Went to the Mono and Envy show at the Ebisu Liquid Room last night to try to expand my musical horizons a bit... but my effort flopped. Both bands are popular with the alternative Japan music crowd, Mono playing instrumental post-rock and Envy, an artistic hard-core. Unfortunately, I just couldn't make it through Mono's set and left before Envy started.
I know Mono has lots of foreign fans, especially in the U.S., where they tour constantly (Rock of Japan has several years' worth of praising gig reviews, for example), and I could see at the show that they have their brilliant instrumental moments, but, heaven help me, their songs are SO predictable. Start quietly and slow. Gradually build up in intensity and speed. Climax! Return to quiet and slow. Repeat this 10-minute cycle 5 or 6 times. By the 2nd or 3rd cycle, I was nodding off. If, just once, they varied things a little by, say, doing a straightforward 5-minute tune, it might have broken my monotony, encouraging me to stay. But that didn't happen.
It also didn't help that Mono was one of those bands that say NOTHING on stage, not even their band name. They didn't even have a mike on stage! Call me old-fashioned, but I want to at least hear a few words from the band I came to see. I'm not expecting rakugo here: just a brief greeting is all I ask for. Otherwise, without any interaction between the band and the audience, what's the point of a live show? Why not just stay home and listen to your i-Pod?
Having watched so many shows over the past few years, I think my supply of patience is running low. There is one upside to leaving a show early, though, and that is the feeling of freedom you get when you step out of the live house into the streets of a Tokyo night that is still young. But I do wonder what the Envy show was like...