British bands blown away by "supersonic" Japan

Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:49am EDT
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By Alastair Himmer

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - British band Kasabian have had three smash-hit albums but the psychedelic rockers still have trouble getting their heads around how big they are in Japan.

They performed in front of 50,000 Japanese fans at Asia's biggest music festival, "Summer Sonic," following a packed warm-up gig.

"Our first time here our debut album wasn't even out and there were 40,000 people waiting for us," vocalist Tom Meighan told Reuters.

"That first time the size of the crowd was ridiculous. They were all waiting quietly and then we started and they were all 'Hai! Hai! Hai! Hai!' It was amazing," he added.

"We've been here four times. We're big in England but they treat you like royalty in Japan -- like you're Elvis Presley or John Lennon. It blows my mind."

Celebrity culture is big in Japan, and Japanese music fans fell in love with British pop ever since The Beatles came to the country in the 1960s. Fans also appreciate the fact that many of these musicians travel half way across the world to entertain them.

Kasabian were still reeling from a smaller show in Tokyo, where hundreds of fans came in nurse uniforms and surgical gowns, many wearing flu masks for extra effect.

"It was bizarre. It was cool," said Meighan, whose band celebrated a number one hit with their latest album "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" earlier this year.   Continued...

<p>Fans cheer during a performance by British rock band Kasabian at the Summer Sonic 2009 music festival in Chiba, near Tokyo, August 7, 2009. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon</p>