It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Back when I arrived in Japan in 2015, one of the first things I did was go to Summer Sonic to see one of my favourite bands, Manic Street Preachers.
Fast forward two years and just before I leave Japan, one of the last things I do is go to Sonic Mania, the Friday night of Summer Sonic to see another of my favourite bands, Kasabian.
I initially bought the ticket months ago when I saw that Kasabian and Liam Gallagher were on the same bill. I just couldn’t bring myself to miss it. Having not seen Kasabian for about five or six years and seeing as I’ve been incredibly surprised by just how good Liam’s solo stuff is, it was a no brainer.
As the months passed the numbers swelled from just me to eventually a group of six of us going. After a few pre-drinks at The Hub (we are British after all) we made the short walk over to Makuhari Messe for the gig. Upon entry I realised that I had no cash, but hey it’s Japan so there’ll surely be a cash machine inside won’t there?
Umm…no, actually. Well, there were ATMs, quite a few in fact, but they were conveniently switched off behind a barrier. A quick run to the nearest convenience store was in order and after getting back to the venue and getting a drink, I’d missed the majority of Justice’s set. Not ideal, but at least it wasn’t Liam or Kasabian.
On that topic, my mate Josh put me in my place for repeatedly referring to Liam Gallagher simply as ‘Liam’ because I don’t know him personally. I argued that it saved time as everybody knows which Liam it is but he was having none of it. Hands up who has my back here?
Another highball was on the cards before making our way to the Mountain Stage for Liam Gallagher’s (just for you, Josh) set. As has been the case since he started touring solo he opened with a few Oasis classics in the form of Rock and Roll Star and Morning Glory before working through some of his new solo material.
Like I mentioned earlier I’ve been a big fan of the solo stuff I’ve heard so far and songs like Bold and For What It’s Worth sounded fantastic on the night. Then again, by this point we were more than a little tipsy so read into that what you will.
Despite this it was obviously the Oasis classics which stole the show and it was great to hear Slide Away and the rather surprising D’ya Know What I Mean live. I’m not sure those around us would agree however as myself and Adam (of Mount Fuji and Suzuka fame!) got a little carried away at this point and were jumping all over the shop and probably drowning out the man himself for those in the immediate vicinity. Oops.
After ending on acoustic versions of Live Forever and Wonderwall it was time for the main reason I attended: Kasabian.
Unfortunately despite the need for food and more drinks I actually ended up getting split from everyone else just before they got started as the queue was too long and I didn’t want to miss any of the gig.
Having missed the last two album touring cycles it was good to hear some of the newer stuff off 48:13 and this year’s For Crying Out Loud album mixed in with a few classics. That said I was hoping for a few more songs off the latest record, but we did get four including personal favourites Ill Ray (The King), Comeback Kid and Bless This Acid House.
The 15 song set seemed a little short for a headliner but truth be told I’m not sure I could have handled much more. As the gig went on I managed to get the people around me really into it and will take full credit for starting perhaps the politest mosh pit in the world. Someone even knocked my glasses off at one point and scurried around on the floor to look for them for me before apologising profusely. God bless Japan.
The encore of the previously mentioned Comeback Kid, Vlad the Impaler and classic set closer Fire is all a massive blur if I’m totally honest, but either way I can confirm that it was definitely ¥11,500 well spent. I was in need of a good sit down by this point, so caught up with everybody else and grabbed another highball and an extremely undersized portion of taco rice. I guess it is a festival after all.
With the batteries recharged as they were ever going to be, we headed back to the main stage for the final act of the night: Orbital. I can’t claim to remember much or really care for this kind of music, but they weren’t bad. Dropping Donna Summer’s Heaven is a Place on Earth into the set was an interesting choice too.
The night drew to a close at around 5am and everyone was absolutely flagging by this point. We headed to the station eventually got on a train at 5.40am because, somewhat surprisingly, they were only leaving every 20 minutes. After a desperate battle to stay awake, especially on the Chuo line after Adam and Claire got off and I was alone (top tip: always stand up!) I eventually got home at 7am and passed out almost instantly.
The following four hours of sleep would set the tone for my final weekend in Japan. Thankfully, I wouldn’t have swapped any of it for the world!