THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A CANADA
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A CANADA
there was no opening act at the kyary show and the before-show music was just this endlessly repeating super minimal xylophone loop that sounded kind of like kefka’s theme from final fantasy vi if someone dragged it into photoshop, clicked on “edit -> adjust colors” and dragged the slider all the way from “sinister” to “benign”. on the tour that me and claire were on last year she decided to have only classical music play between bands so that it wouldn’t be like, a banging party atmosphere when there was no one performing. no one would mistake the crowd situation at the kyary show for a banging party - people in elaborate costumes and painstakingly detailed replications of kyary’s costumes from her various videos milled around on the balcony, occasionally receiving applause when they stepped out in full view of the audience. there were bars on both floors of the venue but they were mostly empty - i’m not sure if it was because the show was all ages and alcohol could not legally be served or if the crowd was just completely uninterested in getting fucked up. i could believe either explanation.
being in the middle of a crowd of people at a concert who are more or less uninterested in drinking and doing the stuff that drinking leads to at concerts was a pretty strikingly different concert experience than anything that i’ve ever been to before. since we mostly quit drinking last fall it’s been really weird to see how alcohol-oriented most live music experiences are. i remember reading articles about dance music around the mid-00s that discussed the relationship between drugs and music and about how the banging 4/4 electro era kicked off by ed banger records/justice was distinct from previous waves of dance music in that it was extremely boozy and visceral and alcohol-fueled as opposed to ecstasy or cocaine-fueled. i feel like the connection between alcohol and the current dance/pop epoch has been made pretty explicit within the lyrics of a lot of contemporary pop songs. lots of current pop music is sonically engineered to complement the experience of hearing music while you’re wasted and the experience of being wasted is often presented as the definitive 2013 pop music culture experience.
i feel like i should also somehow attempt to point out ways in which indie music as well as mainstream music often sorta glorifies being fucked up but in doing so i would have to specifically cite things like the final third of the wavves interview that recently went up on pitchfork where he talks about getting fucked up all the time as if it is an essential part of his personality which absolutely cannot ever be changed, and i don’t want to get into finger-pointing or anything like that you know
anyway it was pretty interesting then, to go to a pretty huge show and be part of a huge audience for whom the getting fucked up and partying concert experience was not even an option. i don’t mean to come off as condescending, i’m not trying to intimate that the kyary audience REALLY CARED ABOUT THE MUSIC and were therefore all definitely having a superior and more authentic live music experience than the experience typically had by other concertgoers at normal rock shows where the performers speak english. it was just an interesting experience to go to a show that was full of people who were not going to shows for the reasons i’m used to seeing people to go to shows for. i liked being able to see what a live music thing could be when you take getting wasted off the table
what i especially liked about this particular show and this particular audience is that the entire premise of the show was kind of challenging. kyary pamyu pamyu speaks very little english and mostly communicated to the members of the audience who could not understand japanese via a translator. this did not stop her from communicating with the audience and attempting to impart to us instructions for proper audience participation before various songs. as much as it was a concert, it also felt like a mario party-style sequence of minigames, a procession of setpieces that required the enthusiastic attention and engagement of all audience members to achieve maximum entertainment value. there was even an intermission early on where a man in a giant bunny suit pranced around onstage as text boxes on the large projector screen at the rear of the stage rattled off a series of facts about kyary and her bunny mascot friend. it reminded me of tutorial sequences in video games where mascots or mentor characters appear onscreen to teach you how to play the game - it was like an in-concert tutorial that taught the audience how to more effectively enjoy the show.
it was kind of thrilling to be at a show where, rather than imploring me to stop thinking critically, to lose myself in the music or whatever, the people onstage were exhorting me to engage, to be present, to attempt to intellectually parse and understand things slightly outside of my comfort zone. like, most shows are about killing brain cells. this one wanted me to learn, and i was sharing that with 2000 other people that were as up for it as i was. i had a really amazing time and i felt excited about the possibility of what a live music performance could be.
after the show, a couple of crew members ushered me and claire backstage. kyary stepped outside her dressing room for a minute to pose for photos with toshiki from x japan and then she said a few words to everyone in attendance, mostly crew members who were gathered in a loose circle around her. everyone softly applauded and bowed and me and claire don’t really speak any japanese and couldn’t understand any of it and then we looked around and realized that we were the only people there who were not japanese. kyary seemed really tired because she had just done a pretty long and intense show and still had a huge meet and greet and probably a bunch of press to do so we didn’t want to bother her but we didn’t know how to express that properly through the language barrier so a crew member led us over to her dressing room and kyary and claire said hi to each other quickly and then we left.
the crew member who led us out to the door brought us some t-shirts when we asked how to get to the merch booth so we could buy all of the merch, when he handed me the size medium t-shirt he had brought me he did so kind of sheepishly, knowing that a medium t-shirt would probably not fit me in a very flattering way. i was still very grateful, i think we gave it to one of claire’s brothers. as the crew member led us to the exit, once he was away from his co-workers, he smiled slyly and pointed to himself and said “i’m pamyurin”, meaning that he was the one inside the giant bunny suit during the tutorial intermission. i was genuinely thrilled about this, i felt like clark kent had just casually lowered his glasses and winked at me, revealing that he is secretly also superman.
i feel like i should say something about how it is ironic that no one at the show seemed to be drunk and that i spent most of this post talking about the relationship between live music and alcohol because the dress kyary is wearing in the picture at the top of this post is from the “furiosidation” video which is for a song about drinking that she recorded commemorate her 20th birthday which means she is now legally able to drink in japan but it seems like it would be hard to find a really elegant way to work that in now
anyway 10.0 best new concert kyary is the best
i like this
at some point i would like to talk more about touring, it’s just something i’m going to have to put a lot of thought and time into because it’s a difficult subject to breach without risking violating the privacy of people who don’t deserve it or offending/upsetting people i might not want to offend or upset. the pressure to tour constantly that cole mentions in the NME interview is real and very present, i think - like, i think even audiences have basically accepted it as fact that touring is where an artist’s money comes from now to a degree that makes it feel as though people feel like that’s how it should be. like, a working musician and someone who creates music are not the same thing, and getting out on a stage every night to play songs you wrote three years ago is not the same as sitting down to create new music that will sustain your career into the future and satisfy the creative impulses that led you to this career in the first place. i made a post awhile ago about the weird audience expectations that surround live performances of electronic music, and how frequently they differ from the reality facing the artist being paid to perform electronic music. even if cole’s comments here were supposed to be off the record i still really admire the sentiment being expressed and appreciate someone in his position being willing to be forthright about his frustration with the dissonance between audience perception of what touring is and the role it actually plays in his life
he’s also been really nice both times i’ve met him
w/e i’m just gonna reblog whatever cats i feel like reblogging