Originally my first concert of 2015 was going to be a little later in the year, but with Danielle away for the weekend, the email letting me know about a concert in just a few days seemed quite fortuitous. I’d had a couple chances to see Anamanaguchi in concert, but the timing was never right. This time it was perfect – weekend and wife out of town. So I decided to go.
It was an interesting scene and an interesting concert. Lots of men with eyeliner and girls with blue lipstick and pig tails. But also people dressed like they were going to a rave, complete with glowstick fingers and people dressed like every other concert. The only negative was that there were four opening acts so while the show started at 2100, Anamanaguchi wasn’t up until 2300. The selection of opening acts was well-aligned given the sound of Anamanaguchi – pop, dance, and chiptunes. So they had lots of DJs open for them – some with more conventional dance music and some with more chiptunes music. But, given that Anamanaguchi plays with real instruments, I thought a better complement would be a band like I Fight Dragons.
Of the opening acts, I thought the best vibe came from the duo in which one of the guys had Skrillex hair. While others were grooving, these guys were jumping around and really having a good time. It made me want to have more of a good time, myself. I usually go to concerts with bands, so it was interesting to see the 2 two-man DJ groups at this concert. While I understood the gains from a two-man group – one can control the knobs while the other looks for the next sample and/or they can jump back and forth between their tastes, I’m more used to groups like the one between those two where it was a one-man DJ set.
Then came Anamanaguchi. I had a feeling for what they’d sound like live as I have their Live at the Knitting Factory album, but they weren’t nearly as chatty as they were on that album. I didn’t know this going into the concert, but it was the last show on their Endless Fantasy tour. So I don’t know if they were tired after a long tour or if the Knitting Factory album is just an unusually chatty set for them.
Since a good chunk of any song involves a lot more than the instruments, I was wondering how they were going to perform. Would they have a computer playing the music? So I was surprised to find 3/4 of the band come out with guitars or guitar-like instruments. From what I could tell, the guy in the middle with the white guitar-like instrument was playing the non-instrumentals. I’m not sure exactly what that meant – was he modulating a pre-recorded track? That seems to be the most likely scenario. But I’m not sure.
The most interesting aspect of the set was the video screen behind the drummer. Somewhere between a quarter and half of the bands I’ve seen perform use some kind of video in their performance. None have ever matched the trippiness of what Anamanaguchi had going on. For at least one of the songs (Pop It) the video was a remix of the music video. I’m not too familiar with most of their videos, so I can’t say if that holds true for the rest of the songs, but the overall feeling was that of a sentient Internet having seizures and displaying some representation of everything we geek out about. There was povray-looking 3D renders, clipart, anime, and VCR nostalgic recordings.
There was one seemingly over-zealous fan at the front who I wasn’t sure what to make of until the end of the night when I found out that this was the last stop on their tour and that guy had been on every stop on that tour.
Overall, I had a very good time and I was jumping and dancing and just enjoying the crowed vibe that is the entire point of going to a concert. It took me a while to warm up to the opening acts and I think that was only partly due to their unfamiliarity. I’d definitely go see Anamanaguchi again. Although, according to Wikipedia, their next album will be chiptunes-less. So I’ll have to see if I like the next album.
Sorry the photos weren’t so good, I only had my cell as my wife had the nice compact camera.