Summer Sonic is one of the best summer fests for foreigners. (Because most of the others are pretty much japanese bands only.) Although i haven’t been there last year (went home instead), this year i couldn’t help it. Especially when i saw Dream Theater and Coheed and Cambria in the lineup. Those two bands alone would worth the roughly 15000 yen entry fee.
It was held on Maishima, an island of Osaka. The train station was much farther from the location though – it took a 20 minute shuttle bus ride (thus 800 yen plus) to get there. The area of the festival was much different from what i got used to. It wasn’t closed at all – they only checked the wristbands at the entrances of the stage areas. Even there… Well i’d say a cunning person with a printer could pull it off without much problem. This is how the wristband looks (plastic). (Also, my pink spot is visible too – a drop of bbq sauce fried me there a while ago in Kyoto.)
The place itself was quite big though. There were a few places only designated as “free” where anyone could lay down to have a nap or sit down eating or whatever. The rest were stages and food-drink-smoke shop areas. The bigger free area was just behind the Sky stage (my style, prog-rock, metal and the kind), looking straight at the main stage (whatever). This is it.
More on the music then. I just got there when the pillows started playing. You know, they are the almost-punk rocker japanese band who created most of the FLCL soundtrack. Put it simply: they are awesome. They even played Hybrid rainbow, my fave song, so i was overjoyed.
After the pillows came one of the reasons i went to Summer Sonic at all: Coheed and Cambria. The american prog rockers played for a surprisingly small crowd. It was great. What great, great! They played great songs and only great songs, and Claudio Sanchez (the vocalist) has really funny hair. It’s like a normal body with a huge blob of hair in the place of the head, with a chin occasionally appearing.
When Coheed and Cambria finished there was still plenty of time till Sum41 started on the main stage, but i went there nevertheless. I decided to go wild, so fought my way in as deep in the crowd as i could before the gig even started–with a japanese friend. But when it started, well there was no stopping it. Then i really regret that i didn’t put down all my stuff into a locker, but whatever. Massive moshing, lots of jumping, then more moshing… Sum41, the same Sum41 from when i was what? 13? They rocked. Even played the Master of Puppets (Metallica) for fun. When “Bizzy D” told everyone to shut up, but nothing happened i shouted “SO ARE WE STILL WAITING!” – in reference to the only song i really liked from the band, titled So am i still waiting. And hell yeah, that was what came. Crowdsurfed, then had a nice headbang (can’t do that in crowd, kills people).
After Sum41, i realised my ipod and my watch fell from my pocket during the gig – i didn’t have much hope to find them… Whatever, i had like two and a half hours until Dream Theater started, so i just walked around. Saw a band called Hole with a blonde chick for singer who was always going around whether we want rock or pop (all that on the rocker stage)… listened for short to a few black guys hiphopping on the main stage… But then i had something good.
Slash. The Slash. You know, that big guy with the huge hat. That guy, the guitarist of Guns’n’Roses. That Slash. They played many good songs, most of which were GNR. But a bit too long. It was especially creepy when Michael Monroe appeared on stage and he and Slash started hugging each other as “old friends”. Now that guy looks sick. But Slash played great, Myles Kennedy on vocals did a fantastic job, and they rocked.
During the Paradise City mosh, i managed to get to the front, third row roughly. Needed that: Dream Theater was on next. However tired i was during Slash’s gig, as soon as the prophets of prog appeared on stage, my tiredness disappeared into nowhere. They are the band who can play multiple over-10-minute songs in a live concert without getting boring. They played roughly ninety minutes, and many-many fantastic songs. Ecstatic experience. Just standing there, singing along, watching world-top musicians impro solos just a few metres away… Epic.
It was a great day. My ipod and my watch were at the lost items place, luckily – this i could never expect at a home fest for sure. In a break between the gigs i had yakisoba (fried pasta, basically) for lunch, and immeasurable amounts of that Pocari Sweat drink they were selling there. Also i ran into a few club senpai totally unexpected. Oh, and the funniest thing:
Longer queue for guys’ toilets than for the ladies’. First time i’ve seen toitoi with japanese style toilet in it. Shocking.
Whatever. I’m not supposed to end my post with toilets. Summer Sonic was great. The next day was the Offspring and Pendulum, but i couldn’t be there for reasons detailed in later posts. Nevertheless, this one day was totally worth it. Many great gigs, i even managed to crowdsurf again, and i’ve seen Dream Theater for the many’th time. It was great.