Live: Envy, in Japan

Finally, I caught the Japanese hardcore/post-rock band Envy for the first time, certainly the band at the top of my must see list for a while. They played two absolutely blistering sets opening for post-rock giants Explosions in the Sky at the Liquidroom in Tokyo on May 7th and Umeda Club Quattro in Osaka, Japan on May 8th. I missed them when they played in DC in 2005 and then apparently played in Durango, Spain in 2011 – a show I had no idea about.

Envy (promo photo)

Envy (promo photo)

The two Japanese set lists were quite similar and featured a new song Nuro Devilman, which kills live. Favorites included A Warm RoomGo Mad and Mark, A Cradle of Arguments and Anxiousness and the show in Tokyo ended with a pounding Farewell to Words that caused the audience to lose it. Easily one of the best bands I’ve seen live in the nearly 20 years I’ve been going to shows.

set lists:

May 7, 2014 @ Liquidroom, Tokyo, Japan

  1. Worn Heels and the Hands We Hold
  2. Left Hand
  3. A Cradle of Arguments and Anxiousness
  4. Scene
  5. A Breath Clad in Happiness
  6. Nuro Devilman
  7. A Warm Room
  8. Farewell to Words

May 8, 2014 @ Umeda Club Quattro, Osaka, Japan

  1. Worn Heels and the Hands We Hold
  2. Left Hand
  3. Scene
  4. A Breath Clad in Happiness
  5. Go Mad and Mark
  6. Nuro Devilman
  7. A Warm Room

These were the first shows I’ve seen in Japan. So, a couple of things I noticed compared to shows in the US, Canada and Europe.

  1. It’s expensive, really expensive. Tickets are costly and at the door there was an additional 500¥ (~$5.00) “drink charge” of which we were unaware before hand. We wondered if this was due to the shows the not selling out – a way for the club to make up for losses. No one else seemed surprised.
  2. Tickets (at least for these two clubs) are printed with a number on them (we assumed it was the order in which they were purchased) that dictates the order in which you are allowed to enter the floor/venue. The Japanese sense of patience and order allows this to happen. I don’t think this would fly in the States.
  3. While the bands are allowed to sell shirts and other merch, e.g., Envy was selling their colossal Invariable Will, Recurring Ebbs and Flows box-set [1], the CDs were sold by the venues themselves. And, I noticed on one or two occasions, the bands being asked to put any CDs that were also being sold by the venue back in their box. CDs are expensive in Japan, but these looked marked up a little more.
  4. That being said, these were the two most polite audiences I’ve ever experienced at shows. Talking during sets (my biggest pet peeve of all in show-going) was non-existent and (most) everyone seemed interested in being there to see the bands.

There were no photos allowed (although it didn’t seem to be strictly enforced), so I have none to post, but here’s the excellent performance of A Warm Room:

1. This massive, beautiful box set is 14 LPs (+CD, DVD, book) and Envy were selling them for 200,000¥ (~$200). This not something I’d like to have to carry around with me during/after the show (especially on the often crowded Tokyo subway), but is certainly a favorite of mine in my meager record collection.


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