Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Pillows @ Gramercy Theater 9/11/11

The Pillows, rocking.
Sunday, September 11th, 2011.  In the truest spirit of New York City, there was life, vibrancy and celebration amidst our mourning.  I admit at first I was not comfortable with traveling to Manhattan for a concert on the anniversary of the most devastating terrorist attack in human history, but at the same time I was faced with a rare opportunity and a chance to maintain normalcy.  You see, that evening I had tickets see the Japanese band The Pillows at Gramercy Theatre.  A band that had only visited America five times, and who is responsible for the soundtrack to my favorite anime of all time, Fooly Cooly (FLCL).

The crowd was extremely hyped for the show.  There's always a special energy that comes with a band that has more of a cult following than popular hits.  Before we get to the headlining act, we must give our respect to the opening bands, who both in their own way brought a lot to the show.  The theme for the evening was Japan to be sure, with two additional bands from, or with strong ties to the country.

The first band was All Ages who, for an opening act, brought a ton of energy and received it in full back from the crowd.  They featured a mix of English and Japanese lyrics and talked about their involvement with charity groups following the devastating tsunami that rocked Japan only a few months ago.  In fact, they sponsored their own charitable organization in which their fans contributed and made banners with words of support.  The band then personally delivered the messages and support to provinces in need.  All in all, I was very impressed with the group and promptly downloaded their newest album "A New Kind of Citizen".

I was already sold when I saw that hair.
 Next up on the stage was the all-female group Noodles.  They brought with them a classic rock sound.  All of their lyrics were in Japanese, but that was no barrier with the audience.  With strong yet simple rhythms and catchy riffs, it's no surprise that they had their own following on hand at the show.

We are Noodles!

Finally, the band we'd all been waiting for. The Pillows took the stage.  All of the energy that the first two acts had brought was instantly doubled as the lead singer approached the mic.  They wasted no time in plunging into their set list and riding the crest of the audience's high.

For those not familiar with the group, the Pillows are most widely known in America for the soundtrack to the anime Fooly Cooly, or FLCL, which  aired on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in the early 2000's.  Although their fame in America is relatively recent, the band themselves has been on the scene in Japan since 1989.

Their set included many recognizable hits from FLCL as well as many other songs that their fans were familiar with.  They never let the crowd's spirit wane and put on what I would personally describe as one of the most fun concerts I have ever been to.  The only heart-breaking moment for me was in the middle of the song I'd been waiting to hear, "Ride the Shooting Star", when my camera told me that my memory card was full.  A lesson learned the hard way.  I did however get quite a few memorable moments and songs before losing camera capabilities.  All of which are available on my Google pics and YouTube accounts for your viewing pleasure.

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