UNISON SQUARE GARDEN at Yokohama Blitz

live report - 23.01.2011 07:00

JaME visited a concert with the rock trio UNISON SQUARE GARDEN during their "meet the autumn tour 2010", and experienced a great party atmosphere.

As the time neared six on Saturday the 4th of December, Yokohama Blitz was packed with people. It was a rather mixed audience; everything from young teenage boys to middle-aged women could be seen in the crowd. At five past six, the lights finally went out, and drummer Takao Suzuki came out on stage to the cheers of the audience. Bassist Tabuchi Tomoya, dressed in black jeans and t-shirt as a true rocker, came next, and was eventually followed by singer/guitarist Saito Kosuke, who was sporting a completely different style with baggy pants, a loose white top and brown curls cutely hanging down his forehead.

Without further ado they started the first song, and Ride on time quickly got the audience to jump with their arms in the air. When the punk-rock song Sanpo saki my life followed, the crowd got if possible even wilder and everybody happily jumped around to the bouncy rhythm. The artists themselves seemed to be having a lot of fun too, especially bassist Tabuchi Tomoya, who jumped around on stage so that his long hair whipped around his face. An instrumental part towards the end of the song gave singer Saito Kosuke a chance to show his skills on the guitar as well.

The following two songs were a little more quiet, but even though Saito Kosuke sang softly and peacefully from time to time, there was a lot more power in the chorus and the audience clapped or pumped their fists in the air to the beat. Then there was time for a small break, and the vocalist introduced the band and joked a little. They then started a completely new song, Bachigai hummingbird, which turned out to be a bit heavier than the previous ones. With a very clear and catchy melody, the rhythm seemed inspired by classical hard rock - overall, this was probably the song that stood out most in the set.

The ballad Itsuka no shounen was also a little different, and here the audience got a chance to catch their breath as they listened attentively to Saito Kosuke's quiet voice. The contrast was overwhelming when the last tones of the balled died out and the electro beat of MR. Andy -party style- started. This was clearly a fan favourite, and there was a real party feeling when everybody started jumping and dancing. Here also Takao Suzuki got a chance to shine, as there was a short drum solo within the song.

After another short MC where the singer joked about Yokohama to the delight of the audience, Day lie kyousourakudan started, a song with a simple, bouncy rhythm and a clear melody that got the whole crowd jumping as one. The jumping continued into the next song, the equally catchy Message from Zensekai. The atmosphere changed a little with the following number, Master volume, which could best be described as good old dirty rock. When hearing Saito Kosuke sing here you really had to take a second look; where did that curly-haired pop boy suddenly get that attitude from? But the change was temporary, and the vocalist was back to his sweet old self by the time the more pop-inspired meet the world time started.

The fans seemed to have great fun during this and the next song. From above you could see that rings, sometimes even concentric rings, were spontaneously formed by people dancing around with their arms linked, and all of the dancers had a smile from ear to ear. In the next break the drummer got a chance to speak, and he expressed his surprise and delight over the fact that so many had come to see UNISON SQUARE GARDEN. Then the stage was bathed in a purple light, and the melodic ballad Clover started. The audience kept still and quiet during the whole song, only to erupt in huge applause when the last tones died out.

The next song was the new single Scarsdale, released less than two weeks earlier, and it was obvious that some people in the crowd were not familiar with the song. But the audience apparently let themselves be convinced, and halfway through the song everybody's hands were in the air. cody beats was a speedy song with a sort of retro feeling, and after that Saito Kosuke announced that it was time for the last song. When the first chords of Galileo no showcase were heard, the audience cheered and there was no mistaking that this was a popular song. Takao Suzuki got a longer drum solo in this song, and also a proper presentation. Bassist Tabuchi Tomoya seemed to go into a fit of over-excitement as he started running back and forth on the stage like a madman before finally casting away his instrument and doing a handspring, all to the great delight of the audience.

Thus the band left the stage and the lights went on. Nobody moved an inch from their places, and as expected the band came back out on stage five minutes later, Saito Kosuke now dressed in a bright turquoise tour t-shirt. Tabuchi Tomoya got to speak a little this time, before they started playing kid, I like quartet, a happy rock song where the bassist got to sing in the chorus. The following I love you need you was apparently also a fan favourite to judge from the reactions of the crowd. Tabuchi Tomoya fooled around on stage and got the audience to laugh with his silly antics.

The very last song, Full colour program, also fit the party atmosphere, and the audience were dancing like crazy. Saito Kosuke and Tabuchi Tomoya moved to the front edge of the stage where they played while receiving the admiration of the audience, and it was obvious that both fans and artists had great fun. For a moment everything went dark except for one spotlight on Saito Kosuke, and the music toned down so that he got to sing one phrase a cappella. But then in the blink of an eye the lights and music went back on, and the audience got another half a minute of full party power.

At last everything was coming to an end, and with a thank you from the singer and a thrown drumstick from Takao Suzuki the band left the stage. People started to move out of the venue, and everywhere you could see sweaty, but extremely happy fans. UNISON SQUARE GARDEN has a good variation in their songs and Saito Kosuke can apparently handle several different singing styles, but their strength seems to be in their joy of playing. It is hard to stay in a bad mood when hearing their songs, and most obviously, UNISON SQUARE GARDEN's fans seem to have more fun that most people.


Setlist:

1. Ride on time
2. Sanpo saki my life
3. Counter identity
4. Sentimental period
-MC-
5. Bachigai hummingbird
6. Yoru ga yurete iru
7. Itsuka no shounen
8. MR. Andy -party style-
-MC-
9. Day lie kyousougakudan
10. Messenger from zensekai
11. Master volume
12. Meet the world time
13. Karakuri karukare
14. 23:25
-MC-
15. Clover
16. Scarsdale
17. Cody beats
18. Galileo no showcase

Encore:
1. kid, I like quartet
2. I love need you
3. Full colour program
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