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Keep the good times coming

Fans of Japanese rock outfit Luna Sea have been practising their hand actions and mass chants for the band?s first ticketed concert here. -TNP
Tan Kee Yun

Fri, Feb 08, 2013
The New Paper

JAPAN - You simply can't keep a good band apart - just ask Luna Sea.

The five-piece alternative J-rock outfit disbanded in 2000 and regrouped in 2007. Best known for their critically acclaimed albums Eden (1993), Mother (1994) and Style (1996), the Japanese rock band are more than two decades into showbiz, but show no signs of slowing down.

Frontman Ryuichi, rhythm guitarist Inoran, bassist J, all 42, lead guitarist-violinist Sugizo and drummer-percussionist Shinya, both 43, are heading to our shores this Friday for their first ticketed concert here.

And loyal local diehard supporters are thrilled.

"It's really a dream come true. I thought they would never come here," said Ms Sabrina Png, in her early 40s, who works as a medical assistant.

Ms Png, a "crazy" fan of Luna Sea, fell in love with the long-haired rockers in 1994 and has not looked back since.

"I own every one of their albums and singles. I have them on CDs and the now-defunct laser discs and mini discs. I've also purchased every concert DVD and VHS tape they've released.

"Since 1998, I've been travelling to Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand for their gigs... In 2000, when they announced that they were disbanding, it was the most heartbreaking moment for me."

Ms Png and her fellow Singaporean fans, Mr Emerson Yang, a 30-year-old civil servant, and graphic designer Chng Xiao Tian, 26, are the administrators of Luna Sea Singapore Street Team, a Facebook-based online community for local fans.

It has nearly 700 followers.

"We set it up in September last year once we got word that Luna Sea might be playing in town," said MsChng.

They update the page regularly with news, pictures, videos and Twitter feed about thegroup.

Ms Png, who is fluent in Japanese, helps to translate articles into English.

Mass chants

The administrators have also begun posting hand actions and mass chants - the de rigueur for J-rock live shows - for local fans to practise.

"We are making banners and gifts for the band," said Mr Yang, who is also a fan of J-rock groups L'Arc-en-Ciel and MUCC.

The allure of Luna Sea lies in their distinctive sound and image, he stressed.

"They do rock music that's totally different from any Chinese or English rock band," said Mr Yang.

"You can't find anything close to them in Mandopop. The biggest rock band in Asia is Taiwan's Mayday, but honestly, Mayday aren't really rockers. They're very poppish."

Mr Yang's all-time favourite Luna Sea song is Rosier, released in 1994.

"It's the first Luna Sea song that got me interested... I love it for its high energy. It whips up the atmosphere at their live concerts," he said.

Ms Chng, who has been a fan since 2000, said she loves the "dark, mysterious and melancholic" undertones in Luna Sea's music.

"Besides their fast rock numbers, they also have many beautiful ballads like I For You, the theme song for 1998 popular Japanese drama God, Please Give Me More Time, and Breath, the theme song for the Japanese-dubbed version of Disney animated film Mulan (1998)," she said.

Ms Png also admires the band members for their individual pursuits.

Lead vocalist Ryuichi is known in Japan as a successful musical star, having played the leading man in musicals like Chicago, she shared.

Enigmatic axeman Sugizo is admirable because of the causes he supports unrelentingly.

"Not only is he musically talented, he is a huge environmental activist and staunch anti-nuclear activist," she said.

In April 2011, Sugizo released two solo tracks, No More Nukes Play The Guitar and The Edge, through which he voiced his firm opposition to nuclear plants.

"I've attended a couple of his talks where he shared about the ills of nuclear power. He is truly passionate about these issues.

"He has also done volunteer work twice, helping the residents of Sendai after the tsunami in December 2011."

The fans' staunch support of Luna Sea puts the fleeting adoration of many fickle-minded pop fans to shame and isprobably why the band remains popular after all these years.

WHAT: Luna Sea Asia Tour 2013 - The End Of The Dream Singapore

WHEN: Friday, 7.30pm

WHERE: The Star Theatre @ The Star Performing Arts Centre

TICKETS: $98, $128, $168 and $238 from Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg or 6348-5555.)


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