Sonic Mania 2005
Creativeman’s annual Japan
midwinter rockathon dawns upon us this month in the form of Sonic
The two-day event began relatively modestly as
a dj-based techno party wedged in the middle of the SummerSonic
festival. However both last year’s and this year’s rosters
unabashedly skew top-heavy with guitar rock and its extended stylistic
Each day features nine acts performing roughly
40-minute sets, the first of which kicks off at noon. Based on a
tight performing schedule which covers both Tokyo and Osaka, the
fest has performers shuttle between the two cities on alternate
days so that each city ends up with essentially the same bill of
Saturday — Erudite shock
metal rocker Marilyn Manson holds down the headlining spot on opening
day, doubtlessly liberated from fears of Christian Right picketing
and indecency charges that accompany many of his stateside appearances.
Despite what most may know, love or hate about Manson’s notorious
antics or contrived iconography (Satanism, drugs, anti-establishmentaria-nism,
sex) the fact is, the band’s popularity has steadily grown
on the strength of undeniably strong songwriting and consistent
2003’s The Golden Age of Grotesque was one
of that year’s top 10 albums with fans and critics alike,
and even detractors are now begrudgingly acknowledging the legitimacy
of the self-proclaimed ‘Antichrist Superstar.’ Expect
glam metal in all its splendor.
Naruto-theme making Japanese hometown favorites
Asian Kung Fu Generation leads in. Appearing earlier are (starting
from noon): Nine Black Alps, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, Steriogram, Kings
of Leon, The Mars Volta, and Kasabian.
Sunday — In the midst of
a seemingly never ending world tour of in-stores, meet-and-greets
and concerts, relentless Maryland pop-rock quintet Good Charlotte
headlines day two.
Their recently (October 2004) released, slightly
experimental sophomore album (The Chronicles of Life & Death)
in tow, the multi-platinum young band, led by twin brothers Joel
(vocals) and Benji (guitar) Madden, will flex their stadium-readiness
to the unrestrained delight of their Japanese faithful.
While the extent to which the newer, perhaps less
catchy material may disrupt the expectations of their fairly mainstream
fan base, at the very least, the fact that the new album’s
lead track features lyrics in Japanese bodes well for sing-along
potential, if and when GC elect to whip it out.
And with their chart toppers Lifestyles of the
Rich & Famous, The Anthem and Say Anything, still in the arsenal,
the chances of disappointment are very, very low.
Velvet Revolver does the lead-in honors. Appearing
earlier(starting from noon), The Departure, Goldie Lookin Chain,
Sparta, Kottonmouth Kings, Boom Boom Satellites, Juno Reactor, all
take their turns on the stage.
Intex Osaka, hall 5
12:00 • ¥10,000 (1 day) / ¥18,000 (2 days)
While 2002’s Grammy-nominated Beautiful
World wasn’t Take 6’s most audacious creative effort,
focused as it was on remakes of
well-known pop and soul tunes of the past, it seemed to tastefully
punctuate their 10-album career, seamlessly bridging the styles,
eras and sensibilities the way the group itself has continued to
do both live and in studio, since their awe-inspiring 1990 debut.
Steadfastly a gospel group at heart, Take 6’s
staying power and worldwide appeal is nevertheless owed not to their
Christian message, but rather to their overwhelming vocal talent,
harmonic ingenuity and good old fashioned charisma, which understandably
puts them in the elite company of must-see-live groups. Given that
most vocal groups are lucky to last 3 years, the fact that, fifteen
years in, Take 6 is still touring steadily (and regularly in Japan),
should not be taken for granted, and fans of soul, R&B, pop,
jazz, gospel, and just down home good sangin’, need to check
these southern boys out while they’re still
Osaka Blue Note
18:30 / 21:30 • ¥10,000 / ¥12,600
Manic Street Preachers
Formed in 1986, Welsh anti-establishment alt rock
outfit the Manic Street Preachers were one of the most successful
UK bands of the 90s, with their achievements made even more noteworthy
by their ability to overcome personal tragedy.
The band suffered the loss of their co-manager,
publicist and close friend Philip Hall to cancer in 1993. This was
closely followed by the tragic downward spiral of depression and
alcoholism of guitarist and key member Richey Edwards, who mysteriously
disappeared in 1995 (his whereabouts remain unknown even today).
Nevertheless, as a threesome, the group has forged
ahead remarkably, losing none of their ability to provoke or inspire
along the way. Despite being known for their unapologetically
left-leaning politics, frequently macabre lyrics as well as recurring
break-up rumors, MSP have won hearts and souls with their steadfast
commitment to great songwriting and soul-stirring live shows.
The past decade or so has seen them delivering
increasi-ngly impassioned and inspired songwriting and performances
to a legion of fans no longer limited to the UK The acclaimed 1996
double platinum album Everything Must Go, (which yielded top ten
hits Everything Must Go, Kevin Carter and Australia), 1998’s
This is My Truth Tell Me Yours (which included the No. 1 UK hit
If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next), 2001’s
imagina-tive and lush Know Your Enemy, and their current and sophisti-cated
Lifeblood make it clear that MSP are defiantly here to stay, and
with much more yet to say. The band consists of James Dean Bradfield
(vocals, guitar), Nicky Wire (bass), and Sean Moore (drums).
The Manic Street Preachers continue to name Richey
Edwards (rhythm guitar) in their lineup every time they introduce
themselves during live performances. Check out the raging rock veterans
this month at Zepp Osaka.
18:00 • ¥7,000
Live Listings February
Malta @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30/ 21:30. ¥5,500/¥7,500.
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz
Extreme The Dojo Vol. 11: Converge, Mastdon @ Club
Quattro. 18:00. ¥5,000. Tel: 06-6535-5569. Various
Tower of Power @ Osaka Blue Note
Tel: 06-6342-7722 Funk
Brian Wilson @ Osaka Kosei Nenkin Kaikan Dai Hall.
19:00. ¥10,500. Tel: 0570-02-9999. Rock
Rasmus @ Big Cat. 19:00. ¥6,000 Tel: 06-6341-4506.
Rage @ Club Quattro. 18:00. ¥6,800 Tel: 06-6535-5569.
My Chemical Romance @ Club Quattro. 19:00. ¥6,000.
Tel: 06-6281-8181 Rock
Extreme The Dojo Vol.12: Hatebreed, Shadows Fall
@ Club Quattro 18:00 ¥6,000 Tel: 06-6535-5569 Various
The Chemical Brothers @ Zepp Osaka. 19:30. ¥6,800.
Tel: 06-6535-5569. Electronic
Dream Evil @ Club Quattro. 19:00. ¥6,500. Tel: 06-6281-8181.
Toki Asako @ Osaka Blue Note.
18:30/21:30. ¥4,000/¥6,000. Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz
Sonata Arctica @ Namba Hatch.
17:00. ¥6,300. 0570-02-9999. Metal
Anti-Flag @ Club Quattro. 18:00 ¥4,500. Tel: 06-6281-8181.
Ana Johnsson @ Club Quattro
19:00. ¥5,800 Tel: 06-6535-5569. Pop
The Delgados @ Club Quattro. 19:00 ¥5,500.
Tel: 06-6281-8181. Rock
Every Little Thing @ Festival Hall
18:30. ¥5,800 Tel: 0570-06-3054. Pop
Eliane @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30/ 21:30. ¥5,400/¥7,400.
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz
Olivier Latry @ Izumi Hall. 19:00 ¥4,000. Tel: 06-6944-1188.
Brad Mehldau Trio @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30/21:30.
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz
Gontiti @ NHK Osaka Hall. 17:00. ¥6,500. 06-6233-8888.
Staatskapelle Berlin @ The Symphony Hall. 19:00.
¥10,000-¥22,000. Tel: 06-6345-2751.
Madball @ Fandango. ¥5,000.
Tel: 06-6535-5569. Rock
Dirty Dozen Brass Band @ Taku Taku 19:00. ¥6,000.
Tel: 06-6535-5569 Rock/Pop/Jazz
LCD Soundsystem @ Club Quattro
18:00. ¥5,800. Tel: 06-6281-8181. Dance
Scissor Sisters @ Club Quattro. 18:00 ¥5,500
Tel: 06-6281-8181. Rock
Sfkuank/Black Bottom Brass Band @ Osaka Blue Note.
18:30/21:30 ¥4,300/¥6,300 Tel: 06-6342-7722 Jazz