© Vijuttoke!!Festtoke!!2016 / Photo by Sachiko Ishihara
Meanwhile, in Diamond Hall, the biggest stage of the festival, the iconic visual kei band DIAURA began their set. The curtains opened and revealed a benighted stage with the band’s black and white logo at the back. As the nervous, slightly melancholic intro began the strings mixed with the piano and some spooky laughter emerged. The stage was bathed in red lights, the crowd raised their hands, the flashing lights started to glow and the musicians came on stage. Following tradition, yo-ka, the vocalist, was the last one to show up. DIAURA respects the visual kei traditions and the fans of the genre can’t help falling in love with the artists’ looks: beautiful well considered outfits and stylish makeup. Of course, this isn’t the only strong point of the band as DIAURA combine strong and powerful melodies in their creations. Just add total commitment by the musicians and the attention they pay to their fans and you’ll get a very strong band.
The band presented five tracks at the festival, including Cult, Beautiful Creature and MASTER, which are well-known and loved by the audience, plus two songs from the MY RESISTANCE mini album which is due for release on November 16th; a martial-inspired, easy to remember Tousakushou Resistance and a seductively lively Mr.Isolation.
The musicians communicated actively with the audience and with each other, which was, of course, facilitated by the size of the scene. kei and shoya switched places from time to time, sometimes they occupied the vocalist’s spot, a podium at the edge of the stage, but they never slowed down and managed to produce great solos. tatsuya set the rhythm of the performance with his strong drumming but the vocalist was, obviously, the centre of attention. He guided the audience like a conductor. He waves his hand – and people sway, he gives a languishing look – and everyone makes little hearts with their hands. He also taught everybody how to headbang, taking his cap off for a while. His seductive dances hypnotized and transfixed the audience.
DIAURA had performed at a very high level, just as always. Nobody in the hall was left untouched, not even those in the back rows. At the end of the set, when the musicians had already left the stage, the vocalist lifted up the band’s flag and waved it as if he was clinching victory. He gave a bow and having thanked the fans already without his microphone, he left the stage. The scene was wrapped up in the dark accompanied by a melody from a music box.
01. Tousakushou Resistance
03. Beautiful Creature
© Vijuttoke!!Festtoke!!2016 / Photo by Tsuyoshi Hayashi
AI, the DEATHGAZE vocalist who started his solo project a year ago, was the headliner in the Spade Box.
Wrapped in a cold blue light, the session musicians came on stage and took their places. AI was the last to arrive. A lonely light revealed his figure, a striking piano melody began to sound and DEPARTURE started. His powerful voice filled the hall, enwrapping the audience. AI’s vocal style is really different from traditional visual kei voices. It’s deep, profound and enveloping. It expresses itself easily not only in slow songs but in the iconic rapid tracks, too. Anyway, DEPARTURE didn’t conserve its lyrical mood for long; the musicians joined in and made the track more energetic.
The following song, GLASS SKY, the title track of his first solo single, switched the mood that dominated the stage – it was a real burst of energy and the bass section showed to advantage.
The band performed two new songs as well: DESPAIR and Rinbukyoku. While the first one culminated in violent headbanging, the second one, more tuneful, was like a gloomy fairy tale in a way and showcased a charming picture. AI was dancing in a smooth flowing manner in tune with the music and demonstrated his catlike nature. In the end the vocalist thanked the audience and they answered with loud applause. The new single, due to be released on December 7th, should be extremely interesting.
As the set proceeded to Karasu, the musician cried out ‘ikeru kai?’ meaning ‘are you ready to continue?’. Everyone who’s ever been to a DEATHGAZE show has heard this iconic expression. One can’t pass over the guitar sections sounding a duel – anyway, two guitars are always better than one!
AI wrapped up the set with a significant NEW CULT. The audience literally went crazy, with their fists punching the air and their hair flailing in the berserk headbanging. The happy smile didn’t leave the vocalist’s face.
At the end of the performance he blew everyone kisses, then he invited everyone to his first solo concert, wished them a safe trip home, said goodbye and left the stage. The public chanted ‘encore’ for a while, but all in vain. Perhaps, an encore didn’t fit in the festival’s schedule, or it was AI who decided to fuel hype for his next performance, leaving some kind of innuendo. Or maybe it was all because of his catlike, whimsical personality.
There is no doubt that AI’s solo project is developing – and quite successfully. The project helps to fulfil the musician’s potential giving him the opportunity to create something he couldn’t before. However, there was a little ‘hello from the past’: a DEATHGAZE towel hanging from the microphone stand of the bassist who the DEATHGAZE fans knew as ‘Joker the Technician’.
02. GLASS SKY
06. NEW CULT
© Vijuttoke!!Festtoke!!2016 / Photo by Sachiko Ishihara
Arlequin, a young yet already insanely popular band, were the headliners at the main Diamond Hall, and, consequently, of the festival in general. The musicians were wearing brand new outfits from the introduction of their new single Karma. They looked like some kind of fairy tale warriors wearing these aggressive black and silver pieces. However, the band presented their new image but not the new song, probably having decided to wait for the official release of the single.
The vocalist was true to his iconic image of an eccentric, slightly sinister harlequin that is a pure embodiment of the band’s name: cracking voice, broken movements, crazy dances. The other musicians were no less great at communicating with the audience, with Nao being especially energetic.
A dense, rich sound is a hallmark of any strong band and that’s what Arlequin showcases in every track. Their thirty minute set included six songs and the audience were totally in love with each one. Everybody, including those in the back rows, followed the changes of rhythm obediently, headbanging, jumping up all as one and swaying from side to side. The towels flew up in the air as the vocalist gave commands.
Zou, the final track, was marked by a real saturnalia, with people jumping, crying and clapping their hands. aki, the lord of this extravaganza, went down to the hall graciously and the crowds made the way for him. People thrust their hands out deliriously to touch the musician. Having travelled in this human sea, aki came back and sat at the edge of the stage. The crowd, led by the rhythm and some kind of obsession, rushed on surrounding the vocalist while he was inspecting this scene, completely satisfied.
At the end of the performance aki thanked those who stayed in the hall despite the late hour and then gave a long bow. The band seemed unable to say goodbye to the audience but all good things must come to an end and they eventually made off behind the curtains.
01. Dame Ningen
03. HAPPY SET
Although this was the end of the festival, everyone will be looking forward to this unique possibility to see so many great bands in one location next year.
Read Vijuttoke!!Festtoke!!2016: Part 1 at http://www.jame-world.com/us/articles-123623-vijuttoke-festokke-2016-part-1.html
JaME would like to thank Vijuttoke!! for accreditation and extensive support.
Vijuttoke!!Festtoke!!2016: Part 2
live report - 12.04.2016 19:01
The second part of JaME's live report on Vijuttoke!!Festtoke!!2016, featuring DIAURA, AI and Arlequin.
© Vijuttoke!! Festtoke!!2016