「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Watching concerts from home

By Patrick St. Michel


People often ask me if I go to a lot of concerts. "You love Japanese music, so you must see a lot of shows! Tokyo has so many great live houses.' " I'll laugh nervously, and tell them that I do watch more concerts and performances now than I ever have before. Then I'll surprise them by revealing I check out most of those from my own home.

Over the last couple of years, I've become a big fan of live-streaming events. These are concerts, performances or DJ sets broadcast on the Internet, so anyone anywhere in the world can tune in and enjoy. This format has been becoming more popular in Japan too, with everyone from underground DJs to J-pop idols embracing it.

I used to go out to shows frequently. When I lived near Osaka, I traveled into the city every weekend for concerts. The Japanese music scene was still very new to me, so I would choose what to see randomly, sometimes going for the shows featuring performers with interesting names. A band called Ogre You Asshole? Sounds good!

It was a risky strategy — I heard a lot of bad music — but I also learned a lot. After moving to Tokyo, I usually went out at least once a week. After a while, though, the charm of the city's live music scene wore off. Concerts cost a lot of money here — each one set me back around ¥2,000, often much more. They usually started later at night, too, and lasted until the first trains started running. I would have to either find a fast-food restaurant to sleep in, or pay ¥4,000 to take a taxi home. It got tiring.

Live-streamed concerts, though, allowed me to hear all the music I wanted to without any of the physical hassle. Online Japanese channels such as Dommune and 2.5D broadcast events throughout the week in high quality, often featuring well-known artists. Even venues themselves do this now — Akihabara's Mogra, which specializes in anime-influenced music, streams most of their events. It's not only convenient, but allows fans scattered around the country to check out the show.

In America, this trend has mostly caught on at famous music festivals. I always wanted to go to the Coachella Music Festival, a famous gathering held in California's Colorado Desert featuring lots of great performers. I never managed to fit it into my schedule, though, and then I moved to the other side of the world. I thought I'd never experience it. But then Coachella started showing the festival online, so I've just watched from my computer. My wallet is also happy about this development.

Yet despite catching most live music through the Internet, going out less has actually made me enjoy seeing shows in person way more. By going to fewer events, the ones I do attend feel more fun and memorable. I might experience most concerts through my PC, but it's made me love the live scene even more.



The Japan Times ST: June 12, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




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