After 12 shows one after, we felt urgence in regaining some energy. Thus, we spent our free day sightseeing in Tokyo and had a comfy evening at our travel home having a glass of Sake (Japanese rice wine) with tour Manager Yuta and his girlfriend.
We appreciated sleeping long the next day since sound checking time for our final show of this tour was scheduled only for late afternoon. Narrow stairs led us into the Cat’s Hole that is located in our home quarter Shinjuku. At the club, we met awesome people again, such as the female singer Ameri (one could call her the “Tori Amos of Japan”) or the male singer Little Bill who had even written and performed a song just for us. We settled the end of our show with the encore “The Home You Could Have Found” and we surely feel that with Japan our at least hearts have found another place to feel at home.
After our show we celebrated a big farewell with the audience and thanked Yuta very, very much for the excellent job he did for us.
Touched by the events of this evening, we had only seven hours remaining to prepare our suitcases for our return to Germany and to take a little nap as the train to the Airport was waiting for us then. Having arrived there, we had to run to catch our flights sincethe check-in terminal was about to close in a few minutes. But luckily, we made it right in time.
While these lines are written, we are passing the Ural from above, having a sleep or just dwelling in memories. In just a few hours, we will be back in Leipzig. It has been two incomparably intense and inspiring weeks to us in Japan and we really look forward to meeting Yuta and his likes again soon!
After our two shows yesterday, today should turn out to be a more relaxing day. We arrived at Cyclone live house pretty early and could seize the afternoon to take a walk through the Shibuya quarter of Tokyo. While visiting the local music store, we met the Australian videographer Jason McNamara, who sells instruments here at daytime and shoots live videos for artists such as Marco Minnemann and Steve Vai at nighttime at the live houses. We shared many interesting thoughts about the music business with each other and came to the conclusion that when working in entertainment jobs good organisation is THE essential thing.
For this reason, we would like to introduce you to a person that is very important for the organisation of Unloved, on tour as well as in the band’s daily life: our manager André.
Today we went to Ikebukuro again, this time to King’s X Club. As you have probably recognized from our past reports, it is quite common that many bands are playing at one concert night. And today there were six acts whom we played together with. So, it’s high time to finally give you an impression from behind the scenes:
Music events reaching from mainstream to the deepest underground level are planned with a very exact time frame. Before show time begins, each band gets a complete sound and stage check including the respective positions that the musicians and their instruments take in, as well as lights and decoration such as back drops etc.
Between sound checking time and show start there often is a meeting with the concert organiser in which the crew and all the bands are introduced to each other. Since we feel this is a very nice and solemn ritual, we would like to show it to you in our newest Video.
P.S.: Tonight we’ve been surprised by some crowd surfers. Now we know that the Japanese are also very good in crowd surfing! Hoewever, Germans are very good at kraut surfing, too!
We’ve been early birds today since two shows lay ahead of us. How lucky we are to have a tour manager like Yuta who supports us that much with our tight schedule and does his best to arrange the few free time as comfortably as possible for us. Get to know him in our new video!
But first, let’s talk about the day: We went to the Antiknock Club in Shinjuku at 8 am to do the sound check for our first concert at early afternoon. Meanwhile we tried to balance our lack of sleep until just at noon (!) doors opened and people were filling the venue. What seems unthinkable for an underground concert in Germany is common practice here. We were happy to see familiar faces, such as drummer Masato from Veronica Veronico. One of guys of the scary visual key group Osomasiz, whom we played with three days ago at Chop Ikebukuro, also brought us some selected rice dishes. Thanks and cheers for this great surprise!
After about half an our of musical fireworks on stage we quickly went to Tokyo’s jazz quarter Shimokitazawa by train to play our night show at the cosy stage of the Japanese cult label Mona Records. Surrounded by dizzy lights, we took the audience on a trip to the calmer and more progressive Unloved material and also enjoyed the experimental tunes of the other bands. What a great coincidence to have met our American friend from Shinjuku Holiday Live House and also the sympathetic female Japanese singer/songwriter Ray again whom we came to know after our show at Motion Club. It is her you can see at the last part of the video.
As always, the day ended late after midnight and we looked back on many, many moments full of warm-heartedness that knows boundaries neither in countries nor in cultures.
Today’s agenda faced our second Japanese show outside Tokyo. Cherishing the advantages of being on the road by car, we took a quick glance from afar at Japanese Disneyland and drove for one and a half hour in South-Eastern direction to Chiba, a medium larger labourer town with c. 157,00 inhabitants.
In addition, today was the first day on tour on which we had rain instead of sun and so venue and billing could not have fit better: In K’s Dream live house, we shared the stage with four grunge bands. Though stylistically, we completely broke the musical mould, we felt happily and nostalgically thrown back into our youth when lumberjack shirts and worn-out jeans had been THE thing.
Tomorrow we are back in Tokyo and a day with two shows lies straight ahead of us. In today’s video, you can already get an impression how it feels like to be constantly on the move here:
One hour south-west by train our first Japan show outside Tokyo took place.
Today’s venue, Club Lizard in Yokohama, is definitely one of the “places to be” and so is the SEGA gaming temple just around the corner. Childhood memories arose among us when thinking of jump’n’run video games of the 90s such as “Alex Kidd” or “Sonic the Hedgehog”.
After a walk through the Chinatown quarter we had dinner under the already nightly sky near the splendidly lighted harbour.
After the concerts, the people at the venue ate our “Tempest” honey with delight. This honey was exclusively produced in a limited number of 100 glasses by “Papitzer Honig”, a beekeeper from our region and refers to the opening song of our current album “Pay One Bliss With Another”. It also got its special bee artwork by our graphic designer Anders A. Bachmann. Hence, some bees were lucky enough to survive the long flight to Japan. If you also want to be among the lucky ones, don’t hesitate and have a try on the honey for yourself as long as it is in stock!
Today has seen a very diverse billing at Chop live house in Ikebukuro (Tokyo). There was a multi-faceted mix of styles covered by a glam rock band, a technotic visual kei performance group and a crooner. The vibe in the audience kept level until the last minute of our sets in which not only our second encore but also a very pleasant evening ended.
Again and again, people are telling us about music from Germany they like most. Surprisingly, they haven’t mentioned Rammstein yet, but Helloween, Scorpions and – this honours us very much – Unloved 😉
Today we went to Koenji, a district of Tokyo that has once been typical for its gangs but today is for homing many musicians and live houses.
At club Mission’s, the billing again was dominated by punk bands. Not only Taf, front man of today’s special guests Disorder from Bristol, England, but also our guitarist MR celebrated their birthdays here. Taf told us that some years ago, he was at our home city Leipzig and still remembers the occupied houses and the alternative way of life in one of the quarters of the town.
Afterwards, we walked through Koenji mall where tour manager Yuta first showed us the tattoo studio of the owner of Mission’s. Postcards were bought and while first pogos were taking place at the live house, we visited a cosy small restaurant which offered us a wide range of Japanese vegan cuisine from special salads to fried vegetables in tempura to vegan chili.
During our show we spotted Noriyuki of the Japanese post / progressive rockers Veronica Veronico whom we shared the stage with at our first gig on tour at Deepa live house. Having a beer together on our way home would be great now, we thought, and so chance made us meet a friendly and generous Canadian who could switch between English and Japanese seemingly without effort. And again, we had to speak what has been on our minds for so long: What is the original meaning of the word “bukake”? This riddle certainly made all of us laugh, but unfortunately we could not solve it (yet).
Today it was time for intercultural communication. Parallely to our show at club Holiday in Shinjuku a Japanese noodle festival took place. While having lunch together with our tour manager Yuta, we could convince him of the German saying that if one does not eat up, it will rain the next day. On our gig we met an American guy who has been living in Japan and working as an English teacher for some years. Later in the evening we got in touch with two Turkish men who brought a Saz (Turkish string instrument) with them, let us have a try on it and even sung a traditional love song for us. All in all, it is really great to experience that special moments here that dear John Lennon always longed for… “and the world will live as one”.
Today’s concert night took part at the fifth floor of a living and office house in Tokyo downtown. After the soundcheck it was no question that Unloved was the heaviest act compared to the several different rock and pop band we were going to play with. Before, however, we asked ourselves the same question as every day when we are looking for food: what ingredients does it have, which meals are fine to the two vegetarians in the band, Shya and MR? The omnivores among us tried blindly something new again (probably fish soup?) and were not disappointed. Meanwhile, the concert room was well-filled and we were welcomed by curious eyes and ears. Even the typically shy part of the Japanese crowd seemed completely thrilled by our music! After the show we met a lot of interesting people at the merch stall, chatted and posed for quite a while with the other bands and the audience. What an evening!