KanonxKanon Blend Gothic and Anime Fun in London
KanonxKanon are a unit formed by a simple common denominator: their unusual first names. Both had been to London before in different capacities, but this was their first time together, as they crossed 0.5 of a dimension to bring their self-proclaimed 2.5D selves into the animated 3D with a fun and varied show of anime tunes at Academy 02.
The question of how the unit would get around playing a gig when they only have four songs was answered quite clearly when Kanon Wakeshima came out on stage by herself: the performance would be essentially three concerts rolled into one–a mini event live, if you will–where all participants were named “Kanon.”
Kanon Wakeshima appeared first in a stunning white version of an Alice and the Pirates dress she had made famous as a soloist. The outfit alone was enough to make the crowd gasp. With precise, doll-like movements, Kanon began her live with the beautifully ethereal and wholly gothic “still doll.” Throughout, Kanon was graceful, acting her part in a performance that felt at times more like art than music. She maintained this grace when she turned to her cello, using the bow to trace images in the air before continuing the soft, creepy melody with the rich notes of the instrument.
After another atmospheric number, “Kajitsu no Keikoku,” Kanon spoke to the audience, her light girlish tones mimicking the ethereal music. She delivered her emcees almost entirely in English, a laudable effort as she went beyond the usual “Hello, I love London.”
“Hello, I’m Kanon Wakeshima,” she greeted the fans. “Do you know me? Do you know my doll’s name? Her named is Narachie and we visited seven countries together! Please remember her name. This is my second time coming to London. Before, it was for Hyper Japan. Did many of you come? It’s nice to meet you all again.” The crowd reacted warmly throughout her short emcee, and a few called out to her. Kanon reacted by giggling girlishly.
The music took a more somber turn as she sat with her cello again for “celmisia.” Her vocals were deeper, and complemented the instrumentation of violins and cello but she showed in the next song a different Kanon Wakeshima, as she got the audience clapping along to the rock’n’roll beat. This was followed by more playful music as Kanon grabbed a tambourine and danced about the stage, offering peace signs to the front row. She even leaned forward to stroke the furry hat of one audience member.
Kanon Wakeshima’s set finished on a fantastically period song, “Princess Charleston.” The ‘20s vibe was strong and Kanon had fun playing the swing tune on her cello and dancing with it. She showed much versatility in her own music as she traversed classical styles. Hyper
The cello and classical feel added a certain gravitas and beauty to Kanon Wakeshima’s solo live, and the contrast between her performance and the show as a whole was like chalk and cheese.
Suddenly with Kanon #2 taking the stage, the gothic atmosphere dispersed to be replaced with an otaku disco:
“Hello everyone, are you having fun? I’m Kanon from AnCafe,” Kanon announced to the audience, a wide beam spread across his face. Sadly though, there would be no funky bass solo from Kanon, instead he played DJ for the night and presented a short set of anime-based and clubbing tunes arranged to a backdrop of anime videos. It was a neat lead-in to the anime extravaganza of the final stage of the concert, and visual kei music had its moment as Kanon played An Café’s “Kakusei Heroism ’The Hero Without a Name’” PV to cheers of joy from the audience.
The break before KanonxKanon finally took the stage was filled with an amusing video that played into the anime and otaku leanings of the unit. A cartoon Kanon Wakeshima reminded the audience of a very well known fact about her partner, Mr. Kanon: “He is one of the most otaku flavored artists in Japan!” Cartoon Kanon W. then continued to teach the dance to “Koi no Doutei”: “Otaku do a special dance at shows called Otagei. We’ll show you how to dance with the ‘Japanese Otagei Dance Class.’” In a cute but mildly disturbing twist, the character to teach this dance, Mr. Alien was revealed on-screen to be a man in a grey alien suit bearing two glow sticks who promptly performed a very nerdy, high speed dance for the audience to follow, breaking it down into the components A Melody, and B Melody. It wasn’t hard to imagine the geeks of Akihabara dancing in this dramatic and energetic fashion at concerts, much like how visual kei fans insist on doing strange things with their hands throughout a show.
The first half of the concert was not such a distant memory however, as the pair reappeared in the traditional Japanese-inspired costumes from “Calendula Requiem.” It was with this beautiful song from the Shiki anime that KanonxKanon began. Kanon W.’s vocals were a rich match for the other Kanon’s bass line, and the mid portion of cello and bass was stunning. It was followed by “The Dollhouse!” a slightly creepy but playful piece that heavily recalled Shiina Ringo in parts. In reflection of this playful song, Kanon and Kanon came forward together to the audience to perform the jerky dance routine.
After a short emcee in which Kanon W. talked about her love of the vivid colors of cupcakes, she announced that the pair would perform an anime cover, and asked the audience to sing along. As the opening notes were played, the audience broke into smiles. The cover was “Moonlight Densetsu,”popularised by Sailor Moon and Kanon was playing along as he grabbed a cloak and mask to become Tuxedo Kanon. He even had a rose which he waved over the audience as Kanon W. sang the familiar melody. Next was another cover got a few dancing along, this time of Hatsune Miku, accompanied by a bright video display.
Returning to their own music then, Kanon Wakeshima announced that sadly the next was to be their last, but asked if the audience remembered the dance Mr. Alien had taught during the video break. Whether many had remembered the steps was doubtful, but Mr. Alien was not an image forgotten lightly. Nevertheless, Mr. Kanon stepped forward with glow sticks to lead the audience himself, and because he was so into the dance, they followed him, moving at breakneck speed with the glow sticks. “Koi no Doutei” was everything a hyper-sweet anime theme should be: a story of love with high pitched vocals, and an irritatingly infectious refrain. The fans loved it and tried to keep up with Mr. Kanon’s rapid dance movements.
The encore calls were answered quickly and the pair bounded back on stage for one more round of “Koi no Doutei.” Despite the amusing anime the song accompanies, the performance was a lighthearted and fun way to end a concert that left a smile on all faces, including that of Kanon and Kanon. The two of them went round the audience, high fiving as many people as they could before tumbling off stage.
The structure and sounds were an unusual match as a gig of three wildly different parts, but somehow it all worked. From Kanon Wakeshima’s beautifully mature and atmospheric solo live to Kanon’s DJ set and the anime extravaganza of KanonxKanon, the concert was very exciting and warmed up a chilly November evening.
- still doll
- Kajitsu no Keikoku
- LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO
- Marmalade Sky
- Princess Charleston
- Scarlet Night (Nana Mizuki)
- Vanilla Salt (Yui Horie)
- BLAZE (Kotoko)
- stone cold (Fiction Junction)
- only my railgun (flip side)
- rise (Origa/Yoko Kanno)
- EASY ACTION (Boom Boom Satellites)
- Spiral (angela)
- Spell (LAMA)
- INVOKE (T.M.Revolution)
- Kakusei Heroism (An Café)
- Calendula Requiem
- The Dollhouse!
- Renai no Susume
- Moonlight Densetsu (Sailor Moon cover)
- MikuMiku ni shite ageru (Hatsune Miku cover)
- Koi no Doutei
- Koi no Doutei