Monday, June 21, 2004

Goodbye, Burger Nuds

Tonight is the sold-out final show of Burger Nuds, at the Shinjuku Loft.

I made several half-hearted attempts to get tickets to the show, but was unsuccessful each time. First, I was planning to buy them from Pia, the ticket service, but forgot about when they would go on sale. The tickets sold out in less than half an hour.

I also tried Yahoo auction, where the tickets went on sale several times in the weeks before the Loft show. At one point I was willing to pay up to Y15,000 (about $140) for a pair, but someone outbid me at the last moment at Y15,500. My maximum bid would have worked out to Y7,500 a ticket, compared with the Y3,000 cover price. Not an exhorbitant mark-up, and if it were another band I might have paid more for a goodbye performance. But I didn't feel like forking out the big bucks (big yen, rather) for the Burger Nuds.

I would have liked to have seen the show if possible, but if I couldn't, that was that.

That was not a feeling shared by the legion of Burger Nuds fans, who for weeks had been posting their messages of lament on the band's home page BBS. Some of these fans wrote that they cried and suffered insomnia upon finding out the Nuds were splitting up.

Many of the hapless girls (and they were mostly girls) said that for one tactical error or another, they failed to buy the tickets -- they couldn't log on to Pia in time, for example. One complaint was that the Shinjuku Loft was too small a venue for the final performance of a popular band like the Burger Nuds. And that was probably true: Fairly recently the band had played at the Shinjuku Liquid Room, a much bigger hall, and it seemed to me they could have filled up other big clubs like the Quattro or O-West/O-East in Shibuya.

I'd seen them live three times, once in Nagoya, another time in the basement of Tower Records Shibuya, and most recently at the Liquid Room show mentioned above. A trio of good-looking twenty-something guys, they played with nervous precision their long and unfolding hard rock tunes. Although their songs dealt with poetic young adult angst-type subject matters (with titles like "Normal Abnormal" and "Candle for minority"), in person they were disarmingly down-to-earth and goofy without seeming to intend it.

For instance, the singer Monden made me almost giggle at the Liquid Room when he said something like, "Do you believe in magic? I can use magic, because the music I play can make you happy." Another time, at the Tower Records show, when the audience wouldn't leave because the show was so short and they wanted an encore, he stood at the exit saying they had to get out because their allotted time was over, then shook the hands of the dozens of girls leaving the place.

Sadly, there will soon be little record left that Burger Nuds existed. They said their record label won't print any more of their CDs, so once the disks are sold out in the stores, they are gone for good. At least they will live on for a while in the minds of all those girls, many of whom doubtless spent the evening in semi-hysterical tearfulness, who either made it to the show or didn't and imagined it at home. Goodbye, Burger Nuds.

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