amber gris’ “The individual solution and Keep a silent lip’s” Oneman

Live Report

by Maya Kawaguchi, posted September 29, 2012

It seemed impossible for the hot humid summer to cool off and July 28 was no exception. Under the peak of the sizzling sun in Shibuya, fans headed to the venue early to see an exhibition of amber gris’ costumes and props from their last music video and photo shoots. Meanwhile, the staff filmed messages from the fans which made one realize how much this band has grown to be able to play the Shibuya Club Quattro stage, coveted by indie bands.

At 10 past 6, the packed venue drowned in darkness with only a slight dark purple glow from the stage. Each member of the band ritualistically scattered a handful of petals as they took their positions. Vocalist Temari entered slowly, roaming as if lost in the dark. When he reached his position, hand stretched to the single red light-bulb glowing faintly above, it marked the beginning of the long awaited journey into amber gris’ performance and the intro to the first song, “a merchant and a red flower,” began. Temari’s mellow voice flowed through the venue, blending well with the harmonious guitars of Kaname and Wayne.

Gradually, the stage was showered with a mix of red and blue light that revealed the band’s new costume: all white with hoods, each with different designs that matched their characters. “Let’s make it a beautiful night,” Temari said in welcome to the audience with a gentle breeze of guitar for the next song, “over flow girl’s sick.” The melody shifted alternately from slow to fast with a sea of fists pumping in unison and intense lights that flickered to the rhythm of Rami’s drums. Wayne, Kaname, Koto and Temari all came to the front, sharing the energetic atmosphere with the crowd. Orange lights engulfed the venue for “amazing world” during which Temari moved about the stage, introducing playful gestures into the upbeat music. As the lights flashed intensely with the strongly paced “sinker,” the crowd was in for a journey. The lighting scheme adapted to the flow of music and the drums rolled like thunder.

“As you all know, we are amber gris. Welcome once again to The individual solution and keep a silent lip’s. The title, its long, isn’t it? The reason I made it long is because I wanted listeners to have a wider view of what we want to deliver to you through this live. We would like to find the answer to the meaning of the title through the songs of amber gris with all of you.”

The atmosphere plunged into a dark and austere presence for “ugly crawler.” Temari gave a painstaking cry from the darkness within. The stinging strike of the drums that repeated through the course of the song left a strong, lasting impression. Then, out of the darkness, green then orange illuminated Kaname’s guitar intro which opened the doors for the enlightening “Kanashimi ni kureru Cote d’Or.” The euphoric song marched through and passed the torch to “Umikaze to ame to saigo no tegami,” Temari transforming into a storyteller. He took the spotlight as the instruments intentionally stayed in the background. Wayne’s harmony blended with Temari’s vocals, putting the final touch on the piece before dark blue lights fell upon the stage with white pricks glowing like stars in “Ibara no hana wa tsumi ni saku.” Temari continued his storytelling with a more mature tone yet it was delivered wistfully though with a strong presence that exploded into the main melody.

As the lights dimmed, the sound of pouring rain resounded. The band drew their hoods on and Temari roamed, looking up as if waiting for the rain to cease. When the sound of rain faded, Temari introduced the next song: “A song after a long rain, ‘Rogii.’” The vocalist set himself free, playfulness in full bloom. Twirling and dancing, he utilized the stage, going from one point to another as he sang to the audience. Then, like the sun shines brightest after the rain, “Sunny days seeker” brightened the venue with upbeat music. Hundreds of hands swayed in the air. The uplifting music continued into “Hazy moon luv gaze” with some cool guitar phrases and energizing vocals that brought more pumping fists to life. Constant rhythms and screeching guitars led the way into “Awake or asleep.” Accompanied by the aggressive main and backing vocals, the venue jumped and thrashed their heads crazily. Temari’s feisty shouts worked up the crowd even more and in “Hummingbard’s,” the lights went crazy, stimulating the venue further. Koto’s weighty bass raced through vigorously, amazing guitar sounds mixed into a wild blend with the transfiguration of Temari’s voice from gentle to agitated.

Fervent yells could be heard but Temari calmed the crowd with his emcee. “Are you guys hot?” He took a sip of bottled water and resumed. “Got to drink water. It’s dangerous. I’ve been sent to the hospital before while fishing in the sizzling sun.” He sipped again. “So all of you be careful.” Another sip. “Yup, water is important.” At last, in a serious manner, he abandoned the teasing. “We released three consecutive singles and finished two one-man lives with the release of the first two. The final was The individual solution and Keep a silent lip’s… It’s a long title, isn’t it? Well, it’s intentional. I wanted the listeners to be open to interpret our music. The first half of the title, The individual solution: This is you, yourself. No one but you can fully understand you. Not even your family, friends, or your beloved can know you enough to know your deepest thoughts. The latter half, Keep a silent lip’s, represents people besides you. Why people remain quiet…”

Temari’s emcee cut off abruptly though intentionally with the strummed first chords of “Fujo no ki no shita de.” He voiced, “I present this song to you all.” Agonizing yet strong vocals were beautifully woven into the music and as the song reached its climax, the four on backing vocals embraced a warmth that seemed to portray the band’s strong bond, proven just as firm with the fans in “Wishstar and sunlight and darkness.” Temari delivered the song sweetly, blue and yellow light enveloping the stage. It gradually built into the main melody with the lyrics “Yofukashishite ohanashi ga shitai no! ( I want stay up all night and chat with you!)” and hundreds of hands spread in the air like flowers blooming. “Love in the first” introduced a sweet, romantic mood. The vocalist danced lightly to the swinging melody as he moved freely about the stage and Koto stepped to the front, tapping the bass coolly. “Bishuu” came with a vengeance. Red gleaming lights with profound guitars made the way for some heavy chorography and fists shot up many times during the course of the song. The heavy and the melancholy surfaced in alteration.

To suitably close the main set was “Rakuen.” The red light-bulb glowed once again and Temari reached and sang to it. Like the ending theme of a movie, the song streamed its way through to the end with a constant melody. With a thank you to the audience, Temari left the stage. The rest continued on to play “Silent lip’s (instrumental)” in farewell.

Rami was the first to come back onstage and he warmed up the audience with his jolly nature. “Hey, are you guys having fun? That’s good, thanks! It’s all because of you guys that we were able to have fun. Thank you. By the way, how many of you have seen our museum and done the comment video? For those who haven’t yet, please see our museum after the show and please leave a comment for us! We are really looking forward to it!”

The other members returned and set their instruments, Temari taking the mic and looking at Koto. “I just want to say one thing. During my previous emcee when I said this one-man’s long title, there were weird responses from the audience and I was wondering why. I found out just now that Koto had been tweeting yesterday: ‘Retweet if you think Temari will stutter the long one-man title.’” Koto made up for it by applauding which inspired the whole venue to applause. “Koto! You’re evil! You sold me to the devils of the internet! How dare you!” Temari scolded anyway.

After a few good laughs, Temari politely thanked the audience and resumed the encore with, “Franny wa gokigen naname.” It was uplifting, playful and by the members fulfilled faces, it was obvious they were relaxed and enjoying their time with the audience. “Chiisana ringo no tart (small apple tart)” Temari sang, making a gesture of giving a piece of apple tart to Kaname who gestured eating it. In “Faraway, Faraway,” another upbeat song, Temari sometimes sang with Rami who had been lips-syncing with a big grin. A sea of hands waved in the air and to the end, the band wore delighted expressions.

Almost right away, they were back onstage, welcomed by shouts from the audience. The last song, setting the crown on the night was “Giniro no coffin.” Lights bright, the venue was embraced by the encouraging song and the one-man closed with loud yells and applause.

Poetic and creative, as evidenced at Club Quattro, amber gris filled the crowd with much anticipation of what will come in 2013 through a video reel before the encore. The announcements included their third anniversary event with emmuree, Kaya, 9GOATS BLACK OUT, etc., as well as vocalist Temari’s birthday one-man, and hints towards their 2013 activity. With the fans’ enthusiastic support, they are setting firm feet on a new journey to the next level.

Set List

  1. a merchant and a red flower
  2. over flow girl’s sick
  3. amazing world
  4. sinker
  5. Ugly crawler
  6. Kanashimi ni kureru Cote-d’Or
  7. Umikaze to ame to saigo no tegami
  8. Ibara no hana wa tsumi ni saku
  9. Rogii
  10. Sunny day’s seeker
  11. Hazy moon luv gaze
  12. Awake or asleep
  13. Hummingbard’s
  14. Fujyou no ki no shitade
  15. Wishstar and sunlight and darkness
  16. Love in the first.
  17. Bishuu
  18. Rakuen
  19. Silent lip’s (instrumental)

Encore 1

  1. Franny wa gokigen naname
  2. Faraway, Faraway

Encore 2

  1. Giniro no coffin

VK Exclusive

There are 12 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Maya Kawaguchi is a Japanese native who grew up in California. She was introduced to VK in college and soon became fascinated by the genre and nagoya-oriented bands in particular. Since then, she has been surprised by the number of foreigners who are interested in VK and hopes to introduce this world to as many potential fans as possible.

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