Anamanaguchi Live: A Story, and Thank You

This special blog post is best enjoyed listening to "U n Me" by Anamanaguchi. Click to play.

On October 22, 2021, I, Amber, saw Anamanaguchi live for the first time.

It's been nearly a decade since I had last seen any form of concert. The last show I saw was Passion Pit, opened by Matt & Kim and Icona Pop. Needless to say, seeing a show live was not something I expected to any time soon.

And yet, there I stood, eyes up at the sign above me.

Brighton Music Hall. Anamanaguchi - SOLD OUT, 7PM.

I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't give any background information for this post. There's a lot of layers to this, to culminate in one of the best nights of my life, that I'd like to peel back just a bit.

The backstory

In June of 2020, I joined the Anamanaguchi Patreon Discord (referred to from here on out as "guchicord"). Shockingly, prior to joining this server, I had heard a VERY limited selection of Anamanaguchi music. The list included "Miku", their EDM single featuring the world's most popular vocalsynth, "Blackout City", which I didn't even know was them (having only heard it in the menu for the WiiWare demo of Bit Trip Runner), and their set at Porter Robinson's 2020 Secret Sky stream.

Enamored by my love for their Miku single, and quite frankly charmed by the comedic presentation of their Second Sky set, I bit the bullet, paying my $5 entry fee to the Anamanaguchi Patreon, and joining the Discord.

I joined, and somewhat shamefully asked, "what should I listen to first?" There was a bit of revelation from the chat that I hadn't heard any of their music yet. But, there was an air of excitement, from many realizing they could be first-hand witness to someone listening to Anamanaguchi's discography for what was effectively the very first time.

So, with the recommendation of the server, a crowd of people, and the presence of Pete (guitarist) and Luke (drummer), I queued up their 2013 album Endless Fantasy, sat back, and hit play. The bright NES-fueled sounds of the title track flowed through me, as I posted my live reactions in chat. The most notable of these was my severe pop-off upon hearing the penultimate track of the album, the bombastic drum n' bass tune Bosozoku GF.

"GOD FUCKING DAMN, IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME - chair throwing anthem", said user y0shimi.

"was literally just saying to myself 'man...when this kid hits bosozuku gf'", said band manager jenn?, promptly pinning one of my messages (which remains pinned to this day).

After the ending of Endless Fantasy, I flowed into [USA], their latest album release, enjoying a similar listening experience.

I spent some time afterwards listening, frequently, to the music. Whether it was enjoying my favorite songs from Endless Fantasy and [USA] or discovering new ones from the back catalogs. It was always a treat listening to Anamanaguchi's music, and it was even more enjoyable getting to meet the regular faces of Guchicord.

Guchicord has got to be, like, the nicest place on the internet. It was always comfy, and kind, and supportive. Of all the Discord servers I have been a part of during the past year and a half, it is the only remaining server I am still regularly active in. I've met so many friends there, enjoyed many a game night and livestream, reacted and discussed every Summer Single.

When news broke that the [USA] Tour would be resuming in late 2021, making a stop in Boston, I immediately set aside the days surrounding it - I knew I was going to do my best to make it to that concert. Though, admittedly, I still wasn't 100% confident I'd be able to make it, but I kept saying "I'm going to see Anamanaguchi live in October" to myself and that was enough to push me that way.

So, on October 22, 2021, I made my way to Massachussets, where I'd be seeing my first glimpse of my favorite band, live, in action, in person, for the very first time.

The concert

1:00 PM. I'm adorned in my recognizable outfit for the night - the "Legaman" shirt (official Anamanaguchi merch), a Hatsune Miku hoodie, and a Sonic the Hedgehog snapback. Designed to be instantly recognizable to the friends that I'd be meeting at the show. My bag packed, the drive to the Boston hotel began.

4:30 PM. I arrive to the hotel, taking a moment to unwind and relax, eating a small microwave pizza to make sure my appetite is sated enough prior to the show beginning. I can't sit still, my excitement welling up inside.

6:10 PM. I get in an Uber ride headed towards Brighton Music Hall, the venue. I anxiously stare at the map on the way there. I aimed to get in line approximately thirty minutes before the doors opened. I was determined to get to the front of that show.

6:25 PM. I am now waiting in line, the Uber dropping me off. My nerves are shaking, as I stand in the Boston street, lined up near the entrance to the music hall. I studied the area, the sounds of Wavedash being blasted from the venue's speakers. The line is admittedly longer than I expected it to be, with a very colorful cast of characters - everything from teens that had only ever heard Miku, to people who must have been in their mid-40's. The occasional parent dragged along to see bands they were completely unfamiliar with. Perhaps the most interesting was a young girl, with what I would presume to be a broken leg, who despite using a crutch seemed absolutely elated to watch the concert.

Honestly, being able to go a concert even in a position like that? I'm still pretty fucking impressed. Good for them.

While waiting in line, I ended up conversing with a few folks behind me, discussing Super Smash Bros. After talking a bit, it was deduced that someone in that group had their Switch on them. Luckily, I did too, and we fought a few rounds waiting in line. After a strong game 1 with my Sonic, I lost a game 2, and - for all the marbles - I brought out my Steve to close it out 2-1 in my favor.

That was lots of fun. Got that guy's Discord, and he ended up joining Guchicord shortly after the show. That was cool. After that, ended up meeting some friends from the Porter Robinson subcommunity on Twitter, which was super surreal to me. These are people I never once thought I'd ever get to interact with, so seeing them, in person, physically, was insane.

And then, 7:00 PM hit. The doors are open, and after some time, I make my way inside. I clear my name with the box office for my guest list ticket, and through the metal detector...boom. Inside!

Words cannot describe how I felt, standing inside the Brighton Music Hall. Though the stage was lacking any performers on it, there was already equipment configured - Wavedash's MacBook and DJ equipment, and part of Anamanaguchi's instruments, sat, ready to be used. As the predefined playlist of tunes filled my ears, I made a beeline directly to the "merch table" before immediately spending practically every ounce of cash I had on me. Ended up buying a Nalgene water bottle, a hypercolor t-shirt, a yellow beanie, a little drawstring bag, and my now-favorite album of all time - Endless Fantasy - on vinyl.

I walked to the front of the venue, where I met up and got to talk to some of those Twitter friends, and ended up making a few new ones. On the off-chance one of you are reading this, hi!~

And then, in walked my good Guchicord friend, Ace. He was, in fact, completely impossible to not find, donning a glowstick-powered unicorn horn and like a thousand of those bendy glowstick bracelet things. He introduced me to his friend, and then was generous enough to let me keep my merch in his car (thank god, because I did not at any point consider how I'd need to hold everything during the show).

By the time we got back from his car, Wavedash had already started their set and we were stuck in the back, but, it didn't really matter. You could feel the raw energy of their World Famous Tour just standing outside of the doors. We made our way in, the bass shaking the building.

We started to make our way towards the front again, with each passing step the vibes becoming more and more immaculate. I could feel the bass resonate within my chest, as close as it could possibly get. I absolutely LOVED it.

They also debuted their remix of Madeon's Dream Dream Dream, to which my celebration was so emphatic that the group was able to pinpoint me specifically when Ace asked them about it after their show on Sunday.

Wavedash's set ended, and after a brief period, Anamanaguchi came on stage to start their set.

I'm going to be completely honest - I was so overjoyed with emotion that I genuinely cannot recall the exact feelings that were in my head at the time of the performance. Seeing the group on stage, opening with [U S A], and feeling the hall shake and rumble during the drop of Lorem Ipsum, it was absolutely mesmerizing.

It was absolutely an incredible feeling hearing all of these songs I was super familiar with, live. It's definitely a world of difference compared to hearing those same songs over and over again the same way, perfectly pre-recorded. They're each awesome in their own way, but [USA] as an album truly shines when its songs are played live.

Oh, they also played Miku, which was the song I wanted to see the most played live - well, second to Bosozoku GF, anyway.

There was supposed to be an embed of "Miku" here, but unfortunately DMCA has prevented me from embedding it. You can watch it on YouTube directly instead.

I'd like to give a special shoutouts to the Air On Line x Jaime mashup they played live. Jaime, as a song, is INCREDIBLY special to me (listen to it yourself to figure out why), so getting to hear it with a song as magical as Air On Line practically brought me to tears.

The rest of the show was absolutely phenomenal and as hard as it is to put it into a readable format, so I'm not going to pad it out. I loved it, so, so much. After the show, Ace and I hung around and talked with Luke, Pete, and Ary for a bit. If y'all are reading this, you're super chill, it was awesome getting to talk!

Some pics are up on my Twitter from that!~

The end

After the show, we went hunting for food but ultimately went home without, since it turns out most places in Boston are closed after 12:00 AM, and we weren't waiting thirty minutes for Taco Baco. I got dropped off back at the hotel I was staying at (thanks, Ace), and ordered McDonalds from Grubhub at like 2AM.

It's still not quite sunk in with me everything that happened that night. Meeting the band that changed my life, the friends that I've made, being able to physically be a part of the communities that have helped make me who I am today. Hearing some of my favorite music ever, performed right in front of me, making new connections. I cannot believe that it's all real, and that it all happened.

Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, to every single person who played a part. Anamanaguchi, the absolutely lovely community they've fostered, and all of the friends I made there along the way...this one's for you.

Thanks for the greatest night of my life!

Amber out.