Sunday, April 30, 2017

Puffy Not Lazy 2017 Belasco Show Report

Reader Chanel No. 2 and I were talking about the April 4th 2017 Belasco Theater stop for Puffy’s Not Lazy US Tour.  They were gracious enough to let me share this conversation with the fans at Amiyumidas. I broke our conversation into more of a Q&A to help convey Chanel No.2’s great experience as a super fan.

Image Via @Puffy

Wes:  Tell me about Ami, Yumi and the support band

Chanel No. 2: I think PUFFY was wearing one-piece outfits with Converse shoes.

The band lineup was one guitarist, one bassist, one drummer and the behind-the-scenes DJ that set up the playback.  A different approach to their music. The band played with all their might so the music was shooting out into the room. Ami and Yumi were master sof ceremonies to interact with everyone in the audience.  I was impressed by their English. They definitely studied for the tour but they used notes.

I'm a drummer so I was able to analyze Cindy's (the audience chose her American name) drum kit. Snare, rack tom, floor tom, kick drum, hi-hats, crash cymbal, most likely a ride cymbal, and a cowbell. A different approach to their music. I was expecting 2 crash cymbals and a keyboardist.

I think the volume was louder than the '07 concerts. The drums seemed louder too. When they performed, it was hard to hear myself singing.

Wes: You did the meet and greet, that sounds amazing!

Chanel No. 2: I can't believe I actually met PUFFY! My heart was definitely pounding! I went with the flow. I didn't know what to expect. I was shocked by the number of people that came. I'll need to remember that (next time).

I approached Ami and Yumi. I think I said hi and my name. I remember Ami saying hi to me. She said my name. :-D

Image via Chanel No. 2

Yumi saw my top and basically thought it looked familiar so I said 'Bring it!'  I think they remembered the top so, in perfect English, Ami asked where I got it. I basically said I bought it from Japan and had it shipped to me. Pretty sure it was only sold in 14 Japanese stores. Had I known, I woulda bought a lot. It's quite a bit of cash but...

 I had staff take a pic of Ami, Yumi, and I w/ my phone. I told them I was gonna do a heart. I think Ami said 'A heart'. Ami and Yumi made heart shapes w/ me. :-)

After I got my pic, I said 'Thank you so much' then went to the stage. I miss them already!!!

Wes: Can you share the set list?

Chanel No. 2:  The set-list was very random. I dunno how they came up with it!

1. Puffypipoyama
2. Call Me What You Like (if you like rock-n-roll)
3. LOVE SO PURE
MC
4. TEEN TITANS THEME
5. JOINING A FAN CLUB
6.UREI
7. TRUE ASIA
MC
8. Your love is a drug
9. SIGN OF LOVE
10. All Because Of You
MC
11. INTO THE BEACH
12. JET POLICE
13. DOKI DOKI
MC
14. Hi Hi
15. RED SWING
16. Darekaga
17. ELECTRIC BEACH FEVER
MC
18. Radio Tokyo
Encore
19. THAT’S THE WAY IT IS

Wes:  That is an interesting play list, some I might have predicted but Urei surprised me!  What were some of your thoughts about the set?

Chanel No. 2:  (Puffypipoyama) I wasn't very familiar w/ the song but I'm not surprised it was the 1st song cos it's recent. They did the dance. I'd leave the song name as is. Pipo seems to mean 'people'? Yama can have multiple meanings. Mountain, peak, hill, climax, etc.

(Call me What You Like) That blew my mind. I don't even know if I heard right. 1 of my favorite songs. I didn't think I'd hear it live. I thought they were gonna sing 'Shall We Dance?' but I guess it's not a big shock. It wouldn't be new. I'm very glad they sang the song.

(All Because of You) My favorite PUFFY song. I'm very glad they performed the whole song. It's the version w/ the extended opening.

(Electric Beach Fever) The opening was extended w/ handclaps

Wes:  Ami and Yumi have always had a knack for entertaining the crowd with banter as MC’s, can you tell me about that?

Chanel No. 2:  I can't remember all the MC details but they asked if anyone from the crowd went to their '07 L.A. show. I said I attended. Ami was asked what music is her favorite these days. She said K-pop. I was shocked!

Wes: Was it fun for you, did Puffy enjoy the performance?

Chanel No. 2.:  Such a fun experience. A+!  I think I was the most devoted fanatic there.

I'm glad PUFFY had fun. Hopefully they'll come back. I wasn't sure if they were gonna return but I guess they still have a sufficient fan-base

Wes: Thank you so much for talking about Puffy’s show at the Belasco and thank you for helping me out with a tour shirt.  I’ll post that up separately as I am the master of padding.

If anyone went to the Boston, San Francisco or Dallas shows please ping me.  Same for more LA show reports!


CONTINUED >>


Sunday, March 19, 2017

There is Not Lazy and Not Lazy


I like the fact that Puffy is playing in the US after a fairly long hiatus and this post is probably going to upset some fans.  I get that.  Frankly, I thought they had all but abandoned fans across the Pacific.  So the Not Lazy Tour does represent something of a surprise,  I do take issue with calling it a tour much less dubbing it not lazy. This had been bothering me for a while and I could not put my finger on why exactly, until I saw Shonen Knife announce their US tour and I have some tough love to dole out which pleases me not at all to do so.

Shonen Knife's touring is the precise definition of Not Lazy.  They do double digit cities on a nearly annual touring basis.  They are a band that has never had the same success as Puffy in their native Japan.  They have never had the same media exposure in the US like Puffy.  They have not had a vastly power label like Sony supporting them.  Yet Shonen Knife has far greater tours in the US.

The question I as myself now is why is that so?    

This is less of a shot at Puffy than it is acknowledging that Shonen Knife (Naoko Yamano) is personally invested in touring the US.  Not only does she seek labels to distribute her band's music, but she has laid the ground work for decades by touring the US.  People obviously show up as it is not a charity.  Ami and Yumi seem less personally invested and it would be my best guess that tours and many other things are handled by their people.  Which may be a byproduct of their overwhelming success compared to Shonen Knife in Japan.  It may also be that Shonen Knife has always been Noako's creation whereas Puffy is a group that was forged by Sony.

Perhaps it is an issue of personal investment and here is a rub as a fan of Puffy (more so than Shonen Knife, whom I like but not nearly as much).  What Shonen Knife has done for decades cannot and probably will not be something Ami and Yumi can replicate.  First the ground work is a decade behind Shonen Knife, but also  it simply seems like it is not of serious interest to Puffy to do so.

The lines of thinking between Shonen Knife and Puffy seems to boil down to this. Shonen Knife approaches a US tour like lets see where we can play and put together a tour.  Puffy approaches it by who wants us to play.  I think it speaks to Shonen Knife having some personal investment in touring the US whereas Puffy takes a more passive approach facilitated by their people.

I do not doubt for one second that Puffy could have a twenty date US tour and do well.  Puffy is arguably the best known band from Japan in the US, this might change over time as a band like Perfume makes headway... but for now a far lesser band, namely Shonen Knife is really Not Lazy and that is because Naoko Yamano has invested her energies into the US fans.

The smartest thing Puffy could do if they have any desire to invest in US tours is have Naoko Yamano manage their US tour dates and have Shonen Knife open for them. It would be a win-win for both bands.

All this said, I am sure Ami and Yumi will work hard to put on the great shows they have committed to.  They are not just engaging, but also professionals.  Perhaps if these dates are successful a door will be opened and there will be a new vector for them to apply their energies outside of Japan.


P.S.  I like Puffy far more than Shonen Knife and it genuinely pained me to write all of this.  I continue to listen to Puffy still far more than any other Japanese band and they hold the largest share of my Japanese music heart.  Puffy has vastly more range and talent than most Japanese groups, but I acknowledge that there is little substitution for determination of which Naoko Yamano has in spades when it comes to the subject of US touring.  


CONTINUED >>


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Anyone Going To Puffy's Concerts & Want To Do Me A Solid?

Anyone going to the concerts and want to do me a solid?

Swag... I need swag.

I'll pay you back.

CONTINUED >>


Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Not Lazy" US Tour

The good news is Puffy has more US dates added for the front half of this year!  That is really, really cool.

The bad news is Puffy is likely not playing in your city.

Puffy has announced three tours dates:

Tue 04 April The Belasco Theater, Los Angeles

Thu 06 April The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco

Sun 09 April Trees, Dallas

My hope is a few more dates fill out (pssst Denver would be a perfect stop over between SF and Dallas...)

Not Lazy for sure, touring overseas is no small thing... but I wish it were more ambitious.

Anyways, here is a video they posted talking about the video.  Even talking to fans a bit in English, for which Yumi-san has much improved and Ami sounds totally different speaking English. CONTINUED >>


Saturday, December 10, 2016

US Puffy Concert Announced: Anime Boston

Some interesting and encouraging news, Puffy has been announced as a performing act at Anime Boston. I have not seen the specific details as to the specific date, but the convention itself runs from March 31 - April 2nd.

The outstanding questions I have are:
Will this be in a proper venue?

Will they be bringing along their support band?

Will I have to go to Boston as who knows when they'll be back in the US?

Anyways, great news and even better for East Coast people.   Now if Denver Comic Con would book them...

Only one slight gripe about the posting on the convention's site, I kind of disagree with the album numbers... but minor issue.



(h/t to the Puffy Facebook group) CONTINUED >>


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Japan Trip: Traveled Half Way Around The World To Come To Terms About Puffy

Hey gang.  Apologies for not writing as much as I should or want.  I was in Tokyo in July and it was a great trip.  So I'll talk about that a little.

As some of you may recall my friend Dr Doug was the person who introduced me to Puffy some years ago when we worked together.  He has since moved back to Tokyo so I met up with him and his lovely wife Sumi.  This was part of the reason returning to visit Japan as they are very special people to us and life is short and often unpredictable.  We had to go.



Doug burned a weekend hanging out with us and doing more touristy things than a local expat might.  We diverted to a music store in Shibuya: Tsutaya.  I controlled myself and limited myself to the Puffy 20th Anniversary CD set.    


According to Dr Doug, Puffy is not really popular any more.  I think album sales, little new material  and general inactivity bear this out, but it was kind of shocking to hear it to my face.  The truth is kind of like that, so there you have it.  



Anyways I did have a funny encounter with hearing Puffy.  I was in Don Quixote is Asakusa and doing a quick exploration of the store.  It has everything.  Luggage, snacks, drinks, t-shirts, sporting goods, cosmetics, sex toys... a condensed Japanese department store.  On the stairs up near the top level there was a dingy  beach display with a beach chair and retro boombox.  Not eye catching at all, until coming from the worn out boombox Puffy's Electric Beach Fever.  

I probably looked goofier than normal standing there having a fun laugh about that.






CONTINUED >>


Monday, September 5, 2016

Were This Any More Japan...

Hey gang saw this crop up on the Facebook side of Puffy fandom.  Were this any more Japan it would have had to be in Tokyo Tower.



This checks so many boxes in my life:  Domokun, orchestral instruments, Puffy and Japan.

Perhaps Ami was not having a good singing day, but she sounded pretty rough.  Which is a surprise as she is usually the singer with much more range.  Based on this it sounds like off the cuff singing Yumi's voice is holding up well...

Still wrapping my thoughts around my Japan trip in regards to Puffy.  Hope your Labor Day weekend has been swell. CONTINUED >>



 
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