LEGEND OF LADIES ROOM STILL ALIVE

Live Report

by Chika Yoshizawa, Mio Nagasaki, posted January 13, 2014

LADIES ROOM disbanded in 1996, leaving behind a rock legend that had been building for nearly a decade since the band’s formation in 1987. It was proven that their legend was indeed still alive with their skillful performance at Ikebukuro EDGE on November 10 which was also guitarist NAO’s birthday.

Birthday boy NAO—dressed in a formal style of a white shirt, black bow tie, and topping it off with a black hat—suddenly came onstage and began playing his guitar. He created an echoing medley of sounds through quick movements and various skillful techniques that were threaded together to craft a masterful solo. The melody changed to NAO’s arrangement of “Kimigayo” (the Japanese national anthem) before support drummer HIMAWARI and bassist George appeared. Lastly, the vocalist Hyaku made his grand appearance. A new song struck up with a rhythmical intro by drum and bass. A turbaned George put a cigarette into his mouth, showing some wildness. Meanwhile, Hyaku smiled happily in the final chords of the song after having displayed his unusual, husky vocals.

During “Harem Cat,” which is packed with rock soul, the crowd responded passionately to the members’ lead, shouting and raising their fists. George plucked powerfully at the strings of his instrument, swirling his long hair and NAO tactfully played his next solo while Hyaku put his soul into the vocals, singing with closed eyes. “Hot Lady” began with busy guitar and Hyaku belted out the melody mixed with shouts as he stuck a gestured gun to his head. A theme of violence stood out throughout the song.

“Have fun today, since it is our first oneman in a while! It’s NAO’s birthday and you’ve received a present from him too, right? I mean his guitar solo.” The crowd was overjoyed by Hyaku’s teasing words and continued to enjoy as an intimidating bass line picked up to announce “Damage.” A heavier rhythm was woven by the bass and drums to which the crowd naturally swayed their bodies. Hyaku, impressively, sang the high tones of the melody with no difficulty. Then, the mysterious “Jigoku made Drive” struck up, accompanied by red and blue fantastical lighting. The lyrics, “I will drive to the hell with you,” echoed again and again.

The vocalist fired the crowd up provocatively in “Little Red Corvette” and HIMAWARI performed a long drum solo in proceeding to the next song. He threw and caught his drumsticks many times after beating the instrument coolly, and there was a crashing of cymbals while he rotated a stick as, the sound gathered intensity. With this aural backdrop, George started the count for “DUST AND BONES.” Now holding an acoustic guitar, Hyaku left the vocals to George, the vocalist playing along gently on guitar. In contrast to the previous songs, this one led by the bassist gave the audience something a little softer to enjoy. In “FRANCE”—which had its own sweetness— sharp electric guitar from NAO beautifully overlapped Hyaku’s acoustic guitar.

The ballad “Light Of Your Eyes” followed, presented in white and blue lights, and as the vocalist sang, he clearly focused on infusing the gentleness and strength of the number into its performance. The fans swayed along to the feelings incited by the sweet love song. The next nostalgic ballad, “Wonderful Tonight,began with only vocals and a soft guitar accompaniment but gained heaviness after all the instruments joined in. The soulful cries elicited by the vocalist resounded throughout the venue.

Hyaku proceeded to devote all of his energy to the up-tempo “Wild One” after the smooth ballad section. George played with the fans, showing his childishness while swaying his hips provocatively. Soon, he had the whole crowd excitedly enticed and Hyaku laughed and joined in with the playful festivities by sticking up both middle fingers. The bassist approached the guitarist in “Round And Round” and almost kissed him on the lips proper but they escaped one another with a teasing laugh. The following “Control” was a return to LADIES ROOM’s orthodox rock with guitar riffs characterizing the song and Hyaku singing happily.

Trying to leave the emcee to George, Hyaku asked, “Hey George, don’t you have anything interesting to talk about?” George tried to reply with “My mom…” but Hyaku quickly intervened: “It’s too early to talk about your mom.”

George followed by saying, “I forgot what I wanted to say because Hyaku interrupted! Hey NAO, don’t you have anything interesting to talk about? You’re 48, right? You have a birthday cake, don’t you?”

NAO was not to be outdone by George in his answer. “Stop, George. Don’t thrust your face in the cake!” Even though there was no cake at the time, NAO intentionally egged the bassist on with reverse psychology.

Hyaku returned to the talk then, musing, “48… You were 46 when I met you recently.”

George added, “Where has your memory been for the last two years?”

As a chorus of laughter arose, Hyaku changed the subject: “I recently went to a convenience store to buy some beer and the shop keeper asked me, ‘aren’t you a student?’” Booing followed this confession from the disbelieving crowd.

“It’s true!” he pressed, tying the assertion into the following riles.

Clock Strikes Ten” was markedly catchier compared to other songs in the set, seeming more popular still because of its fame among the fans. The depth offered by the bass was noticeable in the medium-tempo “Get Lost” due to the simplicity of the composition. Then, Hyaku sang powerfully with a frown of concentration and seriousness for “Ready To Kiss” which was triggered by the count of the cymbals.

“Today is too much fun. I’m running around in emotional circles. Please respond to me more. I’m so glad to meet you all today,” George said politely, although he ended the talk with “You should die!” He riled the fans up and they responded wholeheartedly. The sexy number “Dance!! In The Bag” followed, starting with some heavy bass and purple lighting that added further sensuousness. Conversely, dazzlingly colorful strobes helped make the classic rock tune “Maniac Love” even more vigorous in its presentation.

The members had fun with the audience response to “Shoot It” with George putting the pressure on his right arm to powerfully down-pick. The crowd jumped around to “Night To Night” and the passionate guitar heated everyone up in “Rocking House.” The last song, “Get Down,” came next, and the crowd was maddened by the sheer speed of the number.

The member who first appeared in response to the passionate encore call was Hyaku. He played a small solo with his acoustic guitar for the sweet ballad “LITTLE PEACE OF HEAVEN.” His husky vocals contrasted well with the gentle instrument. The other members filtered back to the stage for the next song before which Hyaku said straightforwardly to NAO, “Happy birthday, NAO.” He then covered his embarrassment with, “It’s annoying to celebrate every year so shall we celebrate his 49th birthday as well?” “SO MANY, SO SWEET” was an easy listen, the catchy song a simple moment of enjoyment among the set.

A birthday cake was brought to the stage but Hyaku teasingly blew out the candles instead of NAO and, in a continuation of the previous emcee, they discussed who would thrust his face in the cake. Though this honor is usually reserved for the birthday boy, it was decided that George would be the one and he prepared by pulling the candles from the cake one by one and eating a strawberry. He then shoved his face into the cake with no hesitation. In the excited moment, “SWAPPING PARTY” began with flair. The fans each held a bundle of party crackers in both hands, setting them off at every interval of the song as the band counted up until they were all gone. It was exactly what one would call a crazy party and George’s spontaneously bared backside would have been right at home in a raging frat house.

The members and fans enjoyed the last moments of the show together in a mutual outpouring of love, singing along and dancing wildly to “SEX SEX SEX” for the impromptu double encore. At the last, Hyaku made the crowd laugh with a confession of, “I think I might love you guys!”

If not “maturity,” LADIES ROOM did show off their mature technique and sound, passionately performing the rock music their souls have been invested in. The freedom infused into their show paired with the intensity of the performance give LADIES ROOM a unique charm that no other band could replicate.

Set list

  1. Untitled
  2. Harem Cat
  3. Hot Lady
  4. Damage
  5. Jigoku made Drive
  6. Little Red Corvette
  7. Drum Solo
  8. DUST AND BONES
  9. FRANCE
  10. Light Of Your Eyes
  11. Wonderful Tonight
  12. Wild One
  13. Round And Round
  14. Control
  15. ‘Clock Strikes Ten
  16. Get Lost
  17. Ready To Kiss
  18. Bass Solo
  19. Dance!! In The Bag
  20. Bass Solo
  21. Maniac Love
  22. Shoot It
  23. Night To Night
  24. Rocking House
  25. Get Down

Encore1

  1. LITTLE PEACE OF HEAVEN
  2. SO MANY, SO SWEET
  3. SWAPPING PARTY

Encore2

  1. SEX SEX SEX

 

VK Exclusive

There are 45 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Chika has been interested in visual kei music since VK bands first began holding free lives the Hokoten area in Harajuku. She was too young to go watch them back then in the early 90s, but the scenes on TV caught her eye. Since then, she has loved the passion of VK music and, of course, music in general. She majored in English literature in Japan and learned to speak English in the UK. After graduating from university, she has worked for both American and Japanese companies in IT and as a translator and continues various translations today.

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

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Your Comments

  1. RENAN

    Thank you Chika for the great post. Ladies Room is a hell of a band, I love their music. It’s such a shame we can’t find much of them on the internet (at least out of Japan).

    • Chika Yoshizawa

      I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed the artile! We will keep writing for the band, so please look forward to the next report.