ACME at Sendai Birdland (10/6)

I didn’t think there was a smaller venue in Sendai then Sendai HooK, but Sendai Birdland might top that yet. For this one-man tour, there was about 30 of us fans, which made the space cozy but not uncomfortable. It makes for an intimate show, and lots of repeat faces. I’m starting to recognize more of the fans, and more of them are starting to recognize me.

This was the first live I’ve been to in awhile where they started late. Granted, it was by about ten minutes, but Japanese are infinitely more punctual then their Western counterparts.

While the ‘class’ bells still rang to signal the show, they changed their intro music! I was a little surprised at that, but change is good. Hal came on stage first, greeting the crowd and getting us hyped. He was followed quickly by Rikito and Shogo, and finally of course, Chisa. With that, they immediately dropped into “Paradox“. I’ve never heard them prior use it as a opener song, but I was down. It certainly got the crowd going, especially me! I was lip singing the words a bit, and I think, Chisa noticed. It’s among my favorite songs of theirs.

Next was the still bumping “Trick x Trap“. It was really enjoyable but it got overshadowed by “Monster” in my head. If I had to pick a favorite song of theirs, ever, it’s “Monster”. I was lip singing the words, bopping my head around, etc. It was my first time hearing them preform it live, and that song alone made my night.

Still coming out heavy was “Barguest“. I have a love/hate relationship with the track. I really don’t care for it on recording. However, it definitely fits the bill of sounding much better live. Despite my previous grievances, I really digging the track. They pivoted immediately and went in with “ROTTEN ORANGE“, which is way easier to get into. It’s a song of their’s I never fail to get super into no matter how many times I hear it live.

I think around here was their first MC session. I don’t remember, I was way too hype to really take notes. Kicking off next was “Golden Time“. This was my first time hearing this track live and I can’t deny it; hearing Rikito’s bass solo made me ascend a bit. Of course, Shogo ripping on guitar was an excellant follow. I hadn’t paid too much attention to this song before, but the live changed that.

Next came, “Once Again” which I believe Chisa made mention was one of his favorite to play live. In my humble opinion, it’s a bit of a sleeper hit off of “Maguro Kaitai Chainsaw”, being the last song. It’s not quite a ballad, but not quite as energetic as their titles tend to be. The way Chisa sang it live really drove home how passionate he is about the song. It kinda felt like he was sharing a secret while singing to us.

I think somewhere in here, was a bit of a breather for Chisa and Shogo. Rikito and Hal got some MC time. Usually to talk a bit about themselves, and play solo work. It kicked ass of course since Hal and Rikito are hilarious and play off each other so well. Hal actually busted out a tamborine and started dancing with it while Rikito played bass. We did a whole call and response that even got Chisa and Shogo curious! It’s really fun when they let the band do stuff like that.

Changing beats, was “Adventure Time“. If I remember correctly, this is among either Chisa, or Shogo’s favorite songs to perform live. You could really feel it energy-wise, always. It’s a great song recorded, and even better live! It was a little surprised that they chose “Houkago no Shiiku” next, it’s a real hit or miss single for me. It has a lot of headbanging, so it’s not my favorite furi… But who am I kidding? It sounded excellant live.

Rounding out the end of the set was their string of singles. “Last Prize“, came next. Being honest, I never really warmed up to this track on recording. It’s for sure a song that’s better to experience live since it has a lot of call and response interactions. It felt a little unnatural but as their second one-man, it made sense they’d slide in their setlist. I was more interested in hearing “Mononoke Requiem” live. It’s nothing quite like they’ve done before, and to be honest it gets pretty brutal. I got suckered into the track, and went hard on the furitsuke. It’s for sure a song that needed that last spurt of energy.

Very last was “Wonderful World”, which was the costumes they were wearing on stage, and is slated to come out at the end of the month. I was pretty excited since I was pretty damn desperate to hear it in full and live. It’s a weird almost ballad, but with a lot more energy to it. I won’t lie I got a bit teary-eyed since they announced it would be their last song (of the main set of course). The title of the song, really nailed my feelings at the moment.

Now for the Encore. The first song was was “Replay”, which is the B-side to the upcoming single “Wonderful World”. It was such a strong song to start the encore with. It was so much fun to dance with the fellow fans, and it high energy.

Following was the ever popular “Maguro Kaitai Chainsaw“, which is absolutely insane in energy. It’s one of songs where we get to use fans for the furitsuke. The band had earlier talked about how we hadn’t used them yet, so this was our chance. It was really wonderful to see all our fans moving in motion together, with the energy of the song. Which is a really fun or funny song depending on your view.

Lastly, was the ever iconic “SENKOU“. Gotta say, it’s a great song to end the set with. Really overall to end the Sendai stop with, since it really rounded out the setlist and mood of the day. Even after the song ended, all us fans were still buzzing. Seeing the four of them come together and say their final thank-you’s for the night was amazing.

And it wasn’t over yet! There was the opportunity to buy a CD, and get one random 2-shot cheki with the member. Of course, it was for CD’s I already owned but… I bought four more copies and got a cheki for each member! The fans were super organized since we had buses or trains to catch, and went by priority of who needed to leave. I scooped up a ton of merch beforehand of course.

So I chatted with one of the fans in-line. It was the first time, where I felt comfortable enough to attempt to talk with them. They were really sweet, and I’m glad I didn’t completely drop the ball talking with them. Then, I managed to get to my own session with the band.

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They all immediately remembered me! The perks of not looking Japanese, in Japan! Immediately, they launched into thanking me for ideas for their Texas trip/performance. First up was Hal, he was really coming up with a fair amount of English to talk with me about. It was sweet. Rikito was next…

This is probably my fan-girl zone time. So Rikito kinda pushed his way to go next, before Shogo and Chisa. He was so excited to tell me about Texas, and suggest a pose for the picture and just… he might be stealing my heart a bit. He’s so sweet, and really affectionate like damn. I’m really glad I remembered to write him a note since his birthday was coming up.

Next came Shogo, who I think has finally warmed up to me. Before he always seemed a little nervous talking with/ being near me. So we did a pose where we pretended to hold the giant hamburgers of Texas. It was really sweet and fun. Chisa was sweet, telling me about the spicy sauces. At the end, I managed to tell them that it was my first time hearing “Monster”, my favorite song, live and thank you! Just ahhh~~~ feeling of meeting them and talking almost naturally, was amazing!

While I was riding my high of hearing the band, and meeting them there was getting the train. See the thing is; it was a Sunday. I had work the next day, but decided I was young and fuck it. This was not a thing to just say fuck it and do, but here I was anyway.

I managed to maneuver all my stuff (goods, purse, dinner, gifts for co-workers, etc), and sleep for a total of 90 minutes on the train. I then had to get off, and from the station drive two hours back to my house, take a shower and be ready for work the next day. So when I rolled into school, on time and appropreiately dressed mind you; I got some looks from my co-workers.

Did I have to sheepishly explain what I chose to do? Yup, but all in all it was worth it.

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