GRIEVA’s First Oneman at Rock May Kan

Live Report

by Diana Tome, Mio Nagasaki, posted January 13, 2013

The venue was packed and ready for some old school metal as GRIEVA’s devoted fans gathered at Rock May Kan for the band’s first oneman. The dramatic title for the show, “My dear beloved, Love only me. You don’t need anyone else. There is no light in a bright future. Love only this dark-natured me. Let’s start.”  flashed on the screen before a short video introduced each member to the crowd’s enthusiastic cheers.

Gory and dark, the stage helped set the mood, with metal chains and “bodies” hanging from the ceiling while blood and impaled “heads” were scattered over speakers. The band’s clothes, hair and makeup brought the heavier bands of late 90s visual kei to mind, yet GRIEVA soon made a stand with their interesting sound and passionate performance.

Roku (guitar), haru (guitar) Hisame (bass) and Rui (drums) were the first onstage, followed closely by a hooded figure the crowd assumed to be vocalist kyouki. As the crowd yelled out the vocalist’s name he surprised everyone by showing up from offstage and sending the hooded figure away. An explosion of sound cracked the doors open to GRIEVA’s demonic world with “Taihaiteki kyousou.” Heavy growls and roaring drums got hair flying wildly, the band showing their zeal from the start as they interacted with the crowd between feisty riffs and some interesting synchronized twirls. “Keihou dai 39 jou dai 1 kou [Shinshinsoushitsusha no koui wa kore wo bassesu]” opened with kyouki on his knees, red light alternating with darkness under a slow, suspenseful intro. Suddenly the drums roared and two fog jets dashed up into the air. The song mixed heavy and melodic tones nicely, showing the band’s showmanship as the five men continuously interacted with the crowd. It was particularly impressive to see girls flying forward on kyouki’s demand in a violent mosh scene.

“Tokyo, let’s go!” the vocalist growled while Hisame teased the crowd, tongue dashing out mischievously. The headbanging continued through “Tokage,” the crowd pumping fists passionately to kyouki’s deep growls. The vocalist punched the air for emphasis and the audience copied, growls easing for a fierce lament that saw words piercing the air coldly while the fans crossed arms in a slow dance. As in a trance, kyouki bent his body backward for the finale, theatrics grave as he thrashed his body violently to the beat. Green lights and smoke washed over the stage for “Haikei, koishi no aidoru sama he” and the instrumentals took over for the intro. More commercial than the previous, the number got the audience clapping and moving to crazy choreography. The vocals stood out, smoothly accomplishing a transition from sweet to sad despite somewhat muffling the instrumentals with heavy growls.

Rui opened “true grief” with a slow start allowing the instrumentals to be fully appreciated while the bass work was particularly impressive. Pumping fists rose to the sweet and determined tune, drums speeding up making for an interesting contrast to the mournful lyrics. Head tilted back, Roku took the forefront for a solo, guitars stepping down as a deep vocal line took the song home.

The stage engulfed in darkness, a lonesome beam of red light sprouted from under the central platform for “Konna kowareta sekai de ….” Dramatically, the vocalist kneeled over it releasing a sudden, earsplitting growl. Lyrics half cried/half spoken, kyouki seemed to stare into an abyss while the guitars embarked on a lulling plea. The number intensified and the vocalist’s body convulsed as he paced across the stage, cries cutting the air like knives in a whirlpool of sound. On his knees, whispering “lalala” like a mantra, he was approached by Hisame with metal chains in hand and subsequently chained down. Still on his knees with a blindfold over his eyes, the captive contorted, trying to free himself. A growl escaped his lips as he hurled the chains aside, instrumentals breaking out loud and strong, followed by a sea of thrashing heads. “Bondage” caused quite an impact, its theatrical beginning dragging the hall down to hell. The floor was covered in smoke while the crowd moved wildly to the fast beat, growls and pumping fists combined while the guitarists sung backup.

Mad murder:Lesson” continued in the same fashion to fast drums, haru taking the lead with a feisty guitar riff for the intro. Despite the resemblance to DIR EN GREY’s “Zan,” the song brought GRIEVA’s energy with it, getting the crowd to move to the violent beat. “LAST!” the vocalist yelled before “Shinsyoku.” Electronics mingled with the fierce instrumentals for an interesting number that seemed to have some Arabian influences. While the crowd were jumping and headbanging fiercely, Hisame took the spotlight, tapping at the strings for a heated bass solo. Back and forth, the crowd moved like wild water to the sound of the heavy bass. The vivacious number left them craving for more and in unison they demanded an encore.

The screen came back to life announcing the band’s first full album release among other warmly welcomed news. Rui returned soon after for a vigorous drum solo that got the crowd growling and asking for more. Hisame joined him for the “Rhythm section,” the duo winning over the crowd who pumped fists to the beat. Roku and haru came in next, taking the front as they dueled to feisty riffs, each member taking the spotlight with a short solo before kyouki returned.   Heavy and dark, “Kodoku ningyou shoukougun” caused quite a riot, the crowd moshing enthusiastically while the band demanded more, each member calling and pulling the fans forward. Despite not being particularly memorable, the song proved very effective live and the crowd responded fervently to the band’s every demand.  Girls climbed up bars and jumped forward, bodies flying over bodies in a frightful yet unforgettable scene.

“Lend me your voices!” kyouki yelled out. “THE Suicide $HOW TIME” brought the hall together as the crowd yelled out the chorus with the band before diving into some more headbanging.  Towels were brought out for the choreography, twirled at high speed while the guitarists set an example by swirling across the stage to the fast drums. “Hands up!” kyouki demanded for “Dead[en]D” and the crowd complied, moving unflaggingly to the fast and catchy tune. Elbows resting over his knees, kyouki headbanged ferociously, his vocals holding up impeccably through both the slow and heavy parts of the song.

Keihou dai 39 jou dai 1 kou [Shinshinsoushitsusha no koui wa kore wo bassesu]” closed the set, bodies flying forward once more while the band threw water onto the crowd, seeming more than pleased by the chaotic scenario created by the wild mosh. The hardcore show proved that GRIEVA are ready to take on bigger crowds. The band blew Rock May Kan away with their energy, daring staging and peculiar sound and ROKKYUU look forward to their future releases.

Set List

  1. Taihaiteki kyousou
  2. Keihou dai 39 jou dai 1 kou [Shinshinsoushitsusha no koui wa kore wo bassesu]
  3. Tokage
  4. Haikei, koishi no aidoru sama he
  5. true grief
  6. Konna kowareta sekai de …
  7. Bondage
  8.  Mad murder:Lesson
  9. Shinsyoku

Encore

  1. Rhythm session
  2. Kodoku ningyou shoukougun
  3. THE Suicide ✰$HOW TIME
  4. Dead[en]D
  5. Encore 2
  6. Keihou dai 39 jou dai 1 kou [Shinshinsoushitsusha no koui wa kore wo bassesu]

Diana Tome saw her life change when she came across X-Japan's Blue Blood. A big supporter of old school visual rock, she believes visual kei is a lifestyle and philosophy that goes beyond the clothing and the music. With a background in headhunting and psychotherapy, Diana completed her M.A. in Psychology from I.S.P.A. in Lisbon, Portugal. She now lives and works in Japan committed to keeping the VK/V-rock flame alive.

Mio Nagasaki is a freelance photographer lending her time, skills, and love for the genre to ROKKYUU Magazine.

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