On a warm Saturday afternoon in the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland, USA, two of Japan’s biggest musical acts took the stage during the 20th anniversary of one of America’s largest anime conventions. The Japanese happy-go-lucky rap trio, Home Made Kazoku, and the ever-eccentric T.M.Revolution traveled once more to the U.S. and delighted thousands of con-goers at Otakon 20. And boy, did they not disappoint at the premier anime convention of the East Coast.
The line for the concert went around the 1st Mariner Arena. Fans had lined up as early as 10am to get a chance to see the two acts. Otakon was confident that they would fill up the arena and they just managed to do so. Plenty of seats were available as attendees began to file in and there were two projector screens conveniently placed to the left and right of the concert stage.
Once everyone began to settle into their seats, Home Made Kazoku came out to a rousing ovation. They last came to Otakon in 2010 and told the audience they’ve been dying to come back. Micro, Kuro and DJ U-Ichi got the party going with a mix of their popular anime singles and their other hit songs. Micro and Kuro even had a rap duel when they performed “Itoshi no Mic Check 1, 2”. Kuro got the left side of the crowd to yell “Mic Check!”, while Kuro got the right side to yell “1, 2!” HMKU performed their latest single “Kimi ga Ita Kara” and ended their show with arguably their most well-known anime-related song, “Thank You!!” What was cute about their performance was that they showed clips of Naruto, Eureka Seven and BLEACH when they performed their respective songs to those series. A great start before the main attraction and a performance that really highlighted how far they’ve come as a group in 10 years!
But before the 2nd half of the main course, there was a short intermission as fans got a chance to relax after Home Made Kazoku’s performance. In the meantime, they were showing music videos from TMR. Some people were entertained by a raver dressed as the Colossal Titan from the extremely popular anime/manga series, “Attack on Titan.”
Once time was up, there was a slow build-up with footage from his latest MV, “Preserved Roses”, before T.M.Revolution came out in style. This performance marked the 10th anniversary of his first North American performance, which happened to be right at Otakon. TMR performed almost all the songs from his Otakon-only album, “Geisha Boy.” Speaking of the “Geisha Boy” album, the album quickly sold out on Friday as only 500 units were made. TMR made a promise that he will try to get “Geisha Boy” to be released again. The crowd was more amped up for TMR than for HMK. However, both performances were very strong. TMR got some talk time in-between blocks of songs, where he discussed being back in Baltimore, being an ambassador of anime and U.S. support when the Tohoku earthquake happened. He ended the show with “Heart of Sword”, which was somewhat appropriate given the Rurouni Kenshin events going on at Otakon.
Afterwards, fans chanted “Encore!” and TMR obliged. He came out singing “The party must go on” first. TMR then got Home Made Kazoku to come out and sing their collaboration song, “Tomorrow Meet Resistance”. The audience were very hyped to see TMR x HMKU together on stage. At the end, both acts expressed their desire to come back to Baltimore in the near future. Perhaps a 2016 appearance before Otakon’s big move to Washington, DC in 2017?
Overall, TMR and Home Made Kazoku were the perfect Japanese musical guests for a weekend-long celebration that is guaranteed to be remembered for a long time.
Want some great shots of TMR x HMKU? Check out these photo sets taken by one of our colleagues, May Young, and see how Baltimore was enchanted by the power of Japanese music.
As TMR said throughout his performance, BALTIMORE SAIKOU!!! (Baltimore is great!!)
Here are the set lists for both performances.
Home Made Kazoku Set List
5.Live on Direct
6. Itoshi no Mic Check 1,2 [remix]
7. Never Enough [remix]
8.We Are Family
9. Shooting Star
11.NO RAIN NO RAINBOW
12. Kimi ga Ita Kara
13. Thank You! !
TM Revolution Set List
1. Preserved Roses
5. Save the One, Save the All
7. Naked Arms
8. SWORD SUMMIT
10. HEART OF SWORD
(EN1) The party must go on
(EN2) Tomorrow Meet Resistance (feat. Home Made Kazoku)
First image © Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. Photo taken by Tony Yao.