Well, I might have a pretty bad sunburn on my thighs, and have spent more money on gas then I care to admit but it was worth it! I got to cross an event off my list that I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to actually do; go to an A-Nation festival!
A-Nation, for those that don’t know, is Avex nation, a yearly summer festival hosted by the music label Avex Entertainment. Each year they chose four prefectures to host their festival, and this year Aomori was one of the locations chosen! So after that announcement, I eagerly awaited the full the artist line-up. When Koda Kumi was announced as a headliner, I was sold. The rest of the artists were a welcome bonus, but I was overwhelmed with being able to see some other artists that I hadn’t been able to see before yet!
Unfortunately, I had not the greatest seat. I was literally the last row, way in the back for the festival. I pretty much had to laugh it off. When it comes down to it, it was going or not going, and even with a seat all the way in the back; I would rather be there then watching behind a screen.
Opening was Cocona. She’s a rising talent from the popular site Showroom. She wielded a guitar keyboard and played two songs in rather quick succession. It was a cute little set, I can’t imagine how nervous she had to be.
(This is Candy with the old lineup. The new lineup with Taiki, and Hina hasn’t released an MV yet.)
Next on stage was FAKY!!! My girls!! One of the acts that I was super excited to see on the line-up even if it was only for a short while. They came out in all pink outfits, and I was living for it. They covered Paradise the debut single from DA PUMP another group on the line up. It was beautiful. Next they jumped into their new single they’re dropping next week “Girl Gotta Live”. It was so damn lit, and I was so excited even in the back. They closed with “CANDY”. Lil Fang killed it with her high notes. Even though I was way in the back, I was so excited and glad to see killing it.
Coming as a follow up was… some weird group. I think they’re called Layman Mike? They paired up with some of the CyberJapan Dancers and it was kinda a joke. They played two songs one of which was cover of YMCA. I was so confused on how they got booked.
Following up was Avex Artist Academy. Im not gonna lie I was weirded out that they had 7 to 17 year olds dancing on stage. The problem wasn’t the dance itself but the music… they really didn’t have someone double check the meaning of “face down, ass up”? Especially with literal children performing to that song? It wasn’t a good look.. They had a quartet sing and they weren’t too bad. Im looking forward to see how the turn out in the future.
(This is one of their songs they performed, obviously not from Aomori.)
Then came A-genic, a group that my friend had recommended to me and supported. They were a solid unit, but not for me. They sang two songs which were beautiful, with a lot of potential for the future. The group was really sweet, and pleasent to watch a listen to. I’ll keep tabs on them for the future.
There was a bit of a break, and of course Pikataro came out to get the crowd going. I literally couldn’t handle it at all. He’s a living and breathing meme, and when and doubt use it to your advantage. Pikataro came out with a small parade, and a float. He opened his set with PPAP, next was his soon-to-come-out Tsugaru-ben rap song. The rap song was wild, and he did really well for such a difficult accent. He brought an egg on stage, and sang a song about being a baby in the womb… which was as weird as it sounds. PPAP was reprised. His set felt longer then it should have, mostly since Im not a big Pikataro. However, the crowd was wild for him and thats all that matters.
Next came Naoto Inter Raymi. I hadn’t looked him up before the show, and I was getting hungry. So I jogged out to grab some food and some drinks during his set. I got to hear most of it from the food court area. I did catch the last two songs and those were pretty lit. He certainly read up on the region and appealed to Aomori and Nebuta. He was so earnest and sweet so I sort of regret missing out watching the whole set.
Suddenly Kolme came on stage! I was so happy to see the trio, and that they were put into the middle of the line up. They were so sweet. I was really sad that they only got two songs, but they were so energetic that it was worth it. I was cheering in the back for them, so I hope they’re blow up soon! They had rising act for a reason!
Right after came w-inds, who I thought would be closer to end. They were a little older then I thought, but that didn’t stop them. Their set was completely lit and I was living for it. I was clapping and jumping the entire time. They music was so sensual, so I need to check them out for sure. I have a discography (41 singles and more) to go through! The MV above is just a taste of what they brought.
There was a bit of a set change over, getting a DJ and two live backup singers. I was a bit worried since it was reggae set. Japan does not have the best track record for that sort of genre… Admittedly, I was confused but it was alright. Han-kun himself, seems to know the difference between appreciation and appropriation. This was a great instance in my opinion that was appreciation. Han-kun’s DJ was hype though. I couldn’t really tell how many songs he played but it was a lot of fun to listen to and dance a bit to. I think I have another artist to be looking into a little bit.
Rude-a came on stage. I cried a little. He absolutely killed it. I am so proud of him and how far he has come. It was only three songs, and he knew the crowd wasn’t there for him. Still he managed to get people to stand up and jump aside from me in the back. He performed his piece Happiness, and I teared up a bit in the back. It was such a bittersweet end, but it was great. So glad I got to see him live for the first time he was in Aomori!
Another set change over, with a… car bumper brought on stage? It was none other then the flamboyant, Takanori Nishikawa. More people might remember him as T.M. Revolution, before he made a name change. He was so energetic and the crowd was absolutely wild. I mean, I certainly was going wild in the back. He’s incredibly talented, and his voice was lovely to hear live. I’m not sure how I felt about the blonde hair, but he was rocking the black and orange spandex outfit. It was amazing to see him live.
Second to last on stage was DA-PUMP. They opened up with their most iconic song USA. While I haven’t grown to love them, I didn’t hate their set. They can really dance, even if vocally only Issei is holding up the group. It was an energetic set and really enjoyable. They were so humble too which I appreciated, with how many thank you’s they gave each other, and the audience.
Lastly, is the one and only queen is queen Kuu. Aka Koda Kumi. The baddest b**** of the soloists from the 2000’s. She’s the main reason I decided to attend this festival. I just… I was so overwhelmed when I saw her live on stage. She absolutely killed it start to finish.
I don’t fully know the setlist but it was wild. She sang Summertime, and it finally felt like summer to me. It helped that we were literally at a port near the ocean for this festival. She whipped out a ballad and it brought tears to my eyes. Queen Kuu brought a lucky fan on stage, and pretty much gave her a lap dance. Like, this girl couldn’t take her eyes Queen Kuu, and I wouldn’t be able to either. It was such a dynamic show and I couldn’t believe that I was truly seeing a queen live.
She also debuted her new cover of “Livin’ La Via Loca” as well (featured above)! It was such a surprise but I lived for it. Her dancers were amazing, and she even did some ballroom style moves! You can jump up to the video above to know how it looked a bit!
I was so crushed that it ended but it was so satisfying to see all these amazing artists live! Just wanted to share some quick-ish thoughts about this and encourage people to attend the festival when they can!