Music

Review: Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium

by Midori Nishida

Staff Writer

The rainy weather last Sunday didn’t stop throngs of concertgoers from attending the Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival, a three-day concert produced by talent agency Asobisystem that focuses on pop music and Japanese culture. And like last year, non-Japanese music fans were allowed into the event for free provided they could show a passport.

Each day centered around a different theme — Moshi Ani, Moshi Pop and Moshi Cool — but most of the big music acts came out to the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium for Moshi Cool on Sunday. When I got to the show, the smartly dressed gentlemen of dance group World Order were executing their meticulously timed and synchronized moves. The crowd went into full party mode as m-flo took over the stage with their hit song “Miss You,” and later Crystal Kay joined the duo.

Wanting to take a break from the flashing lights and general ruckus, I slipped into the smaller, more intimate Nippon Stage in a room located just behind the main stage. Despite its lesser scale the crowd was still pretty hype. Charisma.com and Suiyobi no Campanella, two acts who have been on the rise as a “girls’ rap” trend has been making the rounds in the Japanese music media, were the highlights at the Nippon Stage. Charisma.com completely won the crowd over with its aggressive tunes and smooth verses that showcased the two members’ feisty attitudes. True to the group’s name, the pair charmed fans with humor before finishing up their set with a collaboration with the young dancers of Tempura Kidz.

The stage went dark before the next act appeared, but Komuai, the single-monikered lead vocalist behind Suiyobi no Campanella, appeared in a fiery red robe on a balcony above the crowd. She kept the audience on their toes with a skillful erratic performance that included copious amounts of running around offstage and singing from the press area.

Stalls selling J-pop merchandise were scattered nearby the main stage and the Niku Fest Area located outside the venue offered numerous types of Japanese food. Unfortunately, the area was almost completely deserted most likely due to Sunday’s rainy weather.

Heading back to the Moshi Moshi Stage for the main performance of the night, I was met with an even larger and livelier crowd throwing their hands up in the air as the almost deafening tunes of electronic duo Capsule filled the venue. Yasutaka Nakata, the producer behind Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, worked the DJ booth while vocalist Toshiko Koshijima blasted the audience with a CO2 smoke gun. The energy levels, already pretty high, skyrocketed further as Harajuku’s pop princess walked on stage singing her hit song “Fashion Monster.” The crowd got dancing as she went on to play “Ninja Re Bang Bang,” “Tsukematsukeru” and latest release, “Crazy Party Night ~ Pumpkin no Gyakushu.”

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