Wednesday, 23 July 2014

SISTAR - Touch My Body

SISTAR have released a new mini album, "Touch N Move", their first in fourteen months. Their comeback features a brand spanking new music video for track two "Touch My Body". It's a catchy summer song, and the brilliantly coloured video features all the usual summery stuff; surf boards, swimming pool, fake palm trees, etc. There's even an Elvis lookalike saxophonist!

To me, the song kinda reminds me of their summer song from 2012, "Loving U", but ever-so-slightly more upbeat.

Check out the video below:

Here's the tracklist for the mini album:

01. Wow
02. Touch my body
03. 나쁜손 (feat. 버벌진트)
04. But I Love U
05. OK GO!
06. Sunshine

Are you a fan of the new video? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo credit: Official SISTAR Facebook page

Sunday, 13 July 2014

One Year On

Yesterday (12 July) AZNPopCulture turned one year old. So I'd just like to say a big thanks to everyone who has visited and read any of the content here. Big thanks to all who have commented on anything and shared on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

This week also saw the highest number of page views I've ever had, with the majority of visitors viewing the VAMPS live at Download Festival page, and also the recent BABYMETAL London Forum gig review. I hadn't realised how popular VAMPS were, but that post is now the most viewed page so far, with the BABYMETAL post being the third most viewed in just a few days! So thanks to everyone who has read them and shared them.

Incidentally, yesterday was also a birthday for Crayon Pop twin sisters ChoA and Way. So happy birthday to them!

Anyway, please do continue to come back; I really do appreciate it. Please comment on anything you find interesting; it's always interesting to hear others' opinions, and any ideas or suggestions you might have are welcome, so if you do have any, please message me using the contact page.

Thanks again!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

BABYMETAL, World Tour 2014, Live At The Forum, London, UK

BABYMETAL were in the UK this past weekend, as part of their first world tour, with a short set at Sonisphere festival on the Saturday, followed by their own show on Monday 7th July at The Forum in London.

The concert was originally scheduled to take place at The Electric Ballroom, and I was lucky enough to purchase a ticket before they sold out the same day they went on sale! Then, due to the high demand, it was decided that the concert would be moved to The Forum, which is more than double The Electric Ballroom's 1100 capacity. So, luckily for some of those who missed out on the initial run of tickets, another 1250 or so extra became available.

Early afternoon on the day of the gig, I met with a friend, who had had a job interview in the vicinity of the venue. He told me that he had already seen people queuing up for The Forum at around midday! I've read elsewhere, that some fans had even started queuing at 6am! By the time my friends and I got to The Forum, the queue was already snaking around several blocks, and took a while for us to reach the end of it to begin our wait to get in.

By the time we entered the building, it was already heaving with BABYMETAL fans of all ages, from young teenagers to middle aged men. We got ourselves a drink each, and then I decided to purchase two BABYMETAL t-shirts. We then made our way as far forward as we could, in order to get a decent view of the show.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Vamps, Live at Download Festival 2014

This year's Download Festival saw HYDE and his band VAMPS take to the Pepsi MAX stage. I'd never heard any of VAMPS' music, though I was aware of, and had heard previous material from HYDE when he was in the band L'Arc~en~Ciel, and also his more recent HALLOWEEN JUNKY ORCHESTRA project.

I made my way to the Pepsi MAX tent quite early in anticipation of their upcoming set, as I'd heard good things about VAMPS. The tent quickly filled up, and some of the band and techs took to the stage to sound check. For some reason, this took longer than usual, and HYDE didn't emerge until a while after the band were scheduled to come on. So unfortunately, because of this, their set was cut short as they only had a certain amount of time to perform. They did however get to perform a number of songs; it just didn't last as long as expected.

I didn't really know what to expect, but after the performance, I realised I was expecting the music to be a lot heavier. Instead, it was fairly upbeat and almost pop, in my opinion. Not normally my type of music, but I still enjoyed it a fair bit, and at some point some women's underwear got thrown at HYDE. I seem to remember him holding them close to his face, possibly sniffing them? I'm not quite sure really. Later someone also threw a bra on stage, which HYDE held in his mouth as he played the guitar.

All in all, I enjoyed the show. They performed with energy and enthusiasm, with HYDE moving all around the stage, waving his skull and crossbones flag. I guess I was quite surprised really, as I was expecting a much darker sound and image, but for the short while that VAMPS played, I was quite entertained. Worth checking out!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Crossfaith, Live at Download Festival 2014

When I first heard that Crossfaith were playing at Download Festival this year, I was well happy. I'd never seen them live so far, and had heard that they put on quite a show! They were one of my "definite bands to watch" at this year's festival.

When they came on stage, there was already a huge crowd waiting for them, no doubt because of their reputation for an exciting performance! They were on fairly early, so unfortunately they had quite a short set, so they had to omit quite a few songs that would've been fantastic to hear, such as "Jaegerbomb", and "Monolith".

They do, of course, still have a great back catalogue from which to choose their songs, and with the last album APOCALYZE only ten months old, it was inevitable that we'd hear some of the songs from that album.

Their set was brilliant; exciting, with a huge sound, and the band's performance really lifting the crowd. Lead vocalist Ken, made a heartfelt speech about how their dreams had come true, to be able to play such a prestigious rock festival, and that they were "making history". It was the kind of speech that would sound a bit cheesy and fake, had it come from some other band, but coming from Crossfaith, it sounded very genuine to me.

I managed to record one song; "Eclipse", which you can see below.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Electric Eel Shock - Live At The Doghouse, Nottingham, England

The day after the Marty Friedman gig, I went to see Tokyo band, Electric Eel Shock. I know it's been more than a month since then, but I've been pretty busy, and have only just found some time to do this.

Anyway, they are no strangers to touring the UK and Europe, and this was the second time I've seen them. I last saw them back in 2006, when they played the basement at Rock City in Nottingham.

This time they played a venue called The Doghouse, also in Nottingham, but not in the city centre like Rock City is. I thought that this was a shame, as the venue seemed a little out of the way, and I think this may have possibly affected how many people showed up on the night. It's a two hundred capacity venue, but unfortunately there were only twenty three people in the audience for this gig, and that included the three-piece support band.

Despite this lower than expected turnout, the band still put on a fantastically loud show, geeing up the audience enough for them to make the noise of a lot more people. It really felt like there was easily more than double the number watching.

Electric Eel Shock are Aki Morimoto on guitar and vocals, Kazuto Maekawa on the bass, and Tomoharu "Gian" Ito on the drums. As usual, the drummer spent most of the gig almost naked, but for one very long sock covering his bits! For anyone who have never heard them, they're heavily influenced by the great classic rock bands of the seventies; Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Deep Purple et al. As such, they rock yer socks off!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Marty Friedman - Live at Queen's Hall, Nuneaton, England

Marty Friedman, one time guitarist for thrash band Megadeth, came to the UK for two live dates; I managed to get to the Nuneaton gig on the 22nd May.

So why am I writing about an American guitarist in a blog about Asian culture? While obviously not an Asian artist, Marty Friedman now lives and works in Japan, and has done so for many years now. He is fluent in speaking Japanese, has made and appeared on several Japanese TV shows, and has performed on records of a number of Japanese artists' music, such as Suzuki Ami, and Nanase Aikawa. He is also married to a Japanese cellist.

I first heard about Marty working in Japan when I saw clips of his TV show "Rock Fujiyama" on YouTube. He, along with singer/guitarist of 90's Japanese rock band Scanch, invited famous musicians onto the show to play music-based games, and talk about rock music. The show was a lot of fun, with some great guests, including one of my favourite guitarists, Paul Gilbert, and there was also a lot of guitar playing on the show too, which for me was what made the show so great. I've since managed to see all the episodes, and ever since then, I've followed Marty's career more closely than before. So it was great to find out he'd be on tour not only here in the UK, but actually playing a venue not too far from where I live. Often, musicians of his calibre only play in London, which can be a bit of a pain to get to sometimes.

Another reason for his inclusion here is that in Marty's band, the other guitarist is Takayoshi Ohmura, who I believe is considered a bit of a "guitar god" in Japan. I thought I had never heard Ohmura before, but it turns out I had! He is also one of the guitarists in BABYMETAL's backing band Kami Band, who I'll be going down to London to see live next month. He was sporting one of their t-shirts that night too.