KISS THE WORLD 007 at Shimokitazawa club ReG

Live Report

by Mio Nagasaki, chi.yow, posted November 4, 2013

KISS THE WORLD is the special project of DIE and MAD Ohuchi begun in 2011 with the concept of spreading “positive power.” For the 2013 Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka Tour with five other members bringing their number up to seven, the unit decided to play off of a secret agent theme with the title “007 Kizawa Yori Ai wo Komete” (With love from 007 KISS THE WORLD). In Tokyo on September 27, KISS THE WORLD delivered a musical buffet that touched on influences from jazz, blues, and—most of all—classic rock n’ roll. The fare was bound to amaze, amuse, and inspire all present in the small club space, showing that—in the true spirit of music—there are no creative boundaries or linguistic limits.

The show started with a blue-washed stage where DIE and MAD ‘swam’ around and greeted the crowd while electronic pop streamed before they settled at their respective instruments and smashed into “BREAK FREE.” DIE’s fingers flew across his keyboard as MAD pounded away at the  drums, both belting out the lyrics. On occasion, the drummer would actually stand up while playing to get the crowd to pump their fists to the beat. After this grand opening, DIE took the mic to introduce the unusual nature of the show, telling the audience what great plans the band had in store for them with a brief interruption to backtrack, “Ah, I forgot, welcome everyone!”  He then introduced one of the ‘juniors’ of the band and the only female member: 006 Hinaga Saeko—usually addressed as “Sae-chan.”

YES” was a classy jazzy number that had the audience bobbing and clapping along as Saeko displayed her powerful vocals by hitting a wide range of notes. When she ended the number with a high, spirited laugh, DIE commented, “That was beautiful, wasn’t it?” which was met with a round of approving applause. Next up was “TREASURE CHEST,” a soft and fantastic ballad that had Saeko crooning into her mic with DIE joining in to create a duet. “Sae-chan’s version is not rock n’ roll at all, is it? But it’s still lovely,” MAD said of Saeko’s sometimes delicate vocals before discussing her wavering manner of singing and exaggerating the extremes—much to the amusement of the audience and tolerance of the stylish vocalist. Though member 00—guitarist Oka Hiro—had actually made his appearance during “TREASURE CHEST,” he was only introduced after MAD’s imitation of Sae. “Nice to meet you!” Hiro proclaimed as he held his arms out and made as if to jump into the crowd.

After 007’s introduction, the present members discussed how they had finished recording recently and hoped that everyone would enjoy the new material that they were ready to present that night. “Please listen to ‘SPARKLE.’” This happy and playful number had Saeko showing off a little of her tango dancing skills during the piano and flamenco clapping interlude followed by a burst of drum and keyboard solos. “Hey, more heavy metal, please! No more pop,” MAD requested jokingly when they wrapped up and Saeko left the stage. He turned to the crowd to ask, “Do you want me to sing more?” After an affirmative cheer and a bit of small talk about the weather and the season, the unit rather stiffly segued, “It’s hot, even though it’s not summer anymore, isn’t it? The perfect weather for…” Now, DIE and MAD showed just how spontaneous real rock musicians can be with “ORANGE JUICE.” This fun little session had MAD shouting of his love of the fruit beverage into the mic while DIE wielded a keytar and played back-to-back with Hiro. The two downstage pretended to shoot the audience with their instruments at the finish.

MAD then left the stage momentarily, leaving DIE and Hiro to chat with each other on the spot. “So, this is a two-person band now, eh?” they joked. The two fished around for random topics such as foods they wanted to eat before MAD returned along with the rock show. Technical glitch sorted, the trio were able to continue playing their classic rock with “BRUCE DETOX”—a number full with a variety of entertaining facial expressions. Afterward, DIE accompanied Hiro offstage, the keyboardist returning momentarily with a copy the band’s new CD to show off as he reminisced over the special skit contained in the accompanying DVD.

Next, it was time to welcome member 005, Kimura Seizi, who greeted everyone with an energetic, “Yo! I’m Kimura!” For “HIGH & DRY,” Kimura sang the English lyrics with ease and continued to gracefully express a variety of emotions throughout the next song SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE” as well. This ballad was reminiscent of blues with low lighting adding to a melancholy atmosphere. Apparently, the audience weren’t the only ones impressed with Kimura’s vocal talent as DIE quickly remarked one again, “That was lovely. I really like your voice.”

“So…who’s next? What number comes before 005?” DIE, MAD, and Kimura had a spell of playful forgetfulness before CUTT leaped out from stage right. Member 004 was greeted by a round of cheers. “I am 004, CUTT, HAI!” This little tagline in combination with a military salute continued not only with this particular introduction but throughout the night whenever 004 was present on stage and occasionally even 005 got in on the action. CUTT took some time to explain the concept of the jacket art of the KISS THE WORLD mini album which came from the lyrics he had written at DIE’s request. He explained that he wanted to show his thoughts of a metaphorical comparison of the world to an apple, particularly the paring action which would cut away at the surface in order to reveal something fresh beneath. “ONE NEW WORLD” was particularly impressive with CUTT’s well-thought-out message conveyed not in Japanese but entirely in English and the lyricist sang fluently together with Kimura Seizi in perfect duet style. A duet, that is, until TAKA made a sudden appearance for the last two verses, harmonizing smoothly and then making a swift retreat followed by Kimura.

During the following emcee, DIE seemed to suffer another spell of forgetfulness as he turned to MAD to inquire, “Hey, 003 is CUTT, isn’t it?”

“Nononononono! I’m 004! 003 is TAKA!” CUTT was quick to correct DIE’s mistake, although it took a few tries for him to match the right number to all of the members before CUTT asked, “Is it okay if I sing now?” With DIE’s approval, CUTT savored his alone-time with the two original members, strumming his guitar and singing for “ONE LEAP.”

Yet when the number was over, CUTT’s domination of the stage only deepened. “Okay, it’s time for an intermission!” DIE proclaimed, he and MAD leaving the stage to take a break which left CUTT to try his hand at the keyboard while Kimura returned to take over the drums in a rare display of this versatile pair’s talent. Most impressive was that their song choice was a cover of Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” with Kimura emulating MAD as he sung alternating verses with CUTT while skillfully keeping the beat. After, CUTT  rushed back to his  guitar, remarking that singing and playing the keyboard was regrettably difficult. “But that was enjoyable, right?” he asked, receiving a synchronized “HAI!” from the audience who proceeded to cheer as CUTT announced that he and Kimura would now cover COLDPLAY’s “Viva la Vida.”

Multiple instrumental talents, warm voices, and fluent English to top it all off, CUTT’s shy request to play one more song was enthusiastically enabled by the crowd but as the pair poised to begin, a sudden blackout plunged the venue into confusion.

Then, sporting black body suits covered in blinking Christmas lights, DIE and MAD rushed out onstage to assure them that it was not a malfunction but, rather, “an attraction.” It was a rather whacky performance to the space-techno background music of “SPACE MISSIONARY BOYS” which featured DIE and MAD as twin vocalists, and when the stage briefly lit up in bursts, the crowd were treated first with silly poses and then with a staged kiss before a third madcap alien joined the crew, revealed as the lights flared momentarily to be TAKA in a light-brimmed hat and flashing glasses. DIE and MAD unhesitatingly left the stage to party with the crowd before leading into “FANTASIA,” a heavy rock number with an electronic backing track that had TAKA growling as MAD’s drumming shook the floor.

Next up, the ever-confident 005—aka, Kimura—strutted back onstage to replace TAKA for “SYNCHRONICITY,” creating a sea of hands as convinced the audience to join in by clapping to add to the beat. At last, “RECKLESS” turned the stage into an all-out rock’n’roll party as Saeko and Hiro made their returns to the stage along with TAKA who lead the celebration as CUTT made playful and speedy English introductions of the gathered “agents.” A fitting ending to the main set was the band’s theme of “KISS THE WoRLD.” DIE kicked it off in true rocker style, climbing the lighting supports and speakers closest to him as he shouted the lyrics. Following this dramatic opening, each member took a turn at a solo verse, otherwise leading the crowd in chants of “K-I-S-S.” It was a full performance with fun to be had all around and over far too soon.

Of course, the fun wasn’t over just yet as the crowd chanted for an encore which was granted happily. MAD and DIE reappeared to plug the CD with its entertaining content some more before calling out the rest to re-join them. First to return was TAKA who shared a “secret kiss” behind his hand with an insistent DIE, followed by CUTT who seemed flattered and embarrassed by DIE’s advances. Next out was Kimura, who eagerly dashed over to DIE for a smooch while Saeko pretended outrage then seemed to opt for a kiss with MAD—quickly changing her mind and rejecting both as she took up her mic. Hiro seemed to feel that he should make up for such an abrupt rejection from the sole female member and happily landed DIE a kiss as requested.

Shenanigans had, the band once again thanked the crowd for the encore, seeming pleased to have succeeded in their mission to spread positive energy. “Thank you for life” was the phrase which introduced “GRATEFUL LIFE,” a song expressing the joy of life and love. After the uplifting finish, the members insisted that the audience should take hold of their neighbors’ hands to join in with a final “BANZAI!” to close the show.

It was just the first stop on a fun-filled tour that spread joy and positivity in its wake but the Tokyo performance was notable for the full complement of members including 005, Kimura Seizi, whose activities sadly parted him from the troupe though his spirit remained in the music and album. A hearty ensemble of rock and love—with some impressive English to boot—KISS THE WORLD made a beginning that night to impart their message to all who would listen. Their music even now awaits open ears and open hearts around the world to rally to the cause and most importantly—just have fun.

Set List:

  1. BREAK FREE
  2. YES
  3. TREASURE CHEST
  4. SPARKLE
  5. ORANGE JUICE
  6. BRUCE DETOX
  7. HIGH & DRY
  8. SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
  9. ONE NEW WORLD
  10. ONE LEAP
  11. Don’t Look Back in Anger (OASIS cover)
  12. Viva la Vida (Coldplay cover)
  13. SPACE MISSIONARY BOYS
  14. FANTASIA
  15. SYNCHORNICITY
  16. RECKLESS
  17. KISS THE WORLD

Encore

  1. GRATEFUL LIFE

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

Chi’s interest in visual kei stems from her love of art. The unique aesthetics in combination with the wide range of musical styles within the genre have been what has kept her interest in the visual kei scene for over a decade. The main image her friends and classmates have of her is with a camera in hand, face behind the viewfinder or screen. This image is also occasionally combined with memories of running around her to avoid getting into her panorama shots.

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