Black×berry First Oneman at Ruido K2
Playing it cool or acting the fool, Black×berry took the stage for their first oneman on October 15 with lengthy entrances, each member greeting the crowd fully in his own style. Ruido K2 may be on the small side for a live house, but it has the advantage of ensuring that the whole crowd is visible to the stage, making for a warm environment for both band and fans.
Amid the sound of rain, the drums beat in and lights flared with the onset of music for the opening number, “Sakura.” Despite gentle vocal styling, the guitar was strong and the cool rock ballad featured an intriguing chorus melody. Then the atmosphere heated up with the synths of the upbeat “I love happy.” The title itself is a prelude to the contents of the number including choreography of overly cheerful waving and cute side-stepping. “Hey Shibuya! Let’s enjoy ourselves fully!” cried vocalist Ryuta. Then the dancing broke out for the interestingly titled “Ano… Hajimemeshite.” (Um… Nice to Meet You). The song was full of member calls and while Ryuta and bassist Lyo led the dancing, guitarist Daiki did his best to keep up with them even as he worked his way around the strings. With some heavy sections and a final spurt of headbanging, the number would have been a great ice-breaker had there been any ice to break.
As it was, the crowd was as warm as can be, sharing a common background with the band, as it seemed almost everyone in the live house that night hailed from Chiba. A country-fresh awkwardness in the crowd was reflected in Ryuta’s emcees, which made for a very different atmosphere than your usual VK gathering. “It’s hot. My face is almost naked of make-up. This is a oneman so we’re not gonna’ end just after a few songs.” At this point, Ryuta prompted the crowd to applaud the band’s getting through three whole songs before reminding them there was lots more to come–a trend that continued throughout the show in comedic Black×berry fashion.
“Let’s go totally nuts okay? You ready Shibuya!?” The cry should have led into “lips” but instead, Ryuta raised up his own iceberg, suddenly declaring that Lyo had to teach the crowd the motions before the song could go anywhere, so instead of a smooth launch, fans entered into a training session. Despite the lighthearted dancing, the number was heavy, even though Ryo hardly played through the chorus as he egged the crowd on and led the choreography.
Following the rhythmic charisma of “Choudai” and the towel-swinging rigor of “Usotsuki,” it was time for another all-important emcee. “We’re a third of the way through now,” Ryuta warned. Then each of the members took turns chatting up the crowd, drummer KA-ZU wondering if any of the crowd knew who he was, Daiki announcing that it was his birthday and receiving many well-wishes, and Lyo being introduced as “That guy who’s crying. The one on bass.” Lyo hardly said a word. “So, we’re a band from Chiba,” began Ryuta. “Me? I’m the vocalist. You can see that, right? I’m singing after all. Chiba’s great. There’s Disneyland…” “Peanuts!” added Lyo, “…and Black×berry,” finished the vocalist. The crowd was more than happy to support all the statements about their home-town. “Now it’s time for a laid back song. By the way, the name Black×berry is hidden in the lyrics. Please listen to ‘My Precious’.” The pretty ballad led into “missing,” this time an upbeat ballad with a relaxing feel. It began with cool guitar melody which continued brightly throughout the number with vibrant solos.
Unable to remain somber for any longer than two songs, Ryuta put on a deep voice. “Hey! We’re Black×berry!” he groaned. “That’s the way to break this atmosphere. We have songs like that [“missing”], too. I bet you’d never heard that one before. It was on an old mini album. Today we’re playing new songs along with our oldest songs–It’s a oneman so we can do it. Now, nearly two thirds are over.”
After another false start preceded a new set of dance instruction, the catchy, high-pitched “Rouge” swung the set back up into high gear. Just for fun, Ryuta threw in some fan service, catching Daiki around the neck during his solo and bringing the mic to the guitarist’s lips to rile the crowd. Then the vocalist transformed into a middle-school girl for “She said,” hips swinging to the fun, poppy tune before he smashed the image with half-growled lyrics.
“Shibuyay! Already the oneman has only two songs left! Well, there’s an encore. Two in fact,” announced Ryuta, causing the band to scold him. “Well, we don’t want them to go home! You’d better all stay,” he warned. “Hey, let’s practice for the encore call. You can relax for a moment and then someone will start the encore call. Shall we decide who?” Waving like mad, a young man showed unmatched enthusiasm and Ryuta conceded to entrust the important task to him.
Following another choreographic corner which meant another false start, Ryuta explained the concept of the next number, “V.S.” “It’s a battle between you and us. We don’t wanna lose,” he warned, launching the heavy number. Then, the final song, “Shoujo A,” wrapped things up with an enjoyable melody to the punchy music. The farewells were short but the crowd was unconcerned, waiting for the band’s return as the encore call began after a couple of minutes as practiced. “That’s not enough! More, more!” yelled the chosen cheerleader, taking his job seriously.
So it was that the band returned into the friendly atmosphere, only now they wore a whole new set of costumes and claimed to be not Black×berry but, in fact, Kuro Ichigo who hijacked the stage and made fun of “that other band.” Kuro Ichigo were all about the laughter and goofing off, but their covers of The GazettE’s “Akai One Piece” and SID’s “Jyunkan” were good fun. With very little ado, the first encore was over in a flash.
The second made up for it, however. Of course, there was the matter of Daiki’s birthday to be handled, with some very messy cake-eating. The band also broke out “Neko” and “Venus” which they had held in reserve and concluded with another rendition of “Ano… Hajimemashite,” this time ensuring that nothing was held back. However, that wasn’t the end. Next on the agenda was a raffle. The band gave away all sorts of random or personal items such as iPod shuffles, pillows, and the grand prize–a pair ticket to Disneyland. Then, when all was said and done, Black×berry came down from the stage to greet their fans one-on-one with a special photography session for anyone who bought the live house limited CD.
All in all, Black×berry’s first oneman was a unique show that few could replicate, due in large part to the strange rapport between crowd and band. There were several events in one and no matter how you look at it, the crowd definitely got their money’s worth.
- I love happy
- Ano… Hajimemashita
- My precious
- She said…
- Shoujo A
- Akai Onepiece (the GazettE)
- Jyunkan (SID)
- Ano… Hajimemashite