Novelty, excitement and optimism were reflected in three of Jrock Revolution’s four Saturday night artists: newcomer Girugamesh, mover-and-shaker Merry, and veteran group MUCC.
To Merry, the festival represented fresh ground being broken on both sides of the stage. "Everything is new to us and [we are] sure many people in the audience are new to us as well," they said. Despite its quick rise in Japan, Merry acknowledged Jrock Revolution as an unprecedented event for fans and its members alike. "We have the same feelings of being beginners and [being] new…ourselves."
For the rowdy, indie band Girugamesh, newness meant fearlessness and energy, as they struck a bold, take-no-prisoners stance. "Since we are the ‘youngest [band]’, we have nothing to fear," they said. "We will show everything we have!"
As with Friday night‘s artists, Merry and Girugamesh intended to preserve routines and qualities unique to their Japanese performances, in the U.S.
"If we try to do something special, we usually don’t do it well," Merry said, laughing. "We will try our best and hope people see the real Merry and [our] style."
Stated Girugamesh: "We will do the same concerts as we would in Japan."
But for MUCC–the night‘s oldest group, at ten years together–performing Stateside meant adjusting. Jrock Revolution marked their first return to the U.S. after playing two packed concerts in conjunction with Baltimore’s Otakon, the largest Japanese culture convention on the East Coast, last August.
"Our set list is influenced by the country," MUCC said. "We check which songs are released in the country we perform in, [and] we include more singles for the overseas set lists."
Thanks to their carefully tailored lineups, the impact MUCC hoped to have in Los Angeles was an instant one. "We want the audience to feel, I want to see MUCC again right now! It would be great if they want to see more of us," they said. "We don’t want people to [just] think, "It was nice being able to see MUCC live."
For Merry, the festival was about rock culture. They wanted to give back, return and respond to its influences.
"We have songs about the U.S. because the roots of [rock] music come from America," Merry said. "We interpret our music through these roots. We know that American artists have plenty of energy and originality, and so we hope we can convey Merry’s good elements." (Appropriately enough, the band described its music with the words "retro" and "revolution".)
And that transfer and translation of culture can occur regardless of what stage in its career any Jrock band may be at. "We don’t care that much whether we’re indie or major," said Girugamesh. "We listen to foreign music even though we don’t understand the language; it gives us emotions. We want to create music like that and introduce it to the world."
Ultimately, it’s all about spreading music, dispelling preconceptions, and being bold. "We want our music to be more accessible overseas than it is now," Merry said. "We are very honored to be in this event."
"We are confident that we can give you something better than your imagination can," Girugamesh said."We will keep coming back!"