T-Palette Thanks Fans With a Hot Stage and…Arm Wrestling Tournament?
Tower Records’ idol music specialty label T-Palette Records held their third annual “Kanshasai” (literally “Thanksgiving”) event on December 13th at Shinagawa Stellar Ball to thank the loyal supporters of their idols. It was a festive night featuring performances all of the groups on the label, an arm wrestling tournament and a surprise.
After being greeted warmly by the voice of Pla2me’s always-energetic Mari Mizuta, CEO of Tower Records Japan Ikuo Minewaki and interviewer Go Yoshida took the stage as MCs, providing lively discussions throughout the night with the groups after their performances.
First up was Caramel☆Ribbon, who got the crowd going with a rapid-fire 6 song set of jazzy tunes which included the big band sounds of “Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho”, the more contemporary “Start Ribbon” and hip-hop of “Koi no Music”. The Kansai trio emphasized that the event was “in Tokyo” and even got the audience to do a “T pose” with them before ending with “Niji Iro”, “First Secret”, and “Nana Iro no Niji no Mukou ni”. Noticing the unseasonably summery tone of their set list, they implored Minewaki to give them a winter song and he replied that one would probably come out “next year around this time”.
With the appearance of two tall microphone stands onstage, it was time for Vanilla Beans to make their presence felt with their retro sounds. With covers of the ’80’s classic ““Kiss wa Me ni Shite, Po!” and Pizzicato 5’s “Tokyo wa Yoru no Shichi-ji” mixed in with their original songs “Watashi…Fukou Guse” and “Please me, Darling”, their comfortable Shibuya-kei sounds transported everyone in the ballroom back to a simpler time. With Vanilla Beans’ much-anticipated concert with a live band rapidly approaching, we anticipate that “Uchouten Girl” (their final song of the set list) will blow the roof off of Ebisu LIQUIDROOM on December 18th.
The mood quickly shifted as Nagoya’s Shizukaze & Kizuna hit the stage dressed in black, jumping, spinning, and spraying water from their mouths onto the crowd. They began with the cute “WONDER PARADE” and high-kicking “Tokimeiku Life” before shifting into high gear with “majiwari” and “Checker Flag wo Tomero”. During the final song ” PINK no Rocket☆彡”, the crowd rocked back and forth with arms linked, spun around, and lifted each other several times during the choruses. MCs Minewaki and Yoshida even tried to get into the act by running on stage before scurrying back to the wings until the song was over.
At this point, the preliminary rounds of the T-Palette Arm Wrestling Contest were held and it was serious business since a ticket for expensive yakiniku was at stake. Of particular note was UPUPGIRLS (KARI) member Akari Saho standing off to the side of the stage looking very serious and focused, in stark contrast to the other participants who seemed relaxed and bubbly. In the end, her efforts were in vain as she was defeated easily in the first round by Nao from Negicco.
amihime, the only soloist on T-Palette was next and brought the crowd into her 2.5D world with “Ai Iro NEW WORLD”, “EMBRACE”, “Melancholic”, Niji Iro Borderline”, and “Shinjitsu Sora sa”. While she has not yet released any CDs, judging by the warm reaction received, 2015 promises to be a big year for the diminutive amihime.
Even though there was no jumping into the crowd on this night, Pla2me delivered a strong 5-song set that started with “Plastic 2 Mercy” and “Toraresou”. They continued with “who am i?” and its popular call-and-response hook and heavy synths of “letter” before ending with the debut performance of their upcoming single “UNIT”, even tying their legs together as they had been in the MV, which was revealed earlier in the week.
Multi-faceted seiyuu (voice actor) unit One Little Kiss brought things back to less futuristic times with the ’60’s classic “Dancing 17”, the anime-ish “realize!!” and the electronic sounds of “Drop!” Continuing with the Christmassy-sounding “Wasurerarenaiyo!” complete with a move that looks like a pinky swear, perhaps some fans were swayed to spend their Christmas with One Little Kiss at their “reading lives” being held from December 24-26.
One of the surprises of the night was the announcement that Idol Renaissance would become part of the T-Palette family. The members who were sitting in the balcony guest seating seemed to be legitimately shocked and overjoyed by the news, with some lamenting that they hadn’t worn cuter outfits. CEO Minewaki mentioned being impressed with their cover of Base Ball Bear’s “17-sai” when he first saw them and wondered if they could perform it. When they tried to protest that they didn’t have the outfits, Minewaki told them that they already had them ready backstage.
While Idol Renaissance was getting ready, the finals of the T-Palette Arm Wrestling Contest were held. Negicco proved to be the surprise competitors of the event with only Megu being defeated by Saki Mori of UPUPGIRLS (KARI) in the semifinals. In a strange turn of events Mori was up against her good friend Nao (Negicco) and there were some tears and hugs before and after the showdown but as promised, Mori “did what she came to do” and took home the yakiniku prize as Queen’s “We Are The Champions” played.
Idol Renaissance may have came to Shinagawa Stellar Ball as guests but they would be leaving as T-Palette’s newest group. True to the words of CEO Minewaki, their performance of “17-sai” was fresh and energetic. Look forward to hearing a lot more from Idol Renaissance now that their CDs will be easier to buy and should be doing a lot more events in 2015 thanks to their affiliation with Tower Records.
lyrical school, the 6-member “idol rap crew” got heads nodding and arms waving side to side as they delivered rapid-fire rhymes over old school beats with classics like “Put Your Hands Up!”, “brand new day”, “photograph”, and their newest single “PRIDE”. However it did seem a bit odd that they were performing their summer hits “FRESH!!!” and “Sorya wa Natsu da!” in the middle of December. Perhaps, like Caramel Ribbon, they will get a winter song in 2015 too?
UPUPGIRLS (KARI) performed a shorter than usual set, considering that they just did two nonstop 2-hour performances at Zepp Diver City on November 30th. With “Beautiful Dreamer”, “Zenryoku! Pump Up!! – ULTRA MIX-“, “Respect Tokyo”, and “Choppa Choppa”, UPUPGIRLS (KARI) thoroughly expressed their gratitude to their fans for bringing them this far and asked for their continued support as they look to challenge a 47-prefecture tour and a solo concert at the Budokan in 2015. Manami Arai impulsively blurted out, “We want to go to the Budokan and do a 2-hour nonstop live!” before being reeled in by the others.
Closing out the night was Negicco, T-Palette’s most senior group and the champions of local idols from all over Japan. The ballroom glowed green with negi penlights as the trio from Niigata ran through many of their upbeat newer songs like “Tokimeki no Headliner”, “Triple Wonderland”, “Life is Candy Travel”, and “Sayonara Music” as well as the songs from their newest Oricon #5 single “Hikari no Spur” and “1000% no Kataomoi”. During “Atouteki na Style”, they were joined by UPUPGIRLS (KARI) and the 10 of them linked arms and did high kicks along with the audience. Several fans brought giant banners that they had made to congratulate Negicco on their accomplishment and raised it during “Hikari no Spur”, the final song. Combined with the sight of several fans attending with their children on their shoulders, the feeling of how much Negicco had touched the lives of so many was considerably overwhelming.
For the grand finale, all the groups returned to the stage for a rousing performance of Kohmi Hirose’s megahit winter song “Romance no Kamisama”. Although Shizukaze & Kizuna had to leave to catch the Shinkansen back to Nagoya, the rest of the groups stayed on stage to high-five all the attendees and thank them for another year of support. While 2014 was a great success for many of the groups on T-Palette, 2015 should have a lot more great things on the horizon so keep your calendar open for next year’s T-Palette Kanshasai!
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