J-ROCK EXPLOSION 2012 – Kareinaru Gekijou, Splendid Violent Emotion Vol.3-
The third J-Rock Explosion-Kareinaru Gekijou, Splendid Violent Emotion- event was held at Ebisu Liquid Room on July 28. It was a long and hot day, featuring some of the best artists that Danger Crue records have signed to their impressive label and the fans in attendance didn’t allow the length, or the heat, to dampen their enthusiasm. Over six hours, the crowd were treated to established artists, newcomers, covers and general non-stop entertainment. The running order was chosen by fan votes and added an extra dimension in the excitement as to which band would be on stage next.
The show opened with D.I.D. and their short but high energy set was the perfect way to start the proceedings. Singer Akane prowled the stage in a large, fluffy and very warm looking jacket for the opening song “atheism” and leaned into the crowd to help the first few rows with their headbanging during set closer “M-O-G-A-Z.” D.I.D’s cover of the girugamesh song “volcano” was a crowd favorite and the band delivered a tight and storming version, despite needing three staff members to rapidly fix the drum kit halfway through the song. Kudos to drummer Takashi for not missing a beat despite the technical problems he was facing.
The single “until the Day I Die” was well received and showed D.I.D’s talent at writing and performing more varied songs. Meanwhile, “M-O-G-A-Z,” a heavy song written for crowd participation showed that D.I.D already have a fan-base and with their first album due soon. Certainly their set in that difficult space as the opening band will have won them some more fans.
- volcano (Girugamesh cover)
- until the Day I Die
- the resolution
ALSDEAD took to the stage in matching sparkling outfits and instantly connected with the audience. The entire band, particularly vocalist MAKI and bassist Yosuke worked hard to get more than just their own fans involved during “In Bloom” and as the set progressed, it was easy to see that they were pulling more and more people in with every song. Their next single, “FLASH BACK,” set a blistering pace with drummer Setsua delivering a frantically fast drum line that, thankfully, everyone was able to keep up with.
MAKI told the crowd that their third song would be a cover of a famous Danger Crue artist and the harmonica in his hand and familiar opening riff of MUCC’s “Fuzz” had the crowd jumping in short order. His harmonica skills aren’t quite as good as MUCC’s Tatsurou but he tried his best. Yosuke’s electric bass instead of the acoustic double bass used by YUKKE of MUCC meant that ALSDEAD’s cover was a slower and darker sounding rendition, providing refreshing take on a crowd favorite.
For “Peggy-O,” Yosuke gave the crowd a lesson on when to jump but unfortunately his explanation only served to confuse and ensured that they got it wrong though once the misunderstanding was cleared, the crowd jumped in time with the song. “Into the Void” closed the set, the heaviest track ALSDEAD played thanks to Shin’s skilled guitar work.
- In Bloom
- FLASH BACK
- Fuzz (MUCC cover)
- Into the Void
The running order for the show wasn’t announced to the crowd in advance, but when the vocalist’s familiar voice was heard saying “Let’s begin,” while the third sound-check took place behind the curtain, anticipation levels in the venue rose to an impossibly high level. COPY LOVINSON, a super group, special attraction consisting of members of AYABIE, Fatima, DEADMAN and MUCC amongst others, took to the stage and delivered a set of straight-up rock.
COPY LOVINSON were obviously having a blast on stage, especially vocalist Tatsuro of MUCC, and the simplicity of their set was its main strength. Opener “Do The Flipping” and the second song “Cranberry” flew by rapidly with guitarists aie and hiro providing the backbone of the songs. COPY LOVINSON’s one concession to the more stylized and showy aspect of visual kei came in the guise of keyboard played by Sakamoto, who dressed as a strange superhero and entertained everyone with jingles from Final Fantasy games in the lull before they band played “WEEKENDER.”
“WEEKENDER” was an upbeat and extremely catchy song, characterized by Tatsuro’s big smiles and obvious enjoyment. The band were briefly introduced before the set closed on the song “call me,” a more heartfelt and slower song than the ones that had preceded it. COPY LOVINSON’s set was the shortest of the night, but it was highly impressive.
- Do the Flipping
- call me
Next up were DIV – the first band to score over 100,000 votes to earn their place as the fourth band. “Natsu no Yukue,” their forthcoming single, was the first song of the night to give the crowd an opportunity to wave their towels in the air and they did so with great enthusiasm. DIV’s set and music is tailored well to crowd interaction and the first few rows played along with vocalist CHISA as he led them through the routines. “LOVE IS DEAD” was another example of how DIV easily capture a crowd. Guitarist Shogo and bassist Chou jumped and the crowd followed while CHISA urged them on with cries of “more, more!”
Like the bands before them, DIV also performed a cover and they chose SID’s “Alibi.” The highlight of the song was a fantastic guitar solo from Shogo who was really given the chance to showcase his skills during both this and the following song, “ANSWER.”
Closer “Doku Irodori Geek” was another favorite with the crowd and Chou left the stage to play his bass in the aisle between the stage and the fans, much to the delight of the first few rows. Drummer satoshi held everything together from the back of the stage as the three frontmen ensured that the crowd would remember them with a blistering performance to end their set.
- Natsu no Yukue
- LOVE IS DEAD
- Alibi (SID Cover)
- Doku Irodori Geek
Kameleo took to the stage in an explosion of colorful outfits and the crowd matched them with multicolored blinking rings and bracelets that lit up the dark venue. Vocalist HIKARU was wearing his trademark horns and Kameleo launched into their opening number “Neat Hime.” At the mid-point of “Neat Hime,” the band was joined onstage by a guy with a pizza delivery box containing a plastic pizza who did a quick dance routine before running back offstage again. By this point, the event had been running for several hours and the band helpfully threw several packets of chips to the audience at the end of the song.
Kameleo also continued the tradition of covering a Maverick/DC artist and chose “Kara no Binsen, Sora e no Tegami” by SID. It was an inspired choice as the song and performance were so different from their own material and showed another side to the band that can easily be overlooked due to their wacky outfits and stage antics.
It was back to business as usual for “Magical Drink” as four dancers in pink outfits and afros came onstage and alongside the band and helped the crowd to follow the easy dance routine. Vocals for this song were shared between HIKARU and the two guitarists, Daisuke and Takashi. For set closer “How much?,” HIKARU also shared his vocal duties with drummer Takeshi, who seemed especially eager for a chance at the front of the stage. While Takeshi was singing, HIKARU was drumming and they somehow managed to switch–mid song—twice–without missing a drum beat between them. All in all, Kameleo delivered a highly entertaining set that certainly stood out.
- Neat Hime
- Kiji Communication
- Kara no Binsen, Sora e no Tegami (SID cover)
- Magical Drink
- How much?
As a special attraction for the event, DJ Dainoji played a set that was very warmly received by the crowd. Primarily a duo, consisting of DJ Nobuhiko Ootani and dancer Yousuke Oochi, they also had a couple of extra hands to help with demonstrating dance routines and hold up signs instructing the crowd on what actions to complete.
There were some technical difficulties to begin with as one of the records kept skipping back to the beginning and after three attempts, Ootani gave up and switched to a girugamesh song instead but that didn’t hinder the eagerness of either the audience or the demonstrators-slash-dancers who accompanied the music.
An interesting mix of Western and Japanese rock was played and a large portion of the crowd greeted the set as enthusiastically as they did the bands.
Ranked second and with only 1,500 votes separating them from the to-ranked band, anticipation for Unite was on high. Unite’s set was characterized throughout by some impressive guitar work from Lin and Mio and their harmonies were especially on point during their opening song “Yakusoku.” The heaviest song of the set was “Torikago Kouji Sekimu – TORIKAGO like obligation-” as harmonies were swapped for booming riffs that the crowd eagerly head banged along to.
Vocalist Yui played with the crowd from the first song to the last, leading them in dance routines and finding himself willingly pulled into the first few rows during “world wide wish.” He sang and spoke his way through the songs, covered every inch of the stage and even performed some vocals lying on his back on top of the vocal monitors.
Bassist Hake showed his skills with the strong bass line that underpinned their cover of “BODY’s I LOVE YOU” and Yui gave a heartfelt and thankful MC to lead into Unite’s final song of the night “– U-smeh-” With some parts of the song breaking down to vocals only it was a perfect way to close Unite’s performance.
- Torikago Kouji Sekimu – TORIKAGO like obligation-
- I LOVE YOU (BODY cover)
- world wide wish
- U -smeh-
The band with the most votes and therefore earning top billing were, of course, girugamesh. Vocalist Satoshi followed the rest of the band onstage and asked the crowd if they were ready. The loud and enthusiastic response showed that not only were they ready but that they had been waiting for girugamesh since the event had started. Their twelve song set was a balanced mix of newer and older songs and had the whole crowd bouncing from the opening bars of “Omae ni Sasageru Minikui Koe”–and they never really stopped.
Bassist Shuu opened “driving time” with a fantastic solo and it was his bass alongside Ryo’s tight drumming that kept girugamesh’s set moving at a frantic pace. Shuu and guitarist Nii are fantastic frontmen who ably backed up Satoshi not only with their playing and backing vocals but with their ability to also connect with the crowd as well. For “sunrise” it was time to sing-along and the fans were in fine voice as they sung as loud as they could.
The video for “Zecchou BANG!!” with its mock cheerleading dance routine had been played throughout the night in-between bands and had been a favourite of the crowd so it was no surprise that they reacted with eagerness when Girugamesh played it. Nii led the crowd in copying the dance routine but it was soon back-to-business as girugamesh tore through another song. The last song of their set, “Break Down,” was the perfect end to a performance that was the undoubted highlight of the event.
- Omae ni Sasageru Minikui Koe
- Angry Juice
- driving time
- bit crash
- ULTIMATE 4
- Zecchou BANG!!
- Break Down
DCR ALL STARS
Girugamesh came back onstage and Satoshi explained to the crowd that they would also cover a song of a famous Danger Crue artist, but that they hadn’t decided who and would do so via a lottery draw. He pulled a piece of paper out of the box in his hand and the crowd were excited to hear that the name pulled was MUCC. After a quick band meeting onstage, full of animated pointing and whispering, girugamesh began to play “Ranchuu.”
It was a brave song to choose as it obviously pushed Satoshi’s vocals to his limits, but they delivered a strong performance and just like MUCC, were able to make the entire crowd sit down before getting them to jump to their feet again.
As always during these events, the final song of the night saw all of the vocalists from the other band’s (minus COPY LOVINSON’s Tatsuro) come back onstage to perform together. The song chosen was girugamesh’s own “evolution” and it was organized chaos as each vocalist took lead vocals for a sentence or two. Kameleo’s HIKARU seemed more interested in hitting the front rows and other singers in the head with a plastic hammer than in singing but it was fun end to a fun event.
- Ranchuu (MUCC cover) – Girugamesh
- evolution (Girugamesh cover) – DCR ALL STARS
Danger Crue Records announced at the show that they are taking their J-ROCK EXPLOSION events international this fall with planned shows across East Asia. Hopefully the rest of Asia can enjoy the event and Danger Crue’s fantastic roster of bands as much as the fans in Ebisu Liquid Room did for J-ROCK EXPLOSION 2012 – Kareinaru Gekijou, Splendid Violent Emotion Vol.3-.
There are 15 photos in this visual kei exclusive.