PURE ROCK JAPAN LIVE 2011

live report - 01.08.2011 10:01

Metal fans gathered at Club Citta for a line-up both classic and fresh, putting the et al in metal.

The introduction of bands of the evening began with the fresh style of LIGHT BRINGER, working down to the well known GALNERYUS and then the oldest, SABER TIGER. The MC then announced the final band as Versailles. “I think this is the one to watch out for. Technically they’re visual kei but no matter how you look at them, they’re actually solid metal. This is their first metal event.” He then went on to talk about the show as a whole. “Personally, I like all of these bands and I hope that you will come to like them, too.”

LIGHT BRINGER

With a set snugly between classical and metal, LIGHT BRINGER were a really great band to open with. With the men somber in flat black, the female vocalist, Fuki, was a stark contrast in a huge white Lolita skirt and cute black vest atop big white boots with her massive, Shirly Temple hair. The deep powerful voice and her strong vibrato were at tough odds with her image. The opening number, Resistance had her kicking up her booted heels while Guitarists Seiya and Kazu, and Hibiki on bass all rocked out. It ended on a strong, high, belted note. Then, with movement usually seen in visual kei, Le Cirque de Minuit~mayonaka no Circus~ had a very lively atmosphere. Fuki’s full-bodied laugh really made the number, not to mention some great guitar solos and a spot for pianist Mao to break it down on the keyboard.

In her MC, Fuki joked about not being the only girl performing for a change and warned the crowd not to estimate female strength. Then she announced the band’s new single, BURNED 07. Once more, the highlight of the song was the gorgeous piano solos, Fuki largely dancing along to the music. Ima ni mo ochitekisou na sora no shita de came in with the air of an anime theme song, its melody gentler than the rest. “You got anything left?” Fuki asked. “Today we’ve prepared a song you can memorize and dance along to. Let’s have more fun!” she cried. “Yay!” added Kazu. Waving like champions, the crowd followed along to Continue. Then they copied the band’s actions of three steps across and four sways. “Let’s go! Wave!” cried Fuki and everyone waved throughout the bright number. “Hey, I can see all of you at the back, too!” she warned during Diamond.

“Don’t hold back! I can hear all of your voices and see all of your fists! Thank you!” Then, she announced their fall release to be made with King records, thanking everyone that they could play at this 1000 people + event and saying it was all thanks to them. “We’ll keep working hard on this new label. This last song is for you.” With a strong rhythmic presence, but sweet in the piano melody, Dream! wrapped up the set, Kazu taking over the vocals in a sweet, crooning voice that hit his last, high note beautifully. There were some great solos including a guitar melody borrowed from Pachelbel’s Canon and Kazu sang a profound “Thank you,” Fuki yelling for the crowd to enjoy the rest of the night.

Set List:

OPSE: kaimaku
1.Resistance
2.Le Cirque de Minuit~mayonaka no Circus~
3.BURNED 07
4.Ima ni mo ochitekisou na sora no shita de
5.Continue
6.Diamond
7.Dream!

GALNERYUS

The crowd just couldn’t cheer enough as GALNERYUS took the stage, kicking off with a high-pitched shout from vocalist Masatoshi “SHO” Ono, poised in his standard A-frame stance. Carting the mic stand around like a stick, he dug into UNITED FLAG, belting out that classical metal sound. Throughout the set, he was constantly dancing and jiggling with a bouncy energy rarely seen in the metal scene. Wailing a “Yeah~!” his voice continued to rise amazingly ever higher. The guitar solo of CARRY ON was crazy, with notes bouncing all over the place, but played with absolute skill by Syu. Then STILL LOVING YOU came in with a swing beat and fun instrumentals that redefined the genre.

“Two years ago, it was decided ten minutes before the show that I would sing with GALNERYUS,” SHO reminisced. “It was like an audition,” he laughed. “Today we have lots of time so we’re going to play a lot of music,” he went on to say. “So I’m going to stop talking.” However, he retracted that statement with a short story. “A big fan mailed to say ‘Sorry I won’t be there today because I have another fanclub event to go to.’ How could we lose to another band?” The awkward MC was blasted away by LAST NEW SONG with a really heavy feel at top speed. “Songs that I can sing together with Taka are really special. Now, there’s a song you don’t know… A song I don’t remember… which is in recording. In autumn, we’ll release a full album and perform a tour… and there’s another secret. They’re all songs to kill a vocalist. I’ve been writing all the time. Writing until morning the night before recording… So please look forward to autumn.” Then, Syu yelled a huge “I love you!” to the crowd. “I’m happy from the bottom of my heart to be able to play for you all.”

“Now for a change of pace with a heavy song you all love,” SHO said, introducing CRY FOR THE DARK. The keyboardist, YUHKI, popped out on his portable instrument to join the remainder of the band. As he played upon the guitar-like instrument, SHO danced around like a disciple of Michael Flatley, his huge, high screams blending with the music. With a piercingly sung “Thank you~!” the final number, BURN MY HEART took off with guitar in the lead, the melody of the song offering a different feel to the rest of the set with a Viking twist to the guitar solo. Seriously proving to be the long lost member of Riverdance, SHO just seems too cute for metal, but with that voice of his, he was born for it.

Set List:

OPSE:UNITED BLOOD
UNITED FLAG
CARRY ON
STILL LOVING YOU
BLAME YOURSELF
LAST NEW SONG
CRY FOR THE DARK
BURN MY HEART

SABER TIGER

“Kawasaki!!!” cried Takenori Shimoyama on vocals, launching immediately into the music. “The Hammer!” Deep vibrato, classic heavy guitar, deep fried hair… SABER TIGER have the look and the sound that brought metal into the mainstream eye. With interesting melodies and a purely hardcore attitude, the band had the crowd in the palms of their hands. FIRST CLASS FOOL, one of only three older songs, saw the guitarists crack away at a duet, both bending into the music whilst Takenori prowled confidently behind them.

Primarily composed of new songs, the performance was a real treat for fans waiting for new music from SABER TIGER. “You guys are too good,” Takenori exclaimed. “I missed you! We’ve come back here at last. We’ve played here in the past so it’s an honour to be here at Club Citta at this brand new start. Actually, we also have an announcement to make. We’re making an album release on August 3rd, mastered in Germany by Tommy Newton. I think we’ve made something of real value. We’ve been at it for a long time. I think that LIGHT BRINGER are the youngest band here but we’re treating ourselves as the newcomers. We have a lot of new songs lined up for you, so please listen.”

The new songs had a great, powerful feel to them and the crowd loved it. The performance was impressive, hardcore and constantly on a level with the fans rather than putting on a show for them. One particular note of interest was that despite screamed or wailed lyrics, Takenori’s English pronunciation was notably discernable. “Thank you! It’s been a while since we’ve played at Citta and we’re having a great time. Are you? Among all these new songs, we’ve lined up something nostalgic for you. It’s a pretty fast one… but slower than those other shiny new bands today.” LIGHT-THUNDER-LIGHT 2011 was well received by the crowd who obviously appreciated a song they knew. Onstage, the band simply looked pleased with the reaction, guitarists nodding in satisfaction as they watched the crowd. “Thank you for today. We’ll be starting our tour on August 20th. And now for the last song, Angel of Wrath.” Powerful and easy to get into, the number had the crowd shouting in response to the vocalist. Takenori poured his soul into the lyrics, conveying his strong feelings through the performance.

“Thanks a lot,” he said at last. “Since this is Pure Rock Japan, there’ll be a session… So I’ve been told to stall.” During the following discussion, the vocalist even apologised to Versailles fans, saying the session wouldn’t be too long. SHO of GALNERYUS soon returned and the two talked about their fun in the dressing room, SHO thanking Takenori for getting him a smidge drunk. “I didn’t think you liked drinking,” Takenori said with a laugh. But it turns out you’re the same type as me.”

The final session brought out Syu from GALNERYUS and the vocalists alternatively pumped out the verses to Queen’s We Will Rock You, singing together in an impressive display of harmonization. Then, after a rhythm session, they belted out Whole Lotta Rosie by AC/DC. The guitars roamed the stage, taking solos and duets and rocking out together. With very manly hand-shaking and very manly hugging… and very Japanese bowing, the two bands farewelled each other and the crowd.

Set List:

OPSE:RISE 2001
The Hammer(New Song)
FIRST CLASS FOOL
Avenger(New Song)
Bionic(New Song)
DEFYING GRAVITY(New Song)
LIGHT-THUNDER-LIGHT 2011
VAGUE BLESS YOU
Angel Of Wrath(New Song)

Encore: SABER TIGER feat. SYU & SHO from GALNERYUS
We will rock you(Queen)〜Whole Lotta Rosie(AC/DC)

Versailles:

During the long wait, one enthusiastic fan started a chant of “We are Versailles” which was picked up by a few others and continued persistently until the band made their appearance at last. One by one, the remembers strolled down the red carpet and ascended the centre stage dais to wave regally at the crowd, making their way across the stage before taking their positions. Their gorgeous period costumes were a severe contrast to the previous bands, HIZAKI’s gorgeous dress quite likely one of the most beautiful costumes ever to be seen in Japan. Throwing a rose upon his entrance, vocalist KAMIJO praised the crowd. “You did well to come,” he said. “We are?” “Versailles!” shouted the fans.

The surprise came in the form of the overall crowd’s enthusiasm. Where only a few people up the front had bent their heads for the previous bands, headbanging broke out almost instantly for Versailles with The Revenant Choir. Capering about mic stands and a drum kit draped in roses, HIZAKI kept up a mobile performance, he and TERU taking the podium for solos and a duet before all four of the downstage members spun into the chorus, their coats and skirts flowing gorgeously. The crowd sang along with good knowledge of the lyrics, yelling at the slightest cue. During ASCENDEAD MASTER, TERU and HIZAKI synced their guitar choreography and KAMIJO sang a passionate solo with recorded piano.

“Welcome to Versailles,” said the vocalist. “We made you wait, but are you enjoying yourselves? Tonight is special! ‘Metal’ and ‘visual kei’ are walls we don’t need so will you help us tear them down? You guys are grand. I think I’ll reward you with something special. You can call me “Big bro.” Guys, girls, aunts, uncles… Let’s all do it!” KAMIJO had the crowd shouting the word "aniki" (big brother) at him in turns before treating them with the fun tune of zombie. “The world is like a MASQUERADE,” said KAMIJO in English, introducing the new song. Sounding like a piece from the opera Carmina Burana, the classical introduction was matched well by strong drums and guitar before all four instruments fell into rhythmic cohesion along with an ominous operatic choir. With a cry of “Don’t you want to rampage some more?”, The Red Carpet Day returned a solidly heavy feel to the set, the musicians skipping and dancing about the stage while KAMIJO riled shouts out of the crowd. “Now head-bang!” he cried, the audience easily complying to his order. “Last! Let’s take it to the limit! Philia!” All four swept up to the front of the stage, continuing to move about during the number. HIZAKI’s solo wailed and climbed up the scale before he danced unrestrainedly through TERU’s equally dramatic solo, the other guitarist surging into the music.

“Lastly, please applaud the more experienced bands, the organizers of the event and yourselves,” KAMIJO stated. “It was fun! Let’s meet again! You guys are the best! I love you! We have a new album coming up on June 15th and a one-man at C.C.Lemon Hall on July 17th. We’ll be waiting for you metal fans. Usually this is where we yell ‘We are’ – ‘Versailles’ but today, let’s do a special ‘Pure rock’…”

“Pure rock-” KAMIJO baited.

“JAPAN!” came the response.

HIZAKI, having gotten hold of an event shirt, held it up in front of his classic white ruffles before taking his leave.

Following an encore demand of “We are Verailles,” the band returned, HIZAKI visiting YUKI behind the drum kit. “Oh, are you going to play the drums, Hi-chan?” joked the vocalist. “Thank you all very much for this encore. We’re not the type of band that can perform other people’s songs so it will be one of ours, but it’s a big one for you! The anthem of aristocrats… Aristocrats Symphony!” Headbanging broke out at once to the super heavy music. With a circular pattern to the song, the crowd shoved forward to reach out to their favourite member as the musicians and vocalist wandered the stage with each new stanza. “HIZAKIi!” cried KAMIJO, heralding the guitar solo. “TERU!” Following both solos, the two guitarists ripped out a duet together and then KAMIJO sang into a tacet. “Lastly,” he said. “Everyone raise your hands!” The crowd fulfilled his wish. Touched, KAMIJO cried out, “Next time at Pure Rock Japan, let’s all fire up with rock!”, concluding the event.

Set List:

OPSE:Prelude
ASCENDEAD MASTER
The Revenant Choir
zombie
Judicial Noir
MASQUERADE
The Red Carpet Day
Philia

Encore
Aristocrat's Symphony
related artists
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Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet- 29/05

GALNERYUS   LIGHT BRINGER   SABER TIGER   Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet-  
Kawasaki - Japan
CLUB CITTA'
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