Double Birthday Bash for ZIN’s Yoshi and Luy at Shinsaibashi SOMA

Live Report

by chi.yow, posted September 4, 2014

As their guitarists’ birthdays are conveniently 17 days apart, ZIN decided to host a joint birthday celebration on August 2 in the form of an event titled Kaimaku-Manatsu no Jin. It was the first in a two-part series of summer birthday events, the second following on September 6 for the rhythm squad Shuuen-Shoshuu no Jin. The night’s lineup included various Kansai bands like Jobless Joestar, LICKER, AL, cold aim target, umbrella, and a special session band composed of ZIN’s roadies. Another notable feature of the bands preceding ZIN’s act was the presence of female performers, a small rarity in the male-dominated visual kei scene.

Taking the stage late at night, ZIN started their set with the crowd-rallying “Shien,” wild guitars from Luy and Yoshi kicking off a promising performance, and serving to wind up fans for many rounds of demanding choreography. Vocalist Riku called for the back of the house to join in too, beckoning them forward between verses. Following lingering koto notes, Yoshi opened “Rensou Rain” with a solid guitar intro before the others energetically joined in, fans jumping and clapping to the beat before Riku’s smooth vocals took over. Bassist Orochi confidently strode about the stage while playing calmly; quickly stepping up to the podium when it came for him to give his short solo before turning the spotlight over to Luy. The frantic “Junjou koiuta” had Riku directing the crowd from right to left, koto-accented guitars providing the supporting rhythm for shuffling steps. Towels were also brought out to swing in this choreography-laden song, between the intervals of jumping and calmer periods of simply clapping hands from side-to-side as Riku sang out.

“Come on, call out our names more.” Riku insisted into the darkness before the lights came back on so that the vocalist could better address the gathering. “It’s rather hot, but it hasn’t rained yet so be careful going home later, okay? Don’t go home just yet, though, because right now I really want you to have a lot of fun. Today we put together the best line-up, so bring it on until the very end!”

As the deceptively cheerful starting notes of “Hatsukoi Carnival” phased in, another round of set choreography began, which fans dutifully carried out as per Riku’s instructions from atop the podium. His rapidly recited and rolling style of singing creating its own rhythm and a special charm for the catchy tune. Meanwhile, Yoshi and Luy each proudly took turns on the podium for their respective solos. Following up, “Jiga Jison” was truly a test of endurance for those who had been present for the entire show as the choreography instructions kept coming. Orochi was once more the picture of cool confidence as he picked at his bass—deep notes providing a balancing accent as the pace of the song was constantly altered. The song also served to wrap up the initial portion of ZIN’s set before the band departed the stage.

Being a birthday celebration, the night would not have been complete without a chorus of birthday song. Re-emerging at the insistence of the crowd who sang the birthday song for both Yoshi and Luy in order to bring them out again, the band carried out a partially arranged and partially spontaneous presentation of birthday goodies. Flowers, letters, and cakes were given to both guitarists, with an additional satin top hat finding its perch on Yoshi’s head before he was given the microphone to address the crowd; mainly thanking everyone for their attendance and continuing support of the band, whether by continuously coming to lives or by sending messages via fanmail, twitter, or ameba.

“Are you guys ready to continue rampaging for today’s event celebrating mine and Luy’s birthdays!?” Yoshi called out encouragingly. However, the initial effect was ruined by a series of false starts from each of the members; Yoshi quick in calling out Saku as being slow with his drums. Once a satisfactory roar was released, Riku took the mic to rile the crowd up for “Genwaku Shelter,” starting with crashing drums from Saku before moving into hand-based choreography. The slightly bipolar number was relatively calm in comparison to prior songs with jazzy notes giving the crowd moments to conserve and build up their energy for the finishing round.

Nise Moratorium” contributed to an incredibly chaotic end to the night. The chaos was not only limited to multiple rounds of fans throwing themselves over the rails to be piled onto by those behind, with Orochi joining in the madness for a period of time while making efforts to pull Riku from the stage. Luy also took this opportunity to deprive the vocalist of his cat ears by ripping them off with his teeth, to Riku’s great—and audible—distress. As the crowd became worn down, the band regrouped onstage for a final, riotous celebration before retiring from the stage for the night, leaving behind their exhausted but fully satisfied fans.

With Kansai being a secondary hub of visual kei culture in Japan, it can be difficult to stand out in the scene as the Kansai style is already known for being highly varied and impactful. ZIN, however, have grasped a heavy, neo-Japanese concept and bolstered it with their talent. The band are building their name by participating in event lives and have a new single release planned for 2014 as well as two additional onemans planned for November and December. They’re definitely a band to keep your eye on and a diamond in the Kansai rough.

Setlist

  1. Shien
  2. Rensou Rain
  3. Junjou koiuta
  4. Hatsukoi Carnival
  5. Jiga Jison

Encore

  1. Genwaku Shelter
  2. Nise Moratorium

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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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