Tokyo Audio 2015

Last weekend in Tokyo was Audio 2015 festival. A one-day outdoor party featuring a solid line-up of techno/house/electro artists and a chance to dance to Vitalic’s pumping electro, surrounded by Tokyo Bay’s evening lights…

The Good

Harumi Passenger Terminal is an awesome location for a daytime festival (although you really have to wonder what they do with such a massive structure on regular days)… Beautiful view of Tokyo Bay in all directions and a fair amount of breeze to help cope with the brutal heat of the Tokyo Summer…

Closing headliners Sébastien Léger and Vitalic truly carried the day. Léger played a solid old-school techno set (including his own deconstructed take on a Detroit Techno anthem). Vitalic played most of his signature tracks, with a small amount of extra remixing and production, closing with his brilliantly punchy remix of Amadou & Mariam’s no-less-brilliant electro-world track1still can’t get my head around the fact that Blur’s Damon Albarn produced that album….

Before them, Ken Ishii and Dustikid also did a nice job. Bit bummed we couldn’t check Dave Aju at all (schedule conflict with Vitalic)…

The Bad

The handful local Japanese DJs who played through the afternoon had considerably better fashion, edgier haircuts and cooler sunglasses than both Léger and Vitalic combined… But they still can’t mix their way out of a wet paper bag.

While software mixing helps keeping even the most inept mixing relatively trainwreck-free, things still get ugly every time they try their hand at actual live interaction with the music…2Pro-tip: that kill-bass switch is not magical, hitting it out of tempo will only result in very awkward-sounding mood-killing breaks.

The Ugly

Bloody fucking go-go dancers at an electronic music festival? in 2015? Seriously?

Being sold out of water, halfway through a sweltering day where people have been dancing in the sun for hours: either laughably incompetent or criminally stupid.

Having a strictly-enforced “No drinks” policy (water bottles included) on your indoor dancefloor, in practice forcing people to choose between dancing or staying hydrated, would seem to indicate the latter.

In fact, the entire bar situation followed the time-tested Japanese festival approach to drink point-of-sales: an afterthought randomly left to the goodwill of the miscellaneous drink sponsors3hence having to walk 10 minutes from the indoor area back to the outdoor stage, if one wants anything other than what the nearby Hennessy booth has to offer..