J-ROCK a Go!Go! with NOIZ & defspiral

Live Report

by Kate Havas, Mio Nagasaki, posted May 1, 2013

The ironically named basement live house Shinjuku Loft played host to the first edition of the new J-Rock program, J-Rock a Go!Go!, a broadcast with the aim of givingJ-ROCK bands a chance to show their stuff to a worldwide audience. The inaugural session brought together Uchuu Sentai NOIZ and defspiral; two bands with little in common save vocalists named TAKA and guitarists named MASATO.

The show was hosted by guitar-vocalist CUTT, who handled his emcee duties admirably throughout the night and entertained the crowd with anecdotes between sets. In the spirit of the event, both bands had whipped up pun-filled special foods and drinks for the crowd to partake of. NOIZ’s contribution was “Uchuudon☆Kimagure Uchuu Cream” (space udon-noodles with capricious space cream) and “Anata Watashi Yowasete Do Suru no Milk” (what will I do if you get me drunk? milk), while defspiral tempted fans with “Taco Rice na no ni…” (even though it’s taco rice…) and “Kaetekita MASATOjiru” (MASATOjiru came back—a reference to the fact that this was their second take on the drink).

After a very cheerful CUTT explained the concept of the program, the colorful Uchuuu Sentai NOIZ came out for a quick chat about their ever-vigilant space patrol, charity work, and upcoming plans. Then it was time for the rangers to take their place on stage.

Uchuuu Sentai NOIZ

Eerie music and blaring sirens set the sci-fi atmosphere and the band members emerged one-by-one in a well-choreographed introduction sequence during which they snappily posed like sentai warriors as an English computerized voiceover announced them. “Welcome to the space disco!” the computer finished as the members took their places. The band warmed up the crowd with the wild and rollicking “Minority Blue Sky.” MASATO was animalistic as he swung his guitar and dreadlocks with equal fervor then an interesting blues guitar line suddenly brought the pace from hot to chill before vocalist ANGEL-TAKA revved the audience back up with quick calls.

The crowd was ready to interact, clapping as Kotaro played the lead-in for “HIGH☆FIVE.” The fans moshed with enthusiasm, though instead of becoming violent, the mosh was a relatively organized mass of twirling movement with the fans throwing their hands above their heads and occasionally high-fiving their fellow moshers in the spirit of the song’s title. The cheerful feeling in the live house was infectious and even a few of the defspiral fans lurking in the back started to move and bounce with the upbeat music.

“We’ve come from far away to protect the Earth’s peace! We’re Uchuuu Sentai NOIZ!” ANGEL-TAKA posed with a cute V gesture and whoop, which the fans copied.

Kyo took the mic next. “If you don’t know what to do during our songs, don’t worry. It’s easy! Just put your hands up and spin like this:” The NOIZ fans happily demonstrated for the remainder of the crowd and with bright smiles, the members continued into “Ritardando.” The song had a cutesy, game-music quality and the fans bounded around like hyper puppies. The band stomped as electronic bleeps accented the music, strobe lights picking up to dapple the stage in a flickering glow.

Igni+ioN” was a taste of something different as ANGEL-TAKA and MASATO pressed back to back and circled daintily to a classical tune before breaking out in a hard-core duel rap. Even their heaviest song had the hint of a smile about it, however, and the live house shook as the fans jumped and rocked along. Kotaro was light on his feet, spinning and busting a move with kicky guitar and as the heat in the venue rose, MASATO put the microphone in his mouth to strip off his jacket. He rapped through the final verse as ANGEL-TAKA sang, the contrast bringing the song to a nice close.

“Everything out from under your feet?” Kyo asked. “We’re going to exercise now. Let’s diet!”

Blasting laser noises prompted frantic spinning in the crowd as they began “Shoegaze” and MASATO was almost in the crowd himself as he leaned out to play. Kyo jumped violently and drummer YAMATO clacked his sticks above his head, encouraging the crowd to clap and rock. “Be careful!” ANGEL-TAKA said with a laugh as he watched the fans scramble. Then, he pulled out a luminescent pink glow stick. “Here!” he tossed it out to a girl and she held it up proudly as the fans used her as their base to run around in an Alice-in-Wonderland-like caucus race.

By this point, the entire live house had put themselves under NOIZ’s protection, jumping and tossing their hands up with the band, regardless of who they had come to see. ANGEL-TAKA then raised his hands to the ceiling as a spotlight shone on him and the funky, steady beat of “METEORS” began to pound. The vocalist sang out a long note until his voice faltered and the music turned over to bouncing eurobeat with a triumphant-sounding upswing, the perfect note for the space rangers to finish on. They lead the fans in a final jump then performed their entrance routine in reverse, the fans holding their arms up in salute until the members left the stage.

Set List

  1. Minority Blue Sky
  2. HIGH☆FIVE
  3. Ritardando
  4. Igni+ioN
  5. Shoegaze
  6. METEORS

After NOIZ heated the audience up with their powerful performance, defspiral joinedCUTT and they chatted about the Pink Spider musical, defspiral’s new sound, and Japan’s “Rock City,” Himeji, the kansai hometown of not only defspiral but also NOIZ’s ANGEL-TAKA along with a surprising number of other VK musicians.

defspiral

After the talk, defspiral kicked off their set with the dancey and high-energy “LOTUS.” “Hey, Shinjuku, let’s have fun!” TAKA called over the music and the fans bounced along to the spirited number. Perhaps affected by NOIZ’s colorful staging, TAKA made a heart gesture with his hands as he sang “I love you” and RYO and MASATO’s voices provided strong backup. Masaki’s drum-roll out and a flare of red lights led them into the zealous “SALVAGE,” the fans headbanging with fervor and RYO rocking out on his bass. MASATO was doubled over his guitar, playing passionately and TAKA’s screams and barks came from the gut even as he injected quick notes of falsetto into the music.

“This is J-Rock…?” The vocalist prompted. “A go-go!” the fans answered, and TAKA grinned proudly.

The March single “GLARE” opened on a purposeful note with understated synthesizer undertones and fans pumped their fists to the moody song. The bass notes were especially clear in the nicely arranged number as it struck a good balance of lightness and intensity. Furthermore, the song paired well with the next number, “NIGHTMARE,” and fans danced slowly to the operatic gothic music. Strobe lights punctuated the melody, and TAKA’s voice took on a creepy edge as he made meaningful eye contact with the crowd.

“Okay, Shibuya!” TAKA called. Though by virtue of his confident delivery the audience didn’t seem to notice the infraction, TAKA quickly realized that no, he wasn’t in Shibuya. “Shinjuku!” he corrected. MASAKI tried to helpfully cover the moment with a drum roll before the vocalist finally settled on something he could not go wrong with, giving a strong yell of “Tokyo!”

Just-released, the pop-dance number “Masquerade” was, in fact, celebrating its first day on sale that day. Never-the-less, plenty of hands rose when TAKA asked who had already claimed their copy. Though the song was a tad repetitive, the band had fun performing it, smarming around the stage, swinging their hips and making sexy faces at the crowd. They soon came back to form in “Twilight,” a classically styled rock number with heavy drums to keep heads banging. The somewhat ponderous song was brightened up by MASATO’s guitar work and TAKA sang with soul to complete the performance.

Finally, interesting chirp-like noises kicked off defspiral’s defining number, DIVE INTO THE MIRROR” and the fans’ energy did not flag throughout the charismatic rock performance even as they finished the set. RYO tossed his hair dramatically and MASATO carried the song with skillful chords, the multicolored stage lights giving off a party atmosphere.

“I love you, Tokyo!” TAKA called as the band began to exit. “We’re defspiral. See you again soon!”

Just as TAKA had promised, the band returned to their fans before long…

Set list

  1. LOTUS
  2. SALVAGE
  3. GLARE
  4. NIGHTMARE
  5. Masquerade
  6. Twilight
  7. DIVE INTO THE MIRROR

With the completion of the performances, it was time for a special giveaway. The event had prepared a signed towel from NOIZ and two signed t-shirts from defspiral and there was excitement as the numbers of the winners were announced—the very first being none other than 69! Then, the members returned for a group talk and “Kanpai!” as they clinked their glasses together and thanked each other for the performance. CUTT took questions from the fans’ surveys, which lead to an energetic discussion about what the performers liked and didn’t like about each other and their special talents, including a few truly surprising revelations. As the program drew to a close, the members all took a final memorial photo and CUTT announced the next show, scheduled for May 15with DEATHGAZE and GOTCHAROCKA.

With a successful first event under their belt, “J-Rock-a-Go!Go!” is set up to be a hot ticket with periodic performances on the agenda. If you want to see excerpts from the event and find out what the members had to say about it, check the program out for yourself!

VK Exclusive

There are 34 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!

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

Post Comment

Your Comments