Beasts Collide at defspiral’s 9th Beauty & Beast

Live Report

by Kate Havas, Leela McMullen, Eric Agnew, posted December 1, 2013

On October 18, defspiral organized a night of smoking visual rock for the 9th installment of their ongoing Beauty and Beast event series, this time inviting heidi. and THE BEETHOVEN to complete the three-man lineup which culminated in a hot round of sessions.

heidi.

heidi. were the first to take the stage at O-West, coming on to an aggressive rock beat and launching right into “Yuuyake to Kodomo.” Vocalist Yoshihiko stared down the crowd as Nao’s catchy guitar lines brought the energy up, the infectious number warming up the fans. The popping melody of “Gekkou Showtime” got fists in the air next, cymbal hits emphasizing the high notes with flair.

“Thank you!” the vocalist greeted. “We’ve only done two songs—can you keep up this energy till the end of tonight? Let’s have a great time!”

Big drum hits and a sexy bass line showed off heidi.’s rhythm section in “Monochrome Gradation.” “Jump!” Yoshihiko yelled, and the fans obliged—much to the vocalist’s delight. The disco ball then bathed the hall in shimmering lights as the band began the cool groove of “Another Fish.” Kosuke and Nao played close to the crowd and Yoshihiko dropped his voice to a croon as they brought out the emphatic emotions of the number. The band picked up a call and response cheer as Kiri went wild on the drums for the next number, “Twilight Town.” Yoshihiko used the monitor speakers as platforms to bounce on as he sang along with the retro-flavored beat. The crowd continued to show their enthusiasm with fists pumping wildly for the chorus of “motto motto” and loud calls for the members as the song came to a close.

“Enjoying yourselves? We’re having a great time!” Yoshihiko gave a few announcements for heidi.’s upcoming ventures then quickly turned back to the music, citing being “bad at talking” as the reason for the short emcee.

Aware Haijin” alternated between quick drum beats and a slower chorus, Kosuke hitting his knees to really dig into his bass play. Yoshihiko knelt on the podium as well, creating a plaintive figure as fans threw themselves rhythmically over the front bar. Lights flickered between cool violet and angry red for the sultry beat of “Ryuusei Dive.” The cool instrumental breakdown showed the skills of the members and Nao’s guitar especially stood out as Yoshihiko asked in the spotlight.

“Today is defspiral’s event. Let’s call out MASATO!” The guitarist joined the junior band onstage, throwing out “rock” hand gestures as they began “Omaesan.” Kiri stood to blast his drums with full power and MASATO joined in on singing the chorus of “yeah”s. As the song hit a high point, Yoshihiko turned to MASATO. “This is where I usually sing ‘omaesan’ with lots of feeling! Can you do it instead?” MASATO stepped up to the spontaneous challenge, singing out loudly, and the song finished with smiles all around. Yoshihiko gave a deep bow to the senior musician and the band took their exit.

Set List

  1. Yuuyake to Kodomo
  2. Gekkou Showtime
  3. Monochrome Gradation
  4. Another Fish
  5. Twilight Town
  6. Aware Haijin
  7. Ryuusei Dive
  8. Omaesan

THE BEETHOVEN

Up next were THE BEETHOVEN, making their entrance to a radio whine-infused mix of electronica and classical music. They opened with “The Greatest Party,” bassist Naoki’s voice providing spooky undertones to the steady and atmospheric beat. Vocalist Makoto stared down the fans as he sang with intensity and guitarist Fukusuke took a break from his instrument to rough up the music with a few touches of his sampler pad. There was a pause and then a big scream into “Tsumi” as the music picked up pace in a festive fashion. YURA’s hair was flying as he hit the drums with abandon and Fukusuke accented his guitar lines with sharp kicks. The crowd clapped along to the catchy beat, Makoto jerking the microphone stand violently.

“This is defspiral’s three-man! We’ve been looking forward to playing with them. Since there’s only three bands and we’ve got some time, I’m going to let YURA talk since he’s from their prefecture, Himeji.”

The drummer stood up tall to greet the fans. “You know, defspiral are my seniors so they don’t even call me YURA-sama like eveRYOne else does. They call me Take-chan.” He was quick to point that out he wasn’t complaining, however. “I would never say anything bad about them! Talking about Makoto, on the other hand…” The pair began some back and forth about Makoto’s tendency to introduce himself by name along with the band instead of letting the band name stand for itself—an annoyance to the drummer who wouldn’t stand for anyone but himself standing out. “Anyhow, we have announcements!”

“Not yet!” Makoto cut YURA off before he got too ahead of himself.

“This is my announcement that we will later have announcements!” the chastened drummer corrected as he sat back down.

Zenbu Machigai nanda, Kotae nado doko ni mo nai” was nicely balanced between aggressively paced verses and a melodic chorus. Makoto put a lot of personality into his voice and YURA used one hand to hold back his hair so he could hit and look at the crowd at the same time. Naoki’s bass was hot for “Sora ni Ochiru,” the dark sound keeping a strong rhythm even as the beat went faster and faster.

“Having fun?” Makoto teased, taking off his jacket. “Let’s have more!” Fukusuke chimed in with an emphatic guitar wail. “Geki Pare” brought out dual sides of the band as light fun house music was slammed up against heady underground rock, the band letting go and getting wild with hair flying and crazed movements. Makoto topped off the song with a blood curdling scream then quickly gave the announcement YURA had promised: news of the band’s first release.

They finished with “Fragment of Resplendent,” Makoto’s voice effected into an ethereally high pitch as dry ice fog rolled across the stage to complete the atmospheric scene. Lights danced about the hall as they gave a steady performance of edgy pop-rock, punctuated midway by fast rap and heavy cymbal hits. They left to a reprise of the festive circus music, the stage now ready for the event’s hosts.

Set List

  1. The Greatest Party
  2. Tsumi
  3. Zenbu Machigai nanda, kotae nado doko ni mo nai
  4. Sora ni Ochiru
  5. wonderful world
  6. Geki Pare
  7. Fragment of Resplendent

defspiral

At last it was time for the conveners of the event to take the stage.

defspiral’s logo was emblazoned across the back of the stage as the four-member band entered to rowdy cheers. The event gave them a chance to display their suave new costumes and hairstyles. Extensions and coat-tails alike whirled with their movement beginning with the opening number “VOYAGE” which had a sharp rock sound, heavy drum hits, and flashing lights—all of which brought the hall alive as TAKA twirled his mic stand. “Shibuya, come on!” he riled as they began “STORM.” The number had a sexy, mature sound with strong bass from RYO backing the music while TAKA let his voice trill. “Let’s get wild!”

Up next, “MASQUERADE” mixed a bit of electronic flair into the catchy beat and TAKA dipped and swayed like a dancer working for tips in front of the excited crowd. The dance beat led smoothly into “PARADISE” which continued the stream of up-tempo rock while the fans joined in with the chorus of “hey hey hey”s. Everyone headbanged with passion and the crowd squealed excitedly as TAKA affectionately petted MASATO’s hair. MASAKI seemed to be having a great time as well, hitting the skins with such power that energy radiated from his drum kit.

TAKA had a purr in his voice for the fun and jazzy “RAINBOW,” the beat energetic and inspiring. The band’s charisma was apparent in the number, and the crowd responded to every movement and cue. A seductively smooth bass and drum interlude gave the venue an intimate feel that brought fans and band together.

“Once again, we’re defspiral!” TAKA addressed the crowd. “This is our 9th time putting on this event so I’m happy there are so many of you here to see us! Today, just enjoy the show however you like. You can do what you want!”

SALVAGE” was a number with impact—fast drums and powerful vocals creating a feverish intensity. The fans headbanged and threw themselves over the front bar as TAKA leaned on the speakers, growling out every note from the gut. It was followed by the quirky and lively beat of “RESISTANCE.” TAKA used the number to give props to the other members and introduce them and he even got down on his knees before RYO in adoration. The lights flashed and danced around the stage in a dizzying array of color until they finished the set with a change of tone; the dancy, modern “LOTUS.” TAKA’s voice had a rough edge to it as he encouraged the fans to jump in time with the song and the live house was filled with positive rock energy that carried on even as the band left the stage.

Set List

  1. VOYAGE
  2. STORM
  3. MASQUERADE
  4. PARADISE
  5. Hana to Libido
  6. RAINBOW
  7. SALVAGE
  8. RESISTANCE
  9. LOTUS

Session

The crowd’s insistent calls brought defspiral out for an encore along with heidi.’s Yoshihiko and Nao—the younger vocalist talking about how happy he is every time he has a chance to sing with TAKA. In that spirit, they kicked off a reprise of a song they performed recently while doing a hide-session, the classic “TELL ME.” Artists and fans alike appeared to be having fun; the atmosphere more relaxed and casual now that the main set was over. The two vocalists alternated verses though Yoshihiko couldn’t resist mouthing the lyrics as his senior sang.

Next, THE BEETHOVEN’s Makoto and Fukusuke joined the hosting band for a spirited cover of hide’s “ROCKET DIVE.” Despite the talented performance, the music was somewhat upstaged by YURA, who ran on to contribute with some half-cheerleader/half-chicken dance moves that had everyone laughing—in some cases too much to play properly.

The drummer continued to be involved as the heidi. members returned and the group moved into a cover of defspiral’s own “DIVE INTO THE MIRROR,” using his iPhone as both an impromptu microphone and a camera to take pictures of the chaos onstage. They finished with waves and bright smiles—MASATO taking advantage of his juniors by jumping on Yoshihiko’s back to be piggybacked offstage.

Set list

  1. TELL ME/hide
  2. ROCKET DIVE/hide
  3. DIVE INTO THE MIRROR/defspiral

The 9th installment of Beauty and Beast brought a pleasing mix of current and classic visual rock sounds that made for a high-energy night. The successful series is set to continue, giving fans of defspiral a lot to look forward to in the future with the band’s December 20, Shinuku BLAZE oneman the next exciting milestone for the present.

VK Exclusive

There are 21 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Kate Havas first became interested in Japanese fashion and culture in college when manga, anime, and visual kei were just beginning to make their way to America. An art and English major with a love of clothes, Kate signed onto ROKKYUU in order cover fashion and report on Tokyo trends, but was quickly also recruited to the music side of things and has been having an adventure expanding her knowledge of all things VK since. Follow her on twitter at keito_kate!

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt! http://twitter.com/#!/LeelaInTokyo

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