Meaning @ Ebisu Liquidroom, (Mar. 8th, 2015)

Meaning: Keeping Crowdsurfing Alive for 10 Years
Live Report @ Ebisu Liquidroom 2015.03.07

Meaning

When we last caught up with Meaning back in 2014 they were supporting Killswitch Engage on the US metalcore band’s Japan tour. Opening up for the band with a brief but impressive 5-song set was enough to whet the appetite of many, but not enough to really get an idea of what the band are all about live. Luckily, in their 10th year as a band, Meaning’s “150 Tour Final” in Ebisu’s Liquidroom provided 20 songs for me to do just that.

Opening band Envy had created an air of reverence in the auditorium with their more recent style of post-rock hardcore – a brutally ethereal lovechild of Mogwai and Isis, and hypnotic in a way that leaves you dreamy and smiling. The set provided a nice opening counterpoint to the 90 minutes of metal madness that was about to ensue.

MeaningMeaning are a band who seemed rather unostentatious in manner as they took to the stage, and for much of the show, the band were pretty intent on what they’re doing. That is, of course, excluding singer and guitarist Hayato, whose onstage ebullience is probably the equivalent of five people’s, and he certainly made the most of it by sending himself all over the venue during the show.

One thing I’ve found interesting about Meaning is that it is difficult to put a finger on exactly what kind of band they are. Melodic-death metal? Post-hardcore? But what about those bits that sound like Iron Maiden, or those thrashy bits, or the guitar tremolo that harkens to black metal? Ultimately, trying to stick spikey metal bands in tiny boxes isn’t important, but it helps when you’re trying to describe what’s going on with words on a page.

Opening up the show with “Sleepless Night”, the first track off of their 2014 mini-album “150”, Meaning started in a punky and upbeat mood. “What We Love, What We Hate” and “My Place” followed in quick succession, the former switching the punk for more thrash-metal while the latter continued the brutality but threw in a great excuse for fist pumping and sing-along from the crowd.

MeaningSongs from the new album dominated the first part of the show, but most memorable for me were the songs from “Shine Our Journey” interspersed throughout the set. Whether or not this is just because they’ve been playing these songs longer, or because Meaning have been doing this ten years, but songs like “Here for You” and “Infection” have a slick swagger to them. Switching between thrash metal riffing to anthemic sing-along sections is done with effortless swank. Meanwhile, throughout the set, one had to keep sharp for the crowdsurfers tumbling overhead – “Stand Up!” sent a slew of sweaty and excitable fans over the heads of the audience and into the arms of the bouncers by the stage, particularly when the band were joined F.I.B. singer Chuuto on vocals during the song’s melodic middle.

Crowdsurfing is something we need to deal with in this review, because if we missed it out, half the thing that makes Meaning’s live shows so entertaining would be missing – Hayato’s near constant need to be in and above the crowd. When the singer launched himself off the stage and into the audience I was reminded of something American singer/song-writer Amanda Palmer wrote about crowdsurfing:

“There is nothing in the world like being held aloft in the cloud of loudness by a sea of random, sweaty arms…being floated along by hundreds of fingers and palms…You’re a human-sized symbol of trust.”

MeaningAnd that trust thing is key to the antics going on during this show, and a sign from Hayato just how much he loves and trusts his fans. Asking them to take you from the front of the hall to the back of the room, leap up on a barrier and entertain the audience at the back before throwing yourself back into the maelstrom is something very special, and every time Hayato found himself in the arms of the crowd, he also found himself deluged with adoring fans grappling their way towards him for a sing and a hug or high-five.

Be it an impulse of willful destruction or implicit trust, whatever it was in that room, it was infectious. Some gigs start off nuts, others build up to it, and by the end of the show there was a brilliant sense of reckless abandon and present-moment insanity about the hall as everyone put their last bits of energy in “Meaning to be Here”, “Smile” and”Stay Beautiful”. When the band left the stage the crowd chanted for more, and though they finally got one more song for the encore, the hardcore fans at the front refused to be moved despite the gentle persuasion of the security guards. Even after twenty songs it was not enough for some and I for one would gladly go back and see it all again.

SET LIST

Sleepless Night/ What We Love, What We Hate/ My War/ My Place/ Not Fucking Dead/ Here For You/ Infection/ Rise in Rebellion/ May The Peace Be With You/ Unbroken Heart/ Tragic World/ Stand Up!/ Moral/ Brave Heart/ Knock It Off/ Meaning To Be Here…/ Smile/ Stay Beautiful/ 150

–>Live Photos

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Photos:
Laura Cooper
laura@smashingmag.net
Web Site / Twitter / Facebook
Laura Cooper's Works

Text:
Laura Cooper
laura@smashingmag.net
Web Site / Twitter / Facebook
Laura Cooper's Works

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