PURE ROCK JAPAN LIVE 2006

live report - 14.03.2007 23:00

Japan clears things up about heavy-metal for your very enjoyment!

Pure Rock Japan is a heavy-metal event, held on September 17th 2006 at Tokyo Shibuya O-East that brings together various heavy metal bands. Onmyo-za played here in 2002 among others.

The third edition of the event featured five bands:
- ATOMIC TORNADO,
- CLOUD NINE,
- BLINDMAN,
- Galneryus,
- DOUBLER-DEALER.

Shibuya O-East was just the right place for this Japanese lesson of Rock'n'Roll. At half past four, the doors opened and the audience calmly positioned themselves between the fences running across the livehouse. These barriers separated the pit in different zones and would later allow the headbangers to partake in their favourite activity. The average age was unexpectedly high - around thirty - and the audience was about three quarters male.

At 5pm, Kyosuke Tsuchiya, the main organizer, opened the proceedings with a speech; "get your ears ready for some great metal"!

ATOMIC TORNADO, the right way to begin


Five-piece ATOMIC TORNADO looked quite young in their blue-themed costumes and make-up but despite their young appearance, they didn't lack experience! This was proven quickly with some impressive use of the double pedal from the drummer and numerous guitar solos. The impressive stage presence of vocalist, Yo-suke, captivated the public while guitarists daxchie and Yu-ya concentrated mainly on their amazing solos, which, thanks to the excellent PA system in the venue, made each instrument sound powerful and enticing. After three convincing songs and some MC from the vocalist, their sound became heavier. After two further songs, ATOMIC TORNADO had made it clear that they were not merely a warm up act, but a band to keep a close eye on.

CLOUD NINE, or how to add some sex or spice to heavy metal

Even before CLOUD NINE had finished playing their first song, it was noticeable that the audience was now witnessing a new kind of spectacle; one that is more American and eye-catching with their husky voiced singer, a cruder sound, and two lovely young ladies (Mao and Kan as support members at vocals and dance). But the true star of the band was their bassist, MARU, whose aggressive and incisive playing made all the difference.

Their composition was not as energetic as their predecessor's but they played effectively throughout their nine-song set, captivating the public who followed the unceasing jumps of the bassist; the sex, drug & rock 'n' roll attitude had captured the audience. During the chorus, YAZZ and the audience together threw up their fists up high. The only problem of their performance was the lack of variety but the audience did enjoy themselves.

BLINDMAN stand by the true metal!

During an SE playing as an opener, the members arrived on the stage in turn. From the first bar of the very first song we were faced with a band more focused on the melodic speed of the metal genre. The public caught onto the mood immediately and at this moment it became difficult to imagine that you were still in Japan, but while Japanese heavy metal, may have its roots overseas, it has without a doubt its own identity!

The eclecticism of the costumes of the band was surprising; a pirate singer (Annie), guitarists who looked like Pata (Ra:IN) or even Brian May (Queen), a drummer who never missed an occasion to remind to everybody just how good-looking he is, a grunge bassist and finally the stylish pianist, the combination was extravagant and explosive. Annie ran all around the stage and constantly harangued the audience. At one point, the ambience quietened a little, only to permit Annie to announce that Cozy, the regular BLINDMAN drummer, was sick so the band was playing with a session member tonight. Nevertheless the playing of this new recruit had been perfect throughout the gig. Soon the show resumed, revived by the vocalist's strong voice. Between screams and melodic singing, BLINDMAN lined up ballads and powerful melodies. Their sound and visual blend was truly captivating, one could even say enchanting.

Galneryus, equals "speed metal "

With a string accompaniment, Syu, the Galneryus guitarist opened the show. Beginning a concert with a Syu solo, is similar to beginning the day with a full spoon of wasabi... rock out! The audience seemed to feel the same and immediately began to chant the talented guitarist's name. But they didn't forget the other members of the band, chanting the names of the other members as well. Even the few suit-wearing salarymen attending the live were headbanging crazily, caught into the ambience.

The setlist of this live focused heavily into their last album, Beyond the end of despairs. While the BPM level was already high into the recorded version, during the gig it truly was impressive. Syu mastered his instrument with a lot of maturity despite what skeptical minds may think. One can only wonder what level he will reach when his skills peak! This was not only about technical prowess though, but also about show. While YUHKI's solos at keyboards had the power of Jordan Rudess' from Dream Theater, the main attraction of the band was the perfect fusion between YAMA-B and Syu, and it was their infectious enthusiasm that won over the audience. The powerful voice of the singer filled the livehouse, from the first rank to the mezzanine. At no point could the audience feel a break in the atmosphere, and at the end of this show, the only regret was that a band of this stature didn't play a longer gig.

DOUBLE-DEALER, perfect desert to end a meal


So here we reached the 'mythical level'. The members of DOUBLE-DEALER are hardly newcomers to the heavy-metal scene, and members have been part of bands such as Saber Tiger and Concerto Moon. Norifumi Shima shone. He was not only a guitar prodigy but also a true showman, playing with the audience from the beginning to the end as he stuck his tongue out and stroked his guitar as if it was his lover. His incisive playing was also a delight to listen to during his solos. It is with this kind of band that the metal wins its spurs!
The singer Takenori Shimoyama had an amazing performance as he juggling steady melodies and rhythmic songs, his voice became beautifully frail and moving at times, returning to his powerfulness afterwards.
Their ballads were truly a delight, it was a shame that after only seven songs the DOUBLE DEALER show came to an end!

The Ending Surprise

As if it was not enough, an encore followed soon after. Not content with draining the last bits of energy from the audience DOUBLE-DEALER returned, supported by all the singers from the previous bands as well as Syu and Tatsu for a last hellish tribute to the stars that inspired them to play heavy-metal; to the legendary JUDAS PRIEST and the non least legendary song Painkiller!

The ending would be hard to beat - everyone was singing or playing their very best as they continued to work up the audience until they were soaked with sweat. The show truly came to an end after long riffs played again and again to the great enjoyment of the public.

PRJ presented an exceptional evening, gathering various artists united around a single theme: the pure rock. It was also a metal lesson but delivered in a humble and simple way that was more than pleasant. This was truly an must-see for all heavy-metal fans, and we may dream that one day this kind of event will also take place in Europe or America to wake up the ears of fans closed to all that Asia has to offer to them.

THANKS to Kyosuke Tsuchiya who contributed to this on his own way, with a more than affordable price in view of the quality and length of the event. Roll on 2008!

Setlist

ATOMIC TORNADO

1. Reach For The Star
2. One Life To Live
3. 地球~The Planet Earth~
4. Power Game
5. DyNAmite

CLOUD NINE

1. SCARY LINE
2. NON-STOP, DON’T STOP, CAN’T STOP
3. HOT UP
4. START
5. VIOLET DESIRE
6. TRAMPLE ME DOWN
7. GET NAKED
8. ROLLIN’ DAYS
9. Hey! CN

BLINDMAN

1. Waiting For The Day
2. Play The Game
3. Awaking Star
4. Without A Word
5. Through Our Lives
6. Turning Back

Galneryus

1. Silent revelation
2. Shriek of the vengeance
3. Shiver
4. Point of no return
5. My last farewell
6. Braving flag
7. Quiet wish
8. Struggle for the freedom flag

DOUBLE-DEALER

1. The Long Way Road
2. Love Is Not An Indulgence
3. Draw A Curtain
4. Meaning Of Live
5. Child In Time (DEEP PURPLE) ~Deep Blue Sky
6. The Enemy
7. Stream Of Time

Encore session

1. Painkiller (JUDAS PRIEST) with all the DOUBLE-DEALER members, all the singers from the previous bands and some guitarists

Official sites:

ATOMIC TORNADO
CLOUD NINE
BLINDMAN
Galneryus
DOUBLE-DEALER
PURE ROCK JAPAN


JaME would to thank again Kyosuke Tsuchiya and his staff, as well as the bands involved into the event, ATOMIC TORNADO, CLOUD NINE, BLINDMAN, Galneryus, DOUBLE-DEALER.

Photograps by FUMIKO YANAI, non-non and Ayou.
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