2012 Spring Eric Burton Temple Japan

An Interesting Concert

This past Tuesday my friend Jess and I went to Fever, a live music venue in Setagaya-ku, a few minutes outside of Shibuya.  I went to see an American artist (ironically) who goes by the name of Baths.  I heard various things about how the concert atmosphere is different in Tokyo, so I paid especially close attention to what was going on, and how things differed between the cultures.

One interesting thing about Japan is its relationship with technology.  I have noticed that while there is technology here that is much more advanced than American technology, there is still a tendency here in Japan to hold on to outdated technology.  A big example of this are arcades, which are still extremely popular here.  This desire to hold on to outdated concepts and lifestyles carries over into the concert scene as well.  Rarely do Americans go to a box office or Ticketmaster to buy tickets for an event.  The majority of tickets brought are brought online.  Although tickets are available online for most music events in Tokyo, most people tend to buy a physical ticket from a Loppi kiosk.  These kiosks are almost always located in Lawson’s コンビニ (convenience stores) around the city.  I actually like that it is done that way.  If you don’t buy merchandise at a concert then a ticket can serve as your keepsake.

When we first got there, the opening act was performing.  I expected to see some dancing, or at least some head nodding but for the most part everyone was chill.  It was hard to tell if they were even enjoying themselves.  As the night went on, me and Jess began to make our way to the front near the stage.  Back home, if I did not get to a show early I’d have to fight my way to the front, or just give up on the idea of going to the front altogether.  Here in Tokyo, everyone gave each other space,  you could even leave your spot and come back if you wanted.
When Baths came on the environment changed a little.  A few more people besides me and Jess were dancing, but it still seemed pretty relaxed for a concert.  Even Baths noticed it and could not understand why.  He tried to put even more effort into his performance and do some call-response games and it seemed to hype up the atmosphere somewhat.  What surprised me the most were these two guys in front of me.  They were the closest to Baths so you would expect them to be the most engrossed in the concert, yet they pretty much stood there and took in the music the entire time with little to no reaction.  I could not understand it.  They were at the front, so it was obvious that they were interested in the music, but they did not express that interest at all.  At the end of his performance, instead of hearing girls screaming and guys yelling, the crowd politely clapped for an almost endless amount of time.  Baths finally got the point that this was their version of an encore and came back out to perform two final songs.

The end of the concert was almost too immediate.  Back at home people tend to hang around for a good while to talk, and maybe catch the artist walking around in the crowd after the show.  The last train wasn’t for another two and a half hours yet pretty much everyone had left within a few minutes.  Of course it was so much easier for us to approach and talk to the artists, who were nice and open to conversation.  Overall, this experience was 面白い (interestingly funny).  It may take me some time for me to get used to the Tokyo concert scene.  じゃまた

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