Nagisa 2005

Time for some good old fashioned party report.

Sunday and Monday was Nagisa Music Festival and it was pretty damn cool.

One of the first nice thing about Nagisa is that it’s quite the value pack of music festivals. At ¥1,500 a day, you can hardly go wrong: we are talking cheaper than most regular club nights in Tokyo (certainly cheaper than the indecent ¥8,500 you’ll have to cough up for one single evening of Electraglide next month). At that price, one had to wonder where they cut the cost, and just hope it wasn’t on porta-potties or by using their home stereo to power the main stage. It wasn’t.

Essentially, I think, the low cost comes from a rather “modest” lineup, more fitting of a big underground rave than of a massive music festival. Only a few international names, with lots of local and smaller acts in the middle. Which is certainly nothing I would ever complain about: trust me when I tell you that most world-famous headliner DJs are nowhere near worth the effort. I wasn’t there last year, so couldn’t compare, but it seems the place wasn’t fully packed, likely due to the mediocre weather… There again not an issue as far as I was concerned: there were enough friendly smiles and energy to make it up entirely without having to elbow your way around to bust a move…

Music was overall good quality and enjoyable, even in fairly sober attendance mode: on the main stage, Kenji Williams was doing some nice tricks on a live electronica beat with a violin. Then this couple came on, and although they looked quite upbeat, they still seemed like middle-aged tourists that had just gotten lost on their way to the Meridien hotel next door. It took me forever to recognize System 7, and even after they tore the non-existent roof off with the perennial Alpha Wave track, I was still not convinced they were the same blokes I had seen a decade ago playing with Richie Hawtin: man, if the scene and the drugs do that, good thing I’ve stopped already. Anyway: very talented and led to hours of frenzied jumping around rhythmically.

Less talented, on the other hand, was Mr. François Kevorkian (aka François K). It’s now been about four or five times I saw him live and… while he sure is a worthy producer with a few awesome tracks, the man still can’t match a beat to save his life. One would think after 20 years, he would finally have it down pat… How he still manages to get booked with that major headliner status he enjoys in Japan, is beyond me. Or rather, it’s just yet another example of that asinine push by the public to make DJs out of producers and vice-versa. When he broke continuity for the twentieth time with some very forgettable minimalist techno, we called it a quit and went around to check out the Trance stage. Which says a lot when you know me and the seething hatred I usually keep for the genre.

Truth be told, the Trance stage around 7pm-9pm (Tokage and Ta-Ka, according to the schedule) wasn’t half bad. Some of the latter stuff sounded more like electro-ish techno than the usual cybercrap fare you usually get in the city. The small House stage also had a really nice Deep set going on, but unfortunately a rather weak sound system and perhaps a slightly less than energetic crowd, which dampened the ambience a bit.

All along, the usual suspects had finally all made it there. First Deny wearing an orange beacon visible from miles away, then Madoka and her party gang and finally the one and only Last Samurai, in between two glamourous fashion shootings and preparation for his eurotrip (getting lost in Paris’ public transit as we speak, if everything went well).

Only small downside of Nagisa was its strange “two days broken in two” setup, which makes things end unfathomably early (9pm) each day, with nothing but the afterparty at Ageha (wasn’t tempted at all) in between. The Plan was to go home, sleep sound and get there early the next day. But then The Plan got acquainted with Reality, in the form of a work-related phone call at 8am, reminding him that Monday wasn’t a bank holiday in other parts of the world, and that some emergency had to be dealt with. Thus, working until past 7pm and by then noticing the miserable weather all over Tokyo, I cowardly traded David Morales for my comforter and a hot chocolate.

Made the best out of Sunday anyway: even managed to catch an extra 30 minutes on the official closing schedule, in some smaller indoor stage (inside a giant teepee) where the DJ had the awesome taste of closing with the best club track of all times. Not so much drinking (for me, at least), but hours of dancing as I had not done in many weeks now… Which reminded me I really need to get out and do it more often these next two months.

There are a few blurry pics of the day in the keitai logs, Deny took heaps too: I’ll upload them as soon as she gets around to sending them.

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