Back at it again with this concert going business! This time is a little more special since this is the first time I’ve been to a Visual Kei live in my home turf! Aomori Quarter is a tiny venue that’s situated not too far from ASPAM which is the Aomori Tourist Information Center. It’s important for later I promise.
For this, I actually was familiar with the area since ASPAM was where I had some parts of my job orientation. I got to venue early enough to see the signed poster, get s pre-show snack in ASPAM and then it was time to go!
Aomori Quarter is without a doubt tiny. For those familiar it’s about the condensed version of Ikebukuro edge. Therefore, at 5’4 even all the way in the back I had good sight lines, after moving away from the door and closer to the drink counter. Due to the size of the venue, they had to set merchandise in the back in front of the sound board which cut the small space down even more.
A quick few more observations before I dig into the show itself; there were actually three male fans. A rarity to see at Visual Kei shows, but also kinda nice. Once we were all entered and the final sound checks were finished, there was a wave of “よろしくお願いします” (Yoroshiku onegaishimasu). Which loosely means “Please take care of me”, it’s a phrase often said at work situations, in this context it was more of “Let’s have a good show”. I was a little surprised, but of course reciprocated and said it to the fans around me before the show started.
Being the “ヘッドバンギング” (Headbang) tour, and fourth 47 prefecture tour for Codomo Dragon I knew they were going to deliver. Once all members arrived on stage, they wasted no time and immediately jumped into “テグラマグラ” which was a bit of an ease in for the crowd, but did indeed have head-banging as the tour implied. Immediately they followed with “クロトアカ”, which is below. They rounded out the first bit of their set with “シリアルキラー” (Serial killer).
Being honest my brain didn’t put the title of the tour with the music until driving home, which you know would explain the song choices. Codomo Dragon doesn’t really hold back even playing in the more obscure parts of Japan. Hayato, the singer is also a really funny and earnest guy. He MC’d a bit introducing themselves and saying they were glad to be back. MeN-meN (bass), Chamu (drums), and Yume (guitar), all nodded along with him.
This is also the time I will briefly lament my luck and talk a bit about VKei culture. So my favorite member of Codomo Dragon is Yume. Visual kei fans tend to align themselves in rows according to their entry ticket and their favorite member. The basic alignment if you standing facing the stage is as follows; bassist fans line up to the left, vocalist fans center, guitarist to the right and fans of the drummer center but towards the middle and back.
I’m not a hardcore fan of Codomo Dragon, so position for me didn’t matter (also this venue is tiny). By moving to the left I was closer to seeing meN-meN then Yume. So alas, I was not closer to my favorite member. So it goes.
Jumping back into the action, The group ripped into “Doubt” (above) and proceeded to just go for it. They followed it pretty tightly with “FACE TO FAKE”, “つまり最愛です”, and I believe “彼彼” rounded out the next part of their set. Codomo Dragon really knows how to gun it through their songs to keep the energy going. They know how to wind down a final song and pause enough to catch their breath, and MC a bit.
They continued on with “燕失”, and “ドロップチューン”. Now “Drop Tune” was absolutely wild. Aside from the encore, this song has the best furi. I can’t really describe it other then it’s simple, catchy, and easy on the body. The song is really energetic and that’s when I can say that I really got fully into the show. Rounding it out was the below “この世界は終わりだ。”.
I believe this was around the time Hayato announced it was ‘okay to make mistakes’ to us. What he meant is that people (like me) who weren’t familiar with the dances weren’t fully participating since they were probably worried about stepping on toes and stuff. He clarified that he didn’t care if we were in-synch perfectly or not, to just go for it as best you could. It those small gesture to all those who are unsure that really make the difference, at least it did to me.
Before I jump into the next section, I have to say that Codomo Dragon for this tour did a really good job curating set lists. Having a discography stretching back to 2010, it can be really hard to have a ton of songs on rotation. Often times, as bands grow and produce new music older tracks get ditched for more recent material to keep fans interested. From what I can tell though, that their setlist is 18 tracks and for our set they went as far back as ‘CANDY-MAN’ from 2012. That’s no easy feat! I could really tell that newer fans (i.e. me) and older fans were more then satisfied with the variety at this show and on the tour!
Back on subject, “サイレン” (Siren), came loudly with some excellant vocals I may add. This was followed by, ”レイマニックソート”, until we got to “DIRTYxDIRTY” (below). “DirtyxDirty” honestly was so catchy and easy to get re-invested in head-banging a bit. Codomo Dragon knew just the right pacing to let the fans necks rest, but also live up to the tour’s name. The unity on this particular song was insane, even I was actually on top of it with furi and such! The pacing made it feel like this show would go on forever in the best sort of way.
Now, I had no idea at the time, but now looking back on the setlist our time with the band was winding down quite a bit. We were in the final stretch for the show. “学級崩壊”学級崩壊” (Class Disruption), erupted on the scene bringing us all back together for this final bout. It was followed without hesitation by “hate” and finally was rounded out by ”棘” (thorn) below.
Thorn, retrospectively, was quite the piece to end the main set with. The chorus has a weird half-taunt to it. Yet, it easily had the most head banging of any song of the night so it made sense to close the main set with it.
The main set ended and there was only a small pause before the chorus of “encore” from the fans started up. Seeing all the glow bands, and flashing rubber rings with a crowd clearly waiting for more. I joined in with the chorus, despite knowing it would be a good five minutes before the band would come back in the tour shirts.
Chamu, meN-meN and Yume appeared, sweat dried off and in the tour shirts. They took a poll via cheering to decide the speaking order. First off was Chamu, who mostly thanked the fans, remarked about it had been so long since they had come to Aomori, and a bit about food and touring in general. He was really well spoken and very direct.
Men-men followed, in which I thought he had written a speech out on flashcards. Nope. Aomori is known for having some distinct dialects, one of which being Tsugaru-ben. So Men-men bought flashcards with words related to Tsugaru dialect, given that there were only about six people, including myself, actually from Aomori we failed miserably at his quiz. He did seem to really enjoy learning more about the region and trying local foods from this though.
Lastly, was Yume. Now my boy Yume, must have referenced ASPAM at least 27 times in less then ten minutes. I don’t know if it was just fun to say, or he spent so much time there or what. It was kinda adorable to see him so excited to talk about ASPAM though. He even made a lego replica of ASPAM with the band posed on it on the merchandise table! So after the show, I snagged a picture. It was a weird incident that the triangular building happened to look like the illuminati symbol on their tour shirts. The mood was boisterous as Yume just a ‘god-like’ voice to finish talking about ASPAM.
Hayato, appeared towards the end of Yume’s comments. He started a bit of a back and forth banter, and again; it was just really nice to see that they were enjoying themselves on this tour. It was during this time, I think that Hayato remarked how polite Codomo Dragon fans were. He really, really wanted all of us to get into the show as best we could. He reminded us that we had all said “Let’s have a good show” at the beginning, that if we stepped on peoples toes, etc we could just apologize after. It was a really sweet gesture. Like most things though, they geared up to finish what they had started and they did not disappoint.
“Mikey Mad Mouse” was played which had quite a bit of bounce to it. For “フューマンエラー” (Human Error) part of the song was a chant that was switch from the original to “ASPAM” for Aomori. The furi was super fun with a bit of a hop step forward three times, then back to “ASPAM”. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at furi in a long time. Finishing it up with the second heaviest hand-banging of the night was “SODOM” (Below).
With that, the live was over. I did a mix of “お疲れ様でした” (Thank you for your hard work) and “ありがとうございます” (Thank you!) to the fans around me. It had been so long
(mentally) since I had gone to a live and it felt great. The fans and staff were incredibly polite, and I had an amazing time.
If you ever get the chance to see them live please do! You won’t regret it!
Final Note: Thanks to コドモドラゴンセトリbot, for the setlist!
[…] and enter pretty quickly. I was fairly surprised that it wasn’t as packed in comparison to Codomo Dragon. It was most likely due to it being a Tuesday in Aomori, but you know. I actually was able to stand […]