emmuree at Shibuya O-WEST

live report - 07.09.2011 10:01

emmuree takes full control of Shibuya O-WEST and treats their fans to a night of awesome music.

Shibuya O-WEST, a venue with capacity of around 600, resides in the area where an array of club houses and venues concentrate. For many visual kei bands, it is one of the popular venues often used for special occasions such as a first one-man that marks the start of their career. For a band like emmuree that had been in the underground visual kei scene for almost 12 years, playing in relatively small venues and having once thought of even disbanding, it was a surprise to their fans when they had announced this one-man live at an unlikely O-WEST. However, there was also anticipation for both the band and the fans of how the live would turn out.

Around a few minutes past seven, the lights dimmed and white lights at back of the stage started to glow faintly as the beautiful guitar SE started. Members went to their positions, quietly tuning their instruments while waiting for vocalist Sou to arrive. As soon as Sou appeared on stage, Halka’s guitar started the first song, silence. All members were attired in simple black costumes, except Sou who wore a white drape-like skirt with his hair lightly curled. Pink lights painted the stage, the lights gradually becoming brighter at the main melody where the bass became more prominent. Sou sang with anguish as the lights turned from pink to blue for Inori. Halka struck the chords of his guitar strongly and the solid rhythm of Yuki’s drums and Tomo’s bass flowed quietly in the background, filling the venue.

Soon, as the rumbling of Yuki’s drums and Tomo’s grungy bass started ballerina, red lights flashed alarmingly. Sou danced as he fully utilised the wide stage, going to both corners, singing freely to the melody. Wringing his voice and letting out a scream in instability, Sou sung fervently as the audience appreciated the music. The lights dimmed, and out of the absolute darkness, Sou spoke, “Welcome to emmuree, to our confined world. Let’s make it a beautiful night.”

Driving melody goes into the new song miraieigougannjigarame. The lights constantly changed colors, making the music seem more intense than it was. When Halka’s guitar intro kicked off Esoragoto no shikisai, the lights softened to a warmer color, reflecting the composed melody. Sou sang in an effervescent tone as he walked to the right side of the stage, using his hands to express the emotions put in this song.

In I hear the clocks counting down, lights showered down upon the stage as if the members were standing in the rain, setting a remarkably beautiful scene. Notable was when Sou stretched one hand up in the air, which seemed to gesture remorse as he sang with an indescribable painful expression. The audience seemed to be drawn into emmuree’s distinct world as they appreciated the song till the end.

When the lights dyed the stage red, it was time for the sensual Nettaiya. Tomo’s unfaltering bass put the spice into this amorous song which drew out more of Sou’s fascinating vocal skills. A brief break was taken, and when the tap of Yuki’s drums resumed the show with Liberty, the venue was engulfed in a dark drifting melody. The song was very heavy at first, but as Sou’s vocal gradually became very energetic at the main melody, it became vibrant. Halka’s guitar set the final touch, eventually breathing more life into the song.

"Shall we dance together till we go mad?” asked Sou for the upcoming Binzume shoujo. The strong thumping of Tomo’s bass gave a jazzy touch while Halka’s guitar gave it more of a heavy rock taste which blended well together. Gradually, the atmosphere became intensely aggressive.

Kabe ni egaita hana shikisai wo kaita mado came next, in the same order as in the album love letter-dark mania-. A mix of red and white lights flashed continuously as Halka played a guitar line which sounded like a siren that had gone off. The song became more intense as the siren-like sound repeated, gradually accelerating its speed. Sou’s performance also became intense. Making full use of the stage, he went from one side to the other, singing and moving frantically.

From this point, emmuree had become more expressive on stage as all the members seemed to be closer to the audience than in the first part of the set. The venue heated up more with kokyu which started with the accelerating repetition of a heavy rhythm. Sou’s chase of shouts and his extensive range of melodious vocals seemed to express the "kokyu" ("kokyu" means “breathing” in Japanese) which was fascinating to listen to. The members as well as the audience were head banging to the heavy repetition of the melody.

The lights turned dark and while members were getting ready for the next song, Sou turned to the audience and suddenly spoke in a low voice, “How are you?” There was applause from the crowd, but right after he repeated it, the crowd realized miss【drain】 was about to start. The venue went silent as the song started with Sou repeating the words. The lights flashed intensely, once again drawing the fans into emmuree's dark, heavy world. The band then proceeded to the heavy Jizasuka.

Tomo put his bass up in a vertical position and thumped a heavy rhythm, accompanied by Halka’s screeching guitar which started Souretsu to xxx. As Yuki and Tomo’s rhythms rumbled and Halka’s high-pitched guitar screeched in the background, Sou swung his hands about like a composer and did many crazy movements throughout the song. Gray Note Freak Show came next, with more intensity. Blistering lights flickered and more head banging could be seen in the crowd.

As the storm passed, serenity filled the venue and warm white lights embraced the stage. Yuki’s soft tapping of the drum started angel’s watercolor. The song was very gentle but one could feel the inner strength of the song through Sou’s vibrant vocals. The lights turned dark blue in Tomurai. Gradually, smoke invaded the stage, and with the melody that somewhat had the feel of wandering into a utopia, the venue turned into a whole different world. ROSES~Hone to Bara to Yami to Hikari~ followed, led by Tomo’s bass that seemed to mimic a heart beat, and at the same time the lights painted the stage red. The stage once again was filled with emmuree’s distinct drifting atmosphere. Halka’s bone rattling guitar effect set the eerie mood for the song while Sou used his voice to its fullest extent, putting the final touches to the song.

When Sou introduced Love Letter, the last song of the main set that had always been their old favorite and performed in most of their past one-man concerts as well, had started quietly. From the back, yellow lights illuminated the stage and the smoke that had filled the stage vaguely showed the silhouettes of the band members. The dark, profound melody flowed through the venue as it progressed to the main melody. The lights flickered as Sou broke the silence with his scream. When the song ended, Sou bowed lightly and left the stage, the others following suit.

Enthusiastic encore calls loud enough that it wouldn’t be surprising for the band to hear them backstage began right away. As the lights of the stage came on, the members were greeted with applause from both the audience and the guests on the second floor. Sou took the microphone, saying "thank you" for the encore.

Taihai Romance, the first encore song, began. With Yuki’s thunderous drumming, Sou screamed at the top of his lungs as the song broke the silence. As if triggered by it, fans began head banging more to the addictive music. Sou sang to the audience, drawing more voices from them.

The mood changed in an instant when Hokage came on. Pink lights turned the atmosphere sensual. With an intro that was reminiscent of the good old 90's sound, Sou sang it with a breathy voice as he moved his body lightly to the music. Following that was the dark side of the moon. Colorful lights illuminated the stage as the mid tempo music was carried by Sou’s composed vocals to the audience. After the song ended and a short break, Sou said, "Thanks for the double encore. It’s been approximately a year since we decided on doing a one-man in O-WEST. We only have two songs left, but we will definitely do a one-man here at O-WEST again. Please support us. Thank you all for coming.”

Setsugetsuka started quietly with drums, bass and guitar, the vocals thereafter joining the grave sound which at the main melody became more profound as Sou’s voice resounded throughout the venue clearly even after the 23 songs he had sung that day. Last to finally end off the live was Rakuen. When the lights brightened at the end of the song, all the members expressed their gratitude as they left the stage.

Right after, the stage lights went off and the screen at the back was unrolled. A short film featuring emmuree's activities in 2011, including future activities such as the September 19th Takadanobaba AREA event for their first live DVD that will be released was projected onscreen.

Although this live was not sold out, it was definitely a live that showed emmuree as a band that had the guts to take the next step forward. It was fascinating to see a band like emmuree that had only been doing lives at small venues do a live in a place like O-WEST. It was undoubtedly worth seeing, as they had full control of the venue. Expectations are high, and maybe we can see them in larger venues in the future!

Set List:

01. silence
02. Inori
03. ballerina
04. instability
05. miraieigouganjigarame
06. Esoragoto no Shikisai
07. I hear the clocks counting down
08. Nettaiya
09. Liberty
10. Binzume shojo
11. Kabe ni egaita hana shikisai wo kaita mado
12. Kokyu
13. miss【drain】
14. Jizasuka
15. Souretsu to xxx
16. Gray Note Freak Show
17. angel’s watercolor
18. Tomurai
19. ROSES~Hone to Bara to Yami to Hikari~
20. Love Letter

Encore 1
01. Taihai Romance
02. Hokage
03. the darkside of the moon

Encore 2
01. Setsugetsuka
02. Rakuen
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