Last Friday my documentary photographer Tom (AKA NickelEdge) swung by my studio on his way to one of his favorite chiptune bands, Anamanaguchi who were playing the Music Hall of Williamsburg. As we ordered some quick takeout Tom asked if I wanted to go. I popped up Anamanaguchi's website, emailed them and with only two hours to show time I scored us press and photo passes, FTW!
The line was solid, and held a surprisingly diverse crowd with a respectable hipster quotient. Although it was getting dark it still felt about 100 degrees in the shade.
When we got in Tom waited in line to meet the band and give them a copy of his book. He reminded me that he had shot Anamanaguchi last year at the "Penny Arcade Expo" AKA PAX 2010 for his terrific UNOFFICIAL PAX 2010 photo book , which he self published featuring all his great concert photos from PAX 2010 (Download Digital Copy Here ).
He met up with the band and got a quote for them for his next years UNOFFICIAL PAX book (he includes quotes by the band members about their experiences with PAX).
Happy hour was still going on at the bar so I grabbed us a few drinks and I headed up to the balcony to find a seat while Tom stayed on the main level to try to find the best camera positions. It was nice to know that I would able to sit back with a few drinks and observe the show without bothering to snap photos, while Tom shuffled around the venue from floor to floor with his giant camera rig, sweating and doing all the legwork.
The opening act was a band called Talk to Animals which was really a one woman operation. With a Mac laptop, a Casio keyboard, a mic, a yuke, and a bunch of mixing boards.
This was chiptunes with occasional lyrics. . .yeah, no shit - singing! When her vocals burst out I think the crowd was temporarily stunned. Being Anamanaguchi fans they were probably expecting 100 percent sans-lyric chip music. After a few songs they came around and were pulsing with her to the beat. She must have been enjoying the great vibes the crowd was giving her because at one point in between songs she mentioned:
"I played a show in Philly last night and nobody moved . . . I feel more welcome here."
For a one person show I really dug it. Her warped punk vocals reminded me of The Ting Ting Tings but with extreme distortion. It melded with the music in a fun and original way. Notice there is no lighting other than the projected background.
In her last song she headed to the front edge of the stage with mic in hand and said:
"I'm gonna come down there now if that's cool."
Then she disappeared into the crowd.
When the song was ending she was hoisted back on stage. She closed the Mac book which the audience quickly recognized as the sign for "the show is over".
The next band to the stage was MATH The Band. This band was high energy right out of the gate with a song who's lyrics were something to the effect of PARTY PARTY, EVERYBODY HAVE FUN TONIGHT! Which reminded me of Andrew WK if he was a skinny hipster trio.
These songs were fast as a bat out of hell, and got the crowd doing unprompted stage dives by the second verse.
The lead singer announced that the audience seemed like they needed a slower song, and that the song they were about to play was their slowest song. . . although it's still 170 beats per minute.
The way the girl on keyboard & drums was jumping around the stage she resembled Janet from Three's Company if Janet mainlined ritalin.
Being the second band they were afforded slightly better lighting than the opener.
When the furbees wake-up, you know it's not long before Anamanaguchi arrives. Thousands of glow sticks were thrown out into the crowd in preparation. Pot smoke began to rise. This is about the time when I got up and walked down to the main floor to get a better look at the action.
Raw footage of the band on stage and introducing themselves.
Raw footage of Anamanaguchi playing Mess then Densmore shot with a Canon 7d with a lensbaby tilt lens.
Raw footage of Anamanaguchi playing Mermaid at Music Hall on a Canon 7d with 70-200mm lens.
The band is known for their crazy chiptune rock, hacked Game Boy and NES systems create the 8-BIT background for their stage show of electric guitar and drum mayhem.
They are known for scoring the soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: the game, as well as the opening theme to Chris Hardwick's NERDIST podcast, to which I'm a longtime subscriber.
The mosh pit was intense. Although it's probably been a decade since I have last entered one, I felt compelled to push myself into the fray. I couldn't stand another minute of watching people stage dive only to sink into the pile of flailing hipster arms. It was like watching rocks diving onto a pile of wet noodles in skinny jeans.
I worked my way in and tried to keep people aloft while moving to the beat. As I helped someone get down a stage diving idiot landed ass first on the left side of my head. I stood up and shook it off. The feel of 150 lbs. of dead weight in denim burning your cheek is one reason to stay alert in a pit.
As you can see in the raw video, and in the following pictures; the band tore the roof off the joint.
After the final light stick was launched we left the place in two stinky wet heaps. I was drenched with the sweat of what felt like 1000 unwashed Beibers.
We stopped only to take a cooldown break at a fire hydrant. Another great summer night in Brooklyn.
TOUR SCHEDULE: Anamanaguchi plays Baltimore, MD - October 20th (GET TIX), and Philadelphia, PA - September 24th (GET TIX).
PHOTOS & VIDEO for ArtSucks by NickelEdge AKA THOMAS "NICKELEDGE" DOUGHERTY. View the full set of photos from this event on his flickr.
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