Last weekend, I achieved a short-term goal of mine: seeing a Japanese band in concert. As you may remember last year, I was disappointed that I couldn’t see High and Mighty Color at Anime Central. Well, I planned ahead this year, sorta. Actually, I didn’t think I would even go to ACEN this year but I found myself in the 7 hour line from hell on Friday morning. We were only planning on attending on Friday but by the time we finally got our badges (7:30pm), there wasn’t much to do. The dealers room was closed and my back ached like only an old person would know. However, they were out of Friday badges and we were given full weekend passes instead for the same price as the day only ($30). So I went again on Saturday with someone else. I remembered the tickets this time. We were near the end of the line but I didn’t really care.
Peelander-Z walks the fine line between extreme audience participation and “we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing.” Their first song, “Mad Tiger,” lasted roughly twenty minutes (only 3 minutes on their CD) and was interrupted for a minute for the song “YYY.” The other songs they played, “Super Health,” “Happee Pee,” and “STEAK” followed the same formula, and generally consisted of less than five words per song. Every song was interrupted at least once for their stage antics which included human bowling, a limbo contest, and multiple incidences of crowd surfing (with a plush surfboard). I’d say roughly 70% of the audience was on the stage at least once during their performance. Pots and pans were handed out and they joined the band on stage to play with them. At one point, the band members themselves gave their instruments away to audience members to play in their place. This is when the human bowling game started. The band members took turns throwing each other into a set of pins. Another great stage antic was when Peelander Yellow and Red jump roped while playing their instruments. Overall, I’d have to say I was very amused throughout Peelander-Z’s concert. I’ve never seen an audience so into a performance. Everyone was screaming and have a good time. Peelander Yellow said it best, they are not a band but organizers for your party. Peelander-Z’s last song was the fan favorite “STEAK” which I’ve loved ever since I’ve seen the video on Spike TV’s MXC some five odd years ago. They ended with an infomercial for their DVD Peelander is Fun!! and went out performing acrobatics to the tune “My Heart Will Go On.”
So, I’m not really into J-pop. I have heard this group prior through the ending theme “Tip Tap Tips” from Eureka Seven. I loved the music video for it but never bothered to listen to more. I had to sit this one out. My back from the night before was still killing me but conveniently there were plenty of chairs available in the ballroom. I was close enough to see their heads but watched most of it on the side screens. HALCALI is a pop/hip-hop duo, pretty generic to the ears but I fell in love with them as the show progressed. These girls can’t dance if their lives depended on it. If you’ve seen the Rick Roll video that’s been going around, that’s pretty much what they do: wave their arms around retardedly. What should have made me leave turned out to be disgustingly cute. I couldn’t tear myself away from their smiling faces. Their short gym shorts were a plus, too. They played around 15-20 songs, mostly upbeat and a DJ was the only other person on stage. Many people in the audience flashed HALCALI’s signature hand-heart symbol as seen in the picture. One of my favorite songs was “Koi no BUBUBUN” were the girls repeatedly revved up a fake motorcycle with their hands. They ended their set with the song “Tandem” from the anime Mr. Stain on Junk Alley. I had no idea they sang this song! Back when ColoursTV played anime, they would always play a commercial for Mr. Stain with the exact same song. I’ve had it stuck in my head for quite awhile. At the end, they announced their next concert would be in June at Madison Square Garden.
Overall, two great performances. I bought Peelander-Z’s CD Dancing Friendly and their DVD. I was too shy to ask for their autograph but I found them extremely accessible (and loud!) after the concert and later in the dealer’s room. Unfortunately, HALCALI didn’t have any CDs for sale (I had to download when I got home :P). They did have a black T-shirt for sale with “HALCALI” printed in pink on the front and back. I’m not really into pink. They signed autographs later in the dealers room. The line wasn’t extremely long (75 people?) but I ditched that too. If I was too shy to shake Peelander-Z’s hand wouldn’t I be shyer to approach two cute Japanese girls? Yeah, I’m a pussy. I did get a couple of very blurry shots of them. They actually waved to me! Lol oh well. Can’t wait to see who comes to ACEN next year…