The London gig was the penultimate date for #SCEU2016 before it all ends in Paris the day after. I got into London the evening after work on Friday. Checked into the hotel and whilst looking for a döner for a nosh up, I stopped by the venue to see if anyone was crazy enough to start queuing up for the gig. No one was that keen, I guess, as it was all quiet at the door with not a soul in sight.
Well, until the morning after that is.
Breakfast at the hotel was at 7AM and after tucking in to a hearty one (as I knew I was gonna miss lunch), I just swung by the venue and there were 5 people already at 7:45AM (which included Magnus). Had a quick chat and I had to up my game, as I originally planned to come at lunchtime. Got back to freshen up and came back at about half 8. By then, another punter had already turned up but it was of no real consequence. Ikimaru turned up a few minutes later and in a couple of hours, a few more friends (some of whom I have thus far met virtually on SH) have all turned up and we had a lil’ pow wow in the front(ish) bit of the queue.
In the queue for high five sesh, the grey moustachioed garage rock gent and his wife from the SCANDAL docu film walked by me. “Hello – I recognise you from the doumentary!” to which he paused to jokingly reply, “Oh, thank you. I was thinking that having this recognition meant some special treatment was to be given to us today, but oh, well…” In the queue, I managed to organise my gifts for the lasses which included B&W shots of them for the Vienna gig the Saturday before. As the number of VIP tix holders seemed to be about a hundred-odd unlike the Amsterdam and Vienna gigs, I had to truncate the things I need to tell the lasses. I also managed to inform TIMO to watch out for the next cover (60% of) the LOVE crew are doing which is テイクミーアウト to which she went “あぁー、テイクミーアウトです、ね！” to which I responded “お待ちください！”
The lasses then left waving goodbye to all of us and we were then allowed to go to our spots in the hall. Thanks to the unusual (I’m being kind here – and this is in comparison to the better way it was done in 2015) way of sorting the VIP tix holders out, I managed my front row position slap bang in front of the missus, thanks to Baba-kun. Ikimaru got his front row spot but more towards HARU as opposed to his fav TIMO spot. I felt sorry for my other friends who had to make do with second row, but at that point it somehow felt like it was an exercise in survival of the fittest/luckiest, when it shouldn’t have to be that way if we were sorted like how it was last year.
As the gig wasn’t sold out, the mezzanine floor wasn’t opened up like it was last year and everyone was on the floor section. One thing good was that apart from the initial push to the front when we rushed to our spots, there was no pushing amongst the audience throughout the show as I discovered in the next couple of hours.
During the line check by Motchy-san and Kota-san, I noted that the sound was a bit on the loud side. I wasn’t complaining, really. And when the girls came onstage to a resounding applause, Room No.7 was loud as fcuk. About time they sounded this awesome and I am sure I’ve never heard them this loud like ever, Japan or otherwise. By the time they played Onegai, I thought to myself that if they played Shunkan in the encore, then I’ll get to see three unique sets this tour. The girls looked like they were in top form tonight. TIMO was playful as ever pulling little punches to MAMI mid-performance on Your song and this was way before the joke-y bit for SCANDAL BABY. Unlike the Amsterdam gig, MAMI was also way more animated, dancing around her (three) stomp boxes right in front of me.
The highlight of the evening in my opinion was during 今夜はピザパーティー where one of our friends had prepared earlier inflatable pizzas to be thrown about in the audience! I saw the surprised look on HARU’s face when this happened. At this point, however, security looked a tad edgy with one of the promoters looking on seriously at what was happening, but nothing really happened. People were having a good time and the band looked really happy seeing pizza balloons bouncing about. There were like four or something balloons anyway!
DOLL was a buzz, and I felt I had enough reserve energy for mawashite-ing my CANTOWEL tonight, prolly due to its slightly diminutive size and weight. I did bring my bath sheet of a SCANDAL MANIA towel as well but I don’t think the people around me would appreciate that being twirled.
During the second MC, much to our collective surprises it was MAMI who spoke first. She spoke of the band going to Soho on Friday night where they had dinner, but apologetically added that it was Japanese cuisine. Looked like my recommendation I made to HARU of Poppies in Camden the Saturday before went out the tour bus window. Sorry, Ikimaru and Magnus. Heh. TIMO said she was happy to be back in London and said that she really would like to come back again next/every year. It was a pity that RINA didn’t say anything at this point, even after some of us were shouting out her name hoping to elicit a response of sorts.
The intensity and back-to-back nature of the hard rocking songs that I heard in the continent were still there tonight, with the added volume. I did wonder if they are gonna have a bit of a break when they fly home to Japan next week! LOVE SURVIVE was back in the list since I last saw them in Vienna, and the rest of the main set for London was as it was the last two times.
I am very bad with lyrics (some friends of mine would know that it took me six years to know the lyrics to Enter Sandman) and I’ve to admit sadly that I don’t know any of SCANDAL’s songs by heart, even in part. As this was my last #SCEU2016 show, I had to know part of the SCANDAL BABY chorus that everyone sings at their gigs:
I have to say it was a tad difficult as I only began to look at it like 3 days before the London gig. I have a scant knowledge of nihon go and I found knowing what the words meant and well as how the sentences are structured helped a bit. They got back onstage for the encore in their YELLOW tees yet again, and crunch time was close. They played 少女S after 「セッション」 which meant London and Amsterdam had identical set lists. SCANDAL BABY was great as usual and the jokey bit had both TIMO and MAMI with their backs to the audience looking straight at HARU in their attempt to distract her.
And when that bit came, HARU let us sang that bit of the chorus. Just look at how pleasantly surprised HARU looked when the punters began singing the Japanese words.
I think I did 90% fine for this. I’d consider that another achievement unlocked I guess.
It was the end of another fine show, which somewhat made me forget about the earlier shenanigans we had to face in the queue and the VIP section. Regardless of this gig having an identical set list to my first #SCEU2016 experience a fortnight ago, I had listened to every song they played in the European tour (thanks to the very limited degree of variability in their sets), and this was way louder than the melkweg show.
They were handed all but one of the pizza balloons by some of the front row people, following which they took a bow, and waved us good-bye. I had given up on picks from the stage (I have to attend shows in Germany the next time they come to Europe next) and shuffled out of the venue. Due to the large number of waiting punters, access to the rear of the venue was cordoned off, and we could only say goodbye to the band from a distance.
After an impromptu group photo, we did a lil’ 360-degree video courtesy of Oli-san only to be interrupted by security, shoo-ing us off the premises. Some of us then headed off to a nearby burrito joint for some late dinner.
You may wonder why I had described this as my lil’ own SCAFES. This was my tenth time seeing them live, and in the company of similarly-minded folk. I’ll prolly take a break now and catch them some time… next year. Heh.
I found the O2 Academy stage to be not as well lit as the other two nights I attended, but my Flickr set of this gig can be seen here. All gig photos in this post and the previous two were taken by me on my Fujifilm X20, except for the two of SCANDAL BABY in this post which are screenshots from a video by Oli-san. Head over to his YouTube page and check his videos of the London gig out!
O2 Academy Islington, London 24.9.16 set: Room n°7 / Stamp! / Your song -English ver.- / お願いナビゲーション / MC I / LOVE ME DO / Sunday drive / 今夜はピザパーティー / DOLL / Sisters / MC II / Morning Sun / テイクミーアウト / 会わないつもりの、元気でね / MC III / LOVE SURVIVE / EVERYBODY SAY YEAH! / 太陽スキャンダラス / Image / MC IV / ちいさなほのお // [ENCORE] 「セッション」/ 少女S / SCANDAL BABY
In the hours we were waiting, it was interesting to see the odd person milling about the front of the queue and quietly slipping into the front of us. There were all sorts actually, like those who did the former and going away for a few hours and to come back literally an hour before we entered the venue. And there was the little pen they made for the VIP ticket holders at a later time which meant the order of the queue was somewhat messed up. And the subsequent arrangement inside the venue after the high five sesh… I think I better stop now.
To whomover that took the fourth pizza balloon meant for HARU, shame on you. 😛
This gig review was originally published in 無秩序の胃 on 25.9.2016.