GIG REVIEW – Asian Kung-Fu Generation at O2 Islington Academy, 31st May 2013

I first encountered this band through watching anime, hearing their songs Haruka Kanata in Naruto, Rewrite in Full Metal Alchemist and After Dark in BLEACH, they left an everlasting impression on me and from there, my interest in this kind of music continued to grow. They’re the kind of band that you can respect highly for their achievements even though you may not be a great fan of them or their music. That’s how I feel about them anyway.

The band I’m talking about is Japanese rockers Asian Kung-Fu Generation or AJIKAN, who embarked on their short but sweet European tour nearly a month ago now.

Performing with only three dates on their schedule, they went to London first, then Paris and finally Koln. Fortunately for me, I had the great pleasure of attending their sold out show in London at the O2 Islington, it also gave me the opportunity to reunite with friends I hadn’t seen for a long time and make new ones.

The crowd was a good mixture of both Japanese and English fans, what made everything complete though was the really nice atmosphere which was fun, exciting and calm. When it was eventually time, I was up near the stage as not much people had gotten in, so I looked around for those I hadn’t seen beforehand just to say hi.

When I got back to my place and waited a while, I looked behind and began to realise the sheer amount of people who came out tonight, I would have the same feeling when everybody left too, it’s unimaginable but it’s a great sight to see.

There were many opportunities to dance, raise hands and leave the audience in awe as the beginning of each song was played or announced; at that point, voices would rise in excitement as they recognised what it was. I remember there was a guy in front of me who looked like he could have combusted from excitement when each song played and then, there was his drunken friend who was completely out of it, his head going everywhere.

When Haruka Kanata played and not so long after, Rewrite, suddenly everyone went absolutely crazy, including me. I started dancing with people I had never met, made weird faces at them and played air guitar as we all strummed and shouted out the lyrics to the song.

To think that I was a teenager, watching the anime their songs had featured in and trying to piece together the words shown on-screen. It was surreal moment that I was seeing them perform right in front of me, playing the songs of my youth, I never thought a day like this would come and felt that it definitely was a once in a lifetime moment. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one thinking that as well.

The whole set felt really long, longer than I had expected and that’s surprising even for me. I’ve seen bands having to adhere to the curfew and the set list hasn’t felt that long at all so having that feeling at the end, plus those feelings I had before the gig, made me feel that it was really worthwhile.

Overall, it was a great day. There was something I hadn’t felt for a long time and that was the warmness of the fans, both internal and externally. I was worried that because I didn’t know a lot of their songs, I would miss out on something special but that wasn’t the case, their music was easy to get into and added another wonderful experience to the time I’ve been going to gigs.

 

Dayle Corbin

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