So Pacific Media Expo, or PMX for short, is a small con that acts like a big one. Its organizers go to some effort to have a broader program than just Japanese pop culture, with the avowed goal of bringing in media from all over the Pacific Rim. And fashion. Can't forget fashion.
For a long time, PMX's programming has been anchored by the musical guests. In its first year, the show brought in TM Revolution and Psycho le Cemu, and almost brought in Miyavi, though he had to cancel. (For anyone reading this who isn't familiar with visual kei circa 2000 or so, these are huge names. Trust me.)
And for a while, they had a string of good bands. It was something you could count on, even though the rest of the programming was a little questionable. This isn't the case anymore. I can't pinpoint where exactly they lost sight of it, but they did, and nothing else has filled the gap. PMX, on the floor, feels like any other con. There are a few more people dressed in lolita fashion, but that's about it. (Okay, actually there are a lot more, and the whole thing is fascinating, and we really should write more about it, but it's still not quite carrying the show.)
This year the musical guest was visual kei act MoonStream, and they were pretty good. Solid. Competent. Enjoyable. But we didn't come away feeling excited. We were not moved or changed. It was well-played jrock, and we've heard a great deal of that already.
Thinking back, they just didn't seem entirely committed to the enterprise. They played a (short) set and an encore without breaking a sweat, and looked like they could have done the same thing all week. It's demoralizing. Like they're not taking it seriously.
But we did stay through the whole concert. They weren't bad -- but we're complaining that they weren't great, and that they didn't make a serious effort to be great. Much like PMX itself recently.
The painful irony is that the SBS Super Concert, a show bringing together a bunch of hugely popular Korean headliners, was taking place that same weekend, in almost the same place. It's the show PMX should have been.
But it's not. And we're waiting. And hoping.