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ORESKABAND rocks. S.O.S. Brigade, not so much.

Okay, I know Anime Expo ended two weeks ago, but here’s a little blurb about one musical highlight and one musical non-highlight of the Expo.

I’ve been dimly aware that J-music artists have been coming to the United States in general and anime conventions in particular (Miss T and StudioArtmix’s Kuya Ed have been more on top of this than me) but there was no way I could not notice the five J-music concerts held over Anime Expo’s four days. Miss T and I saw two of the performances: ORESKABAND and S.O.S. Brigade Invasion Tour.

ORESKABAND - Mayumi Nashida photo

ORESKABAND (translated from オレスカバンド, in all caps, like many Japanese music act names) is an all-girl, ska music sextet from Sakai (near Osaka). Legend has it that the members met in middle school, wanted to form a band, and—based on the instruments that they already knew how to play—decided ska was the way to go. A couple of songs on fan-favorite anime shows Bleach and Naruto and one high school graduation later and ORESKABAND is touring the United States as part of the Warped Tour.

(Yeah, there’s got to be more to it than that. Here’s an article at Wikipedia and a focus panel transcript at Anime News Network to help fill things in.)

ORESKABAND in concert - Mayumi Nashida photo

Anyway, ORESKABAND was performing, Miss T said, “Let’s see them,” and, we did. And, the post-high-school-girls from Sakai rocked. Or, ska-ed. Or something. Whatever it was, it was good. You can read a more detailed account of the concert in Jonathan Mays’ blow-by-blow of “the best show at Anime Expo.” We also have photos from the concert in our Anime Expo 2007 gallery.

The S.O.S. Brigade, which we saw the day prior, was less good. Under the premise of being a concert featuring the voice actors and music from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, the S.O.S. Brigade Invasion Tour featured: too much stilted, scripted dialogue; too little music; and, a nearly incomprehensibly-low level of coordination. The performance did end on an upbeat note with the Japanese and American voice actors performing the Hare Hare Yukai (a.k.a. Haruhi Suzumiya dance) with appropriate dance contest winners, but it wasn’t enough to offset the rest of the show’s awkwardness. If they had just stuck with the music and dancing, the event would have been 20 minutes long and we all could have left satisfied (and with an extra 40 minutes of our lives intact). As it occurred, the show felt interminably long and left me, at the very least, confused. As in, “What the hell was that?”

Okay, enough kvetching. You can watch ORESKABAND in action on YouTube, or sample their single Pinocchio from iTunes. And, you can see the opening and ending songs from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on YouTube.

Photos: Mayumi Nashida.

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