This is the second time in two months I have been fortunate enough to see a great lineup come through Osaka. Previously it was Rise Against, ANTI-FLAG and No use for a name, a show that rocked in and of itself. But this show was a bit more special for me: I was going to see my friend Steve, someone I hadn't seen in a long time. Halfway through Belvedere's set I was thinking to myself "This is absolutely nuts. I remember practicing with Steve in my basement 11 years back, and now 10,000km away and years later I'm watching him rock the hell out of Osaka." It was amazing.
At any rate, on with the review!
Belvedere opened up and played a very tight set. They entertained the crowd even though I can count on one hand the number of people who understood what they were saying. If they put up their arms and smiled they cheered, and if they did nothing the crowd was silent. Two things about Japanese punk kids: they don't give a shit as long as the music rocks and they don't yell between songs very often. At one point Jay was trying to get a circle pit going and only after a hilarious demonstration done in conjunction with Steve did they manage to get the kids going in a somewhat circle-ish pit. The three songs they played back-to-back-to-back for the circle pit were rockin hard and fast as well. Overall I enjoyed the set immensely though my request that they play some Slayer was snubbed (Graham did try by playing the intro drums from "Killing Fields", though).They did mention they had a crush on those hot chicks in Useless ID, however...
...to which Useless Id responded in their set by saying something about 'Canadian cock being the best' (hey thanks) and some crazy story about before they were born and something that happened in a dark room with Belvedere involving bathing suit areas and such. But again the crowd cheered when they talked or moved and were silent if they didn't and these guys had just as much fun with the crowd as Belvedere did. They played a good tight set and their style has far more energy live than I expected and at one point they played a bit of Master of Puppets, which I thought was cool. After the show one of the Useless ID guys kept yelling crazy random things in the entrance by the merch about "Buying a t-shirt if you're a cunt" and "Free t-shirts for punks" (He unfortunately retracted that when I said I was punk which I thought wasn't very punk ;). All in all, hilarious.
The Vandals were fantastic, as per usual. They opened with 43210-1 and moved into It's a fact, which got the crowd going instantly. As far as I could tell there was no set list, just Dave calling the songs as they went. They played for about an hour plus a good 20 minutes or so for I have a date, but more on that later. The crowd surfers during the Vandals set were insane. I swear some of these guys are made of rubber, watching them go down like a ton of bricks on their backs and bouncing right back up for more. They played a real variety of material from several albums with a slight preference for tracks from superstuds. Personal favorites for me were NIMBY and Cafe 405. Soccer Mom sounded great live too, the crazy metal parts were fun. Between songs Warren and Dave were doing a strange but comedic "Ooooooooooo-SAKAAAAA!" chant which the crowd loved. For the last track (before the encore) they played Girlfriend's Dead and it was a nice choice to close with because after seeing them live it reminded me (once again, as it does every time I see them) how funny the songs are. As for the encore, Warren came out with some hilarious fluffy red underwear and a shiny silver cape. The underwear had a horse's head on it and while he was surfing on the crowd someone reached up and pulled him down by the crotch and revealed his unit,twig'n'berries, for all to see. The funny part was the whole time he was in the crowd being mobbed he was talking into the microphone saying things like "ow, ow, oh I like you, OW oh I don't like you, hey don't do that, be nice, I want to be friends but you're moving too fast for me, etc." in a way that only Warren Fitzgerald could manage. Eventually he managed to make it back to the stage and end out the song and a good time was had by all.
A show well worth my 5500 yen. I recommend checking out any one of these bands if you get the chance.