Somewhere Nowhere 1995 Live Report
Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll
Photography by Inoue Seiichi
Text by Oshibe Keiko
At long last, “Six/Niɴe” begins!!
Breaking report!! 2 Days’ Concert at Budokan
The curtains have finally been raised on BUCK-TICK’s tour, Somewhere Nowhere 1995 with their 2 days of opening concerts at Budokan on May 16th and 17th. Their sound becomes ever more experimental with each new release. But even as their staging becomes less appealing to the general masses, the band’s collective power remains unparalleled. Now, we’ll tell you all about what the concert was like, ahead of everyone else in this ultra breaking report that made our printing company cry.
Their continual search for sonic innovation while maintaining a pop presence is even more poignant
BUCK-TICK’s long-awaited album, Six/Niɴe was released on May 15th. They kicked off their tour, “Somewhere Nowhere 1995” with 2 days of opening concerts at Budokan on May 16th and 17th.
This tour will go on for a period of approximately 2 months, ending with their final 2 days at Osaka Koseinenkin Hall¹ on August 2nd. As this magazine will go on sale when the tour is still in its first leg, I will do my best to refrain from spoiling the setlist in this report.
Two days before the start of the tour, the band played at Shinjuku LIQUIDROOM².
Compared to an auditorium, the ambience of a live house makes it easier to bring out a sense of euphoria and a particular communal sense of unity. And I frankly think that more often than not, the closer you are [to the performers], the more tangibly thoughts and feelings can be conveyed.
However, after watching these two shows, I realised that in the case of BUCK-TICK, it was easier for them to get their message across when there’s a certain amount of distance between them and the audience.
Because their show isn’t the type where the energy gets amplified by getting the audience involved. Instead, I feel that it draws you in with a deliberately constructed overall mood on top of an increasingly unique ambience in terms of sound. Coming too close will contrarily make it difficult for them to convey this ambience, as if in a bid to create some kind of distance.
For example, in a live house, Sakurai’s lines in Somewhere Nowhere or even his screams sound like a script from an avant-garde play with a rawness that left me at a loss as to how to react, but in Budokan, it came across with a poignant effect instead.
If musicians innovated without losing their inquisitive spirit with each new work they put out, just like BUCK-TICK, then oftentimes, the range of audiences they can reach narrows. That is to say in other words, the factors of the greatest common denominator, or their mass appeal, diminishes.
But BUCK-TICK’s audience have always been flexible in accepting whatever they release. I think that is in part a result of giving typically-passive audiences a sense of autonomy through the process of them evolving their sound all while compellingly drawing in listeners. Because of that, even songs like Uta can be classified as pop as long as it is being performed by BUCK-TICK.
Personally, it’s BUCK-TICK’s band power of randomly shifting values that intrigues me.
This new album appears to be an attempt to rebuild using new elements after demolishing a certain level of mastery they had attained in their last. It is exceptionally proper of them as artists to disregard the pursuit of any sort of “likeness” or anything like that amidst the pre-established harmony. This stance along with their consistent ability to draw in an audience makes for a simply gratifying tale.
But how does the audience view this present album? While there is an increased sense of “better conveyed from a distance” in their pursuit of innovation, I also got the feeling that there was diminished connectedness with the audience. Watching the arena from the second floor, I could see that although the audience understood the band’s stance, they yearned for moments when they could somehow connect with the men on stage somewhere.
Like the tune hummed after the Uta’s break, or Sakurai’s short emcee. In those moments when it felt like there was some way to connect with the stage, the audience felt as if they were groping around trying to find it.
The main set comprised only songs from the new album, arranged such that it would bring the singular flow to a close at the end.
Caught up in such a flow, I think the audience felt that it was easiest to eke out those “moments” during the song from Kurutta Taiyou, which the band played in the encore. But that connection was severed all too soon the moment the song ended and the auditorium light up. While there might be those who simply enjoy this set up or who get some sort of masochistic pleasure from this, I’m sure there are also those who were left feeling like there’s unfinished business.
However, this concert was held the day following the release of the album which also means that not everyone was familiar with the music yet.
Taking that into consideration, at this point in time, it is still a mystery as to whether the uncertainty exhibited by the audience was because of that, or due to the confusion around the band’s direction in the new album.
It will be interesting to see what the mood in the various tour venues will be like as [the audience] soaks in the album.
At the same time, it is as Yagami Toll said during his interview for the new album; the band’s principal stance is to disregard their audience and do whatever they want.
How “pop” of an existence will this piquantly self-seeking band who hurtles headlong into going their own way continue to be for their audience from now on? Will their sound evolve as they figure out how to keep up their centripetal force so strong that it transforms their worth? Looking at the way they’re going recently, I personally feel that there’s a lot we can expect from them in this respect.
¹ Now known as Orix Theater.
² First opened in July 1994 before shutting in January 2004. Later that year in July, they moved to Shibuya and reopened.
Scans: Endless Dei (@DeiEndless on Twitter)