Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hoover's Ooover At The O-West

I have trouble with big concert venues. A phobia of sorts. Ax, Zepp, Tokyo International Forum...I'm not a fan of any of them. Visions of animals being herded through the slaughterhouse... But these places can't always be avoided. Some good musicians are going to be successful and play the big halls, and I still want to see them. Recently, finally, I got into Ego-Wrappin, and bought a ticket to see the popular group at a large venue. I even considered catching Perfume at the city's ultimate mega-venue, Tokyo Dome, until figuring out the tickets were long sold out. It's clear I need to build some tolerance to these places. So, in that respect, going to see Hoover's Ooover's Japan tour final show at the O-West was probably a good thing.

The O-West is, along with the O-East, Quattro and Liquid Room, one of the second-tier live houses in terms of size. It was pretty full with Hoover's Ooover fans. The band was dressed up as usual in hipster-looking dark jackets and ties. They alternated between rocking renditions of songs from their latest album, 0.025%, and somewhat inane chatter about topics such as competing to push the 'stop' button on buses (to be first, should one press it right after passing the stop before one's own, risking the driver thinking you're pushing for that stop, or should one at least wait for the announcement to begin? etc). It was also Hoover's Ooover's 10th anniversary—on a show held on the tenth day of the tenth month of 2010. During the song “Mamimumemo”, some in the crowd spun one arm over the other, imitating the girl character in the music video. For the encore, Masami came on stage wearing a hand-made Thunder God headpiece, consisting of a green afro and horns (they played a song called “Kaminari Moyou”—signs of thunder—about a girl unhappy about her boy friend coming home in the morning) .

The show seemed shorter than other bands' “one man” gigs I'd been to, at about an hour and a half, which felt like an extended regular performance. Maybe that's their style. It was good show, and the band especially shined when doing faster songs like “Mamimumemo” and “Collection”. But there wasn't the close-up view of the band at a small place like the Basement Bar, and the musicians themselves seemed to have less movement and expression, though that might have been because I was watching from the back of the hall. At a Basement Bar show a few months back, I liked the way that Masami whipped her body away from the mike after song phrases. I've been to lots of great gigs at the Basement Bar...little places like it are always going to be my favorites.

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