Seven Bands Rock Out Kanazawa AZ during Stylish Wave CIRCUIT MAX '08

live report - 21.08.2008 22:00

A live report of the July 31 concert featuring SCREW, Jully, -OZ-, D=OUT, DaizyStripper, SuG, and Irokui.

On Thursday July 31, an hour before the show, fans were lined up outside the Kanazawa AZ concert hall, showing off their mostly visual ensembles and talking excitedly about the upcoming show. As varied as the waiting crowd was, the 7 band line-up would boast a fair deal of diversity as well in age, visual style and sound.


At 17:00 the crowd was in place, filling the hall all the way to the back row, murmuring excitedly to the background music of well-known hide songs. It wasn't long before the curtain was drawn back to reveal the blood-lit stage and the five members of SCREW, backs turned to the audience, each with one arm raised. The atmosphere in the hall was suddenly transformed into something wild and violent as the heavy, fast rhythm of Death's door sent the crowd into a melee of head banging as the band burst into motion.

Vocalist Byou stole the show with his death vocals, screaming, sharp aggressive gestures, and alternatively melodious singing style. As he mounted the barrier, the song's conclusion bled right into the intro for VANQUISH, which amazingly took the aggression up a notch further. The band moved in unison, lurching forward together and the crowd imitated their movements. Yuuto and kazuki took turns on the barrier to give their solos, and as the crowd became more riled up, Byou was pulled off the stage and into the throng of people until some of the staff pulled him back to the stage. He continued to scream to the audience and get them ever more stirred up, so that even after the song ended the crowd was throwing out their own death growls like a pit of crazed demons.

Byou gave the MC, asking if everyone was having fun, and then asking for a towel because his mouth was bleeding. Someone from the audience threw him a towel, to which Byou responded, "Thank you, Kanazawa!" He didn't seem phased by his injury at all, and asked if the audience wanted to hear a new song. They cheered their approval, but he encouraged them more, "Do you wanna hear it?" until the answering applause were loud enough for him. And with that the new song, Wailing Wall, began. Upbeat and optimistic, it had a sprinting feeling, inspiring air punching and head banging from the crowd. The song featured a brief sitar-like guitar solo, followed by a ferociously screaming guitar part from kazuki.

For the last song Byou mounted the barrier at the edge of the stage again and got pulled into the audience. He lay on top of the crowd singing, apparently comfortable performing that way, and eventually made his way back to the stage. S=r&b was wild and deranged during the verses, but the chorus had a gorgeous, optimistic melody. Though the crowd joined hands and swayed during the slower bridge, the song soon became completely violent and heavy, accentuated by the red lighting of the stage. Byou then shared the mike with Yuuto, alternating screams. Yuuto missed his last scream, instead turning to face Byou, and to the delight of the audience, the two briefly kissed. The finish was incredibly loud and violent, as though too much sound filled the hall. Jin seemed to be near pounding his drum kit into pieces. He was the last to leave the stage and made the crowd scream for him before tossing them his water bottle. And so ended the first act of the night, an exciting way to kick off the show.


1. Death's door
3. Wailing Wall
4. S=r&b


The next band, Jully, was entirely different in appearance, sound and ambiance. The quartet projected an attitude of friendliness and warmth, connecting with the crowd right from the start. They entered the stage one by one, dressed in non-visual, casual black and white clothes, to the sounds of some jazzy guitar play and the rhythmic clapping of the audience. Vocalist Shinichirou was the last to come on stage, after sufficient chanting from the audience. From the first song, Birthday, Shinichirou gave the impression of being completely into the music, putting his all into
it. Guitarist Ryota and bassist Yujiro also moved around the stage as well. The song had an epic and beautiful chorus, immediately pulling the crowd into it. Things slowed down for the bridge and the stage was lit in a blue light as Shinichirou sang. Gradually the beat picked up and the song grew into another loud segment, and Shinichirou led the crowd in rhythmic shouts of "Oi! Oi! Oi!" When the song ended the crowd wanted more and they
screamed the names of their favorite members.

Shinichirou then gave the MC, speaking rapidly and energetically, cracking jokes and making the crowd laugh. He announced the new mini-album and went on to say, "This live is different. It's not just visual kei, but different genres. I'm very happy to be here, thank you so much." They then continued on to the second song, Kyousoukyoku, a fast-paced danceable number with a somewhat reggae feel in the bass and an element of craziness. The bridge was heavier and more violent, and Yujiro and Shinichirou took turns lunging forward and jumping respectively, while Ryotaro got up on the barrier for a brief but rocking solo. Shinichirou finished up by having the audience raise their hands to do a flowering hand choreography and then clap along to the beat.

The third song, Bansan, was a perfect blend of jazz and rock that seemed especially suited to Jully, though the chorus was more rock than jazz, with an intense beat that seemed to make the crowd throb visibly. This was followed by what at first seemed to be a straight rock number, Shabondama. It had a fast, sprinting feel. Heavy but with a fairly high bass line running all over the music. The audience was under the thrall of Shinichirou who led them in the dancing, but with one gesture had them stop all movement for the slower, quieter segment. As the song progressed it became apparent that it wasn't a straight rock number, with the reggae-tinged guitar and jazzy bass standing out during the performance. The last energetic chorus ended on a big note, Shinichirou doing a knees-to-chest jump to the final booming drums before yelling, "Thank you, Kanazawa!!"

Overall, Jully gave the impression of being a very experienced band, each member putting his heart and soul into the performance. Shinichirou chatted and joked with the audience throughout, and is clearly a very talented singer with expansive volume, great range and control. And perhaps most importantly, the melodies of Jully's songs were creative, beautiful and moving.


1. Birthday
2. Kyousoukyoku
3. Bansan
4. Shabondama


After a few minutes of break, the next act began. The curtain opened and immediately the members of -OZ-, in elaborate visual attire, launched into their first song, Butterfly. It was the best song of their set, despite its loudness; it was also very melodic and moving. Contrasting with the aggressive intro of head banging and death vocals, the sprinting chorus was nothing less than gorgeous, and would leave an impression long after the show ended. It soon became apparent that each of the very energetic members was not just about looks - they were also great performers who made incredible music.

All of the members contributed in stirring up the audience. Natsuki laid on top of the crowd while he sang, before somehow managing to jump back onto the stage. They launched into the second song, Shangrila, without a break. It was a fast number, and had the crowd head banging ferociously in time with the band members. The chorus was mid-paced, with a dramatic, epic melody, followed by an aggressive twin guitar solo.

The last song was, even for -OZ-, very loud, fast and wild. Natsuki and one of the guitarists got pulled into the crowd, and all of the members led the audience in head banging in unison. Natsuki shed his coat and vest, showing his bare torso to the elated crowd who reached out to touch him. While the whole hall was jumping up and down in unison Natsuki beat his stomach with the mike. It was impossible to tear one's eyes away from his mesmerizing performance. Toward the end of the song he fell face forward into the crowd. Bassist Nao was the last to leave, standing on the barrier while the crowd continued to cheer. Overall the performance was energetic, loud and heavy. Even without an MC, Natsuki was able to establish a strong connection and intimacy with the crowd. He let himself get dragged into the mass several times, embracing a very tangible bond with the fans that few vocalists are probably brave enough for.


1. Butterfly
2. Shangrila
4. CRY the crime


After a few minutes of break and an SE of jazzy music, D=OUT took the stage. Also very visual, they wore outfits of mostly white and some black, and guitarist Hikaru appeared in a dress. The first song, Bankoku dai Tokyo, was cheerful and fun, though also a loud rock number that included some heavy areas with head banging and death vocals. Vocalist Kouki stood on the barrier leading the crowd in fist pumping while the guitarists did some spins. This was followed by Shangrila, a fast number with a disco beat and at times a more aggressive feel. The members danced in unison, swaying left and right to the mesmerizing, catchy song as the audience followed their lead. Kouki moved to the edge of the stage but resisted being pulled into the throng of people when they grabbed for him. All the members (except drummer Minase) came to the front and center of the stage for the final chorus. The drums sped up and Kouki finished everything off by yelling "D=OUT!"

After a brief break during which the audience screamed impatiently, Kouki did a call and response first with the audience, and then with his band members, which had the crowd laughing. He gave a very brief MC and the band launched into Harukaze Shalala, a lovely rock ballad. Ibuki's guitar part in the intro really stood out. Because it was a slow song, the members were all relatively still, as was the audience, spellbound by Kouki's earnest and melodious singing under the blue and white light. The very soul of the song seemed to be carried in the chorus's special drumbeat. Kouki really belted out his part, very in the moment, and it was one of the most beautiful songs of the whole evening.

The last D=OUT song, Flashback, was a complete contrast. Kouki transformed, screaming out death vocals and doing a call and response with the crowd. The guitarists and bassist all rapidly skipped across the red-lit stage, riling up the audience. Unlike the previous song, Flashback seemed to be loud rather than melodious, mostly a lot of screaming and having the audience do the same, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Kouki again resisted surfing when they tried to drag him in, but he did take hold of the hands reaching out to him. Suddenly the chorus came in and the song became fast-paced, danceable, and melodious. It ended aggressively with a lot of head banging and screaming, followed by a little jazzy epilogue. The members then made their way off the stage one by one, first Kouki, then Reika, Ibuki, Hikaru, and finally Minase.


1. Bankoku dai Tokyo
2. Shangrila
3. Harukaze shalala
4. Flashback


The next band was DaizyStripper, who came on stage one at a time to fast techno music. Guitarist Nao seemed to be popular with the crowd as he received a loud reception when he came on stage, though frontman and vocalist Yu-giri was welcomed the most enthusiastically. As Baby Kingdom began, Nao led the crowd in the hand choreography, and when the music became more aggressive Yu-giri had everyone jump up and down. Bassist Rei danced over to Yu-giri and they jumped together, and during the heavy parts the members all head banged in unison. Yu-giri seemed especially happy and energetic, all smiles. Despite being a young vocalist, he seemed to be very comfortable with his vocals and completely in control as he let loose. His voice stood out that night, as it's higher than one might expect for a rock vocalist, and one who does a fair amount of screaming and death vocals as well.

This was followed by the well known Dandelion, during which the audience moved their hands in flowery gestures above their heads, not in unison but freely. Nao seemed especially excited, looking at specific people in the audience while grinning and winking. In general the hall's energy skyrocketed for this optimistic rock song, especially during the last chorus, accompanied by crazy, fast head banging and finished off by a great scream from Yu-giri. During the MC, Yu-giri announced the band's upcoming oneman and screamed "Rock n' roll Kanazawa!!", getting the crowd further riled up.

The next song was Black DROPPer. Accompanied by flashing red lights, it was a fast head banging, aggressive song full of death vocals. Guitarist Mayu took the center of the stage during the second verse, and Yu-giri reclaimed it for the chorus. The lighting changed to blue and white for the more melodious segments, but the song ended violently with the other members providing a chorus of death vocals, "Oi! Oi! Oi!"

For the final song, decade, Yu-giri did a call and response with the audience where the drums stopped so the audience’s voices could be heard clearly. Though the intro of the song was fast, the verses slowed down, putting the focus on Yu-giri's soulful singing. During the last chorus he directed the crowd in dancing and scolded them playfully, "You're slow, you're slow!!" While Kazami pounded away murderously at his drums, the other members went to the edge of the stage to touch hands with the audience. The band seemed to have experience beyond its age, and each member had moments in the spotlight and took time with the fans, addressing them with limitless energy. It was a show that ensured the audience had a lot of fun, and most impressive of all were Yu-giri's vocals.


1. BabyKingdom
3. Black DROPPer
4. decade


The hall was filled with impatient screaming before SuG took the stage. When the techno styled SE began the audience immediately started clapping, though soon it became apparent that it was the SE for DaizyStripper. After the music changed, the members took the stage one at a time in sparkly costumes of pink, black and silver, and the crowd jumped along in unison to the catchy rock number, LOVE SCREAM PARTY. All the members were bright and cheerful, especially Takeru of course, sporting his hairstyle from the Vi-Vi-Vi PV, silver skirt, and a butterfly tattoo showing on his chest. Chiyu took the center of the stage for his solo, slapping his bass as he played.

After a head banging finish, Takeru began his MC with: "Good evening, we are DaizyStripper!!" The audience laughed and as Takeru made them wait for a bit, they began screaming out their own death vocals and growls. Finally he said, "Good evening, we are SuG!!" to many cheers, followed by a call and response. He continued after that, "I don't know who was more surprised to hear that intro music, us or Yu-giri-kun. Our two band's ten members were singing along backstage, it was funny." He went on to announce SuG's oneman at Ebisu Liquid Room and their upcoming second mini-album, Punkitsch. The next song, CALL Number, became a crazy, loud jazzy rock number, and the members ran back and forth across the stage while the audience followed. Then each member went onto the barrier at the center of the stage while Takeru announced the instrument, the audience responding by yelling the member's name.

The third song, CRIMSON SODA, was a heavy, fast head banging number. Though Takeru was smiley as usual, the atmosphere was more violent, and the chorus was surprisingly aggressive though still melodic. After it ended, Takeru announced the final song, Gaki sensou, from the new mini-album. Surprisingly, it was even heavier, louder and more violent than the previous song. However, the chorus's melody line was cheery and fun. Takeru made violent gestures as though reeling in a big fish, and on the beat where he pulled his arms back the audience jumped as though they'd been caught on his hook. The song ended to furious head banging and all the members smiling. They then took time to touch hands with the audience. Takeru was the last to leave and the audience tried to pull him in. Overall, it was mostly what you'd expect from SuG - great fun, excellent music and a playful performance - plus a heavier, aggressive side that was a little surprising.


4. Kids War


The last act was the young, not so well known Irokui., who were intriguing even from their intro music, which had a fanciful, music-box sound that evolved into fast techno rock. The members took the stage one after the other, all wearing costumes of red, gold and black. The first song, Q Benshisu no kutsu, had a very catchy chorus that immediately had everyone jumping up and down. It was followed by the even more intriguing Metorochikku birthday, a slow but loud rock ballad that was melodious from the get-go. The chorus sped up but still maintained a bittersweet sound laced with melancholy. Shuuta gave a touching guitar solo, and Yuuri sang very skillfully, going into falsetto with no problem. The audience waved their hands back and forth with the beat, totally caught up in the moment.

During the MC, Yuuri playfully asked the audience about expressions in the Kanazawan dialect, getting a lot of feedback and laughs from the crowd. He went on to announce their upcoming mini-album and performance at Tokyo Liquid Ebisu Room. He then taught the audience a dance (which involved making a bunny with their hands) that they should use for the next song, Alice teriaru. After a call and response, they went right into the third song, where the audience did the dance they'd just learned. It was a playful rock number and at times Yuuri had the audience grab hands with the people on either side and wave their joined hands in the air. Guitarist Hazuki seemed especially energetic and cheerful, often playing while facing bassist Ritsu or playing back to back with him.

The last song was Sora shita sanka, a cheery, optimistic and melodic rock song. It contained lovely solos from both Ritsu and Hazuki. The audience clapped along to the beat and Yuuri seemed to put everything he had into it. He had the crowd make a "peace" sign with their fingers, and then wave their joined hands again, ending with an enthusiastic "Arigatou!!" In general Irokui.'s music put an emphasis on melody and beauty, though it had many playful areas. Each member had great stage presence and made an effort to connect with the audience.


1. Ku benshisu no kutsu
2. Metorochikku birthday
3. Arisu teriaru
4. Sora shita sanka

And so, ending with Irokui.'s beautiful and touching final song, the night's show was over. It was a concert where each performance contrasted with the one preceding and following, the musicians gave their all, and for those in the audience it was a show that won't be forgotten.
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