Watching toe: Why I Never Miss Their Concerts

Watching concerts is always a treat, especially if you have saved money to buy a ticket for your favorite band. I’ve had my fair share of concerts for the past decade or so, but there’s only one band that I’ve watched (and will watch) their concerts multiple times: the band toe.

toe is a band from Japan whose music is classified as “post-rock” or “math rock,” pertaining to the structure of their music. But I’m no musician, just a music lover. And believe me, you just need ears to appreciate the kind of music that toe plays.

First Listen

The first time I heard of toe was during a vacation in Ilocos with some of my college friends. One of our friends started playing the song in his laptop, and before we knew it, we’re all ears. I ended up copying the songs (for the record: I did buy the album that came out last year :p).

My taste in music has always been broad–I try to listen as much variety of music as I can, even if I don’t understand the lyrics or there are none at all. (Now I also listen to kpop, but I guess that’s for another post!) toe is a nice addition to this mix. Most of the songs are instrumental, but so melodic that you feel that there are words.

Another distinct feature in toe’s songs is the drums. I cannot NOT mention the drums. It’s probably the first thing you’ll notice when you hear a toe song for the first time. We’re used to hearing the drums in the background, literally just keeping everyone in the beat. But the drum beats in toe’s songs seem out of place, yet still in place. I know it sounds contradictory, but you’d just have to listen to their songs to understand what I mean.

Seeing Them Live

I have this notion that if an artist is really good, he or she must perform well on stage and sound as good as they do in their records. With toe, they not only sound good–they are better on stage. There is nothing like seeing them play their songs live.

My first toe concert was in 2012. At the time, I couldn’t believe that I’ll be watching them live. Because let’s be real, bands like toe aren’t popular. But surprisingly (and thankfully!), it seems to have a cult following here in PH.


toe’s first concert in Manila, March 2012

The concert was held in The Fort tent (they changed the venue). The stage was set at the center, so the audience can stand around it to watch the show. Me and my friends positioned ourselves directly behind the drummer, Kashikura Takashi. The show may have lasted for two hours, but I felt the ache in my feet only after the show.

To put it lightly, I was floored while watching the concert. I’ve never seen anyone play any instrument with so much passion and intensity. Mino Takaaki even fell on his knees at one point while playing the guitar. And Takashi? We made the right decision to stand near him. He would beat his drums so hard and so quickly that you’d think he’s crazy. And maybe he is. Maybe they all are.

toe live in Manila 2013

toe’s the Future is Now tour in Manila, April 2013

The second time around was just as intense. I never imagined that I’d be able to watch toe for two years straight. This was held in Metrotent (changed the venue again lol), with the same stage setup. We went to the same spot, behind the drummer. Despite this, it’s still a whole new experience. It’s like watching them again for the first time. I was still in awe.

toe Thrice

toe released their latest album, Hear You, last year, but they weren’t able to make a proper tour in Asia given that they had their first North American tour that year. So I’m really happy that this time, they’ll be touring Southeast Asia again. Their first stop is here in Manila.

toe live in Manila 2016

toe’s Hear You tour in Manila, November 2016

I bought these in Artwork, UP Town Center branch. On the first day of selling, the store just opened but I was already the 6th person who bought tickets. The guy before me bought eight. I was really amused at the cashier’s reaction–she was bewildered at how fast the tickets were selling. I wish I could have told her why those tickets would likely be sold out soon*, why toe’s music is so good, and why watching them is never the same as the last. toe is band that lives and breathes music, whose passion is so strong you can’t help but be infected by it. It’s always a treat in watching them.

Let me leave you with one of my favorite toe songs, Past and Language. ^_^

*P.S. Don’t fret. Here are the full details of toe’s upcoming concert (where to buy, early bird promo, etc.). 😀