The word "rock" gets thrown around so liberally in Japan that I have to admit I was skeptical going into Umezz Carnival 2009's grand finale, "Special Rock Live." The ultra-raw and energetic yet somehow highly refined sound (think 1 part Preschool, 1 part Guitar Wolf, 2 parts Umezu) was only my first pleasant surprise of the night. Believe me when I say it's not easy to pogo, take pictures and write a report at the same time!
1. Hebi Shojo- Played live, this sounded a lot like The Cure's Killing an Arab. If only you could have been there to witness the dance that went along with this costume!
2. Kimura no Niisan- What a banger! Kazz had a bat wing jacket on for this song, accessorized with his best stuck-out tongue Gene Simmons poses!
3. Super Police- This might have been my favorite song of the night. The chorus was almost as killer as Kazz's Super Police dance moves.
4. Electric Love Song- Originally penned by Kazz for Haruo Chikada (see this post), this was a major hit in the late 70s. They played this so hard and fast that Kazz wound up getting lost in the middle and, after a few failed attempts at jumping back in, cut the band off midway through the song. A sincere apology to the crowd and a few bows to his band mates later, he went completely nuts in round two and took back Electric Love Song all for himself.
5. Papa Mama Rock- Kazz mentioned how much heavier the wireless mic was than a normal one, but he didn't let it stop him from all manners of fist pumping action.
6. Gwash!! Makoto-chan- The final song before the first intermission. Kazz was visibly exhausted at this point, but still gave a great performance. If you didn't know better, the raw power would have tricked you into thinking it was a live cover by Iggy and the Stooges. When the song finished the crowd, comprised mainly of women under 35, was going bonkers.
Just in time! I almost broke a thumb feverishly trying to clear space in my memory card while everyone else in the joint dashed for the merch table.
The MC's intro to the second half of the show was cut short by HONEY☆K in an Orochi nurse outfit! She stared at him for a while before pointing to a stain on the wall which she then proceeded to mash her finger, then head against before disappearing into the crowd. This creepy little skit set the stage for one of the night's hightlights!
7. Shinjuku Gurasu- The Makoto-chan Mushis traded in their usual duds to join Kazz in this reenactment of an amazing scene from the movie Orochi. Demerin's deadpan demeanor was a perfect fit for the father, and she kept her cool even while kicking ass on the classical guitar! Her intense finger picking coupled with her moustache stole the show on this one. Not one to be outdone, Kazz picked up on this and started hamming his performance up towards the end.
For those of you who haven't seen the film, check out the song in this rehearsal video:
8. Otogibanashi no Yokohama- Nice tune. Nice new costume.
9. Samba de Makoto-chan- This is where Kazz started to lose steam. He managed to make it through the song without incident, but needed a few hits from the oxygen tank afterwards. While
Q. What's your favorite food?
Q. How do you write your name in kanji?
A. Easy, just four strokes: K A Z Z (in English)
Q: What's your favorite rock group?
A: Umezu Kazuo and the Umevinz. Duh. Next Question.
Q: What kind of babes do you like?
A: Girls in sweats and t-shirts.
Q: What time do you usually wake up and go to bed?
A: That's kind of a silly question; He never sleeps, so he never wakes up.
Q: Are you working on another manga?
A: Yes, but I'll never let you see it.
Q: Beef or chicken curry?
A: Seafood. Next!
Q: Can you introduce the band members?
A: Quit trying to get ahead of the show here! Who are you?
Drums: Megumi (Art Storm Employee)
Bass: Aki (Goonies, etc.)
Lead Guitar: Baki (Gastunk, Mosquito Spiral)
Rhythm Guitar: Mitsuwa (BLUE MOVEe, Tokyo Bravo)
Keyboard and Backup Vocals: HONEY☆K (PUGS, Pomegranate)
Had I done my homework on the band before the show, I wouldn't have been as surprised by their kiler sound given the talent behind it. Gastunk were a great band!
10. Old Rockin' Band- As the band members were introduced, they were instructed to 'get old' in English, which meant putting on wigs and hunching over like fogies. If these guys had been out to pasture, their gritty and dirty sound would have would have spoiled the earth! In true old rockin' fashion, Kazz took a few more hits from the oxygen tank as the song wound down.
11. Makoto-chan Ondo- What's that? You say you've never heard this one before? Join the club--no one had until this concert! Kazz wrote this song specifically for the event, and to celebrate he called his beautiful Gwash! dancers to the stage. After teaching the audience how to do the dance steps, they led everyone in this matsuri ode to Makoto-chan. A-sore! A-sore! A-sore sore sore!
12. Happy birthday Kazz!- First Orochi did her best Marilyn Monroe erotic birthday song for Kazz, then Baki led the audience in a sing-along. Naturally, "to you" was replaced with "Kazu."
13. Gwash!! Makoto-chan (standard version)- This time around they toned it down a bit and gave a full dance number much like this.
You know that Umezu wasn't going to end his first concert in 20 years without an encore!
14. Nekome Kozo Theme- In an effort to buy time for Kazz, who was utterly devastated at this point, Kurobe attempted to kill the audience with obscene amounts of wah-wah on a few solo licks. Kazz came out, kicked out the final jam, and said goodbye with just a hint of tears in his eyes.
Don't be so jealous! The best news is that Kazz enjoyed himself so much that he promised to hold another concert next year! If you can't wait that long, buy his CDs Yami no Album and Gwash!! Makoto-chan: Umezu Kazuo's World on Amazon! I wish I were a pro-wrestler just so I could make Yami no Album's brutally evil うしろを見るな！(Don't look behind you! Track 14) my entrance music. You can hear of 45 second sample of it and all the other songs if you click 試聴する next to the track list.
See you at Umezz Carnival 2010!
|Click here for way more photos from the event!|
|Umezz Special Rock Live|| |
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UPDATE: FROM DEMERIN'S BLOG
Demerin has posted her own (Japanese) reports from the event, including lots of pics and this video of Umezu in action: