Otakon 2010 Home Made Kazoku Concert
by Crystalyn Hodgkins,
Home Made Kazoku, made up of MCs Micro and Kuro, and DJ U-Ichi, played a 90 minute concert on Sunday afternoon to a packed house. The energy was through the roof throughout the performance, due as much to the upbeat melodies of each song as the charisma of Micro and Kuro, who displayed undying energy and great chemistry on stage. After a short hip-hop introduction, the duo launched right into "Shounen Heart," the second opening theme song for Eureka Seven. The audience erupted in applause and screams. Proving that they're not just a hip-hop group, next the band sang their Japanese cover of the 1979 Sister Sledge disco song "We Are Family."
From the very moment the group walked on stage to the very last song, the audience was up and out of their chairs, dancing, singing, clapping, and jumping. After another catchy number, the duo taught the audience a quick dance and then, in English, converted the dance instructions into a hip-hop tune and had the audience act it out as they sang.
Micro and Kuro were able to make the concert much more entertaining for guests because of their English fluency. Micro spent some of his childhood in Kentucky, and Kuro lived in Chicago until he was 12. Between songs, the duo told stories and made comments in easy-to-understand English, something unique to a concert by Japanese musical guests. They were also able to hype up the audience and engage them in each song.
Right before the band launched into "Shooting Star," Kuro told a short story to the audience. In Japan, if you make a wish three times on a falling star before it disappears, your wish will come true. However, Kuro said this is very difficult, and it is nearly impossible to say the wish three times before the star disappears. However, Kuro said, just once, he was able to do it. And his wish was just one word, said three times: Otakon. This sent the audience into huge "awwws" and thunderous applause. The two then said it had been their dream to perform in the U.S., and specifically for Otakon, and they hope to be able to come again next year. And with that, they played "Shooting Star," one of the endings to Naruto Shippūden. The duo sang the song with such obvious emotion it was hard not to get swept away in the nostalgic and motivating lyrics.
Micro had been tweeting in both English and Japanese this whole week in preparation for this concert, and so for the song "Manatsu no Dance Call," anyone who read his Twitter account knew that it was time to take out your hand towels and spin them to the song. At the end of the song, Micro and Kuro threw their own hand towels into the audience. Before the next song, Micro had something to say to the audience: "You guys are ------ awesome man!" He added that the name Home Made Kazoku comes from their belief that no matter who you are, where you live, or the color of your skin, that we're all one big family. They then sang the touching "Salvia no Tsubomi," a song about a child on the cusp of becoming an adult, remembering his parents' scolding fondly and recognizing the mannerisms he's acquired from both his parents.
With only two songs left, the band sang "No Rain No Rainbow," the theme song from the Naruto Shippūden: Kizuna film. Clips from Naruto played on the big screen monitors on each side of the stage. After that was "Home Sweet Home," a groovy beat with lyrics nostalgic for one's hometown.
Micro and Kuro left the stage, but an a cappella version of "Thank You" started playing before too long. Soon enough, the two came back on stage wearing Home Made Kazoku T-shirts Otakon was selling just for the convention. Micro said that the audience has shown them so much love the whole time they've been in Baltimore, and they were so honored to perform Japanese hip-hop in America, because they were so inspired by American hip-hop. To show their appreciation, they sang their encore song, "Thank You," the second ending theme for Bleach. Right up until the end, both Micro and Kuro showed boundless energy. And that energy was contagious - by the end of the concert, there wasn't a single person left seated. The group then had a staff member take a photo of the three in front of the audience, and reiterated their desire to come back again next year as they left the stage for the final time.
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