Worst of the Worst? Anything Goes for the “Pinchike of Pinchike”! Gyu-No Fes vol. 6 Report
Rain fell gently as self-proclaimed pinchike filed into the small basement live house known as Shinjuku Nine Spices on the edge of the Kabukicho district September 1st. As part of an ongoing series of idol events organized by Gyuzo (Tokyo Shock Boys, aka Tokyo Dengeki Network) to support his home prefecture of Tochigi and its farmers, the 6th Gyu-No Fest (a combination of Gyuzo’s name and the kanji 農 meaning “agriculture”) was a wild and sweaty event!
In simplest terms, a pinchike is a derogatory term for a casual or new idol otaku who have become synonymous with bad behavior at events. Because they are often poor and not that invested in any idols in particular, they are most often seen at event spaces that have no admission charge. Lifting, moshing, crowdsurfing, stripping, fighting and other sorts of reckless behavior are almost inevitable when pinchike show up. With a lineup of groups like Stereo Japan, Shoujo Kakka no International, Oyasumi Hologram, and POP, who are known for getting the audience excited to where almost anything can happen, it was definitely appropriate for this event to be called “Pinchike of Pinchike” (in other words, the worst of the worst).
Unlike most idol events which have a long list of things that are prohibited during the performance, Gyuzo simply said, “Do whatever you like but, don’t break anything! In particular, don’t break the mirror ball!” Although there were a few mishaps due to some flailing limbs of audience members who were crowd surfing, the mirror ball survived the night. If it began swinging, someone was right there to stop it. Those lifting up the crowd surfers would restrain their legs and one of the surfers even twisted his body away from the glittering sphere when he realized he was right under it.
Getting things started with their debut song “Electron”, fresh-faced EDM idol group Stereo Tokyo had the floor shaking with party people jumping up and down and waving all kinds of flashing lights. Streams of tinsel burst out from party poppers. An inflatable doll without head or arms and several beach balls bounced above outstretched arms. A string of world flags were raised up along the front of the stage and walls during the latin-flavored “Anthem”, giving it the feel of a soccer match or block party. Anyone who already likes what they have seen from Stereo Tokyo so far, definitely needs to come and see them in person because they’re even better live!
Shoujo Kakka no International
Taking the stage to the classic rock song “Wild Thing” as several people in the front held rice cookers above their heads, Shoujo Kakka no International began with the fast punk song “mug” before switching to the relentless Kraftwerk-esque electronic “Mina Goroshi Friday”. Lying on the stage and waving their hands to begin the globetrotting, genre-hopping “Bankoku Obake Hakurankai” and dancing to the flamenco guitars of “Urami Bushi/Spaghetti Western”, the members of Shoujo Kakka no International then took a break to ponder what the word “pinchike” really meant, claiming that they didn’t have too many at their lives despite being fairly underground.
Getting back on their feet, Shoujo Kakka no International jumped into a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” which had all kinds of chaos happening on the floor. Risa Satosaki (aka Shacho, Japanese for “company president”) was carried from the stage to the bar at the back of the room before being carried back. She then joined the rest of the group as they ran around in a circle with the audience in front of the stage. Ending with their theme song, which features the melody from the Gremlins soundtrack, what Shoujo Kakka no International may lack in conventional vocal ability, they more than made up for with entertainment value.
Known for their wild lives, Oyasumi Hologram wasted no time seeing just how wild the audience was capable of getting. Kanami Mochizuki (aka Kanamiru) surfed away on the crowd as Hachigatsu-chan remained on the stage singing and fake money fluttered about. While most of their set was rooted in the dissonant and angst-filled sounds of early ’90’s alternative-rock, songs like “Tab Song” and “Yureta” backed their two-part vocal melodies with impatient-sounding drum machine beats and sparse instrumental arrangements.
Announcing that they would be releasing their 1st album on September 16th followed by a 1st one-man on the 22nd, it seems that Oyasumi Hologram is picking up momentum to end 2015. Further good news included a two-man with POP titled “Man 2 Man”, which caused some of the audience to giggle at the slightly sexual implication. Kanamiru joked that whoever thought the title was that perverted must still be a virgin.
Grabbing a castanet, Kanamiru tapped along to the punk rock beats of “Plan” before crowd surfing around the dance floor again. A fan who was crowdsurfing near her reached out and handed her a bill which she graciously accepted and later used to wipe the sweat from her neck during the final song “note”. As one of the favorite groups of noted idol otaku writer Akimasa Munekata (he stood completely still while filming them with his smartphone the entire time!), Oyasumi Hologram comes highly recommended.
The mood intensified as the entire front of the stage filled up, people shouting random silly things as they stood in the dark waiting for POP to take the stage. Appearing in red tracksuits and everyone except Miki Yamamachi with their hair up in twintails, POP jumped into “Daydream” followed by “UNIT”, which had them and the audience alike linking arms and swaying back and forth to the ending. After their individual self-introductions, Ao Shigusawa yelled out to the crowd, “Are you guys pinchike or what?!?! Come on and get crazy!”
Despite Ao’s request, the set simmered on with the downtempo “fly away” but, as the fans clapped along and shouted out the MIX during the instrumental breaks, the awaited moment was quickly approaching. Tensions boiled over when POP launched into “Plastic 2 mercy”, fans struggling to raise themselves above the others despite the extremely low ceiling. At least 5 different fans were lifted for Maaya Inukai during her solo lines in the middle of the song, leading to some friendly wrestling.
Next was “pretty pretty good” the spiritual successor to BiS’ legendary “nerve” with its similar choreography. The members lifted each other on stage just as they were lifted by the crane in the MV and the fans in the audience mirrored them. One fan in particular pulled out some rice snacks and offered them to Miki before stuffing them in his mouth. Ending with “Letter”, fans chanted Saki Kamiya’s name during her lines as if she were on the stage with the other members of POP instead of backstage (Kamiya was placed on indefinite hiatus from performances after the group’s one-man at Daikanyama Unit on August 9, 2015). As always, it was a loose and carefree set that got pulses racing and sweat flowing.
Pinchike have a bad reputation because they are reckless poor otaku. They have no regard for the rules and are often the cause of trouble at free events. It can be argued that with the number of different kinds of idols with harder music and unconventional concepts increasing, the tendency for fans of rock, metal, and EDM to become pinchike is also increasing, leading to “cultural misunderstandings”. While there was definitely some excitement happening in front of the stage of Shinjuku Nine Spices, there were no fights, no one was injured, and no one had to be kicked out. This is even when the audience was pressed right up against the stage, a sharp contrast to bigger events where they are usually much further away.
Gyuzo probably summed up the even the best when he said, “There aren’t really any pinchike here, just a bunch of noisy otaku!” Someone in the audience offered the explanation that there weren’t any pinchike present since the event did not have free admission. Gyu-No Fest vol. 7 “Pride of Pinchike” will be held at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on October 3, 2015 and is said to hold almost 100 more people than Shinjuku Nine Spices. Based on how wild vol. 6 was despite being on a Tuesday night, vol.7 will be one not to miss!
Photos by Ken’ichi Inegaki 稲垣 謙一（離島）
Gyu-No Fest vol. 7 & Uta Musume Idol Dai-Senso/Pride of Pinchike (P.O.P.) Fest
October 3, 2015 (Saturday)
Shin-Kiba 1st Ring, 1-6-24 Shin-Kiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Presale: 3,500 yen Door: 4,000 yen (+ 1 drink minimum)
Oyasumi Hologram Official site: http://oysm-hologram.com/
POP Official site: http://www.pop2m.com/
Shojo Kakka International Official site: http://shonasho2014.wix.com/shonasho
Stereo Tokyo Official site: http://www.st-tokyo.com/
Gyu-No Fest Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/gyuno_fes
Tokyo Shock Boys Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tokyoshockboys
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