Yanakoto Sotto Mute Is Control

One of the most intense reactions I ever feel to somebody else’s creative work is that of unrequited blown-away. Like, you know when you see that so-and-so did such-and-such, and your entire body loads your anticipated mind-blowingedness like a spring … and then it’s just fine? Or worse? I hate that feeling.

And, frankly, it happens a lot in idol. A performance medium in which so much of the performance that matters happens away from the most-held-up product, and that product’s deepest charms often relying on how imperfect it is, is going to tend to never quite reach the tippy-tops of emotional catharsis for all but the most devoted fans of each particular project. Lives are a particularly challenging environment for this, as so much can go wrong — the crowd is off, a singer can’t find her key, the acoustics are terrible, everybody had the fish for dinner — and a live band only adds more variables to what can be a volatile environment.

Yet we never learn. As a fan in general, it’s easy to acknowledge the myriad likely flaws, the litany of little failures, that litter idol lives and give any one performance a range of outcomes from charming to hilariously bad; as a fan of a particular idol, you know that you’ll defend their honor unto the death of your own, and that it would take a true calamity to ruin this for you, but you also know that every missed note and every loss of synchronicity will be magnified. It’s easy even to be so accustomed to not getting performative perfection that you start to expect to be let down, and in fact will be, because nothing is ever truly perfect and a person looking for flaws in any edifice will find them even just by changing the expectations of what a flaw really is.

I use all of this to preface the fact that I just watched Yanakoto Sotto Mute, who are perfect, annihilate “morning” in front of a big-ass crowd while in the company of a live-ass band:

That’s from the echoes one-man last month, which is naturally going to be on sale as a DVD. I watched the thing with a “Black Hole Sun” smile on my face. I haven’t bought an idol live DVD in a while because I haven’t had to time to actually watch and appreciate them, and while post-production can cover many a flaw, there’s usually enough wrong with the show that I wind up being annoyed at having spent whatever ungodly sum on the acquisition that I write off ever doing it again (but then do anyway because I’m stupid). I will, however, be buying this idol live DVD. I want to feel how that video made me feel, like, 20 times.

And that’s what being perfect does, kids. That’s what owning your damn crafts does. And seeing that at YSM’s unofficial 18-month mark, I felt myself flashing back in remembered-but-not-real-because-I-wasn’t-there time to Babymetal circa 2012, seeing the size of the venue and the power of the fully live performance and the raw energy of the people seeing it, and I think, this is a project that could go to places that very, very few can even think about going.

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