J-Live Asia Impressions

A-Sketch artists rock Singapore

15 March, 2012 by

This past Tuesday, A-Sketch bands Applicat Spectra and WEAVER had a showing at the inaugural J-Live Asia event. Their first time performing outside of Japan, Singapore marks new territory for both of the bands. Supermerlion was there, taking a break from the usual idol music that happens at *SCAPE’s Warehouse for some honest-to-goodness rock fun.

Arriving at *Scape at 6:30 in the evening on a weekday was weird enough, but what was surprising was the queue that had formed to go into the venue. Two lines (corresponding to the two different ticket categories) had been formed, with some sitting down while waiting, obviously having been there for a while. Most in the queue were female; one was even armed with a board for WEAVER.

The queue outside the Warehouse.

Applicat Spectra lined up to open the show. While I had reservations about the vocals, they don’t sound too bad in a live setting. I earlier likened my first impression of their music to be more atmospheric and spacey, but it seems that this was specific to the track I had previewed. What was more apparent was the instrumental wall of sound, obvious in their track Clockwise, which in my opinion was their best song of the night.

The crowd before the start of the show.

A little disappointing however was the lack of interaction between the band and the audience. Only Ishikawa spoke during the MC parts with the rest chiming in with short words. There wasn’t even a proper introduction of the band, and awkward silence was common between songs. One issue of note was that Nakano actually sounded normal when he spoke to the audience, prompting the question of why he has to resort to a falsetto while singing.

After a break for the set up of the instruments to be done, it was time for Weaver to take the stage.

Weaver were the more experienced showmen.

Right from the get-go, you could tell that Weaver was in a different class. Veteran performers compared to their label-mates, bassist Okuno hyped the crowd up, getting them to clap along to the beat and occasionally stepping forward to throw some smiles. What followed the first song was a set list totaling a whopping fourteen songs, with very short breaks in between. Their command of English was also excellent all around, to the point where the banter between the members also happened in English.

Bassist Okuno in action.

Music-wise, WEAVER is decent, but rather mellow. The lack of guitar means that much of its repertoire lacks the punch one would expect. However, with the piano being such a central part of the band’s sound, it’s uncertain how they would be able to escape this. One upside though, is that the lack of guitar makes for easy listening, endearing WEAVER easily to the mainstream audiences that do want their music a little more upbeat without having to resort to the sounds of distorted guitars.

Bidding the bands farewell with a handshaking session.

The end of the concert, hilariously, was not unlike that of an AKB48 concert. As their set ended, WEAVER told all the fans to squeeze to the middle, so they could take a group shot with the fans in the background. Members of both bands were lined up for a handshake session, giving fans an opportunity to meet their idols. At such an affordable price, I’m curious to see what else J-Live has in store.


Writer who also doubles as the photographer during event coverage. Mus' interests in Japan lie in the language, literature, popular culture and underground rock bands. Having an academic background in Japan, Mus is also particularly interested in the study of Nihonjinron.