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author TL date 13/10/09 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Before I even begin to write anything in this gig report, I better disclose the fact that the show I am about to describe was always going to be a rather exotic if not alien experience to me, given that the only band on the bill was J-rock sensation MUCC, and given my lack of understanding for, not to mention lack of interest in, exactly their genre. Admittedly, I would probably not even have been present if it weren't for the pleas of our resident Japanophile, Jill the photographer, and the fact that I had actually stumbled over a MUCC performance before (at Taste Of Chaos in Copenhagen last year), and been mildy intrigued with their performance.

Predictably, when we make it to the venue, the girl to guy ratio is considerably tilted towards a majority of the fairer gender, and the average age is probably a good few years lower than both mine and Jill's. I'm struck with the thought that this is what it must feel like when 'normal' people find themselves amidst scene-dressed people when they go to an emo rock show, because a lot of the get-ups I bear witness to while having a few pints at the bar, are more ridiculous than they are imaginative, and despite my best efforts to stay open-minded, I admit I'm having a few laughs on the inside. I figure it's okay because I'm sure there are enough people out there who would laugh at the way I dress as well. Enough about the clothing though, let's talk about the show:


As soon as MUCC comes on, the audience naturally packs itself as close to the stage as possible, and before the first song starts, I'm a bit discouraged to find that, even with fellow J-rock fans flown in from our neighboring Scandinavian country, the amount of people this countries scene has mustered for the show is rather humble. Lille Vega is not even halfway full, but if the band shows any signs of letting this get to them, they are so minor that most will miss them, as they get things started in a manner that is as dedicated and disciplined as the stereotypical impression of the Japanese people. MUCC act on stage like they consider it not just a pleasure, but also their duty, to give the turn out a rock show to remember, and hence there is much bouncing and posturing and running from one side of the stage to the other, while the sound is as clear as one could ever wish for from a live show.

While the dedicated disciples of MUCC's eat up the performance from the front, I hang at the back, pint in hand, scrutinizing the band's style and sonic expression. Last time I saw the band I was perplexed by the wealth of Western styles that seemed to be indiscriminately cut up and mixed into MUCC's soundscape, but the more of this show I watch, the more I realize that they're really mostly a mix of two things: Power metal and nu-metal. One moment the guitar blazes away over a fast beat, while singer Tatsuro shows off his impressive clean pipes, and the next, the band dishes out a chuggy break, complete with electronic ambiance and growled vocalwork. The lyrics are all in Japanese, and thus entirely lost on me and I'm guessing also most of the audience, however, MUCC seem to attempt to bridge the cultural gap, by imbuing their songs with poppy structures and cheeky catchy elements, like the harmonica in "FUZZ" and the chorus in "Ageha".. - And as I realize a good while into the show, by playing every song in a variation of the same (the most common of all) time signature, 4/4.

It's about the same time that I have this realization that I also start to become slightly disenchanted by MUCC. The show has passed the 45 minute mark, and considering that I don't understand a word that's being sung and that the style is becoming more familiar than exotic, things are starting to get a bit monotonous. Musically that is, because on stage, MUCC are still as hard working rock stars as ever, doing their best to engage the crowd as much as possibly, in spite of the fact that they hardly speak any English - hell, Tatsuro's few words in Danish actually sound more right than his English phrases do. After 120 minutes, MUCC sound off, leaving it to me to figure out what to make of their performance. On one hand, you have to admire their on stage performance-ethic, one which many (especially British) bands could learn from, and uncompromising sense of style and expression. On the other, if it wasn't for the fancy clothes, the enthusiasm and the foreign language, I think that musically speaking, MUCC are actually a bit too shallow and commercial for my taste. That being said though, I still can't get around that it's hard to fault their live show, simply because of that feeling that these dudes consider it an obligation to give the audience their money's worth, and I am in fact quite sure that most of the J-rock fans leaving the venue tonight, feel that they got exactly that.


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