With OTAQUEST LIVE storming Los Angeles for the second year running, this year’s event left a massive impression on audiences. Taking place on July 3 at The Novo by Microsoft, we gave it our all to put some of Japan’s biggest musical talents in the limelight for North American audiences to enjoy. With performances by CAPSULE, CrazyBoy, HIROOMI TOSAKA, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and m-flo, we couldn’t think of a better way to spend your day.
Kickstarting the event to a packed floor with CrazyBoy, the solo project for ELLY of J SOUL BROTHERS III from EXILE TRIBE, we wasted no time at all heating things up. “PINK DIAMOND” as an opener was a perfect choice; coupled with CrazyBoy’s aggressive flow and dance moves, it’s no surprise the crowd was blown away.
Second up was HIROOMI TOSAKA who stormed the stage alongside a team of dancers to perform his collaborative single “CHAIN BREAKER” and other, primarily EDM tracks. Their hyper-energetic set left the audience going wild — and I can’t blame them. All of this lead up to a stage comeback and duo performance from CrazyBoy solidifying the event for the numerous EXILE fans in the crowd as well as a slew of new listeners.
Now, you already know that the moment Kyary Pamyu Pamyu graces a stage, North American fans are going to go absolutely wild. But when she hits the floor with the likes of “Ninja Re Bang Bang”, “Fashion Monster”, “PONPONPON”, and her latest “Kimi ga iine Kuretara”, people lost their minds. Between her eccentric performances, Kyary invited those in attendance to chant with various calls. The whole audience lit up a hyper-cute pink hue leaving everyone in a bubbly mood.
Next up was none other than CAPSULE, performing for the very first time in North America. CAPSULE couldn’t wait to get on the stage, and the audience couldn’t contain their excitement to have them, but when both Yasutaka Nakata and Toshiko Koshijima finally started, it was nothing short of ethereal. Their song selection was perfect, seamlessly blending the sounds of CAPSULE over the years leaving a lasting impression on everyone.
Last but certainly not least, we saw the return of m-flo with Taku Takahashi, VERBAL, and LISA taking to the stage. Much like last year, the audience was in awe. Of course, this is m-flo we’re talking about, so the group was free to interact with the audience in English in between all their songs. Opening up, the group shared that for OTAQUEST LIVE they’d be sharing some unreleased songs, the sheer mention of which had the crowd going wild.
Following the performance of two unreleased tracks, m-flo went all-in on three of their latest cuts, “EKTO”, “STRSTRK”, and “No Question TOKYO RAINBOW PRIDE REMIX”. It was beyond exciting to see people singing along, especially given how new a lot of these tracks were. Capping off the event, all performers were welcomed onto the stage to celebrate the event alongside the audience that made OTAQUEST LIVE possible.
While Japanese culture is being celebrated more and more on a global scale, opportunities for artists from the nation to perform internationally still remain relatively slim. With OTAQUEST LIVE we hope to continue to change this, offering a developing roster of some of Japan’s best musicians and exposing new and existing audiences to what Japan has to offer. We look forward to continually developing OTAQUEST LIVE and can’t wait to fill you all in on what comes next.