Anamanaguchi. To some, that would mean nothing, but to the crowd at the 8BitSF show last Sunday, it was enough to create a line around the block to get in. I’ve been to many shows at DNA Lounge here in San Francisco, both in the big room and the space above, but never have I see what amounted to a solid mass of people, all jamming out to the sweet sweet tunes being played on-stage. This was easily the biggest crowd I have ever seen in that space, so much that I had some trouble finding a place to watch it all. Of course, this was 8bitSF’s 5th anniversary show, which also marked 5 years since Anamanaguchi played their first show in San Francisco.
Since then 8bitSF has grown tremendously, to the point of having monthly shows complete with open mic every third Thursday of the month, featuring artists from around the scene such as virt, Danimal Cannon, Dj CUTMAN, Mega Ran and Metroid Metal, to name a few. And, as such, there was no better event to be my very first Anamanaguchi show. Since I’ve never had the pleasure to catch them live, I still need help with titles from time to time, but rest assured that I’m not completely clueless about the songs themselves. I can also tell you how the show felt, the atmosphere, the feeling, and the massive levels of hype and energy present at the scene. But that’ll have to wait, because there were other acts that performed too. Kicking the night off was crashfaster, debuting their new album ‘superchroma‘, which releases next month. ‘superchroma’ covers a broad spectrum of feelings, ranging from joy to anger to bliss and everything in between. A highlight of this fresh batch of music was the self-proclaimed attempt at writing an anime theme song. A rather successful attempt, I might add, because it was very well executed and the audience was quite into it by shouting GO! at the appropriate times. This was a perfect example of the high-energy style crashfaster has going these days, and the rest of the album followed suit, even if the energy was utilized in different ways fitting the varying styles of each song. After the stupendously superb superchroma section stopped, crashfaster finished their set with ‘collapse‘ from their last album, ‘further‘, and topped that off with the always-popular ‘time‘ from their first album, ‘disconnect‘.
After a short break between sets as is the norm, Una took the stage. This was her first ever show in America, and it was quite a memorable debut performance here. The crowd had swelled between sets, and every person in it was obviously enjoying her happy and bubbly style. She also had fantastic stage presence, utilizing every inch to her advantage. Admittedly, I didn’t have the best view of her set, but even from my less-than-ideal vantage point the high levels of energy were quite infectious. Overall, it was a quite solid set, and came to an end rather quickly… It was a full set, but it was so good and so engaging that it felt rather short.
Even if I wasn’t interested in Anamanaguchi at all, this show would’ve changed my mind instantly. I found my way atop a subwoofer in the corner, and had a view of the whole stage. And I’m glad I did, because that was one of the best shows I’ve been to in some time. Lots of people were into it, lots of people were crowdsurfing, it was insanely fun. There was even a guy in a flying squirrel suit crowdsurfing; I guess that’s as close as he was going to get to flying. He did that several times, and I hadn’t really seen a show where crowdsurfing was actively encouraged. I even got in for a bit of crowdsurfing during what was seeming to be their last song, and it was rather exhilirating. As the crowd chanted one more song (or five more songs) after this, the request was granted. The drummer, Luke, came down after the chanting to buy time for the rest of the band to take a short break and, after a failed attempt at a joke, the show was back on for two final songs. It was a rather amazing experience, I must say, and I can’t wait for the next one I get to see.
After that, some 8bitLA folks (including our very own Professor Oakes) came on-stage to throw giant inflatable bananas to the crowd. Because that is the logical follow-up to a great Anamanaguchi set, apparently. Grimecraft also DJed for the remainder of the night, playing a great set including selections from his release, PokÉP. As usual, he was very engaging, talking to the crowd and generating hype in those who remained. All in all, it was a fantastic show, and definitely made me want to follow up on Anamanaguchi. Until next time, rock on!