LM.C’s Strong Pop Rocks the UK
LM.C’s London appearance at the Relentless Garage on 23 May was greeted by a crowd of pink in brightly colored t-shirts, jewellery, and neon shocks of neatly fixed hair; it was a show of color to rival a band known for their twisted, candy pop world.
The evening opened with vibrancy as the skull-headed video jockey, Denki-Man danced on to a pulsating beat and roused a jubilant crowd before Aiji and Maya took to the stage. Opening on “Be STRONG, Be POP,” they set the tone for the evening: frenetic, heavy pop-rock with unstoppable energy. Maya knew how to work his audience, gesturing to them throughout with arms wide open. It was a playfulness that echoed the music as the bass-heavy fun beat of “Bell the Cat” got the vocalist sauntering about and blowing kisses at the fans. The audience responded with great enthusiasm, urged to sing along by the band early on, and jumped ceaselessly despite the heat . The first of these was to “Goak-On-SOUL,” a song with a circus melody for which, given the bright colors and dazzling glitter backdrop, the skull-headed Denki-Man was ever so apt. The piece varied from heavy rock to creepier waltz notes in a bridge that roared through a flash of lights to a crashing end. It was the perfect time for a break and a round of introductions.
It’s hot! It’s hot!” Maya shouted before adding, “Thank you, London.” In a sudden change of subject, Maya chose to introduce the next song with a playful question: “Where’s my Juliet?” A host of hands shot up to accompany the screams. “Nobody?” Maya teased “Where’s my Juliet? Juliet!! Would you be my Juliet?” The cheers grew louder as the band began to play the anthemic “Oh My Juliet” and a flurry of headbanging broke out, both on and offstage as the bassist joined in emphatically. After a short chant song, the gig grew heavier in character with the blistering drums and electronics of “COMBATmode” and the metal, “Metally.” It felt decidedly retro as Maya’s rapping remained very early ’90s while the shouts in the chorus recalled the 1980s. Denki-Man led the room in punching the air, his strong, violent movements punctuating in time with the drums.
“Are you enjoying it? Let’s dance,” Maya called out before “FUNNY PHANTOM.” The unusual synth sound became a firmer rock song, suited to large arenas. The fact that small Relentless Garage had no fancy gadgets did not stop LM.C, as Denki-Man produced two green laser guns which he used to create a dazzling light show of laser cages around Maya as he danced. Denki-Man did not falter once, leading the crowd in a call and response of ‘woooo’ before Aiji’s talents then came to the fore with a noisy guitar solo during “SUPER DUPER GALAXY” with the distortion ramped up to the max.
“Is it fun?” Maya asked teasingly again during his next short emcee. He decided he would ask the fans to guess at the next song and as ever, the fans didn’t disappoint with a girl in the front row shouting “88!” into Maya’s mic. Cheers rippled through the crowd and a few Japanese fans who had come prepared joined Denki-Man in waving bright blue glow-sticks along to the beat.
After so much energy, the introduction of the ballad “Nanimo Hajimaranakatta Ichinichi no Owari ni” was something of a relief. The piece opened with a stark wail from Aiji’s guitar that soared with a j-pop meets Celt feel. The vocals at times were a little disingenuous for the ballad sound, not that the fans paid any mind as they swayed along to the music.
“Are you ok? We’re not ok,” Maya said sadly after it finished. “It’s too hot. But,” he began more brightly, “the next song will bring you love. Ai, yeah. Aishiteiru.” Despite the title, “LOVE SONG” was a thumping piece of dance-rock from the open with a repeated refrain of ‘Love Love’ that got the whole room chanting along. It kicked off a series of final headbangers, songs full of attitude and swagger that gave the set a party atmosphere. Some fans began a bit of a mosh in “LET ME CRAZY!!” before the evening closed with a chorus to the tune of “We Will Rock You!” opening “Hoshi no Arika.” Crowd and band jumped in time with each other, creating a real sense of unity within the livehouse.
The band returned shortly. Maya marvelled at the audience’s endless strength as he retook the mic. “It’s hot! How are you guys so strong? We are dead!” There was much amusement and cheering at this and despite Maya’s assertions otherwise, the band certainly did not appear very dead as they delivered an explosive encore of much loved songs. Again, Maya asked the audience to guess the song and again the fans were spot on with “Punky Heart.” The interaction and games added to the spirit of the energetic pop-rock. Being the encore, the band began to let loose. The bassist and Aiji swapped sides while Denki-Man danced about wearing giant Mickey Mouse gloves. It was hard to hear the singalong above the beautiful tone of Aiji’s guitar but it was difficult to fault the enthusiasm.
“BOYS & GIRLS” followed. “Hey, Boys!” Maya shouted. A few girls responded. He stopped short. “You’re not a boy!” Maya pointed out, “Just a girl.” When he shouted, “Hey Girls!” though, the scream bordered on deafening. Once more, the audience were in a frenzy to the sharp punk-pop, even the surreal dip into Pachabel’s “Canon in D” midway through, rather than detracting from the atmosphere, somehow added to it.
Finally though, Maya had to announce the last song and as expected, his yell of “Rock, ‘Rock the LM.C’” almost brought the roof down with the band’s most famous number. The whole place went crazy, rocking out and showing the LM.C some true London love. In typical Brit-gig style, Maya ended the night draped in a UK flag as LM.C flags waved behind him, a triumphant finale to an exhilarating and colorful night of music.
- Be STRONG, Be POP.
- Ah Hah!
- BABY TALK
- Bell the Cat
- GHOST HEART
- OH MY JULIET
- We are LM.C!! -The Anthem of Strong Pop-
- FUNNY PHANTOM
- SUPER DUPER GALAXY
- GAME of LIFE
- Nanimo Hajimaranakatta Ichinichi no Owari ni
- The LOVE SONG
- LET ME CRAZY!!
- Hoshi no Arika
- PUNKY HEART
- BOYS & GIRLS
- ☆Rock the LM.C☆
There are 16 photos in this visual kei exclusive.