Meaning @ Itabashi Trinity B3 Skate Park (June 25th, 2015)

Meaning Thrash Air in Itabashi
Live Report : “Meaning Thrash Air in Itabashi” @ Itabashi Trinity B3 Skate Park 2015.06.25


The Trinity B3 Skate Park is located in the industrial edge of Itabashi, itself a quieter locale somewhere in the blurry border of Tokyo and Saitama. I would guess that most of the time, this designated haven of all things wheel-based and in need of catching some air hears only the roll and thud of wheels reverberating around it’s airy confines. When Meaning, in conjunction with Red Bull On The Road, came rolling in however, the venue turned into something else entirely.

With most of the skate ramps disabled and much of the room taken up with portable speakers and a plethora of camera crew, the crowd slid into the converted warehouse and wove their way down towards the far corner of the skate park. Meaning’s make-shift stage was set up in the far left corner, at the top of a half-pipe, and so the crowd gathered at the foot of this peculiar barrier and waited till the band took to the stage by sauntering through the crowd and clambering up onto the raised platform to effusive applause.

MeaningAs soon as Meaning kicked into opening track “Sleepless Night”, so too did the chaos. Undeterred by the near vertical wall in front of them, the crush of fans toward to the band actually pushed everyone up into a wall of rock-t-shirts and crowdsurfers who rolled down the swell rather than across it. As one of the photographers who had casually thought they’d be alright with a perch mid-way back from the stage, it soon became apparent that this human wall wasn’t about to go anywhere fast, and if I wanted to shoot something other than the top of Singer Hayato’s head amid a morass of band t-shirts, unprecedented cameraman manouevres would be in order.

For songs “Tragic World” and “Here For You”, in such a huge, three-dimensional space, Hayato lost no chance in going for a walk across the venue, standing at the top of a ramp and singing to those further back in the crowd who had pretty much been relegated to hearing a band they couldn’t see. As ever with the magenta-haired frontman, the opportunity to launch himself into the crowd made for a precarious tumble across the audience, eventually landing himself back on the stage unscathed.

MeaningMeanwhile, I had been figuring out how I was going to get any shots of the band. Clambering up the half-pipe was not an option, and trying to get anywhere near the stage during a song was a recipe for camera-related tears, but luckily, during a between-song lull, some kind ladies in the pit managed to get me up on to the side of the ramp and here’s where the rest of the story starts.
If you’ve ever ascended through a rainforest or a botanical hothouse, you’ll know you get to a point where the air goes molten and you may as well be breathing in liquid, so thick is the atmosphere with transpiration and trapped heat. Now, take that image and apply it to a small corrugated iron building and replace the liquid with perspiration. Such was the atmosphere up top with Meaning. From the outside they were playing a packed warehouse, but the reality up close was more like a small sweaty club, with walls made of flesh and camera flashes.

MeaningThe music did not lack for the heat, however. “Stand Up”, a crowd favourite, had everyone in the venue wo-hoa-ing along as the fans up front pushed forward to get their turn at the microphone, while “Knock It Off” and “150” took on a very different vibe from that of venues I’ve seen them played in before. Maybe it was because everyone was up in everyone else’s face; because the boundaries of stage and pit had been broken and transcended; or maybe it was that everyone was just having the most fun they’ve ever had on a half-pipe, but the atmosphere was electric.

MeaningBy the time “Stay Beautiful” came to start rounding off the night, everyone was drenched, the half-pipe had become a perilously sweat-slick Takeshi’s Castle-style deathtrap, and the band were looking decidedly worse for wear, so guitarist Kawaguchi sat down on a monitor and plucked quietly at an acoustic guitar while everyone caught their breath. The next final two songs were as pounding as the rest of the 60-minute set, but this time the band actually got to be seen from afar, Hayato got to take one final surf about the venue, and ended the night bowing to the crowd at the back of the room to a round of cheers that demanded more, but to which, this time at least, there was nothing but the sweaty shake of exhausted heads.


Sleepless Night/ Tragic World/ Here For You/ Pain/ WTF/ Sin/ Stand Up/ Moral/ Knock It Off/ 150/ Stay Beautiful/ Meaning To Be Here/ Smile

–>Photo Report

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Laura Cooper
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Laura Cooper's Works

Laura Cooper
Web Site / Twitter / Facebook
Laura Cooper's Works

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