Omokage Lucky Hole: The 20-Year-Old’s Worthless Coming of Age Ceremony Tour@Shinsaibashi Club Janus 08/26/2012

That’s the best way I can translate Hatachi no Neuchi mo Nai Seininshiki Tour.

So, I saw my favorite Japanese, X-Rated, funk, R&B, Showa ballad and Noir band’s twentieth anniversary concert in Osaka some weeks ago. Omokage Lucky Hole has been at it for a while, and in what almost seems like an excuse to just get back out there after not performing at all for the past eight months, the band did a short two-city “tour” spanning Tokyo and Osaka to commemorate twenty years of songs regaling tales of the unfortunate Japanese middle class, people who can’t keep their stuff in their pants, and those two things combined.

Since I live near Tokyo, it would have been easier to attend the Tokyo show, save for the fact that I was on vacation with my family while it was going on, so I couldn’t very well hop a plane to Tokyo, then hop on back to the US just for a concert. But the band’s Osaka show was scheduled right when I was set to come back to Japon, so I went ahead and secured myself a ticket for the show, got myself a bus to get down there, and hoped to god my flight back wouldn’t be cancelled or delayed like every single other time I was coming back to Japan. Don’t fly United, folks. Just sayin’.

But yeah, seeing as I saw this show literally right as I landed in Japan, I was suffering from both jetlag and having to contend with a lack of sleep due to the guy to my right falling asleep on me on the night bus. So, unlike the Ebisu show, I don’t remember very much… aside from the fact that it was a really fun show.

The venue, Club Janus, was slightly smaller than LIQUIDROOM, and the stage was quite close to the ground. Seeing as how there were no barriers between the stage and the floor, it was easy to get up close and personal. Before the show, a lot of the people standing at the front could actually see the setlist pasted to the floor, and were peering over to see spoilers. I looked a little, but I wanted most of it to be a surprise, so I exercised restraint.

As usual, I was the only round-eye in the room, and given what I’ve heard about Osakans being more social animals than the folks that reside up in Tokyo, I was hoping at least one person would come up and talk to the one foreigner in the room, because I’d be damned if I were to. Alas, no one did. I guess if anything, OLH fans are more on the shy otaku side of things. That said, there was a slightly diverse slice of humanity at the show, including the aforementioned otaku types, hipsters, couples, and really old men who look like they could be characters in OLH songs. I wouldn’t say couples being there surprised me, but if I could find a girl who likes Omokage Lucky Hole, I think I’d be set. It’s quite surprising how many women like the band, as there were a fair amount of girls there with their girlfriends, or by themselves. And even amongst the couples, the girls seemed more into it than the guys. While people watching and feeling slightly annoyed that no-one was talking to me, I saw aCKy peek through the backstage door, and my heart kyun’d for a split second.

At 6:03, the room went black, and Enka music poured out from the speakers. Then suddenly, the song started skipping… right on the word “omokage”…

It is at this point that the band walked out, took their positions, and opened the show. aCKy was dressed completely in pink as usual, this time wearing what looked like a marching band leader’s outfit, except not. I was stood right in front of one of the backup vocalists–the sexy one–and she would keep making eyes at me throughout the show. I couldn’t tell what the first song was from the opening notes, but after the first horn riffs and aCKy’s entrance, it turned out to be Watashi ga Kurumaisu ni Nattemo. The live performance of this song seemed slightly looser than what appears on the album, and like most of the more upbeat OLH songs, it came with a dance, and if you’re standing right in front of the stage (like I was), you had better dance. It’s kind of like wotagei, except less complicated and maybe slightly more goofy and embarrassing.

After that, the band launched into another number from Whydunit?, my personal favorite Pachinko Yatteru Aida Ni Umarete Mamonai Musume wo Kuruma no Naka de Shinaseta… Natsu. Like last time, aCKy did the housewife voice while signing it. Guess that’s just how they do that song live.

Skipping forward a bit in the discography, they performed the first song off their new record, Como Esta NTR. I don’t remember much, except for the hand gestures you’re supposed to do when he says “N T RRRRRRRRRRR.” Oh yeah, and one of the backup singers let out the sexy moan that is sampled in the album version of the song. Everyone got a kick out of that.

Following the first three songs, aCKy MC’d for a bit, mostly making fun everyone for liking Omokage Lucky Hole, and insisting that everyone that listens to them just has dirty minds and is misinterpreting their music. Clearly, Okaasan to Isshou (more on that later…) is a completely pure song, and Pachinko is a deadly serious song about a deadly serious issue.

The band then transitioned to a classic that I hadn’t seen live before, Suki na Otoko no Namae Ude Ni Compass no Hari de Kaita. It was a very good performance, but seeing as I’ve seen a few videos of that song being performed, there weren’t many surprises.

Continuing on in the vein of songs from older albums, the band banged out another awesome performance of Annani Hantai Shiteta Otousan ni Beer wo Tsugarete. Kaori absolutely owned the song with her killer saxophone performance, and aCKy threw in a neat jab at the Aeon chain of shopping malls in the lyrics, resulting in chuckles from the audience. The song usually ends with the backup singers repeating the chorus, while aCKy soulfully yells while attempting to say some weird English phrase over and over. It used to be “gotcha gotcha” but now it seems he’s into “sock it to me” as it sounded like he was saying that over and over.  Not sure what it has to do with the song, but it works.

Jumping back to songs from their album, they performed Wet. As it’s a really new song, they played it straight and didn’t really mess around. I like Wet, and it definitely had more punch live.

The band then took another break to MC, with aCKy talking about other bands currently celebrating their 20th anniversary.

“So… I was thinking, there aren’t that many bands out there that have been going for 20 years, right? I was doing some research the other day, and I found out about this one band. I’m not sure if you know them, but have you heard of a band called Mr. Children? Seems they’ve been going for 20 years too, and have really surged in popularity! I mean, we’ve going for about the same amount of time, so why aren’t we that popular? Like, at the beginning we really tried to do this thing right… I wonder where it all went wrong…”

It was on this note that band launched an absolutely beautiful rendition of Pillow Talk, Tagalog Go. Seeing as this is probably one of the band’s oldest songs, it’s seen a lot of evolution through various live shows. The arrangement was nothing like anything on the albums the song appears on, lyrics were altered, and there were instrumental breaks courtesy of Kaori on sax and Tecchan on guitar. It was a stunning and moving performance, and I hope I have the opportunity to see it again on the future. The song ended with continuous cries of “tagalog-go…”

This slow and moving performance was followed by the up-beat Konya, Sugamo De. Since this is another one I’ve seen live before, there weren’t many surprises, except that aCKy hilariously messed up the lyrics right from the get go. He is an old man, after all.

Continuing on from that was Gomumari. I’m not that wild about this song, so I basically just tuned out as it was going on. It sounds good live, but I’m just not that big on it. It’s one of the few OLH duds.

After the slow ballad that is Gomumari, the band switched gears to the painfully sarcastic and innuendo laden Okaasan to Isshou. Before I go any further, allow me to explain just how good of a title Okaasan to Isshou is. “Okaasan to Issho” simply means “Together With Mom” (and is also the name of a TV program, I believe) but “Okaasan to Isshou” (long O sound) means “Together With Mom Forever.” To make it even better, when the title appears at the start of the music video, it takes a while before that extra “う” appears to complete the long O sound.

Anyway, it was a straight forward performance as it’s a new song, but once again aCKy got verses mixed up. The people next to me noticed, too. Probably the best part of the performance was everyone on stage pretending to ride horses while slapping the pretend horse’s butt during the portion of the song near the end about “horsey play” with mom.

Following this was the last bit of MCing, where aCKy just said inappropriate things that were beeped out, then made jokes about how there are tons of “beeps” in our daily life. It seems that’s a routine that they’ve done before, as a similar routine appeared on the bonus DVD that came with their new album.

OLH then turned the speed up to 11 and blasted off with a typically killer performance of Second no Love. As usual, since it’s a newer song, they played it pretty straight, but it sounded good.

Following on from that was another killer in the form of Kore ga Kore na Mon de, a song I’ve been dying the see live. It was really fun–the dance moves are goofy, and the instrumental breakdown is really fun to get down to. Given that the song’s chorus is ambiguous, seeing the band act out what they mean by those words gives the song added meaning, and sheds light onto why the guy who made this video knew what they were referring to. I guess he’s seen the song live before! Turns out the chorus, “kore ga kore na mon de”, is the Japanese equivalent to “she’s been knocked up”, which is incidentally the English title OLH gave the song. Now all those hand gestures make sense! But I still think the end of the song is meant to be ambiguous unless you’ve seen the live shows.

Closing off the set was the second to last song on their new album, Yotsuunbai Sweets–or in English, Doggy Style Sweets. It’s a slow and jazzy piece that lets the horn section really show off their stuff. It also closes off on extended horn and guitar solos, so it’s a pretty good song to close off on.

But, of course there was an encore. I know! I saw it written on the setlist!

After the prescribed audience demands for an encore, aCKy busted in with an even gaudier outfit than before. It looked like pajamas that someone would wear in the 1980s. Heck, they probably were the pajamas he wore in the 1980s. They were primarily pink, natch.

The first song in the encore was Vegetable Blues off their new album. All I really remember from this was aCKy pretending to pull his pants up whenever he said “yoissho.”

After that was a great performance of the classic Ore no Sei De Koushien ni Ikenakatta. (Funny story, I sung this song at karaoke once and actually made someone angry, but that’s a story for another place and time.) aCKy usually likes to talk instead of actually singing this song, but instead he got through a lot of it without that many wisecracks. It’s a really fun song because the dance moves are really simple, and it’s really easy to get caught up in its energy.

And like last time, the band closed out on Tokyo (Ja) Night Club (Wa). As usual, it was a high energy performance that was tons of fun, and like last time, aCKy stripped down to his underpants, except this time he was wearing pink briefs instead of a thong. He shook his butt at the audience, and like a few other people, I copped a feel.

It was sweaty.

After the show people lined up to get signatures. I came up, and like a loud ass American yelled, “HELLO!”

He replied back with a tired “Hello.”

I then said–in English–as written on their albums covers, “You don’t mess aroun’ with Omokage Lucky Hole!”

He retorted with, “WHERE IS THAT?! WHERE IS THAT WRITTEN?!

I then point to it on the album cover, and we seemed to come to an understanding. He asked me how I got into the band (Natsu no Arashi) and where I’m from, but then he dropped something shocking on me…

“You’re that guy who always posts about us on Twitter all the time, aren’t you? The whole band knows you.”

And with that he signed my CD and I got some nerd to take a blurry picture of me with aCKy. aCKy was also so tired that he missed the last syllable in my name while signing, but hey, whatever! I have a bitchin’ signed copy of On The Border now! I should have brought Melo

After that I killed time in Hub waiting for my bus back. The place was filled with Japanese couples and drunk white dudes hitting on everyone’s girlfriend.

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4 Responses to Omokage Lucky Hole: The 20-Year-Old’s Worthless Coming of Age Ceremony Tour@Shinsaibashi Club Janus 08/26/2012

  1. shindou says:

    hehehe, that musta shocked the shit outta you, huh :P

  2. schneider says:

    I watched the video of Kore ga Kore na Mon de. How does this thing still exist in Youtube??

  3. InazumaKick says:

    God this sounds like a good time. Something to try and do when I finally get to Kin-Nihon next year.

    Uh, hope you washed your hands after though…

  4. wah says:

    Shindou: Yes. Yes it did.

    Schneider: Yeah, weird huh?!

    Inazuma: I am never washing this hand ever again.

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