SoundWitch Live in Kichijoji

live report - 30.06.2013 10:01

SoundWitch enchanted the crowd as they rocked at Kichijoji Crescendo's anniversary show.

For people who are not yet familiar with SoundWitch, the following summarizes the band best: a healthy mix of heavy rock and industrial music, a talented female vocalist and tremendous amounts of energy. This five-member band from Osaka consists of guitarist Dragon, drummer Sack, vocalist Twin, bassist Matsubai, and last but definitely not least, Maiden on his Kaoss Pad and other tools that bring the industrial aspect to their sound.

This particular evening they play in the live house Crescendo as part of the 300th edition of the event HEAVY GROOVE. They are accompanied by some other marvelous bands: Vorchaos, DazzleVision and Sense of Stability. Vorchaos performed first, and it must be said that this performance was truly impressive. Crescendo is a small venue; the maximum amount of people it can accept would be about 80 to 100 people. The place is only half-full during this first performance, and true to its more “hardcore” image, the crowd is standing dead silent. Vorchaos’ singer’s powerful voice and the band’s good performance in general surely must have an impact on these people, but other than the occasional hand gestures and fist pumping it’s hardly noticeable that these people are attending a concert. For people familiar with the ritual-like aspect of the music scene in Japan: they are a big fan of meticulously synchronized dances, hand gestures, et cetera, hence the astonishment in regard to the lack of movement. You could almost imagine yourself at some concert of a European band. The crowd is spread around the whole venue, while at the back side there is a table with merchandise and some t-shirts hanging randomly along the walls. Vorchaos closes off with some theatrical and well-performed songs, after which the curtains close in preparation of the main event, while the band-members mingle among the fans. Now it becomes obvious that they were loved regardless of the lack of enthusiasm of the crowd, since quite a few fans immediately clam themselves onto the individual band members, desperate for some long-awaited face time.

Almost 25 minutes late the curtains open again, accompanied with the start of eerie and macabre sounding music. The band members quickly step on the dark stage, perhaps aware of their hard-earned, star-like tardiness, with Twin, as tradition demands, entering the stage last. The band members’ outfits are not necessarily coherent or particularly imaginative, but as a band they definitely fit well together. Maiden has his beloved purple accents, including a purple-pink streak in the buzz-cut part of his otherwise long-haired head. The rest is wearing simple black clothing, but the dress of Twin deserves a special mention as well. Simply look at the picture above, where you can hopefully see the detail that was put into the dress, especially the motley halter-piece.

Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about this band is its bluntness. They enter the stage a bit theatrically, but then they just stand on their spots and start playing. No shenanigans, no additional props on the stage besides their instruments, no flags or towels or whatever that you need to buy beforehand as a fan―just their music. Even though they start with Daydream, one of their calmer songs, it becomes clear that a big portion of the crowd has come for this particular performance. Suddenly the back part of the venue is like a desert, while the first few rows of the crowd are almost mushed together. The band immediately follows with a few songs that show its true colors: heavy rock with industrial influences, while Matsubai and Dragon jump around like crazy and Twin ushers the crowd to join them in a jumping frenzy. The crowd obviously is not going to let them down and joins them in jumping, head banging, fist pumping and whatnot. The first three rows are a blur of movements, while Twin, smiling as though very pleased with herself, joins in as well.

This spectacle continues for a few more songs, in which the band shows how well adjusted they are to each other. Nothing is overpowering or drowning out any of the other instruments, everything is equal and neat. Twin shows that her voice can sound just as pristine as on their records, and her energy in particular is boundless; she even does a robot-like dance at some point, for no apparent reason.

The crowd itself consists of about 50 to 60 people at this time, since people keep entering and leaving the venue, consisting of mostly similar looking people. The estimate ratio consists of about fifty-fifty men and women, almost all dressed in black, with no particularities or extravagances, just like the band and its stage. Up until now the stage has pretty much been that, with white and sometimes flickering lights, but as we reach the number Frustrate Me the mood abruptly changes. The stage bathes suddenly in an ocean of red light, making the members seem a bit less friendly than before. Here the vocals seem to falter a little bit, but the lyrics save the song, since “There is no future” is cried out by the horde of fans. Twin lets herself go once again, while spinning around and leaning backwards, seemingly spineless. After a short silence the almost ‘happy hardcore’ start of Jesus is audible, accompanied by bright lights and impressive screeching and vocal rap, since the tempo of this song is killer.

After a short MC, in which Twin tells the audience that the band is naturally very grateful for the showing up of their fans, it’s hard not to notice her flirtatious qualities when speaking to her fans. This woman sure knows how to please a Japanese crowd. The performance rapidly continues and does not lose any of its power in any of the songs. Maiden deserves some special attention for his performance during the song Spider Spider, in which he truly shows his varied skills and some influence by American dub-step. The last song, Unfinished Color, is the only quiet song performed since the start of the show. It is not clear why this song exactly is chosen as the final number, but if the intention is to show the qualities of Twin’s voice one last time, it definitely works. The crowd sways along one last time, showing their support of the band, after which the band leaves the stage without much hassle―just a simple “thank you, goodbye, and see you hopefully next time”.

To summarize: if you happen to be a fan of up-tempo and heavy music with a bunch of different audible influences, energetic performances, talented performers and in general a good concert experience, it might be wise to consider giving this band a shot next time around.

Set list:

Intro: Prussian of Grotesca
1. Daydream
2. New Song
3. Vanilla
4. Distory
5. New Song
6. Frustrate Me
7. Jesus
8. You Love Me
9. And now I know, Alright
10. New Song
11. Spider Spider
12. So Sweet So Scratch
13. Unfinished Color
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DAZZLE VISION   SoundWitch   Vorchaos  
Kichijoji - Japan
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