Japan is widely regarded as a closed society and is incredibly homogenous – 99% of Japan’s population is 100% Japanese. It is also fiercely protective of its culture, with strict standards for behavior, clothing and appearance. Sort of like that FLDS compound in Texas, but without the polygamy. Or those Little House on the Prairie dresses.
So imagine my surprise, upon walking into the Fillmore on December 7 to see the Japanese metal group Mucc, to find a huge group of Japanese teenagers decked out in their Hot Topic-finest, complete with black latex, red plaid, and fill-in-the-blank wacky hair color. Equally unexpected was the other half of the crowd who appeared to be homegrown, white-bred Americans. That they spoke no Japanese did not stop them from singing along with Mucc’s heavily eye-linered lead singer, Tatsurou.
While the lyrics may not have immediately resonated with the English speaking crowd, the music translates well into American rock. The instrumentals could easily be confused with Korn or Disturbed. Seemingly eager to appeal to his American audience Tatsurou adopted several typical rockstar-isms, repeatedly asking that they “go fucking crazy” or “fuck it.” His limited English kept the between-song banter to a minimum, but the bands' hardcore shell cracked for one adorable moment about halfway through the set: while catching his breath, Tatsurou told the crowd he was “so happy come again.”
Based on this performance, and if more people can get into Japanese lyrics, Mucc stands a good chance of breaking into mainstream American rock. They are great performers who connected to the audience and moved their fans to hit one another in one song and cry in the next (no joke – actual tears were shed). While their decisively untraditional hair and makeup suggest that they are jazzed to shed the conventional Japanese image and jump into American rock, one aspect of Japanese culture snuck in – every band member I could see was barefoot.
**By Jesy B, our newest writer who also happens to work at a Japanese bank...is there a coincidence here?