live report - 11.09.2008 22:00

An Cafe celebrated their fifth anniversary year at a very special open air live 'ANCAFESTA'08 SUMMER DIVE' at Yokohama Akarenga.

For their fifth anniversary, self proclaimed "Harajuku Rock Kei" band An Cafe held an open-air live in Yokohama on August 30 titled ANCAFESTA'08 SUMMER DIVE. The group had never celebrated an anniversary before, but hopes to make the event annual, as something of "a trademark for the group", as Miku says.

A big An Cafe sign welcomed the crowds at the entrance to the venue, and as they passed it, they seemed to enter a different world. Inside were a dozen stalls, decorated with the band's pictures, some with food, such as crepes and kebab, "produced" by the band members, and drinks, including an original An Cafe drink. There was a display of the band’s costumes as well as posters from different eras, and of course merchandise stands, with a large variety of photographs, T-shirts, DVDs, photo books and more. Even an hour before the start of the concert, many cafekko (as the band refers to it's fans) built long queues to get merchandise or try out the special foods, while watching the band’s videos, played on a big screen above the stage.

The audience was colourful, mostly young people dressed in extravagant clothes, some cosplayers, foreigners, and even children, and a surprising proportion of fans were male. Fans came from different cities, as the band kindly organized special bus tours from Osaka and Nagoya. Sitting tickets for the show were sold out completely, and the band had to organize additional standing places to accommodate more public, making for an audience of four thousand people.

Most fans were wearing raincoats, as the weather had been rather unwelcoming, but luckily the rain stopped just before the band was to enter the stage. As the opening music started playing, fans jumped to their feet and clapped their hands, as the smiley face of the big screen requested them to do. Photos from all of the bands career were flashed, then an image on the big screen showed Teruki, as the camera followed him getting up onto the stage. The audience cheered as one by one Yu-ki, kanon, takuya and finally Miku ran onto the stage, playing with the camera and greeting them. As all members gathered on the stage smiling, dressed in the same clothes they wear in their recent SUMMER DIVE PV, smoke was shot up with a loud sound, the lights brightened the hall and the hit Maple Gunman started the play, while the fans danced and sang along eagerly. The band’s skills were amazing, as they managed to play flawlessly while moving around the stage; especially impressive was takuya’s beautiful guitar solo. As smoke filled the stage, the second song, Touhikairo started. kanon and takuya switched places, running to the very ends of the opposite sides of the long stage, interacting with the audience, and in the mean time Yu-ki and Miku danced with the crowd. Miku has shown that not only he sings smooth and catchy melodies, but is able to produce powerful growls, worthy of a hard rock band.

An MC followed, as Miku shouted "We wanted to see you! Did you want to see us?" and the audience cheered loudly, and all together the thousands of people screamed, "Nyappy!" The members took turns to talk, and some of them mentioned the bad weather and said that the day before they were despaired and even thought about canceling the live, but luckily decided "Let’s do it!". Many jokes were made (mostly "Yu-kiki" was made fun of, which seemed to be a reoccurring theme), and finally, Miku announced to the surprise and awe of the audience that today’s live was very special for him - his parents, whom he talked very warmly about, were among the audience!

The live continued with Takaido, a member introduction song, which hasn’t been played live for a long time. The audience enthusiastically screamed the band’s name, then the names of the individual band members, as they came to the front to great the crowd. The next song was the energetic Cherry saku yuuki!!, followed by Snow scene, during which takuya and kanon stood across from each other 'battling' during their flawless solos. The band performed Ese uranai, with wide smiles on their faces; fans screamed along loudly as a cute smiley face 'danced' on the big screen.

Another MC followed, where Miku asked the audience whether they have done anything interesting this summer, and receiving a very quiet reply he pitied the cafekko, and repeated the question to the band members. Teruki went for a walk through Takeshita dori in Harajuku (the alternative fashion capital of Tokyo), and no one on the street talked to him! He was only recognized by one woman in a shop, because they had met previously. Teruki showed the camera funny unofficial photos of the band that he bought in that shop (along with photos of Johnny's). kanon talked about meeting school friends, drinking and trying to talk to some girl, who completely blanked him, making the audience laugh. Yu-ki started talking about going to Odaiba (a place in Tokyo) with his family, but he was interrupted again and the MC continued with takuya’s story of reading Dragon Ball and Miku’s of going to a park.

Finally, Miku screamed "You will be happy to hear this song!", and indeed the audience cheered loudly, hearing the introduction of Odoru meruhen dokei, and continued dancing along with Miku. For Ame no hankagai, the band performed calmer, concentrating on the music, as the powerful vocals and another one of the breathtaking guitar solos moved the crowd. After a short break, as Miku went offstage, Etcetera followed. Each of the members took turns in playing short solos, the one eliciting most response from the audience being Teruki’s. Ghibli animation was picked as the topic of the day, and the members took turns to talk about anime, such as "Totoro", "Mononoke hime" and "Laputa", and do funny impersonations, the highlight being takuya and kanon dramatically running into each other's arms while Yu-ki played a romantic melody. As the sketches continued, Teruki sang in a surprisingly clear voice, and all members took turns to sing a couple of lines.

After a short break, four of the members came onto the stage wearing pink traditional clothes, usually worn during a Matsuri (festival). Miku was carried out by a group of men holding toy hammers and dressed in the same clothes, and after the public screamed "Nyappy!" on top of their voices, the unique Duck no magical adventure began. The group of men ran through the audience, swinging the hammers, and the fans head-banged energetically and sang along to the song, putting on, as does Miku, Donald Duck voices.

In the next MC, it turned out that takuya was wearing black underwear at the moment, but that he usually wears none when he goes to bed, which made the cafekko sigh in awe. Then Miku announced that soon Yu-ki is having his birthday, and as the venue congratulated the bashful keyboarder, a cake was carried out and the members blew colourful crackers. Miku told the fans that for this special occasion, to bond with the audience, they have invented a new furitsuke (coordinated dance moves) for the song NYAPPY in the world, looking a bit like a Matsuri dance. Along with the supporting men, Miku and Yu-ki demonstrated the dance moves (as usual, the members didn’t waste a chance to make fun of Yu-ki’s dancing). The song was then played, and the whole audience danced together with the band members, becoming one. Next was SUMMER DIVE, the video to which was played on the big screen. Koritsu hospital and Kakusei Heroism followed, as the sky turned completely dark and strong lamps lit up the venue. The visibly tired members gave their best, and having finished the songs they left the stage, as the fans cheered loudly.

The cafekko continued screaming, "One more!" and the band came out again, asking everyone to sit down. The first song played was Meguri aeta kiseki, which the band dedicated to their faithful fans, and as smoke filled the stage, the slow and touching tune was played. Then Miku asked the audience to stand up and the fans cheered as Tekesuta kousen began, with Miku playing a tambourine and the audience clapping along. During 3P, the band members moved around the stage, playing with the audience and putting arms around each other. BondS ~Kizuna~ concluded the encore, the audience looking like a big red sea, with everyone holding up their An Cafe towels. The band and the fans, both visibly tired, were carried away by the song and as heavy rain started falling many people forgot to put on their raincoats, continuing to dance and swing their towels around, and one could feel that indeed the bond between them is strong. Only when the band left the stage did the few fans flee under tents, but that didn’t stop them screaming for another encore. The screen announced big news - An Cafe’s new release is to come out end of November, followed by a sixteen-stop tour through Japan.

Finally, the band came out again to sadly announce that, although they were ready to play more, they could not because of their equipment getting damaged by rain. They took a long time to thank the fans, going around from one side of the stage to another, asked all cafekko to join their hands and to one two three they shouted together, saying good bye. As the band walked off the stage, there was another surprise - dozens of colourful fireworks, worthy of a real festival and unseen in a live, lit up the sky.

Even if one is not a fan of An Cafe’s music, its catchy melodies and heavy riffs cannot leave anyone cold, and the effort and passion put into organizing their show is impressive. Not only are they incredibly skilled musicians, delivering a perfect live performance, but great charismatic entertainers. An Cafe never fail to prove that the fame that they have earned is well-deserved.

Set list:

Maple Gunman
Cherry saku yuuki!!
Ese uranai
Odoru meruhen dokei
Ame no hankagai
Duck no magical adventure
NYAPPY in the world
Koritsu hospital
Kakusei Heroism


Meguri aeta kiseki
Tekesuta kousen
BondS ~Kizuna~
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