Basically this is a massive music festival that takes place in Tokyo and Osaka and features a very impressive lineup. I wanted to go, and my friend Kei was down for it as well. It was pretty tough getting it coordinated, and it was hectic being my first weekend in Japan, but it worked out and was totally worth it.
I couldn’t get there in time to see K’naan, which sucked, but I saw a good number of other acts.
Jason DeRulo – He was actually pretty decent but had backing vocals prerecorded of himself so he would occasional throw in his extra hollers and such and then his singing would continue during that duration. Didn’t bother me since he wasn’t trying to get away with anything.
Orianthi – This was ok. it was basically a gimmick band that consisted of a woman on lead guitar and vocals a la Heart. It wasn’t bad music, but didn’t do much for me. After I heard the one radio single she had to offer thus I called it good.
Coheed and Cambria – A crappy crowd and atmosphere had the lead vocalist literally zero words between sets. The back up guitarist was having equipment issues and was getting upset as well. The set ended with Claudio playing his guitar with his foot, breaking the strings, putting it on the amp and walking off stage. Nothing will ever beat the orbit room show, this was the worst of the 3 times I’ve seen them.
Sum 41 – One of the most legit shows I saw today, and definitely the most fun. I guess they made it big in japan because there was a ton of crowd energy, mosh pits, which I partook of, and overall atmosphere. Lots of fun. Bonus pleasure, when the moshing began, I loved watching the 5 foot tall Japanese girls leave the crowded area because their small frames couldn’t handle it the duress.
A Tribe Called Quest – This was some hip hop band I’m sure many of people know of, but I hadn’t. I knew none of their songs, and was left a bit bored. The leader basically called people out for sitting on the outskirts. Low energy seemed to be a constant issue, but take 15 years past their prime, have them spit out words that no Japanese people can understand, and I’m not at all surprised.
Taylor Swift – She gave off a vibe of being utterly stupid. She was decent, but she would just pause between songs and stare at the crowd for a long time each time, it was really weird. Then, when she would talk, she would attempt Japanese. A nice gesture, and the Japanese ate it up, but when she is saying “nihon daisuki”, rather than “nihon GA daisuki”, no one is going to not notice. Also, her bassist was a combo of pac man and ben stiller. Just the biggest mouth on a man, ever.
Stevie Wonder – He was really cool, he came out playing a keytar, and tore the crap out of it. Then the band and their music was good too. I never listened to his music, and didn’t recognize more than just a song or two. Still, the musicianship was superb and I really enjoyed it.
Dream Theater – I thought the show was really good and would equate the experience to Tool, a symphonic rock experience with long and drawn out solos. I felt like there was a lot of really high quality musicianship and such. I definitely need to look more into their music. Also, they gave the impression of pure excess. 4 full stack guitar amps, a massive drum set with 3 bass drums, and more instrument changes than I’ve ever seen.
Overall it was a wonderful day. We crashed at a nearby business hotel which was pretty cheap and got ready to do it all over again.
3OH!3 – Say what you will, but if you can get past the fact these these people have no visible credibility, it was actually a pretty good show.
All Time Low – Some punk or something. not anything special, and not anything I had heard of.
K-OS: Really sweet show. No Emcee Murder, but it was still really fantastic. the DJ was scratching really awesomely on the turntables.
Delphic – Never listened to them before the show but this was a true surprise, loved the electro rock.
Passion Pit – Really solid show. Great electrorock and a unique voice was mega high, not sure how he can maintain such a faslsetto.
Nickelback – They tried too hard to be badass. I sat down on the outskirts and just listened to them. It wasn’t like their musicianship was bad, they just acted a lot cooler than they really were. I made a map of japan out of rocks during the show.
The Offspring – Definitely the best show of Summer Sonic. The moshing was just moving in a circle and was quite intense. I loved it. I was the tolken foreigner involved in all this and everyone outside the mosh circle wanted high5s as we ran around it. Everyone was going all out to be crazy and I made sure I was in as much of it as my poor heart could take. I was the dancing, heat, singing/screaming maximus, and the rough ‘n tumble scene had me about dead.
Keri Hilson – This was a weird show. She sang a few of her songs, then she started self promoting her Twitter by throwing out shirts with her username on it. Then, she sang all of the song she was featured in, just the featured excerpt though. So there were like 6 1 minute performances. Then she left, as her DJ played bits of popular songs that were by other top 40 artists and after 10 minutes of being gone, she came back for one more feature type song. It was really lame too, because between each song was met by an awfully scripted transition.
Jay-Z – This guy was really awesome and I loved the show. He played so many good songs that I know and also put on a show with his sound, stage setup, and attitude.
Overall it was a great venue, I really wanted to do a music festival in Japan. Downside though was the audience participation. The energy was alway really high, but they couldn’t really sing along so it made it hard for artists to think that they even cared about the performance, I loved it though. International concert experiences are really interesting and I’m glad I could experience it. Interesting though was the fact that they didn’t offer any sort of free water. Given the extreme heat and nature of the event, that would be a lawsuit in America for sure.
After this, we hopped right on a train and got home late at night in Takamatsu. We crashed at another JETs apartment. Great to get such a big weekend under my belt so early on in this trip, though it more or less bankrupted me…
Here was the main stage.
Here was me and Kei.
I don’t know what to say about this guy…