Every year on November 26, advantage Lucy and Vasallo Crab 75 get together for a very touching event to remember their former guitarist, Takayuki Fukumura. The two bands meet up a few weeks before to think about ways to make that year's performance special. This time, the concept was a children's book. Wearing a wool cap, Lucy's Aiko and VC75's Daisuke Kudo came on stage to read about a lonely rabbit, lost in the woods, that meets other animals playing music. Their songs followed the short chapters. It was a fable about Fukumura's life.
The event is called Munekyun Arpeggio, 'mune-kyun' being a word Fukumura used in an ad looking for musicians for a band he wanted to create that would later become advantage Lucy. It's that feeling you can't describe when you experience something lovely, like, in my case, listening to an old advantage Lucy song for the first time in a while. Lucy guitairist Yoshiharu Ishizaka's take on the arpeggio is that it's a musical form of kindness. But he also said there's an element of eros in them.
Fukumura was a young master at crafting those 'kindly, erotic' progressions of musical notes. For each of the bands' finales, a song starting with a signature Fukumura arpeggio was played.
VC75's was their best song, 'Vicious Circle', and it was a rousing performance. Lucy's finale was that song that begins with my favorite rock intro, a six-second, miraculous wall of guitar sound—'Red Bicycle'. Lucy singer Aiko once wrote that Fukumura composed that intro in a Shinjuku recording studio, and, after hearing it, when she walked out later she felt the world outside had turned dazzlingly bright. Listening to it brings back to me memories of those early days back in 2003 and 2004, when I first started hitting the Tokyo clubs, walking the narrow alleys of Shimo-Kitazawa, Shibuya and Shinjuku in search of new music, making discoveries, meeting the music-makers, getting a floating feeling in the face of boundless possibilities.
Aiko's eyes reddened as she sang the finale. I didn't see Ishizaka-san, but a Lucy fan named Patrick, who took a midnight bus all the way from Tottori prefecture to see the show, said the guitarist was in tears by the end.
I was terminally mune-kyun for the next few days.