Haru Nemuri – Hug and Pint – 1st June 2023

Back in May I spotted a poster on the wall of the Hug and Pint that caught my eye. Haru Nemuri. I know that name… Haru Nemuri. How does that seem familiar?

As it turned out, Haru Nemuri is a Japanese artist that I had spent a lot of time listening to a few years ago. I was just suffering some kind of mental blind spot. Despite the fact that I had to get on a plane and fly to Costa Rica just a few hours after the gig ended, I knew I had to buy a ticket and go. Which I did. Well, I bought two tickets, but my sister bailed at the last minute and so I decided to go on my own anyway.

In the end it was probably better that I was a bit of a mex, because the tiny venue was packed – a complete sell out apparently. I decided to use my years of gig-attending experience to (politely) squeeze myself to the front and wedge myself against one of the PA speakers – a position that others avoid but I could brave thanks to my rather expensive and easily lost ear protection.

This vantage point allowed me to test out my new Sony A7 IV as well, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to rediscover my old gig photography chops – particularly with modern autofocus (gasp) and low-light technology.

It’s tricky to describe what Haru’s music is like. Live, she performed with some kind of producer who triggered the various elements from a laptop, and seemingly added some effects, and as a result it could easily be dismissed as J-Pop. However, the tracks themselves are an experimental mish-mash of genres, flirting with electronica, alternative J-Rock, glitch, and even rap.

Whatever the genre, it was great to get the chance to hear songs that I had discovered online and knew well in person, with a room full of people thousands of miles away from Tokyo. Live music and shared experiences at this scale are facing increasing pressures, and even cities like Glasgow with proud histories are at risk of losing them completely – so it felt especially good to be there.

Does this mark my triumphant return to regular gig photography? Fuck naw. But I’m glad I did for one night.

Haru Nemuri

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