top of each other they achieve this kind of alchemical reaction that a lot of the shredders and noodlers out there never manage. If you're good at your instrument, it's easy to write a solo that's hard to play, but writing such a diverse array of perfectly balanced pop tunes really takes talent. It's rare, but Imai's got it.

  15. '' The guitar evolved, and is more complex now'', i really do believe the guitar is more complex now. But i am talking about the solo's. The used technique's didnt really changed during the years.

    Why is everyone talking about complexity? Its not really my point, the point is that they should focus more on guitar. That doesnt have to mean the guitarplay should be more more complex (in the way of more technical guitar) or harder to play. Just add a longer solo or more interludes. There are tons of way to focus more on guitar. He doesnt have to tremelo-pick, tap or sweep to emphasise the guitar more. No.

    Im talking about Memento Mori en Goblin not because of the complexity of the guitar, but because they focus much more on guitar on those songs (because of the larger solo's). Im not talking about complexity at all. Thats a whole different story (although it would be interesting to see).

  16. "I find the stripped-down simplicity to be one of the most striking things about Buck-Tick's work" - agree


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