Full disclosure, I’m a fan of nano.RIPE. Their overall sound, from their vocalist to the pop-rock vibe of their songs, remind me heavily of ’90s J-Rock group Judy and Mary. So, to have the opportunity see them take to the stage at Anime Boston 2016 was nothing short of a treat.
By the time the doors opened, a massive line had formed, which wrapped around the perimeter of the Hynes Convention Center’s second floor. Fans by the hundreds were waiting, anticipating their chance to catch nano.RIPE in their first-ever US appearance. As the usual pre-show content like Win, Lose, or Banana and A-chan and B-Kun skits played on the screens that flanked the stage, one could feel the excitement in the room. That electric buzz of enthusiasm that could be felt as fans chattered and eyed the clock.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the pre-show warnings from the Almighty Voice of Anime Boston rang through the auditorium and the room went dark. nano.RIPE took to the stage and, without even a moment’s delay, belted out the first chords of Glasslip ending Toumei no Sekai.
It was at that moment that the room lost its collective mind, in the best way possible. Cheers roared through the arena as fans of all stripes bolted to their feet. Between songs, the group would pause, as lead singer Kimiko addressed the crowds. She stated that couldn’t speak or understand English in her first session.
Tonight, of all nights, though, it didn’t matter. For Kimiko, for the fans, for the folks backstage, we were all speaking the language of music.
The set list continued through the group’s biggest hits, from the poppy Real World, to laid back Devil Is A Part Timer! closing song Tsuki Hana. Each new single would see the audience getting up, and pulling themselves closer to the stage, surrounding themselves in the group and embracing the music.
The brief pauses when Kimiko addressed the crowd weren’t met with silence, rather with anticipation. Fans gazed forth as she spoke, hanging on to each sentence, each phrase, each word. And each time, as the music kicked up again, the room erupted in cheers and dance, the energy of the moment flowing through the audience.
The group’s biggest pops of the night, though, came from these still moments. One came earlier in the evening, as Kimiko concluded one of her audience addresses by started singing the opening lyrics to Hanasaku Iroha opening Hananoiro. The cheers swelled through the room, barely able to contain the excitement of the moment.
The latter came as the concert was winding down to a close. After one final address, the room grew silent. Kimiko grabbed the mic, and started singing, without accompaniment, the opening bars to Lime Tree. When the band kicked in, the room erupted once more, this time surrounding the stage, bouncing and dancing to the song. It soon became a solid wall of people, the band almost invisible to anyone that wasn’t more than three rows behind.
It truly was an experience to remember. As the last song played, and the group thanked the audience one last time, the energy still seemed to buzz through the air. Some of the fans would stick around for the upcoming Ali Project show, while others would head out to see what the rest of the convention had to offer.
In either case, though, fans could be assured that they just experienced a show that they would never forget.