The concert staff on Thursday were absolutely Gestapo about the “no recording” policy and screened for cameras, etc. at the door; they wouldn’t let people use their cellphones inside the hall (cameraphones) and admonished us even way up in the gallery seats for checking e-mails and such. Even though this is standard practice, I thought it was pretty gay since the concert kicked off late and the gap between the opening and main acts was so long (preventing Japanese from using their cell phones is like pulling cables to remove Neo from the Matrix). It made me happy to find out that my little bro managed to bring a camera in and snap off shots, possibly just out of spite for the rules (you gotta fight for your right…).
Overall, it was a good concert. Actually, since it may be their last gig here (there are rumours this is their last tour), and especially considering that we had free tickets, it was fairly awesome. Since it was a Wednesday night, the crowd was small, but it was good to see hardcore fans. Osaka-jo hall is an okay venue, acoustically, but considering the size of the crowd (1,500?) a better choice would have been, say, Mother’s Hall in Namba. There were some sound problems toward the end, but considering the Beasties’ varied set switching from hip hop to instrumental to guitar sound, it was understandable.
Opening act: Le Tigre. In my opinion, the Worst Opening Act for a Concert, Ever (second worst being a pop-locking mime act opening for the Cure many years ago). I know they are fairly popular right now in a pop chart flavor-of-the-month kinda way, so if you like them, sorry. I won’t even pass judgement on them from a musical aspect, but suffice to say they are not worthy of opening for the Beastie Boys. (One last thing about them – there are online reports that Le Tigre sounds like the B-52s. Get off the crack, people.)
The venue started with live video of some roadies pushing a crate toward the stage being projected against the main backdrop (the white square at the top of the photo). They stopped near the stairs to the stage and opened the crate to reveal… Mix Master Mike, who jumped out, vinyl in hand, got behind his turntables, and proceeded to rock the house all night.
He is definitely the favorite here in Japan, and for good reason – Japanese fans usually don’t know the names of the tracks, and most can’t understand the lyrics or references embedded within – but they all know the wizardry of Mikkusu Masuta Maiku. There are so many aspiring DJs/tablists in Japan (I even saw used 1100s on sale at a computer shop in Umeda yesterday), and they all know his name is earned. Among the other tweaks and tricks he put on display at the concert, I saw him bend a vinyl in half with both hands, throw it on the table, then bend the lip of it upward with his thumb, raising one side completely off the table as he scratched with it. Just fucking amazing and a complete joy to watch.
This is what I remember of the set:
Super Disco Breakin
Pass The Mic
Something’s Got To Give
Open Letter To NYC
Three MCs And One DJ
Check It Out
So Whacha Want
There were others, and it was a longer set than I expected, maybe an hour and a half. I was happy. Thanks for the tickets, T.
UPDATE: Official photos