Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Amu Plaza Christmas Market Day 5 - Sunday

Lots of stuff happening on Sunday, so I'll put everything in one blog entry this time. First up - Bon DX (again). When I'd talked to a couple of the band members last week, they mentioned that they'd be playing again on the 20th, at 2 and 4 PM. That kind of implied that I was invited to come back to watch the next show, and I did want to arrive in time to catch the beginning of the first set. But, I got out the door a bit late and they were halfway through the first song when I reached Amu Plaza. The band tolerated my presence as I took photos and some video and generally just clapped along to the music. It was a 30-minute set, and when it finished, about 10 people lined up at the table next to the stage to buy Bon's second album and to get it signed. I waited until everyone was done, and then I headed up to buy a copy and have it signed as well. Bon and his bass player, Nonki, seemed happy to take my money, and we talked a bit before the band disappeared into the service tent to rest. I did get both Bon and Nonki to pose with me for a couple photos, which was good.

For the first set, I just wanted to get a sampler of the event, including shots of the MC and the sound tech. Unfortunately, I was a bit too far away and the lighting was wrong, so the MC's pictures came out too blurry and I had to delete them. I was mostly using the small camera for still shots and I decided to experiment a bit with the other effects settings (mosaic, posterizing, tinting). All totaled, I took 360 shots in 3 the hours I was there, and I only kept about 70. I used the big camera to shoot video, but I only wanted songs that I haven't uploaded to youtube before, which meant 2 songs from the first set.

The Song Birds of Gospel were scheduled to start at 3 PM, so I finished wandering around in the department store and returned to the plaza, but the stage was empty. Suddenly, Christina Aguilera's "All I Want for Christmas" song began playing, and a crowd formed out next to the sidewalk. I'm not sure who the dancers are, but they really vamped for the audience. When the song finished, the dancers ran to the stage, where the Song Birds were standing and waiting. The gospel group sang a couple Christmas-like pieces while the dancers kept performing in front of them, then the dancers left and the singers switched to more of a church sound. It's not my kind of music so I went back into the store to get free sample coffee from Kaldi, and to kill time up on the 6th floor with the Gameboy I'd brought with me.

I got back to the Plaza at 4 PM for Bon's second set, and put the big camera on the tripod to record the full 30 minutes from a static location. When the music started, I used the small camera to try to get more experimental still shots. My plan was to collect the longer video and the best of the stills on a DVD-ROM to give to the band at their next show on the 24th. Unfortunately, the big camera has a 27-minute limit on individual recording lengths, and it cut the last song short. Sigh. I'll know better next time, and stop the recordings between songs. Anyway, when the set was over, I decided to buy Nonki's (the bass player) Surf Monkey CD for 1,000 yen as well, and had him sign that. I tracked down the other musicians as they were putting their instruments away, and they seemed really surprised, and happy, to sign the Bon DX CD. So, that was cool. Then, I got out of their way, and they took their instruments and left.

At 5 PM, it was the Kinpu Gongen Taiko Group, which is based in the southern Satsuma Sendai region, I guess. They have a good reputation as taiko players, and I enjoyed their first two songs. Unfortunately, I got a phone call saying that I had to do some food shopping for dinner, so I left in the middle of their set. The drums were so loud that I could still hear them from 3 blocks away.

I finished dinner, and washing dishes, just before 8 PM, so I ran back up to Amu Plaza to check out the Yoichi Tajima Trio. Tajima is a music teacher as well as a jazz musician, and he works with the Song Birds of Gospel. His Trio backed vocalist Chiho Nishida. They did several very soft jazz numbers, which were done well, but a bit too easy-listening for me. I returned to the apartment and worked on this blog entry until 2 AM.

Direct Bon DX youtube link

Direct Taiko Group youtube link

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