Keep Watching The Sky

I went to see FC Five‘s show last night. FC Five is a hardcore punk band from Japan, and I believe they are the best Japanese band in this genre. I’m pretty sure most of you are not interested in hardcore punk, but bear with me. I want to tell you a story and it doesn’t matter whether you are interested in this genre of music or not.

I’ve known FC Five since 2001. They were a relatively new band, they had just released their 2nd cassette tape, and they were about to get popular.

In the late 2001, my friend decided to bring an American hardcore punk band, Reach The Sky, to Japan and to do a Japan tour on a DIY basis. I was helping him with this project. Since we had no idea about how to make it happen, we needed help from others. So, I posted a message on an online forum, seeking supporting bands. FC Five was one of the bands that replied to me immediately. In fact, I remember that 3 members of FC Five wrote to me separately that they wanted to be part of this project. 3 out of 4 members. It may have been all of them, actually. But I can’t remember.

This Reach The Sky project didn’t work out in the beginning due to double booking, and we only came to realize that we had double booked Reach The Sky after we announced their Japan tour. Some people got mad at us as if we were trying to take advantage of supporting bands or something.

As I think about it now, it was one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever experienced. I felt extremely sorry and bad, and felt as if I gave false expectations to a number of people. Even though I was only helping my friend and my friend must have felt upset more than I did, it was tough for me as well. How upset was I? I could hardly eat. For those who know me well, this must be a surprise, because I love eating. For those who know me only via online, yes, I love eating. I accept breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner invitations any time.

Thankfully, there were people who decided to stick with us. The members of FC Five were such people.

We decided to give it another try, and we managed to bring Reach The Sky to Japan in May, 2002. The tour was successful. I made some great memories through this tour and this whole thing as well as great friends like FC Five.

Let’s go back to FC Five.

They amazed me a lot in the last 9 years. They were a good band already, but they worked really hard to get to an international level.

When they read some sketchy post about Reach The Sky’s Japan tour on an online forum, they didn’t hesitate to respond to the poster. When it didn’t work out, they decided to keep supporting us instead of turning their back against us.

I don’t know what lessons the members of FC Five learned from being a supporting band for Reach The Sky and going on a tour with them. But, I believe they must have learned a lot.

My friend started bringing other bands after Reach The Sky. FC Five became a regular supporting band for these visiting bands and went on a Japan tour with them. What happened is, FC Five established a friendship with these bands, such as Bane and Comeback Kid, and FC Five started going on a world tour with these bands eventually.

It’s not luck, but pure effort and willingness to put them forward that made FC Five so successful. I’m a huge fan of FC Five’s music, and at the same time, I’m a fan of these guys as people.

So, their show last night was amazing. Their fans ran around, moshed, stage dived, sang along, went to grab the singer’s mic, and every other mischievous behaviour that is totally acceptable within the context of a hardcore punk show (if you want to see what it’s like, watch this). The members of FC Five were positive as always. People were smiling even when they got accidently kicked in the face by stage divers. These acts may sound violent, but it’s just an extreme form of expressing yourself with the understanding that others around you are doing the same. You need to be prepared to help others too. It’s totally chaotic, as people keep flying over your head, but there’s something beautiful about this chaos too.

Towards the end of the show, FC Five announced that they are going to break up next year. They are in the process of creating a new album and planning to do a few more tours, but their journey as FC Five is coming to the end. This announcement surprized and saddened everyone there.

Everything comes to an end sometime, but when they end, there will be new beginnings as well.

I’m glad I met these wonderful people and saw them growing as a band and being internationally recognized in the genre. There’s a lot for me to learn from them.

FC Five will always be a role model for me and remind me of the following insights, which I believe are the keys to their success.

  1. Put yourself forward.
  2. Believe in what you do.
  3. Practice, practice, practice.
  4. Connect and make friends with people.
  5. Have fun.

Nothing fancy, but simple things. They did these things extremely well. I don’t know if they had a clear intention of becoming an international band or if they didn’t have any self-created barriers that held them back from succeeding. Perhaps both of the cases are true for them.

Dreaming big and taking action to make it happen. It’s easier said than done, but really?

How many days did you waste uselessly?
How many hopes did you give up easily?
How many times did you wait for daybreak?
Come To The End, FC Five

(If you like rock, you might be interested in FC Five’s music. Check this and this.)

Photo by xharekx33