Live Report Exclusive

Free space -MUCC DEMO TAPE public recording Kansai edition-

23/01/2020 2020-01-23 01:00:00 JaME Author: Julia Wang

Free space -MUCC DEMO TAPE public recording Kansai edition-

MUCC gave fans a peek inside their recording process during a unique show at Shibuya WWWX.


© Yuto Fukada

On a warm Wednesday night, Shibuya was buzzing with crowds of people getting off work and transitioning to their after-hours personas. In the heart of Shibuya’s club neighborhood, the music venue WWWX loomed above the rest of the buildings at the top of the hill, a chrome and cement futuristic monument.

The crowd was predominantly women wearing black, some with rubber arm bands from previous MUCC live shows. Their ages seemed to range from college age to 40's. The few men there mostly had colored hair and piercings. People were chatty with their friends, and it seemed like big groups of friends had gone together, especially among the older fans. Excitement and a sense of camaraderie was in the air as fans were meeting and mingling. In anonymous, homogeneous Tokyo, the friendly and unique atmosphere in the venue was a refreshing change.

The lights dimmed and MUCC came out, somewhat sheepishly, in very casual shorts and no makeup. Everyone clapped, and it felt like a gathering of friends rather than a concert. People were screaming and squealing with excitement, and some were surprised to see MUCC in such a casual setting. The stage was packed with equipment, including synthesizers and amps, and multiple microphones were set up for each musician, making it seem more like a scene in a recording studio rather than on a performance stage. Guitarist Miya explained that the show was different from a normal live - that they were doing a live recording of a song, followed by an acoustic mini show at the end of the night. For the first half hour of the show, no music was played. It was more like a comedy hour/talk show between the members of the band. Tooru Yoshida, a temporary addition to the group, was also present as a keyboardist. Miya showed everyone the recording equipment used in the back and stood up and played using all his sound and microphone equipment. Lead singer Tatsuro was doing some sound troubleshooting and vocal warmups and taking drags off a throat humidifier. He sang/screamed “Cheeeeeeck” passionately, to the amusement of the audience. Bassist YUKKE got up to help drummer SATOchi adjust his mic, and he was bossed around by Miya, who wasn’t satisfied with how the sound was turning out.

Yoshida started with a synth piano, then transitioned to a more traditional piano. His playing was beautiful to watch, but Miya was just trying to set the sound and interrupted Yoshida by saying “Ok thanks, OK THANKS.” The crowd was greatly amused by everyone’s candor and seemed to enjoy seeing the dynamic between the band members. Doing the soundcheck live gave a sense of intimacy and transparency to the creative process, revealing a side of the band that is usually hidden from the fans. Perhaps unintentionally, each musician’s talent and mastery of their instrument was emphasized in a way that is sometimes lost when a group performs together.

After almost 45 minutes of sound checks, MUCC did their first playthrough of the demo song "COBALT" together. It was an amazing first performance, and everyone was very quiet even after it ended out of respect for the recording equipment. Someone made a mistake and forgot to turn on Tatsuro’s microphone, and everyone was laughing. It was actually amazing how good Tatsuro’s voice sounded, even without any filters. Playing it back live with all the instruments sounded so close to their studio recordings.

After five playthroughs, they were able to finish recording the song. Everyone cheered and clapped, half out of appreciation, half out of relief. They also recorded an acoustic version of the same song, putting SATOchi on a cajon box drum. MUCC continued the show by doing an acoustic version of an existing song, but with a salsa twist. There were many smiles and plenty of laughter while they were doing it, and it was clear that the audience was delighted. MUCC talked as they played the songs, making jokes and making people laugh with exaggerated joke voices. At one point, the audience was prompted to sing a segment of a song, and it was sung perfectly.

As abruptly as the acoustic performance began, it suddenly ended, and sooner than everyone would have liked. MUCC thanked everyone and clumsily got off the stage, slowly and carefully tiptoeing around their maze of equipment. The lights came on and everyone was confused that there was no encore and seemed unsure of what to do. MUCC came back to the stage again, somewhat sheepishly. They chatted with the audience, but made no move to play an encore song. Instead, they had their photographer take a group picture of them and the audience, after which they shuffled off the stage again.

Even for fans accustomed to seeing many concerts of varying sizes each year, it was refreshing to see a live recording. It gave the audience a deeper appreciation of MUCC, showing that underneath all their hits, they are also masters at their craft.

Set List

01. taboo
02. Psycho
03. Yuri to tsubasa
04. Lemming
05. Ieji

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