HUSKING BEE @ Shibuya AX (5th Sep '04)
Grey Skies Are Going To Clear Up …
There's nothing like a healthy dose of pop-punk with a bit of rock n' roll thrown in for good measure to help brighten moods on a rainy weekend. Right from the start of their sold-out show at Shibuya AX, Husking Bee seemed to be ready for the challenge of helping those gathered ignore the grey skies and put on a happy face.
Opening with "#4" and "A Small Potato's Mind", off of 2000's Four Color Problem, the Tokyo quartet quickly got the capacity crowd moving. Perched high above in the reserved seats, the floor below me was a blur of bouncing bodies and pumping fists.
Those pressed up against the guardrails screamed along to every lyric as the band unleashed the first three tracks off their new album, Variandante. Huddled close together on the venue's massive stage, there was little movement as the group turned out their three and a half minute pop-punk gems.
Taking over lead vocal duties from Masafumi Isobe, guitarist Kazuya Hirabayashi belted out "So Tragicomical" and "New Horizon". The solid combination of fast-paced, energetic songs somehow managed to get the audience even more excited, resulting in lots of dancing and much louder cheers.
Performing for almost 100 minutes, the evening's set touched upon each of the band's five studio albums with the majority of the tracks coming from Variandante. Working their way through 10 of the album's 12 cuts, Husking Bee ensured that those who haven't yet picked up the disc were given a good preview of what they can expect when they finally do. Following in the same vein as the group's previous efforts, the strong, infectious material proved why Husking Bee is considered one of Japan's best rock bands at home and abroad.
Ensuring that the audience stayed completely wound up throughout the encore, the group ended with tight versions of "The Sun And The Moon" and "Cosmic Rays". As the lights on stage rapidly spun around, the lit-up floor became a tangled web of limbs as fans jumped, danced, and crowd surfed. After a brief break the band re-emerged for a well-received three-song encore. Thanking the crowd for their support, they made their way towards the dressing room to towel off.
However, the audience wasn't ready to go home just yet and their applause brought Isobe out for a second encore. Seated at center stage, his melodic vocals filled the venue as he strummed an acoustic guitar. Standing up when finished, the chair was removed and he was re-joined by his bandmates. Having stayed still during the previous track, the crowd was well rested and raring to go as soon as Isobe and Hirabayashi began to play their electric guitars. As the band ploughed through their closing song, the rowdy audience did their best to ensure that they left drenched in sweat.
Judging by the high-fives being exchanged between fans and the big goofy grins splattered across faces filing into the lobby it was evident that the band made the crowd forget about the soggy weather. Although it began to rain again soon after the show finished, Husking Bee made certain that if nothing else, at least the spirits of those in attendance would not be dampened.
report by shawn and photos by yusuke
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