Tuesday, October 30, 2007

So I went to a concert last week

So I went to a concert last Sunday. (I got the ¥500 ticket for free.)

It was billed as "Blues Live Concert" (ブルースライブコンサート). Turns out that the name of the band is actually "Live". They were mainly an Eric Clapton cover band, with a few songs by other people as well.

The band consisted of a vocalist, a lead guitarist (not even CLOSE to Clapton quality), a bass player (actually a better guitarist than the lead) and a drummer. The rhythm guitar parts, and various other things like keyboards or horns, were covered by a CD player. They were neither insanely great nor insanely awful, but...

Why is it that the odds of an amateur band playing in a small auditorium (around 500 seats, I think) having a competent sound guy so close to nil? IT'S A TINY ROOM, DAMMIT, YOU DON'T HAVE TO CRANK EVERYTHING TO 11!

I also wondered why the bass player wasn't playing lead guitar. They played three sets, and the middle set was the bass player, solo, playing acoustic guitar and singing, and he had some serious guitar chops.

The lead guitar player, on the other hand, was merely adequate. When they played Hotel California, he didn't even bother trying to play the intro, instead just letting the CD of whatever canned MIDI box they used play it, while he played random noodling over the top. (But he did do a halfway decent run on the guitar part for "Long Train Running," go figure.)

I finally ended up leaving in the middle of the third set, when they swung into a far-too-electrified version of "Tears in Heaven."

Still, this wasn't the worst concert I'd seen in Japan.

The WORST concert I've ever been to in Japan was this guy in Kagoshima. He was just about to return to America (I think he had been a JET or something; I don't really recall.) Anyway, he thought he was hot stuff, and he rented a fairly large auditorium for a "farewell concert." In order to improve the appeal of this show, the guy (whose name I seem to have blocked out) arranged for a Latin dance group and a local acapella group to perform as well, and they were pretty good.

The guy himself, though....

As I recall, the tickets were on the pricey side, and this guy was really promoting himself as an up and coming new talent to justify this. Now, what with the hype and the price and all, I expected there to be a live band backing him up. Nope! He was using, and I am NOT making this up, karaoke CDs. What's worse, he didn't even bother using the karaoke pitch function to put the songs in a range that he could sing.

Don't get me wrong, he had a great range between F# and G...he couldn't stay on pitch to save his life. Coupled with the overacting histrionics -- the man thought he was Seal, or R Kelly, or something -- and it was all we could do to not start laughing. Lots of cringing, though. When he started doing the grand arm sweep to throw it back to his back-up singers CD player, I had to leave the auditorium before the laughter escaped.

On top of that, he pulled a real jerk move in the middle of the show that made all of us go from amusement to annoyance.

When the acapella group came out, they started with "Good Ol' Acapella," if I recall correctly, which was very well received. (After the GUY, anything that would have stayed in the correct key would have been lauded, and these guys were GOOD.) Then, the leader went into banter mode, and introduced the rest of the group. He was cracking jokes, and the small crowd was enjoying it -- finally, something entertaining!

Then they went into their second song, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Now, apparently the banter went long, and the GUY was fuming that the acapella group was actually way more entertaining than he was...so he turned the lights out on them.

They kept singing. In the dark, the GUY came out to argue with the leader. Finally, the leader cut the song short, and left the stage -- but with a loud ovation from the audience.

At the end of the show, the dance group came out for a final bow with the GUY, but the acapella group was nowhere to be seen...Go figure.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

What were they THINKING???

Um...okay, just...no.

Too many sarcastic comment possibilities...brain overload.
Time to go offline to sort and dump information....i.e. sleep.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dictionary hijinks

So I'm browsing through my electronic dictionary, trying to figure out how to say "This SUCKS!" in Japanese. After scrolling through a lot of other definitions ("sucking at the public teat," "sucking water through a straw," "sucking ****" (really!)), I finally get to the translation that I need.

And, paired with it is an example sentence. Now most of the example sentences in my dictionary are safely generic and bland. Not so with this definition.

They used a movie quote.

"K-mart sucks."

One minute of stunned incredulity;
followed by five minutes of sustained laughter.

Man, I needed that.

Oh, the Kmart stories I could tell...no, wait, I've blocked most of them out.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

No fun, continued.

Aftershock. Weak, yet still unsettling. Intensity 1 on the Japanese scale. The odd thing is, less than a kilometer away from here, the intensity was 3. It's odd because that's a kilometer FURTHER away from the epicenter.

It's midnight, almost, but I don't think I'll be going to sleep anytime soon. Whenever one of these events happens, I imagine feeling all sorts of follow up tremors...most of which I'm assuming are just in my head.

Time for a little PS2 action...

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

NOT a fun way to wake up

I'm sure I've blogged about this exact same thing before, but for the record, I must say it again:

A Level 3 intensity (on the Japanese scale of 1~7) earthquake is NOT a fun way to wake up in the morning. (The title link goes to the Japan Meteorological Website.)

Now, a Level 3, while scary enough when one is in the middle of it, isn't strong enough to do a lot of damage. So, this time, the worst thing about it is the fact that IT'S 3 IN THE F%&#ING MORNING, AND THE ADRENALINE WON'T LET ME GO BACK TO SLEEP!!!

Gah. Time to fire up some random video game system and beat the crap out of something.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

In case you were wondering...

...I'm still here. Sorry I haven't been posting more often; I've discovered that if you drop the blogging habit for a little while, it's difficult to get back into it.

It's been real busy at work, now that we've started elementary school visits for the second term. Busy, but nothing out of the ordinary, so not a lot of blogging inspiration there. But, I'm sure once i have more than two minutes of free time in a row, I'll think of more stuff to say.

I'll try to ramp up the posting frequency again soon.