Category Archives: concert

No Nukes 2012

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The No Nukes festival was initiated by Ryuichi Sakamoto and called for a ban of nuclear power plants and weapons. He assembled many fellow artists such as Asian Kung-Fu Generation, the Hiatus and Kraftwerk for a two-day festival held at Makuhari Messe.

For me, the performances of Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) and Kraftwerk were the main reason to pay 6800 Yen for a one-day pass. Kraftwerk only played on the first day.

Unlike most of the Summer festivals, Nu Nukes was located conveniently for Tokyoites. Getting to and back from Makuhari Messe on the same day is no problem. The downside is that trade fair halls are not great concert locations. Read the rest of this entry

[Korea] KLI Festival at Yonsei University

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The festival to be at Yonsei is of course Akaraka, but when you study at the Korean Language Institute, you will find out that Akaraka is hardly mentioned by the teachers at all. My teacher casually mentioned the festival when we could hear the noise. As far as I know it’s also harder for KLI students to get tickets. A certain number of tickets are allocated for foreign exchange students, but even they have to be quick.

The teachers here are much more enthusiastic about the Korean Language Institute Big Festival, or 한국어 학당 큰 잔치 (hangugo hakdang kun jonchi), this time held on May 26th. On that day, there are no lessons and the festival lasts from 9am to 1pm, just like regular school. In order to show some school spirit and make nice pictures for the next festival pamphlet, t-shirts are given out the day before. They are not of great quality, but this is not something you’re going to wear again anyway. You’re not forced to wear them, most did however.

My video shows some performances by students, the Akaraka cheerleaders as well as Nanta, the winners of the singing contest and dance performances by what I assume is one of Yonsei University’s dance clubs.

More about the festival and a second video after the jump! Read the rest of this entry

[Korea] Sinchon Festival

At least the big universities in Korea have one big festival each year where they would spend an awful lot of money to invite famous Korean pop stars such as 4minute and SNSD. Yonsei’s big festival is Akaraka. These festivals are usually exclusive to students, I heard that even the exchange students at Yonsei have a hard time getting tickets (the number of tickets is limited). KLI students – no chance, we have our own festival.

In an effort to reach out to the people living around the universities, the Sinchon Festival was organized. Sinchon is the area where Yonsei, Ewha, Hoingik and Sogang University are located. For the festival, almost the whole street from Sinchon Station to Yonsei University was blocked for car traffic.

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Performances were held on three stages. The bands were independent artists, a few days later I saw one of the bands on the list of a music festival. The universities were presenting themselves and the work of students at various booths between the stages.

The bands were quite good I think, but I was surprised that relatively few people were visiting the festival.

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[Korea] Street musicians in Hongdae

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Hongdae is not only full of bars, clubs and unusual coffee shops (don’t stick to Starbucks if you go there) but is also popular with street musicians. These two guys quickly attracted a crowd around them, they were great singers and even better performers.

[Korea] Grand Mint Festival (Day 2)

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I started into day 2 of the festival a bit later by watching indie artist Thomas Cook (토마스 쿡) on the Mint Breeze Stage. That stage felt awfully big for his sparse live show however, and he was accompanied only by one other Guitar player. The more intimate Loving Forest Garden stage with its Coliseum like style would’ve been more appropriate.

Outside I listened to 파티스트릿 (Party Street). As I wrote in the entry about day 1, the “Busking in the Park” stage was in the area between the venues and accessible without a ticket. The group had some technical problems but quite an international audience (three non-Koreans at least ;)). The singer, spotting two of them, greeted them with “Hello! Korea is beautiful!”.

Every venue has a list of maximum visitors and is closed if the limit has been reached. I had no problems watching the headliners of day one on the big outside stage and in the hall. On the second day, I wanted to see the third big stage called “Loving Forest Garden”. There was a long queue at the entrance and people were only let in if others moved out. 한희정 (Han Hee Jung) was playing, a cute female singer. Read the rest of this entry

[Korea] Grand Mint Festival (Day 1)

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The Grand Mint Festival was held on October 23 and 24 and was organized by a company called Mint Paper. I always wanted to visit a music festival, but they usually can’t be conveniently accessed by public transported. However, the GMF was located in Olympic Park in south-east Seoul, meaning that you don’t actually have to camp on the site if you live in Seoul (I’m not even sure if camping was even allowed). The GMF is an alternative festival showing all kinds of music genres from electro to classic without featuring mainstream pop, i.e. no Girl’s Generation, 2PM, 2AM, 4.30PM or 11AM there. Instead you get artists like Clazziquai, Kim Yuna, Lee Sora or Teenage Fanclub.

While ordering anything in Korea online can be quite a mess, requiring you to struggle through hundreds of blinking Flash movies and Active-X controls which are supposed to guarantee security (even though the technology is infamous for being quite the opposite), ordering tickets for the GMF was no problem. Interpark has a special site in English language which offers various tickets. The site is not as extensive as the Korean one yet, but you can just pay normally with a credit card. I had to exchange the ticket number at the venue 30 minutes before the first show.

There were five stages, four outside and one inside: Mint Breeze Stage, Club Midnight Sunset (hall), Soup Loving Forest Garden, Blossom House and Busking in the Park. The latter one was accessible even without a ticket. There were food stands as well, though I found the selection to be a bit lack. You can buy snacks, drinks etc. at one of the convenience stores on the site.

Naru (나루) were opening the festival at 12:50 pm at Mint Breeze Stage. Read the rest of this entry

Clazziquai in Tokyo

Clazziquai in Tokyo
Clazziquai is one of my favorite bands from South Korea. They combine various music genres into their music, from Electronica to Acid Jazz. DJ Clazzi is the master mind behind the band, he is the composer and producer of the songs.

The group has two vocalists, Horan and Alex. They both have good voices and sound great together.

As usual, I bought my ticket via the ATM at Lawson’s convenience store. The concert was held at Akasaka BLITZ near Akasakamitsuke Station.

Male vocalist Alex grew up in Canada, so his English is excellent. The group has both English and Korean songs, some songs exist in only one language, others in both. The group doesn’t have any Japanese songs.

Neither Alex nor Horan knew how many Koreans are in the audience. To me, they seemed to be indecisive which language to use. They sometimes made jokes (in Korean), then addressing their fans (in English) and Alex occasionally mumbled a few words in Japanese (あついですね: It’s hot, isn’t it?). It was funny to see how only parts of the audience would get the things said in their language, while the other ones where wondering “What did he just said?”.

In fact, the Japanese girls next to me said something like that quite often.

During the first half of the concert, they tried to sing only English language songs, which I didn’t know very well. Performed live, even the songs I don’t like very much sound great (Tell Yourself) especially with the added video projections.
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Live in concert

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It’s been a while since I’ve been to a concert (Tsukiko Amano in Akasaka). A few days ago I bought a ticket for the Retsuden Big 08 in Shibuya-Ax concert hall. The concert was presented and recorded by Space Shower TV, the Japanese answer to MTV, except that they actually broadcast music.

The Retsuden concerts feature five bands with each playing 45 minutes on stage. In the Big 08 one it was PE’Z, Sambomaster, Sakanaction, Hige and Mo’Some Tonebender. All these bands are not uber-popular, but each of them already had some hit records.

PE’Z (Website | MySpace) is a Jazz band but they have the same energy as a hard rock group. With the hard double bass, wild keyboard sounds and hammering drums they could easily pass as a rock group if there weren’t a trumpet and a saxophone player on stage.

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Next were Sambomaster (Website), a three men rock group. The lead vocalist Takashi Yamaguchi looks like he is usually doing finances. He seems to be quit the funny guy, running and jumping around and switching swiftly between screaming and whispering. I though I didn’t know the band until they played “Sekai wa Sore wo Ai to Yobundaze” which is the finale song of the rhythm game Ouendan 2. When the concert was seemingly over and the band already left the stage Yamaguchi just sang for a few moments to the quiet audience.
Read the rest of this entry

Tsukiko Amano live

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A few weeks ago I was very happy to get a ticket for the Tsukiko Amano concert. Tsukiko Amano (Japanese order: Amano Tsukiko) is still considered an underground artist it seems and no one I know seems to know her. Of course the 1000+ people who came to the Akasaka Blitz concert hall know her 😉

Ticket numbers were called out so that only groups of ten could walk in. That meant that I had to wait a little (number 641). Hearing the announcer was getting harder since they gave the other guy who was announcing that drink tickets were available for 500 yen, a megaphone. The audience was quite diverse.

Akasaka Blitz has both a standing and a seat area on two floors combining to a capacity of about 2000 people. The concert started at 19.30, only ten minutes too late (I remember when Erasure let their audience wait for 40 minutes while torturing them with old audiobooks). Tsukiko-san started with Cho (butterfly), one of my favourite songs. Despite playing hard guitar rock she really has the voice to still stand out. Standing in the 8th row I had no problems seeing everything on stage.

And she also talked to her audience, announcing a new album, talking about weather seasons and introducing the members of her three-piece-band. A funny bit was when she did prepare a towel to throw into the audience, first giving it to the drummer so that he could add his sweat and then she repeated it herself, before throwing it. Or when she wanted to introduce the band and the guitarist was still busy at the amp, seemingly surprising him.

“ashimoto daijoubu?” – and everyone jumped in the air at her signal. There were two songs where she expected her fans to sing-along, but I didn’t know these songs. Maybe she noticed this and added an English language song at the end of her concert. But this song was just weird 😉

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The concert was approx. two hours long and really great. She writes her songs and also designs her own costumes. The video of Cho can be found here and Ningyou (puppet) here.