Kamyu no Hidarite, Kafuka no Migite, Ensoku Oneman at Shibuya O-West
Ensoku’ oneman show at Shibuya O-West on March 11 was entitled “Kamyu no Hidarite, Kafuka no Migite” after their two-disc mini album. It was nearly three hours of unique and colorful craziness.
Ensoku certainly know how to make an entrance. Singer Buu was riding a scooter with a horse’s head mask on the handlebars. Guitarist IKA, wearing a full body gold catsuit that completely covered his face and a glittering gold mass of tentacles on his back was lying on a box, with bass player and monkey Mido sat upon his back.
The live started with a video from the famous Shibuya crossing that dominated the back of the stage. Four shady characters were seen walking through the streets of Shibuya–a Gyuaru girl who couldn’t stay on her feet, a guy wearing no pants in a child’s playground and being chased by the police, a hip-hop wannabe strutting through the streets, and a young guy harassing a maid and being slapped for his trouble. The four characters met up, and then cut to the five members of the band.
The opening track, “Tottemo Makkenro,” began with a burst of streamers and had the crowd jumping from the first note. So much of Ensoku’s repertoire is based on funky bass lines and guitars that can both uplift and energize, and never was that more evident than in their choice of opener.The video wall came into play for “Antenna Man” to display the complicated dance routine for any fans who didn’t already know it. Buu was dressed in traditional Japanese clothes, down to his black tabi boots and drummer Minoru was clad in all white with a painted face and hatthat covered his features. He sang into a retro style microphone, but also had a floppy eared hoodie that he lost several times throughout the show while jumping around.
The first of many balloon showers fell upon the crowd for “Ai no ryuusei,” but they seemed more interested in the song than in playing with balloons. Most of Ensoku’s songs have a playful element to them, and that was definitely on display for “Bokura no hakobune.” Mido, with his red, furry monkey outfit complete with very short shorts and cut away holes, provided backing vocals and teased the crowd with false continuances of the song a game which the crowd enjoyed. Buu narrated a chance meeting between Mido and Kuraosu Yusuke, looking striking in a floor length forest green skirt and bodice style top, and the pair eagerly acted out their shock at seeing each other and the friendly hug that followed. After “Daitai Malcom” was a lovely little number that starts out slower with a deep bass groove before kicking into a higher gear and becoming the heaviest songuntil the next track, “Ore ikuraka keikaku.” The first row of the crowd was, mainly wearing the sailor style school uniforms, climbed the flimsy barricades so that they could head bang as fiercely as they wanted and the rows behind smashed into them like drunken frat boys in a fight.
Ensoku left the stage briefly and when they returned, Minoru was dressed in a pretty silver Lolita dress and pink wig, ready to lead them into the sunny “Hello God Morning.” The band left again and Minoru returned on his own. He explained that he’d been in the band for a few years now and throughout that time he’s always hidden his face and his hair. Not any longer! Much to the crowd’s amazement and excitement, he removed his wig to show his bald and painted white head. When the band came back onstage, they acted just as surprised at his baldness.
Before launching into “Koutetuno MACHIKO,” Buu taught the crowd the spelling of Machiko, in Roman letters, and how to form the letters with their hands and body for the Ensoku version of YMCA. Aside from seeing the crowd try to keep up with Buu’s quick movements, the highlight of the song was a lovely solo from Kuraosu.
The video wall displayed the title “Saru Kani Gassen” and it was time for Ensoku to perform their own version of the old folktale, the Monkey Crab Battle. Mido was the monkey and IKA wore a picture of a crab. The Ensoku version consisted of Mido enthusiastically hitting IKA around the head with an apple, until Minoru answered the crab’s calls for help and defeated the evil monkey via the power of interpretive dance, the crab thus prevailing unlike the original revenge story.
For “Ranbo-,” Mido swapped his apple for a limbo bar and he and Buu spent the first part of the song dancing around with the stick and yelling “limbo!” The bass wasn’t missed during this time as Kuraosu and IKA were able to combine their skills to deliver some riffs that were as funky as any bass line could be. “Oniku” brought back the towel waving and more strong solos from Kuraosu.
Throughout the show, Kuraosu had performed with a cucumber attached to a stand next to his mic and for “Sishamo kyuuri,” the cucumber was the star of the show. He danced with it and teased the front row, all of the fans remarkably scared of one little phallic shaped vegetable.
“Senritsu!! Akuma no hizi ban ningyou” is another of Ensoku’s heavier tracks. Buu, Mido and Kuraosu all growled into their microphones as the crowd headbanged and elbow-thrust their way through the song. All the elbow-thrusting became too painful for Buu, and he led the band in a Pokemon-style battle where each member displayed their key attack. It was an entertaining interlude before they finished the song.
For both “Blue Hearts” and “Hibi,uchuuiro” the song lyrics displayed on screen to support the crowd in singing along. In “Hibi,uchuuiro” both Kurasou and Mido took lead vocals for a verse as they sang about their daily routine. The dance routine for “Hanabi” was very fitting as Buu led the crowd into imitating fireworks, complete with appropriate noises. Again, it was Kurasou and Mido who took lead vocals, giving Buu a much deserved rest.
“Igatora” and “Hataraku norimono ou” were both good exercise for the crowd. For the latter of those songs, Buu had a whistle and directed both the crowd and rest of the band in running from side to side. It was telling that despite all of the fun, games and distraction tactics that Ensoku lace their shows with, they were still able to keep everything tightly together on stage, no matter how fast they ran or how many twirls they executed.
For crowd favourite “TDL” (short for Tokyo Disneyland) more balloons were thrown into the crowd alongside two larger inflatable balls that the crowd failed at controlling. The band seemed to spend more time kicking the balls back at the fans than they did playing the song. Even Minoru had to take a pause from his drumming in order to beat one away from his head.
Due to the obvious musical contrast with the rest of Ensoku’s set, the sweet song, “Butter Roll Train,” was a decided highlight of the live. The crowd alternated between making heart shapes with their hands and holding hands and the next song, “Tanagokoro jou no machi” gave them another chance to sing along.
For the encore, Ensoku began with “Youkaijiji-note-ma,” a song about monsters. Cue plenty of sneaking around with hands held out like claws and the band all pretending to be monsters. Each member was given a short time to shine, as Kuraosu, Mido, IKA and Minoru all had short solos to showcase their skills. It’s easy to forget when faced with such creative craziness that underneath it all, Ensoku are a very competent band.
“Tsuki” and “Okinawa” followed and both songs were clear fan favorites. The heavy guitar lines of ““Tsuki” had the front row climbing the barricades again so that they could headbang, and the fun of “Okinawa” soon become a running battle between band and fans as they tried to shoot each other in a manner akin to a live action Dragonball Z show.
The audience were showered with hundreds of multi-colored balloons for “Highway Star Love” as the live drew to a close. It was a good choice to end the show, as Minoru’s rapid drum line, the contagious shouts of “hey!” and the energetic air punching ensured that every fan in attendance gave it their all. The song finished, Ensoku took their well-deserved applause and left a smile on everyone’s faces.
The video wall showed a brief making of the introduction video, including the multiple takes of the maid slapping the man harassing her. A simple message of thanks was displayed on the screen, and then Ensoku took the opportunity to advertise their next mini-album due for release on May 23, and their next concert at Tokyo Dome. We suspect that the Tokyo Dome show may not happen, but it was only fitting that Ensoku finish their oneman show with a joke and a dream.
- Tottemo Makkenro
- Antenna Man
- Ai no ryuusei
- Bokura no hakobune
- Daitai Malcom
- Ore ikuraka keikaku
- Hello God Morning
- Koutetuno MACHIKO
- Sishamo kyuuri
- Senritsu!! Akuma no hizi ban ningyou
- Blue Hearts
- Hataraku norimono ou
- Butter Roll Train
- Tanagokoro jou no machi
- Highway Star Love
There are 36 photos in this visual kei exclusive.