1.4.17

Atom Miraiha No. 9 Album Review and Tour Report

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Like it says, kids. At long, long last, we've posted a tour report and album review of the Atom Miraiha No. 9 album and attendant tour. Album. Tour. Altour. Tobum. To bum or not to bum? The choice is yours. We spent a long time on this one, so we hope you read it with pleasure. For those of you who enjoy lyrics analysis, there's some of that in there, too. Oh yeah, and please click the links - you won't be disappointed.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please post a comment below to thank Cayce for writing it, because we had a lot of bad black feelings last fall and those doozy doggy inner demons kept us under the big black block of writer's block for quite a while, so your positive feedback is much appreciated (though we'll take negative feedback, too, because frankly we're so starved for attention that even negative attention will do.)

Oh, yeah, and please do feel free to share 1) funeral marches written by goth bands and 2) your top tick for Most Goth Song Ever Written™. And your comments on the album in general.

Talk quietly amongst yourselves while we sneak out for a Cuba Libre, a Bonita, and the sweet release of crawling into bed at the end of a long day.

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26 comments:

  1. THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS CAYCE. The wait was truly worth it. Nothing beats your vivid, immersive words to imagine a Buck-Tick concert with.

    It's a bit funny how I was just talking about getting inspired from angst to a friend then you touched a similar thing that's been happening to Buck-Tick (or Imai, specifically). It is a weird feeling to admit that while I don't miss feeling melancholic or downright depressed all the time, I do miss the creative juices that goes along with it.

    (I think you put the wrong link up there, but I had your other blog bookmarked so it's ok. For me at least, lol.)

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  2. Cayce, as a fairly new convert to the BT cult (kind of an upgrade from listener to saving up money in hopes of seeing them live before we all get too old), I adore reading your live reports :)

    PS, the link to it is a little screwy up there.

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    1. That's exactly the thinking which got me out to Japan to see B-T on Parade in 2012, after failing to make it to Japan for the best part of 30 years. And I've been to see them on two more tours since. Do it! You'll only regret it when you realise once isn't enough ;)

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  3. Thank you!
    I wonder, whether the reason that Japanese fans don't dance is that they don't want to cause trouble for people around them and they don't want to look like weirdos, it seems causing trouble for others is a severe thing in Japan. I remember seeing Japanese fans talking about a foreign fan who danced in the front rows somewhere, they said something like "Did she think she was the performer? We came to see the band, not to see her" I could remember it wrong, but I feel some Japanese people do think dancing in concerts (not in the "same movements everyone way) is improper and weird

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    1. No, no, no, no! There's no taboo against dancing at rock concerts in Japan!! Please, stop believing this immediately! I'm sure fangirls are "afraid of looking like weirdos" to some extent, but as I already wrote in The Fangirl Phenomenon, that's only because they're self conscious to the point of paranoia. Plus, if you'd ever actually attended a B-T show, you'd know that fear of looking like weirdos is a long-lost cause for most fangirls :P (other Blog-Tickers who've been to see B-T live will back me up on this).

      Anyway, at plenty of Japanese concerts, people do dance. They even danced a bunch at the most recent FT only tour. If Buck-Tick fans don't dance on hall tours, it's just because their hearts are sad and cold and filled with fangirl nastiness instead of Buck-Tick induced joy.

      As for the Japanese fan you heard trashing on the dancing foreign fan, i wonder if she was the same person who shushed me when I cheered at The Mortal. I feel so sorry for her! Her life must be so depressingly empty! I bet she hates puppies, kittens and cotton candy, in addition to hating foreign Buck-Tick fans! But I can give you two simple explanations for her attitude 1) racism and 2) jealousy. (Oh dear a young pretty foreign girl is getting more attention than my middle-aged petty jealous self! I shall level the playing field by bitching on the internet, where a global surge in right-wing nationalism has made me more confident in airing the racist viewpoints which I previously had the decency and shame to keep to myself! Kyaa!)

      Please, people. Do not be deterred from dancing at concerts out of a mistaken fear that dancing is culturally taboo in Japan. As I said in The Fangirl Phenomenon article, fangirls may be obsessed with following their ridiculous arcane code of rules, but that doesn't mean you have to.

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    2. Thank you. I didn't assume dancing freely to be a taboo in the whole Japanese rock scene, I just thought it was a Visual Kei / Make-up Kei / otaku problem. I attended the Yokohama Arena concert. Previously, I have been to lives of a anime singer group and a Visual Kei metal band, where everyone did the same thing at exactly the same moment, it's radio calisthenics. So I followed those young VK fans' example in Yokohama Arena and to my surprise the movements of people there were much more chaotic and tame. I thought everyone would move during a new song, so waved my hand at the beginning of New World then I saw few people around me were doing that, most of them just stood still, I was afraid that my hand would block the view of the person behind me, so I stopped. That time most people were light fans, not the obsessed Kosan fan girls, weren't they? I got the impression that VK metal band = radio calisthenics with head-banging through the whole live, non-metal band = only make some gestures together at some points, don't move during slower, darker songs. Is it wrong? Is dancing freely as you like okay at both VK and non-VK, metal and non-metal lives?

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    3. Honestly, the extent to which people dance at shows often depends on the specific day. But Buck-Tick fans have never gotten obsessed with the sort of codified choreography you see in the VK scene, which means there's no "right" way to dance at a Buck-Tick show. If you feel like dancing, go ahead and dance. There's nothing wrong with putting your hands up. Just make sure you don't hit the fans on either side of you and you're good. If they resent you for dancing, I think they need to find another form of entertainment. The point of live shows is the participatory experience. It's not classical music, it's rock-n-roll, you know? People who'd rather stand stock still and quiet the whole time might as well stay in their houses and watch DVDs instead.

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  4. Been waiting for this!

    Got Tour Atom pre ordered for a month now, can't wait to watch it. All of your blogs, translations, articles and reports are invaluable to use fans who can't go to Japan and/or can't speak Japanese, can't thank you enough.

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  5. Thanks for posting another live review and analysis! Have always enjoyed reading and imagining BT's performances through your words. Ai no Souretsu and Manjusaka have always been my favourite repeats but after reading your analysis, I will redux my playlist.

    From my own personal experience, the fans were standing so close to me that I don't feel comfortable to really dance much. If I swing my arms by my side or move my body a little, I would accidentally brush their arms. If I lift my arm to pump the beat, I may be blocking a part of the view for the one standing behind me. We were all so far away from the stage, I felt bad if I accidentally blocked her view. So I could only "dance" minimally. Tight spot. :)
    Plus, it was my first time watching BT live. I wanted to just absorb everything; their performance, the sound, Mr. Sakurai's vocal. I was so overwhelmed by the end I left in a daze. Maybe after 5 or more shows, I wouldn't give a damn about brushing arms or feeling self-conscious.

    And I do agree. A lot of the fans are not afraid of looking like weirdos. Me thinks that they are even proud of it.

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    1. I completely understand not being able to dance because you're overwhelmed about seeing the band for the first time - there's a lot to take in all at once! But there's no need to worry overmuch about blocking people's view. It's usually pretty easy to see around someone's raised arms. The things that get in the way are hats and large headdresses - don't wear a big hat to a show unless you're willing to take it off.

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  6. Oh gosh, plenty of Japanese music fans dance. I have stood next to and joined in with dancing Japanese music fans at both B-T and non-B-T concerts when I have been there on my own. I have danced next to them in tiny live houses in basements where I was the only non-Asian and non-Japanese speaking person in attendance. No-one has batted an eyelid, other than to exchange those kinds of cheesy big smiles that only the shared joy of music and getting totally out of breath having a bloody good dance can prompt. It's a means of communication that transcends language.

    Yes , there are also fans who don't dance, but that's their choice. Maybe they just prefer not to. Or maybe they're too self-conscious; maybe their shoes are uncomfortable; maybe they think it'll make their clothes sweaty or their mascara run and that bothers them. And maybe they do bitch about other people who clearly don't have those concerns. Who knows? Who actually cares? You certainly shouldn't.

    Think about it this way - if you're in a band, and you're playing your sexy bass beats and catchy tunes live to a crowd, what would you rather see out there beyond the footlights? A bunch of people standing stock still in the gloom, or a lively crowd giving you visual feedback by physically expressing their joy in your chosen art?

    My observation is that it's the latter. I rarely see a live band or performer happier than when there are people in the audience expressing approval of their music by actively dancing or singing along at appropriate points. They're making music, for goodness sakes, and since the dawn of time one of the primary points of music in any culture, certainly that involving any kind of rhythmic drumbeat (which includes most rock or pop music other than the more esoteric kinds), has been to bring people together and get them to move their bodies in celebration or worship.

    The day I see a *band member* staring back at me with disapproval in their eyes because I'm dancing is the day I will reconsider my life choices. But I'm from the same generation as our much loved B-T, and I can tell you it's never happened to me yet in Japan or anywhere else :)

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    1. That was in response to Anonymous up there, by the way. Unfortunately my Internet got cut off and somehow it moved my comment when the page reloaded. Sorry for any confusion.

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  7. I really love your review, I actually have to call to one of my best friends (who's a buck tick fan as well) to scream and talk about all the great things that had happening with this last album. I think it's a great album, dare to say one of the best in a long time. So please keep writing stuff like this, keep translating and we will be here to read it. Regards from Chile !

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  8. Your joke about BT moving to Berlin so that they could play at Wave Gottik Treffen reminded me of something I've always wondered: Have the band ever explicitly mentioned a reason for why they've never done any international touring (that one show in England during the recording of Taboo aside)? I believe that Imai had some travel restrictions placed upon him due to his drug arrest, but surely that's not still an issue almost 20 years later, right?

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    1. They've never said explicitly, no. But I think it's pretty clear that there are three main reasons why they don't.

      1) Japanese record companies are narrow-mindedly focused on the domestic market and don't see the value of international promotion.

      2) It's very difficult to launch an international tour as a Japanese band due to Japanese bands mostly not being known by overseas promoters. Plus, a lot of Japanese bands who have toured overseas have had troubles with inexperienced/incompetent promoters not being able to get the proper permits and visas to pull off the tour. Lots of overseas tours and concerts by Japanese musicians have been canceled at the last minute because of lack of visas, because they couldn't sell enough tickets, etc. If a band like Buck-Tick toured overseas, they'd almost certainly lose money, and they don't have a lot of money to spare.

      3) Reportedly, Imai is completely phobic of airplanes, and takes the bullet train to Hokkaido rather than fly when the band are on tour.

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    2. #2 is probably the main factor, and I completely understand why they've never embarked on a major international campaign, but it's still strange that they've never engaged in the most minimal of international activities.

      Either as BT or as side projects, they've engaged in international collaboration many times. Almost all side projects have involved collaborating with foreign artists, and BT's Shapeless remix album seems like it was specifically intended for an international audience, but all of it ended up being exclusive to Japan. The fact that Shapeless never got a UK release, or that Switchblade and Schweinstein still haven't been licensed by some western record label is insane. The collaborations on those would have guaranteed sales and exposure.

      And its not just the western market they've avoided; As I understand it, they had a chapter of Fish Tank in South Korea but never actually performed there, nor have they ever had a Korean record deal.

      Its like they've repeatedly tiptoed up to the line of the international market, but backed off at the last minute every time.

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    3. I agree with you that it's crazy that the international collaborations didn't get intentional attention. I don't know why it didn't happen, but my guess is that there were problems with international contracts and copyrights and the record companies didn't care enough to sort out that legal stuff.

      Personally, I think it would be awesome if they released some B-T albums as international releases on vinyl, to appeal to the new wave of record collectors... probably will never happen but I can dream.

      As for the South Korea thing, yes, they did perform one show in Korea, at the SoYo rock festival. There are some videos of that performance kicking around somewhere, too (it was an outdoor festival, it poured rain, and Sakurai looked typically delighted). Buck-Tick reported in an interview about that experience that South Korea was extremely an extremely strict place to perform.

      Of course, there's also the time they played at the Greyhound Club in London, while they were recording Taboo. But yeah, it would be great to see another international performance. Seems to me that a European rock festival like Treffen would be an ideal candidate because festivals like that are already used to working with bands from many different countries, and there would be much less concern about whether they could amass a big enough audience to make it worth it. Also, festivals are already a reason for music fans to travel far and wide, meaning it would be easier to gather their scattered European following in one place. South America would be the other logical destination given the fan enthusiasm there, but the trouble in that case would be selecting a location and then finding a reliable promoter.

      Basically I think they see international touring as a lost cause because it costs so much and they can't make the costs back, they have enough of a following in Japan that it's financially safer for them to stay in Japan, and promoting overseas has never been an ideological quest for them so they don't feel tempted to take the risk. It's too bad. But I really think if The Mortal gave it another go, they could potentially find a lot of success in Europe if they made the right connections and did the right promotion.

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  9. Cayce, thank you very much! You are wonderful as always! If you are ever thinking about writing the first English language, unauthorized biography of BUCK-TICK, I would buy 10 copies! (Btw: I am not joking, you should really consider it)

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    1. That's a great idea, but their management would hunt me down and kill me.

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  10. Oh dear... I would be so buying this...

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  11. Thank you so very much, Cayce, for that wonderful report! As everyone else says, your writing makes one feel like one is at the show, seeing all this fantastic stuff live... great!
    And like I always say: waiting for a collection of your essays about Buck-Tick and all the other interesting stuff you've written and still do write. Please, Cayce, never stop writing all these wonderful words!

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  12. Thanks for making such a good article <3 I really enjoyed reading it. greetings from Mexico :D

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  13. Thank you for two amazing articles the fangirl one and this one. I found it very interesting about fan girls not particularly enjoying the music of the band but just following the members. This reminded me of an article I read about babymetal which stated that many of their Japanese fans weren't even into metal music they just idolised the girls. I hoped that this was just a idol group issue however it seems more widespread.
    As for dancing at gigs I hate it when people are just stood there and I'm finding this a more common thing at concerts here in the UK. If you are in seating people don't stand up and get rather annoyed if you stand up. Also they seem to not even enjoy the music and half the time don't even applaud. However the most annoying thing has to be people filming the entire gig. Why are they even there? Why not wait for the DVD release if they are only watching through a screen?
    Having seen BT before I would give anything to watch them again and it frustrates me to hear how these lucky fans aren't fully enjoying the experience. BT could so easily rest on their laurels and not release new material but they consistently push themselves for excellence and have delivered a truly stunning album and put great effort into what sounds like an amazing concert experience. On the Arui wa anarchy tour I was fully immersed into the live experience they are a captivating band who perform at the highest level.
    Thank you for delivering a great review again and
    I'm looking forward to watching the DVD and getting some thigh action 😃

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    1. Oh dear, the filming concerts with phones phenomenon. I've seen it when I've gone to concerts in other countries and I feel the same way as you do - what's the point of having a real live experience if you're not going to actually live it? It's great that phones are generally banned at Japanese shows because it forces people to stay in the moment.

      As Babymetal - yeah, that's a great example of idol fan mentality. As I said in the fangirl article, I think the idol fan mentality infected the rest of the rock scene, but the idol thing is where it got started originally.

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  14. Idk what we B-T fans have done to deserve you Cayce, srsly. You're like the best and most luxurious thing a fandom can have. (I say luxurious because your work surpasses the basic and middle necessities of a normal fan.) Thank you!

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