Even to this day it confuses me, I love the punk band without instruments, BiSH.
Why does it confuse me you ask? It is quite simple really, my musical proclivities revolve around 1950’s Rock and Roll and Rockabilly, and of course the genres that spawn off of that. Bluegrass, Honky Tonk, old time Rhythm and Blues, Western Swing, Jump Blues, Skiffle, Jug Band etc; Ever since I was a kid I have stuck to those styles of music with a healthy dose of classical music when I want to relax.
Why all of a sudden at 55 years old am I flying on a 13,000 mile round trip to go and see a relatively small Japanese band with a passionate fan base? Let me point out that when I planned my trip last year they were just on the verge of making it big, and since I left Japan they have blown up.
It all started with a Japanese cover band of Sony musicians who performed live on Youtube once a month. They are a band of really talented musicians and singers with amazing voices and they are a joy to watch. One of the group members, Manami, did a solo version of the following song. Unfortunately you are not allowed to embed the video on external sites.
As I do with a lot of covers that the band perform, I like to check out the original artist as well. In the comment section there were a lot of BiSH fans professing their love for the band so I figured I would check them out. Of course the first video that I wanted to see was the song ‘Orchestra’ as was performed by Manami. This was the first song by BiSH that I watched, and again, because it is uploaded in Japan, I can only post a link and not embed the video. BiSH – Orchestra.
Now to be honest with you there was a perfect mix that happened in the video above that initially drew me to the band. First of all it was the violin orchestra backing them, the rock opera feel is always something to get my attention. Secondly, the voice of the second girl to sing in the video really captured me, this isn’t just a manufactured pop band, this girl can actually sing. You will hear more about AiNA THE END soon. Lastly, I think that it was the combination of what I was seeing in the video, the girls sweating profusely, the crowd interaction and the expression’s on the faces of the singers. Normally I take a one and done approach to new musical acts, but these guys I wanted to see more of.
So perhaps I was fortunate with the concert footage that I followed up watching of BiSH. Copious use of the middle finger, girls stage diving, screaming, sweating, crying, and the audience going mental totally hooked me. I will be honest though, without the vocals of AiNA THE END I’m not sure if they would have been anything more than a passing phase, but this girl can sing with the best of them. In Japan they call her Husky Voice, in America we would say that she has soul. Here is my favorite solo song from her and again, because it is Japan you can’t embed the video, but just follow the link to hear this girl sing. AINA THE END ACOUSTIC. AiNA is also the choreographer for the band and creates all of their dance routines.
If I wasn’t able to see the band perform as a group, I would have gone out of my way to watch AiNA perform solo. In fact I will state it right now, at some point in the future when the band is no longer, I will make the trek to Japan just to watch AiNA perform solo. However I was able to get a ticket for two shows in Tokyo last year through a third party, and while I paid double the face value for each ticket I have no complaints. I’ve had to edit the ticket as I don’t wish to get anyone in trouble, this is a fan club ticket after all.
The more that I watched them the more that I began to enjoy the interpersonal interactions between the band members. Let me just add that I speak next to no Japanese, I survive using rough translations but for the most part it is the visual concept that I enjoy. Most of the band are in their mid to late 20’s, with the two youngest members, AYUNi D and LiNG LiNG being 19 and 21 respectively. So starting with them I totally adore the way that they interact with each other. To start with they were always fighting and needling one another, but as time goes on you can see that they are really affectionate towards each other. The other pairings that stand out and appear more of a big sister thing feature founding member AiNA THE END and LiNG LiNG, and also founding member Cent Chihiro Chittiii and AYUNi D.
All of the photos shown in this post were taken by me at both of the concerts that I went to. It was a one off event as I felt that I would not have a chance to see the band perform again. Now, the third party ticket prices for the upcoming tour are four times the face value due to their success, but I am hoping that when I arrive in Japan that I can hopefully find a ticket re-seller in either Tokyo or Hiroshima as I will be in each city for two concerts in each city. I feel pretty sure that I might be able to pick one up in Tokyo.
When BiSH perform, and it is another reason that I like them, they play for over two hours at every concert that they do on their own tours. I’m a working man so to see a band give you your money’s worth is always something that I appreciate. During the concerts there are normally at least two breaks, and this isn’t just based on the concerts that I went to, I also have many of their concerts on DVD that I purchased in Japan.
One of the breaks is normally a comedy routine conducted by Hashiyasume Atsuko ( ハシヤスメ・アツコ ) , and the other is when one of the girls addresses the audience as the others stand by patiently. One assumes that they are thanking the audience during this time and telling a personal tale. Other than the fact that you have nobody to talk to during the pre show, the concert and the post show, this is the only time where it sucks not to understand Japanese. I stand there and watch and hope to pick up one word here or there to give me some idea as to what the topic might be.
With that said, the following interaction needed no translation as during the first concert that I saw it was LiNG LiNG’s ( リンリン ) turn to speak to the audience.
As I have learned during my time following the band, one thing is as clear as day, LiNG LiNG is painfully quiet. Even when she does speak it is little more than a whisper. LiNG LiNG has written some of the most bizarre songs for the band, full of dark thoughts, and many times when the band is doing an interview she seems totally distant. To give you an idea of LiNG LiNG, just seeing a pigeon will make her cry as she has a phobia of flying creatures. Funnily enough though she loves insects.
Anyway, she started to address the audience with a really shaky voice until AiNA THE END asked her something that LiNG LiNG agreed with. One only assumes that AiNA asked her if she needed support. What makes this photo special to me is that all of the other girls find it highly amusing that she needed to hold onto AiNA, but that is AiNA to a tee. For a society where personal body contact is frowned upon, any time that one of the girls cries you will notice something straight away, AiNA THE END is the very first one to embrace them in a hug.
The final concerts images that I will share for now, and remember I have 100’s of them, are of the band member, AYUNi D ( アユニ・D ) . Now she isn’t my personal favorite, however there is no denying what she has brought to the table when she joined the band as a 16 year old in 2016. Her cuteness factor brought in a new wave of fans, which is kind of funny because I read in an interview with her that when she auditioned she couldn’t believe how cute the other girls were.
This is a girl who worked part time in a gas station before she became a singer, and to the trained eye there is something endearing about her that you can’t exactly put your finger on. There are certain tics that she has and during interviews she is as bashful as can be, even to a point that she will genuinely blush even in a worked interview. While I gravitate to AiNA THE END and LiNG LiNG, I can understand why people love AYUNi D so much. There was one thing very apparent during the concerts that I saw, and that is when AYUNi D does her solo pieces the crowd goes absolutely bananas. The BiSH fans love her.
Now before I close this post for now, if anyone in Japan has a spare ticket for either of the Hiroshima shows in November, or the two Tokyo shows at the end of November or beginning of December, please feel free to let me know, I will happily pay twice the face value for a ticket.
At the time that I went to Japan I thought that it was a one off event, so while I was there I made sure to pick up some merchandise. Not only did I buy every concert DVD but I also stocked up on various trinkets including a Hello Kitty BiSH set that I bought at a second hand store. In fact it was easy for me to shop at a second hand store to buy merchandise rather than try to locate the actual places where I could find the items. I was even lucky enough to win three plush toys on a crane game. This is just a partial showing of the merchandise that I picked up in Tokyo. Since last year there are already two new DVD concerts with more than likely a third being released before I arrive this year, and there are two visual books that are new as well. One is of back stage photos from all of the four bands that the parent company owns, and the latest one which is at the top of my list of items to buy in Japan, and that is an illustration book entitled ALTERNATiVE SiDE of SUSHiO. That book is a must have for my collection.
These are just some of the items in my collection of BiSH merchandise that I picked up last year in Tokyo.