Kaya and Satsuki Bring Opulent Rock to London
The much awaited joint tour of two of the visual kei world's more elegant characters kicked off with a warm London welcome as the princessly Kaya joined the princelike Satsuki for an evening of opulent fashion and thumpingly good music.
The much-awaited joint tour of two of the visual kei world’s more elegant characters–Kaya and Satsuki–kicked off with a warm London welcome as the princessly Kaya joined the prince-like Satsuki for an evening of opulent fashion and thumpingly good music. The pair have rather different styles, with Kaya firmly in the dance camp while Satsuki and his band rock out L’Arc style. But the variant inspirations mixed well, and with a crowd who cheered even the roadie lighting Kaya’s candles, you could tell it was going to be a good night.
In the midst of the candles and grand music of gothic atmosphere, fans were going crazy before Kaya even came onstage. Once he did, with a typically flamboyant greeting of “Hiii” the screams grew louder. Kaya stood resplendent in a stunning, intricate gothic lolita dress with delicate layers of material in a deep wine color. Wasting no time, the first number of the evening “Pourrture Noble” began, bathing Kaya in blue lights. His vocals were rich and deep and as he moved. Dancing about the stage, he seduced the audience with his mesmerizing gaze and outstretched arms. It was a set that could only be described as fabulous. He showed off a range of music from the darkly gothic harpsichord strains of “Vampire Requiem,” a song penned with HIZAKI of Versailles, to the bouncy and perky pop of “Chocolate.” Kaya’s enthusiasm shone through energetic dancing and girlish giggles as he spoke to an audience who hung off every word, even when he merely asked them if they were OK.
Following the saccharine “Chocolate,” the pace changed for a gentle ballad, “Last Snow.” Kaya’s voice became huskier, more lounge-like, and perfectly fit the music which, with the inclusion of a saxophone, incorporated a tad of ’80s cheese. These thoughts remained as Kaya left the stage for a costume change, with the space filled by “Silvery Dark Remix.”
Kaya reappeared twirling a traditional Japanese parasol, walking reverently as he did so. The stunning wa-loli costume and parasol became the centerpieces of “Ouka,” a song inspired by traditional Japanese melodies. Matching the grace of the music, Kaya himself grew slower, moving with a sense of elegance as if he were wearing a full kimono.
“Dress change, yay!” he said afterwards with a smile. The audience heckled back with cries of “cute!” It was at this point that a fan offered him a signed British flag, although Kaya confessed he was at a bit of a loss on what to do with the flag at first, choosing to drape it over the drum set near the back. He got very close to the fans, leaning out to embrace some of the front row. It was an interaction he continued throughout the remainder of the set, as he got a bit of participation going to the energetic punching beat of “Kasha -shining flowers-.”
Finally, Kaya announced his last, “Transmigration,” a resoundingly poppy song that even at times felt a bit Eurobeat. The audience bounced about until the end, singing along at Kaya’s request and clapping. He left them smiling and brimming with energy in anticipation of Satsuki’s set.
While Kaya’s set was undoubtedly fun, and he can hold his own on stage, there was a certain energy lacking that really made the gig fizz. Luckily, Satsuki provided, and the addition of a full band was certainly a welcome change to the dynamics. It encouraged a real party atmosphere, particularly for the final session act.
- Pourrture noble
- Vampire Requiem
- Last Snow
- BGM (Silvery Dark Remix)
- Kasha -shaining flowers-
Accompanied by a band filled with relentless smiles and energy, Satsuki’s set kicked off with a bang: “ROMANCE.” and the rush of visual rock sounds breathed new life into the crowd. They were so receptive it took Satsuki only two songs before asking for their participation.
“I want you to practice the chorus of my next song, ‘INNOCENT,’ with the words ‘My Innocent Love For You,’” he said. The obedient and mildly star struck crowd repeated the song title without missing a beat. “Ah! Good pronunciation!” joked Satsuki. The song captured an old school visual kei feel and bore more than a little resemblance to the songs of Satsuki’s previous band, Rentrer en Soi.
It felt like a proper visual kei gig, with cute furitsuke one moment to heavy headbanging the next. The two guitarists onstage with Satsuki were not merely there to do a functional job and the bassist in particular got involved, whipping the atmosphere up with encouraging screams. Watching the smiles between band and audience, it was obvious each were having as much fun as the other. Satsuki made a real effort during his emcees to speak entirely in English. The guitarist, meanwhile, couldn’t resist a joke, telling the audience “I am Pen” when Satsuki offered him the mic. The statement brought to mind the ongoing “I am Pencil” Twitter meme bantered about by English-mocking bandmen.
Among such frivolity however, Satsuki was still keen to show his serious side, as he did with three stunning songs. The first, a new song, had a sense of the epic about it while “Veil of Maria” was restrained as a gentle African drumbeat and the low hum of the bass provided a stripped down accompaniment to Satsuki’s achingly beautiful vocals. He showed how deft a singer he was, reaching haunting falsetto notes that held the room under their spell. A few tears could be seen glimmering in some of the fans’ eyes.
It was a mood that continued into “Ryuushi,” a piece with an ethereal 9Goatsblackout feel, all trippy drums and mesmeric bass line. Satsuki stood in measured concentration as he sang to a melody that restrained at first, then swelled into a sudden burst of energy before crashing back with the sounds of rushing water to dissolve into the toll of a church bell at the end.
The grip of silence was so strong that it took a while for fans to respond to the sudden change of pace as the band asked them to “get crazy” for the last three songs, which started with “PRAY FOR THE SUN.” The magical, dark atmosphere had been replaced by a party one. The band jumped about the stage energetically, and the bassist even gave the cameras a cheeky peace sign. The air was increasingly battered by fists as the shouting became louder and the jumping more intense. Satsuki and his band were determined to give a great finale to their set and they delivered, so much so that after they had gone, the audience were too excited chattering to each other to shout for an encore.
The lack of encore shouts had not been missed by Satsuki, who came out again to say, “Thank you for the encore… Oh, there was no encore,” at which point he promptly got the fans to make up for the lost encore-shouts. Once the band were satisfied, the audience were asked to call out Kaya, who returned in a third costume; a white dress and veil that only Kaya could pull off with such elegance.
The two covered each other’s songs, with Kaya and Satsuki repeating “ROMANCE” together before ending on Kaya’s song, “glitter arch.” “ROMANCE” appeared barely changed but “glitter arch” took on a wonderful old visual kei ambience through the addition of guitars instead of synths. The two artists looked to be having a ball as they sang and danced together with arms around each other.
Sadly though, the night had to come to an end, and with the adulation of London fans still ringing in their ears, Kaya and Satsuki left the stage after a memorable evening of some very fine visual kei.
- STRAWBERRY SUMMER
- Veil of MARIA
- PRAY FOR THE SUN
- glitter arch
There are 24 photos in this visual kei exclusive.