Friday night’s concert, Pacific Music Live ’09, was the first big event of the convention. A small crowd gathered in the ballroom at the very beginning to grab standing room as close to the stage as they could get in anticipation of Uchusentai NOIZ later in the evening. The lights dimmed, and Ai Cherie, the first performer of the evening, took the stage. Yoshi, the guitarist, who was dressed in a black suit and black top hat, sat down and picked up an acoustic guitar. Ai Cherie, in a simple black dress, picked up the microphone and started her short set. They began with an acoustic cover of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, followed by Sean Kingston’s “Fire Burnin’.”
Both covers were enjoyable, and it was an interesting take on those songs to hear them with simply an acoustic guitar accompaniment and no backing tracks or pop and hip hop beats behind them. She introduced her last song of the evening, “KISS KISS,” which debuted in Japan last year and had both Japanese and English lyrics. Ai informed the crowd that she normally has back up dancers, but they were still in Japan, which made us wonder what her shows in Japan are like compared to this stripped down, simpler version. Before finishing her set, Ai Cherie plugged Yoshi’s band, The Band Cherry, then gracefully left the stage from her short yet successful PMX debut.
Next up were well-known Los Angeles Jrockers, RUSIKA. Alfred entered and started up his drum solo while two girls entered and played Ilan’s bass and Natz’s guitar. Ilan ran from backstage down the center walk, followed by a leaping Natz as they tried to get the crowd to wake up to their upbeat sound. The guys took their instruments back and started their set with an untitled song that started slowly but launched into a faster rock for the chorus. Natz led the tempo changes from his guitar riff and took catwalk center for an energetic solo. The crowd cheered as, during the solo, Ilan got up close and personal with the crowd and press.
At the end of the song, Natz ordered, “I want to hear you more! How are you feeling tonight?” Cheers responded, and with a bass intro they began the peppy “Tsubasa.” Alfred rocked out behind the drums, swaying his head back and forth opposite the pattern of his drumsticks. Ilan and Natz stood back to back during the short guitar interlude. Natz headbanged as Ilan, never short on energy, leaped off stage and into the crowd.
“Hey, girls and boys, you are not sweaty yet!” Natz shouted to make the crowd more energetic. The band moved into “Natsu no Umi” which started quickly then broke into a slower guitar solo then sped up again as Natz and Ilan rocked on the catwalk to smiling fans. Natz got the crowd to clap over their heads as he sang the bridge to Alfred’s pulse. Ilan took the mic and ordered “Make some noise!” as Natz and Alfred ended the song. The crowd began to dance as they recognized L’arc en Ciel’s “Stay Away.” Ilan sang backup as he concentrated on the bass line, probably the first time anyone has seen him stand still while on stage. Natz played the solo skillfully.
The crowd cheered louder as the song ended and after a brief pause for Ilan to tune his E string, the band launched into another untitled song. Ilan once again jumped off stage, startling a girl sitting on the side in the process. Natz broke into an awesome finger-tapping solo before he and Ilan jumped in unison. Alfred led the beat and finished the song with a few crafty drum fills.
“I love that song!” Ilan shouted. “It’s like Heaven!” Natz announced their last song and the band took off into a faster than normal “Sunny Day Despair” to which the crowd danced. Alfred raised his left drumstick high before snare hits in the chorus, where both Natz and Ilan sang the lyrics to the catchy melody. After the break, Ilan harmonized with “Oh’s” as Natz sang and Alfred twirled a stick through his fingers between beats. Ilan urged Alfred to beat more furiously to drive to the very end of the set. The crowd screamed and cheered as Natz’s guitar hit higher and higher notes to conclude the set. RUSIKA got the second loudest response of the evening from the crowd, and got them all pumped up for the coming fashion show.
An announcement came through the speakers to clear the dance floor, otherwise known as the general standing area, for the models to walk through during the fashion show. The lights dimmed and the crowd quieted. Dance music played over the speakers as the models came on stage one at a time, walked down the catwalk, across the dance floor, to the back of the room, and returned to the stage. Each model, dressed in Hangry and Angry styles, carried a Hangry and Angry plushie that matched her outfit. At the end, the designer for Hangry and Angry, Gashicon, came out for a bow after all the models took a final collective walk.
Papillon was up next, and the duo happened to be the first two models to walk in the fashion show. They started their pop set singing back to back, Nagi on stage right and Miri on stage left. The audience clapped along as the girls sang and danced in sync with each other. They greeted the audience in English and shared a small piece of paper to speak in turn. Their second song, more upbeat, showed both their energy with fist pumps and cheers of “Hai!” and their ability to harmonize with each other. Many of the crowd kept their hands up throughout the song.
Their third song had a stronger dance beat and featured pulsing red, green, and blue lights. They traded off the vocal line and their choreography worked in unison as well as complimentary to each other. As they did their MC, audience members who spoke Japanese and English helped Papillon translate what they wanted to tell all the attendees, such as promoting their cover edition of Cure magazine and to get the lights up so they could see our faces. Nagi and Miri switched places on stage and did the fist pump “Hai!” cheers once again for their final song of the set.
“We have come from outer space to bring peace to planet Earth. Tonight, the five great warriors have landed in L.A.,” Angel Taka said. “We are back after three years. We are Uchusentai NOIZ !” Cheers erupted from the crowd. “Do you know Uchusentai NOIZ ?” He inquired. The crowd screamed in affirmation. Then Angel Taka announced the band would each tell us what they love, but it seemed Yamato and Kyo missed that memo.
“I’m sexual dynamite, Kotaro! I love sushi!”
“I’m sexual dynamite drummer, Yamato!”
“I’m sexual dynamite bass, Kyo!” Kyo laughed evilly.
“I’m sexual dynamite guitar, Masato! I love you!”
“I’m sexual dynamite voice Angel Voice Angel Taka!” Angel Taka then, as though proving his worth, stripped off his jacket and proceeded to perform a nun chuck routine for the audience’s delight.
After Angel Taka completed his routine, Masato took the mic and commanded “Jump! Jump!” and he and Angel Taka traded off rap-like vocals. Kotaro played a massive guitar solo as Masato and Angel Taka chanted and posed in front of Yamato’s drum set. The fourth song had many of the same antics, but this time Kyo took center stage during the middle of the song. Angel Taka led the crowd in waving their hands in unison. The whole band was incredibly energetic and hyper which made it difficult to follow any one member for an extended period of time. They all managed to stay in their own areas yet play off of and interact with the rest of the band.
Angel Taka took a second MC moment, and this time the audience learned what kind of girls each member likes. Kotaro likes girls with big butts, Yamato likes girls with dynamite bodies, and Kyo likes girls with small boobs. Masato simply said, “I like you all, boys and girls,” to which Angel Taka informed the crowd, “He’s bisexual.” Then Angel Taka let everyone know he likes girls with big breasts. They continued on into their fifth song, and the crowd moved around more and more, hands in the air, headbanging and dancing. Kyo and Kotaro finally decided to join the dance party during the sixth song, as Masato and Angel Taka synchronized their movements and Angel Taka danced around like crazy. It was impossible not to get swept up in the band’s infectious charisma and endless energy supply.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Angel Taka yelled. He took center stage and said, “My Pokémon is going crazy,” and proceeded to hip thrust to the syllables “PI-KA-CHU!” This led into him singing the chorus of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” but towards the end the lyrics changed into “We Will Fuck You.” They proceeded into their seventh song, where the audience got in on the fun, singing the cheering part of the chorus and clapping along with Yamato’s cymbals. Their eighth song found all the members moving around. Yamato headbanged behind his drum set, Kotaro danced while playing his guitar, and Kyo cheered with one foot up on a speaker block before taking center stage close to the catwalk’s start. The press had to keep a safe distance from Masato’s flailing and kicking.
Yamato raised a drum stick to pulse as the band swung towels over their heads during the bridge of the ninth song, and Kyo showed off his jumping high kick. To end the show, each member did another set of poses to their theme song, then all stood together and posed. Before they left the stage, each took a separate bow. Immediately the dark room was filled with cheers of “AN-KO-RE!” and stomps and claps erupted from the fans. Uchusentai NOIZ leaped back on stage, though poor Kyo tripped over one of the stage monitor blocks while avoiding Kotaro.
“It took us three years to come back, but we want to come back soon. Please invite us back. We’ll be back!” Angel Taka promised the audience. They began their encore. Kotaro really liked taunting the fans in front of him, getting close to them and watching them reach towards him. Angel Taka announced, “Last song!” to which the audience was sad, but the song was all out energy and craziness from the band. They high fived numerous members of the audience, cheered, and Angel Taka shouted “We love you!” over and over. The band took their final bows, then joined hands and took one final leaping bow all together. The first concert of PMX had ended, but everyone was excited for Uchusentai NOIZ ‘s surprise show on the second day of the convention. The festivities had only just begun!
Live Report by: Corinne
Edited by: Kelly & Kia
Concert Photography by: Valerie Durham
Fashion Show Photography by: Valerie Durham