Some readers may be familiar with the terms ‘utaite‘ (歌い手) or ‘ensousha’ (演奏者), someone who uploads videos of themselves covering songs onto a video sharing website – specifically, Nico Nico Douga – and has attained enough of a reputation through their ability to call themselves an utaite or ensousha. What distinguishes utaite and ensousha from your run-of-the-mill netizen who uploads videos is this reputation and ability, which have earned them opportunities to perform in actual live concerts across the globe. Some have even gone professional, clinching record deals and albums under their belts! With that said, CONNECT SERIES is one of those live concerts and it certainly has a stellar line-up!
Organized by Taiwanese J-Pop label Guts Records and BAD NEWS, CONNECT SERIES 2016 will be held at live house THE WALL, in Taipei on the 21st May 2016 with doors opening at 1:30pm (UTC+08:00 Taiwan Time).
The lineup includes names immediately recognizable to many fans of utaite and ensousha – Osamuraisan, 96neko, sana, Wing and Hashiyan! By no means are these artistes new faces or inexperienced at holding live performances, with all five of them having performed live before – sana in particular had performed at last year’s I Love Anisong concert in Singapore!
Known for his skillful guitar-playing, Osamuraisan is one of the most well-known guitarist ensousha within the Nico Nico Douga community. In addition to being very active in releasing acoustic guitar arrangements of both Vocaloid and other artistes’ songs, and also being able to play the harmonica, trumpet and piano, he is also a talented composer! Perhaps the most distinctive of his skills is being able to make just about any song sound calming, even if it used to be an intense rock piece calling for heated lightstick-waving – this is not to say that he is unable to throw some hype into his arrangements either, with his extensive repertoire of songs showing that he definitely is one versatile musician. Singaporean readers may be interested to note that he will be appearing at this year’s J-Obsession at the Cathay from the 29th of April to the 1st of May as well!
96neko, though petite standing at a mere 143.2cm, more than makes up for being vertically challenged with her powerful voice and surprising vocal range. Known as a ryouseirui – a particular type of utaite with a very large vocal range – 96neko is another accomplished artiste capable of singing heavy rock songs just as well as cutesy pop songs, while also being able to take on the role of a mature older sister type of figure, a cool punk character or an adorable little sister figure. Another testament to her versatility lies in her sense of humor, where she tends to insert funny lyrics and comments into songs while still having them fit perfectly into the song as if they had always been part of it. She is certainly a larger-than-life personality!
sana in stark contrast is often described as an ‘angelic loli‘ (a slang term used for very cute young girls) with her adorable, soothing voice which causes hearts to melt like chocolate on a summer sidewalk. She is probably the most well-known utaite in the lineup, being one of HoneyWorks‘ main vocalists alongside CHiCO as well as the voice behind the 33rd opening theme for long-running anime Naruto Shippuden, Kotoba no Iranai Yakusoku. As mentioned earlier, she also performed with HoneyWorks for last year’s I Love Anisong concert – widely known as the Southeast Asian region’s largest anime song event. With her sweet personality to boot, sana is a refreshing ball of sunshine to watch.
Wing, meanwhile, is a pianist ensousha who also does synthesizer arranges of Vocaloid songs. She is a fine example of age not dulling one’s skills in the least, being the oldest member of CONNECT SERIES‘ lineup as a woman in her thirties. Her gentle nature shows through her playing, as you can hear for yourself here with her haunting yet serene cover of Senbonzakura. Not to be outdone by her younger counterparts, Wing is also perfectly capable of throwing out epic arranges worthy of a spot on your gym playlist. We’re definitely looking forward to hearing what she has in store for us!
Last but not least, Hashiyan draws yet another striking contrast to his fellow performers with his specialty being blindingly fast rap arranges of songs! With his super energetic attitude and boyish voice, you just can’t help but be swept away by his rhythm and have fun right along with him. Talented at improvisation, he is able to command attention with his impressive flowing, clear lyrics despite rap usually being nigh incomprehensible with how fast it is. Indeed, there’s no predicting what he might do to take control of the audience during this concert!
With all that said, tickets for CONNECT SERIES 2016 can be purchased at KKTIX (site is in Chinese) starting today at 12pm (UTC+8 Taiwan Time), or for readers living in Taiwan, at your nearby Family Mart. VIP tickets (which are only available before the concert) go for NT$ 1,900, while the early bird price for tickets is NT$ 1,200. Tickets bought at THE WALL on the day itself will go for NT$ 1,500. Splurging on a VIP ticket gives you a handshake session with the performers after the concert, along with signed postcards and brooches while stocks last! What are you waiting for? Grab your tickets before they run out! Do also note that the concert venue is free-standing, which means that there will be no seats set out for audience members!