I just wrapped up another tour with Steve Appleton yesterday, along with the usual suspects JJ, Thomas, and Taiki.
Rehearsal day was very long. We only had a handful of new songs, but we were also adding in older songs we hadn’t played before.
The first show was at Shibuya Duo Music Exchange, which is apparently where Jamiroquai used(?) to play a lot. We made tons of mistakes, and that was a little frustrating to me, but the other guys and the crowd were having a seriously great time, so I can’t beat myself up too much over it.
The funny thing about shows like that is, okay, so you mess up a lot, but if everyone has fun, then that’s great, right? My personal philosophy, however, is that it would be even MORE fun if I didn’t make any mistakes!
On Saturday we played the Green Room Festival in Yokohama, at the Red Brick Warehouse area. That whole area is just real cool and it seemed like a grand old time. Newton Faulkner, and the Brand New Heavies were particular favorites I got to see.
We got up to the artist break room just as Miyavi was finishing his set. Taiki techs for Ryo, who was our previous drummer, who also used to play for Miyavi, so they knew each other. Taiki went to say hello, and I sort of wandered over, because I wanted to meet the guy but I’m a nervous wreck 95% of my waking hours. They were talking, but Miyavi looks at me and just says “hey man, what’s up?” and we were off. Very talented, very cool, very nice, very friendly… just a refreshing presence to be around. He was even nice enough to be willingly photographed next to a total dork:
The festival show was probably the ‘best’, just because of the festival atmosphere: drinks, sun, wandering crowds. We had also taken a bit of an advantage of this situation and did a bit more pre-show drinking than usual (just half a beer before going on is enough to cure the worst jitters), so it felt like the show was going to go off the rails at any moment. Luckily, Steve kept it tight.
(please ignore the weight i have gained due to complacency)
And finally on Monday I woke up early and we caught the Shinkansen into Osaka. I’ve been to Osaka many times, but always just on tour, and due to the nature of visual kei, once I’m in the makeup seat I can’t leave, so I never feel like I’ve actually seen the city. I felt the same in Korea. Luckily, this time Taiki, Thomas and I at least went to go have some takoyaki, and then I wandered around some shops for awhile and almost bought some old Transformers. Luckily the price tags dissuaded me. (over $500 for an original Scorponok!)
After another fun show, we wandered around looking for something to eat. Steve fancied the smell of a horumon place we passed, and didn’t mind having to barbecue his own meat, so in we went. They were very nice to us and gave us a bit of good stuff on the house.
This was, however, like, a proper horumon joint. Just plates of guts, really. I could see huge tubed arteries or something coming out of what I was sure was the heart, so I avoided that, but I was pretty happy with everything else, as I already like tongue and liver and kidney and the like. The stomach lining was not for me, although the cheek strips were actually very good. Steve’s manager looked on at us aghast the entire time, though.
Steve is Very, Very Good at guitar and piano and singing and if you’ve never been around someone who is so joyously skilled then you are missing out. I meet a lot of people, musicians or not, who sometimes seem quite jealous of people as good or better than they are, but I just get giddy and giggly. Jamming and singing along to some song as a warm up is almost more fun than a proper show to me, which is something I mentioned in a previous Chemical Pictures-related entry. Music is meant to be shared, yes, and frankly a bigger audience the better, of course, but the importance and affirmation of what I might call ‘campfire intimacy’ cannot be overstated.
We had one day in between each show, which was nice, because I have a day job, and I don’t think I’m used to having back-to-back shows anymore. I like where I am at right now. I have a stable, simple job, and sometimes I get good translation work or a TV appearance supporting an artist or a Steve or Tommy or something else thing. It’s nice and fun because it forces me to go outside and meet new people and those people often say very nice things about you, both to your face and behind your back, and those are the best kinds of nice things that are said. I am also not the main attraction, which means if I get to relax a little bit!
Anyway it was cool as heck and fun, the end