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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wow, amazing weekend! Went to summer sonic at Makuhari Messe in Chiba today and yesterday. Yesterday was absolute madness! I saw 10 bands--Caravan (1/2 set), Blood Red Shoes (just a couple of songs), Band Of Horses (so good!; third row), Santogold (really like these guys!), Cajun Dance Party (a couple of songs), Trivium (one song), We Smoke Fags, Death Cab for Cutie (15th row, amazing!), The Fratellis (more on them after), and The Sex Pistols (just a couple of songs, just to say I've seen them).

Today, Peter came with me, and we did a more relaxed day... He went to the beach stage for the most of the earlier part of the afternoon and chilled out at Bedouin Soundclash and Xavier Rudd. I'd already seen Bedouin last year so I stayed at the indoor stages and saw The Polysics (One song, just to say I did), Biffy Clyro (1/2 a set), and then totally by accident but he was great, a DJ named Junkie XL, and that was pretty much it before I wandered back over to the other half of the venue (this place was freaking huge!! 6 stages and plenty of room for roughly 50,000 people per day to not seem that crowded). Over in beach land, I chilled out for most of the Xavier Rudd set before we headed over to the Marine Stage (the biggest one, we're guessing about 30,000 people) for the end of the Radwimps, Alicia Keys, and Coldplay. Amazing.

I skipped JUSTICE and The Ting Tings (along with tons of others, but they were on my 'list') partly because of logistics and partly because they were too strongly tied to 'us'. It's weird enough as it is right now, especially since there was always music with us, and with music being hardwired into my brain and my memories I wasn't sure how that would be...Avoidance is good sometimes.


Santogold was really cool--her backup dancers had a great robotic thing going on, where they showed absolutely no emotion and just did there thing. It was a good show.

Death Cab was a great show, of course. I was close enough to see well and still have some space to move... they did a nice set!

The Fratellis. Wow, crazy show! I pushed my way to the second row, and to my surprise, ended up in a massive mosh pit. I had NO idea that was coming since the crowds in Japan are usually ridiculously quiet and polite (in the middle of the Radwimps, with a crowd of probably 10,000, we could actually WHISPER to each other between songs). Anyway, the Fratellis brought the freak out in the crowd and it was INSANE. I have never been in anything quite like that before. Just bodies and dancing and sweat (oh the sweat), and heat, and chaos. It was like one of those super crowded rush hour Shinjuku trains that was dancing for all they were worth. I was SOOO tired when I dragged myself home! I felt like I'd played about 2 soccer games during that set!

Getting a 'hey, how's it going?' and a grin from Bedouin Soundclash frontman Jay Malinowski as we were all at the beach stage (other celeb sitings: a band (no idea who) at McDs and walking back to the event, plus another band standing behind us at Coldplay. Also, potentially one of Alica Keys' backup singers standing behind us at Coldplay.

All the differences between how an event like this might be run in Canada, or, especially, the US: off the top of my head:
You can take food/drinks in, so A), you can bring stuff, and B) the stuff in side is cheap(er)
They don't look in your bag
Everything is VERY orderly
When they tell you to wave your arm up like a dork to show your wrist band for reentry (yes, you can re enter), everyone actually does it
Various bands/artists just wander around (see above)
When 35,000 people leave Coldplay at once and need to walk 20 minutes to the station, including over fairly narrow overpasses, they do so orderly and quietly
The audiences are quiet and don't dance much. When they do dance, it's mostly 'up'. Presumably for economy of space.
When the schedule says the band will be on at 2:55, they'll be on between 2:54 and 2:56, even if its the last band on the last day.

Now, for the most amazing part of the night: Coldplay! I looooove Coldplay, and have for a good 5 years now. I've seen them before, in Toronto two years ago, and while it was a good show, I have to say that it wasn't amazing. Probably because I had the cheapest seats in the house, and went alone. Anyway, tonight, Peter and I were there and had a good spot. To try and explain; this was in a baseball stadium and we were on the floor. They'd divided the front half of the floor into L and R (we were in L) and into front and back. We were at the VERY back of the front section, so that we could lean over the fence that was behind us. We were really close to the audio tent as well. Running between the front and back and left and right were aisle ways where they had staff/security/the occasional band.

About 2/3s of the way through the set (which was 30 mins longer than it was supposed to be), The entire band jumped off stage, ran down those aisle ways, and ended up on a tiny stage we didn't know was there, RIGHT BESIDE US!!!! They were probably only about 10 people away. It was freaking amazing! And when they started playing The Scientist, my FAVORITE song in the entire world, I actually nearly started to cry. I was certainly on the verge of hyperventilation (this is the song that got me liking coldplay, but more importantly, was a big part of the soccer slideshow that maggie made us before we went to BCs. and won. anyone on that team will understand why the song is so amazing to me). Anyway, moving on...So they were SOOO close and it was sooo great!!! I was soo happy we'd lucked into that spot. And then, bonus, as they were running back to the stage, the bass guitarist gave me a high five! Cool!

Then, the next song (Clocks) was pretty great as they brought Alicia Keys out to play the piano, which was pretty great. Overall, they had a great set, but the last third, from basically the second small concert on was just amazing. I even got a piece of the confetti they blew out of the stage at the end (some shiny mylar butterflies).

We wrapped up the night with some cup noodle, in Peter's car, with the top down, parked outside the Messe, blasting Coldplay. Classic.

Next post will have (slightly not allowed to have been taken) pics and video.

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