defspiral’s CARNAVAL stop in Himeji

Live Report

by chi.yow, posted May 6, 2014

One of the most experienced bands of the visual kei industry today, defspiral celebrated the 15th anniversary of its members’ debut into the music industry (originally as TRANSTIC NERVE) with a show full of fan favorites on March 17 at Himeji Beta. The small livehouse was packed to the brim with excited music lovers—eager for anything and everything the band had to present them with. With less than 200 in the house due to venue capacity, the intimate setting gave the band plenty of opportunity to witness the enthusiastic energy of each participant.

Emerging onto the stage to grand fanfare and cheers from energetic fans, drummer MASAKI, bassist RYO, guitarist MASATO, and vocalist TAKA got the party started with “Ready or Not,” the heavy rock number immediately pumping the crowd up. “ARE YOU READY?” TAKA called out, receiving a unanimous affirmative. The high-energy show continued with “REVOLVER,” MASATO contributing a series of hoarse yells to rile up the crowd as they were blasted by the intense sound waves. RYO’s bass solo brought particular strains of delight before the closing.

“Hey, people of Himeji! Welcome to the CARNAVAL tour!” TAKA enthusiastically greeted the crowd, who responded with cheers between the various salutations. “Come on, let’s dance!” TAKA shouted and fans brought out their light rings for “MASQUERADE,” transforming the venue into a dance club. The enthusiastic crowd added their voices to the chorus; TAKA leaning close to the front rows to continue encouraging everyone sing and jump along as MASATO expertly worked his guitar strings. The energy carried over for “PARADISE” as MASAKI tapped away at the opening notes before TAKA and RYO began a series of calls and returns with the crowd to keep them going. TAKA particularly impressed by finishing off the song in a capella style.

In contrast to the smoothly sung “PARADISE,” TAKA took on more rap-style vocals in sections of “BABYLON” while being backed by MASATO’s rasping tones. The vocalist kept to the microphone stand for the heavy metal number, swaying and using his hands to beckon fans closer. “NIGHTMARE” then took a turn for the darker and introduced a more eerie side of defspiral; the dramatic operatic elements blending with heavy guitars and prominent bass. The audience continued to show their enthusiasm by calling out to the band when given the chance. Maintaining the drama and upping the pace, “Serenade” was anything but calm as the crowd broke out in a headbanging frenzy to MASAKI’s drum beats while RYO skillfully picked at his bass strings in contribution to the rhythm. The choreography only intensified as TAKA aggressively growled out the lyrics, directing the crowd to pump their fists and dance about as they liked.

“The tour has only just begun from today. Please continue to treat us well.” The jazzy beat of “Hana to Libido” had the fans clapping along in accompaniment to RYO’s thrumming bass as TAKA sang seductively. MASATO took the spotlight for a brief guitar solo; TAKA following with more crooning before RYO smoothly concluded the sensual number. Then, the intro to the groovy “Thanatos” crashed in with MASATO coming out to the front of the stage to carry out his multiple guitar solos as TAKA stood atop the front box, masterfully directing the audience once more as he coolly sang. The swing beat continued into “RAINBOW;” the cool intro tapped out by MASAKI quickly transforming into a furious, fist-pump-inducing song that also drew wild cries from the crowd with its mix of synthesized music and prominent drum beats. The varying tempo kept the fans on their toes while TAKA’s powerful vocals dominated.

Following up, “INNOCENT” allowed a moment of relative calm with TAKA’s clear voice bearing a range of raw emotions. The majority of the audience remained still and composed as MASATO played out a skillful solo—a few fans holding up their arms in a show of dedication and lowering them when TAKA retook the spotlight to smoothly conclude the song. True to form, he continued to impress with “GLARE” by holding many long notes while projecting powerfully. The crowd reacted accordingly by pumping their fists and following a set choreography once again, enjoying the tuneful beat. MASATO also displayed his own skill-set with an extended guitar solo that finished in a flourish. Then, “SHINING (IN YOUR HEART)” brought back the jazz elements that had everyone waving their hands to TAKA’s prompting with a touch of disco pizazz.

“It’s been 15 years since our debut and I’d like to keep going on for 25 years!” TAKA announced. As he stumbled over a few of his words, MASAKI jokingly beat out some rhythms to interrupt his thinking—a gag further encouraged by RYO. Once the fun antics wore down, headbanging broke out again for “BREAK THE SILENCE” with dedicated fans singing spiritedly along with TAKA, bringing a bright smile to the vocalist as well as to RYO. Hardly a fan stayed stationary as the heavy rock number maintained the high energy demand while TAKA delivered a rougher vocal style, smoothing it out at times and reaching falsetto notes for brief moments. “SALVAGE” continued the wild rock party; the audience answering fierce growls thrown out by RYO as MASAKI’s drums set a furious pace while MASATO tore at his guitar strings.

“The tour has just started but please keep on supporting us!” TAKA’s statement had already been taken to heart—a fact which became clear in the following number. Although it was a live-limited single, the majority of the audience showed that they’d already heard the bright and clever “CARNAVAL” as they were able to sing along with TAKA when prompted as he held out the microphone. Confirming that they still had energy to burn, the crowd jumped higher than ever before in “Resistance” as TAKA called out between verses to continue riling fans up throughout the guitar-driven song. As RYO and MASATO took command of the left half of the stage for their respective solos, TAKA took this chance to hop onto the front rail on the right side to survey the crowd, grinning as everyone waved their arms in enjoyment. defspiral finished off the main set with the catchy number “LOTUS” that had everyone clapping as they danced, TAKA pointing his hands toward the ceiling to demand even higher jumps. The vocalist also called attention to his bandmates’ individual solos, stepping back so that fans had a better view before returning to leave his own impression until synthetic notes closed the main portion of the live.

However, the show was not over yet. Returning to the stage after a unanimous and animated encore call, MASAKI, MASATO, and RYO entertained the crowd for a short while. RYO confessed that he had practiced a lot of what to say for defspiral’s first radio later appearance that night—to the amusement of the fans. The crowd even actively called for “MASAKI-sensei (professor MASAKI)to bestow a few words of wisdom, although the drummer simply stated, “I’m going to put all my feelings into it so please listen! Thank you!”

TAKA then made his reappearance to impart a few comments about the band’s commemorative year as well as how Himeji had changed since their debut—particularly the area in front of the station and the station building itself. Following this comment, TAKA gave the surprising news that there were plans of a live in the near future with the Transtic Nerve’s original members—which was met with screams of delight as well as promises that the release of further news and details would be eagerly awaited.

Following the exciting announcement, the opening notes for Transtic Nerve’s “Shindou” were welcomed with raucous cheers. The band’s name change had obviously not dampened the fans’ enthusiasm for the older songs, nor the passion that the members performed them with. The more sedate “REASON” then brought the high down to a more stable level with the audience pumping their fists to MASAKI’s steady drum beats. TAKA mainly remained at the center of the stage, infusing the lyrics with as much emotion as he could while MASATO hovered toward the front as his guitar blended and alternated smoothly with RYO’s bass. “DIVE INTO THE MIRROR” brought the night to a united finish as everyone sang the last verses of defspiral’s debut number together. The audience needed no further prompting other than TAKA holding out his microphone, the vocalist himself continuing to sing along and be faintly heard.

Fifteen years in the music industry have certainly not slowed down the quartet despite once being a quintet. If anything, the years have only proven how various experiences have led up to the band becoming as seasoned as they are today—confident in their style and skills while still willing to experiment with their ever-evolving sound. Fans of both defspiral and the band’s original incarnation as Transtic Nerve have much to look forward to over the coming year.

Set List

  1. Ready or Not
  2. REVOLVER
  3. MASQUERADE
  4. PARADISE
  5. BABYLON
  6. NIGHTMARE
  7. Serenade
  8. Hana to Libido
  9. Thanatos
  10. RAINBOW
  11. INNOCENT
  12. GLARE
  13. SHINING (IN YOUR HEART)
  14. BREAK THE SILENCE
  15. SALVAGE
  16. CARNAVAL
  17. Resistance
  18. LOTUS

 

Encore

  1. Shindou
  2. REASON
  3. DIVE INTO THE MIRROR

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Chi’s interest in visual kei stems from her love of art. The unique aesthetics in combination with the wide range of musical styles within the genre have been what has kept her interest in the visual kei scene for over a decade. The main image her friends and classmates have of her is with a camera in hand, face behind the viewfinder or screen. This image is also occasionally combined with memories of running around her to avoid getting into her panorama shots.

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