Today is pretty exact one month since my great FATE GEAR (Youtube, Spotify, Twitter: @Mina_taicho, @bass_erikatm, @yabadaba7, @Rito_Meteora and @oriharukon129) – RED:DOT – Närcon – adventure or, in other words, my two very memorable days with one of Japan’s very best metal bands!
It all started when Pepijn, a fellow fan of Japanese music, contacted me and asked if I would like to join a group of volunteers at Närcon (Scandinavia’s largest gaming and cosplay festival).
“What do you want me to do?”, I asked. He answered: “Work hard for free for three days to make two fantastic music events come true.” “Which band is it?”, said I. “FATE GEAR!”, said he. “OMG! Count me in!”, said I. “You still got to pay for the chekis, though.”, said he.
So, just four months after I saw FATE GEAR fort the first time at Metal Matsuri in London in October 2019 I would get the chance to support the band on their first trip to Sweden. Sometimes things happen in unexpected ways!
And this was really something else. I work as the general secretary of one of Sweden’s largest youth organizations, Sverok. I have never been close to being a roadie or bandboy and I don’t know up from down on an amplifier. So, I was like 10 miles out of my comfort zone and happy as a clam at high water.
First up was to get the equipment in order. This took some preparations but, luckily, most of what was needed could be found in Linköping, pretty close to the venue (thank you, Studiefrämjandet!). The band had made a more specific request regarding the keyboard but we found what we needed at Backline Sthlm.
On Wednesday, February 19, I picked up the keyboard and set off for Berzeliusskolan in Linköping. There I met up with Filip and Pepijn. After a meeting with the crew responsible for Närcon’s main stage it was time to get the equipment to FATE GEAR’s combined green room and storage, a class room two floors above the main stage. We would not be able to leave the equipment and instruments on the stage between the shows and now I realized what Pepijn had meant with “work hard”.
After a couple of hours everything was in place in the green room and we left Filip to try out the equipment while Pepijn drove to Stockholm where the band was to be picked up on Thursday.
Thursday morning was used to make the green room a little more welcoming and waiting for news from the bus … And then FATE GEAR arrived a little before schedule. The first show was at 8:30 PM so preparations started almost immediately for the transformation into FATE GEAR’s X-FLIGHTS. This is a show where the band performs covers of music from anime, geek series and films and it was the first of three X-FLIGHTS during the European tour.
Närcon has recently started to invite Japanese bands that match the audiences interests in Japanese culture, anime, manga and idol culture and FATE GEAR won the hearts of the audience with a show full of very nerdy music!
Even though the band had been up and about since very early in the morning they were full of energy and gave us a really great show!
Friday morning gave some time for rest (and solving an unexpected situation in which it was lucky that I had a spare pair of socks with me) before starting the preparations for FATE GEAR’s second show.
This time FATE GEAR would be joined on stage by RED:DOT as the opening act. RED:DOT is a J-rock cover band consisting of a group of convention-goers with a shared interest in Japanese pop and rock music, cosplay, anime and some more. Pepijn and Filip are both part of RED:DOT.
With the doors open RED:DOT’s music and energetic show attracted a lot of new listeners so when the clock struck three and FATE GEAR entered the stage the audience counted at least 150, maybe up to 200, persons.
And what a show it was! FATE GEAR was truly on fire and delivered great music and a great show. Erika venturing out in the aisles while playing the bass is just an example of the close interaction with the audience.
After the show we managed to arrange an impromptu cheki session that was highly appreciated by old and new fans. After a while the band left for Stockholm and an early flight next morning leaving us with a lot of happy memories and new experiences.
It was really a lot of fun to get the chance to work with FATE GEAR for two days. The band members are true professionals and very kind and considerate. Hopefully it won’t be long until I get the chance to meet to band again!
PS. Below a couple of pictures for the true connoisseurs out there 🙂