Remember when I said last week that I would write about my experiences with music events and concerts around Nagoya and maybe even around Japan? Well, here is my attempt for it!
LinQ is a Japanese girl “idol” group that has about thirty or more members that are from the Kyushu (or southern Japan) region. They been around for about four years, releasing their first single “Hajimemashite” in the fall of 2011. The group been under three different labels; their own label (2011), Tower Records’ own indies idol label T-Palette (2011-2013), and on the major label Warner Records (2013-now). Even though they been through the whole changing label dance, the group still has kept their original sound; the sugary, popish idol music you usually find in AKB48 and other modern day pop idol groups in Japan.
For this time around, the group was promoting their summer-themed single “Hare☆Hare Parade” by holding free lives and special events all around the country. To do this more effectively, LinQ divided into three sub-groups and each sub-group would go to a different location. For the Aeon Mall Nagoya Dome Mae event, the subgroup that appeared had these eight girls: Yamamoto Ayano, Yoshikawa Chiaki, Himesaki Ami, Oba Ayaka, Kitayama Mao, Yuji Narumi, Fukuyama Kana, and Araki Kokoro.
I really didn’t think I would make it to the event because the uncertainty of when the cable/internet guys would come to my apartment. When they say they would come in the afternoon, they meant a half hour before they could call it quits for the day. Nevertheless, they came at 4:30 pm; checking out some things here and there and then leaving thirty minutes later. Once they left, I got on my bicycle and raced to the mall, hoping to make it on time. I also had to watch out for the crowds at Nagoya Dome as people were heading for a baseball game (which I was envious of; I want to see a baseball game someday!).
It was about 5:55 pm when I arrived, parked my bike, and walked into the mall’s event area. The girls just had appeared on the stage when I got there, announcing that they were going to do a dress rehearsal of their new song. Each girl did a mini-self introduction as they were testing their mics and sang through “Hare☆Hare Parade”. After the practice run was finished, the girls declared that they have finished practicing successfully and would be back in a little bit to do the event. They exited the stage.
Out of all the live musical events I attended that weekend, the crowd at the LinQ event was pretty small. People had two chances to see the event; on the second floor and in or around the roped off area. Maybe there were more people watching from the second floor, I didn’t really pay much attention, because it seemed that there wasn’t a good size crowd in the roped off section. Because of the lack of a crowd, I was able to move to the center of roped-off section easily that had a great view of the stage. I also took a chance to observed my surroundings; the front rows were crowded with crazed fanboys. I was shocked to see that I was only one out of three girls that gathered around the stage. I think the guy next to me noticed that because he kept on staring on me like he wanted to say, “What the heck are you doing here?”. He was very shy and quiet during the live event, did minimal dancing…. I wonder if I was the reason…
I snapped out my thoughts when they girls came on the stage, smiling brightly and introducing themself as LinQ. They began to sing several songs, mixed with a couple of MCs, which were:
2. Hare Hare Parade
3. V to Road
4. Wessai Gassai
5. Shining Star
6. Matsuri no Yoru
(Thanks to this blog for the setlist.)
LinQ has pretty good music. There wasn’t a time where I was like, “Well, this is a boring song” or “This group isn’t great vocally”. Even though I have a bias towards “Hare☆Hare Parade” because it’s a perfect summer-y, dance idol song, the rest of the songs were pretty solid. The girls had typical vocals that you can find in idol music but they were pretty strong (and with a soft tone).
After the live, the members told everyone that it was time to do the special events, which were a chance to take a photo with and/or getting a signature from a group members. As I had little money to spend, I only bought enough CDs to participate in the “getting a signature” event. That also meant that I had to wait for some time, watching everyone getting their pictures first with their favorite girls. These times are boring and it’s best to bring a novel (hey, I just bought the novelization of the first Sailor Moon musical for this purpose!) or make sure to have charged phone.
The event staff then announced that they would start lining up fans for the signature event when the last of the fans who wanted a photograph were finishing up. I only had a chance to get one signature so I had to make it worth it. However, because I really didn’t know the group well, I had to ask around to found out which line had the girl who wore hot pink.
It was Oba Ayaka! (Thanks LinQ fanboys!)
I raced to her line when they started to announce her name, becoming the first person in line. The event staff set up the tables in front of the lines and placed photos and markers out gently on the table for each girl. Then, the girls came out and sat down, preparing themselves for the onslaught of fans.
When the event members said go, I casually went to her and said hello. She smiled, actually looking a bit shocked at first to see a fan like me (but hasn’t other international fans have appeared at their events before?). After the initial shock, she tried her best to speak English to me. Truthfully, our whole conversation was in English with some Japanese on my part. She asked questions like “Where I am from?” and “How did I found out about the event” and her recommendations of Nagoya, She was really cute and talkative. She signed a photo card for me, with a cute mistake as she forgot what was the date, and we said our goodbyes.
(Psssst… That is not Oba Ayaka in the picture if you are wondering. That is another LinQ member, Fukase Chisei, who was present at another live event somewhere. They only had her and the LinQ available when I bought them.)
I went to Krispy Kreme for a desert and then the supermarket to pick up some groceries. When I was exiting the mall, the lines were still pretty big with the girls still being busy,
I barely heard of LinQ before the event and just came to experience their music. But, I think I really want to casually follow them now as they are a cute group with good music and great members. My favorites right now are Oba Ayaka (because she cute and has good vocals) and Yujina Rumi (because she is really pretty, exotic, and skillful in dancing and singing).
You should check out their new single Hare Hare Parade below! It is produced by Naoto Inti Raymi…