LOST ASH Second Oneman “DEAD or ALIVE”
Tucked away in a little backstreet in Shibuya is the club/livehouse, Womb. The place is not easy to find, and certainly looks like nothing special from the outside, but you won’t believe the interior. The illusion of size makes it like stepping into another world. However, LOST ASH’s May 21 performance would have been appropriate for a hall quadruple the size or outdoor amphitheatre. The only letdown was the slightly unbalanced sound system of the venue, which favored drums and bass.
The show began with a screen above the stage introducing the members one by one in an exciting slideshow. Then, under green lasers, drummer Dye climbed up and over his kit, turning the action into a display for the fans. Out came bassist Sai, guitarist Show and vocalist Daiki, who gathered about the drum-kit in a tight line.
A huge sound issued from the drums with the commencement of the opening number, “Bright.” Both band and crowd threw their bodies forward to the heavy, lagging beat, Daiki’s voice soaring overhead in contrast. With a note climbing high above the music, the song lived up to its title at last and the melody brimmed with positivity. After that initial eyeopener, “innerCORE” well acquainted newcomers with the charisma and energy the band exudes. Daiki’s expressive face spoke volumes and his alternative movement of squatting while the crowd flung themselves in half at the waist made for an interesting spectacle. A black light bathed the band in neon, color breaking out along with a flurry of jumping bodies to the digital music. The club-like lighting and cool atmosphere of “Burst My Emotion” met their match in Daiki’s sexy movement atop the podium in response to the enticing verse melody.
“We are… LOST ASH!” yelled Daiki. The crowd responded with a proud cry, never a beat behind in retuning the vocalist’s enthusiasm. “Thank you for coming today. Now let’s enjoy ourselves to the fullest until the very last moment!” Daiki continued the set with “ID.” A digital overlay darkened the vocal style while Show’s and Sai’s shouts punched through the haze. Then, asking, “You ready?” Daiki broke out his own death-voice, dragging the whole crowd forward to pile on top of each other in sync with the rhythm. The dramatic opening of “Disappear” and the following tense verse rose into a gorgeous note on Daiki’s behalf, the repeated instances leading into a gentle chorus that was the highlight of the number.
Sweaty and puffing, the crowd yelled loudly into the blackout after the end of the song “FLARE.” They soon fell quiet when the faint notes of a keyboard trickled out of the silence of the stage. As the lights rose, Dye was revealed on the keys. The melody was not without a few bad chords, but the intensity of the performance washed away momentary missteps. Then, the drummer arched back, reaching out to toggle a button that started a funky beat. Out came Sai and Show, bass and guitar jamming away and slamming out respective solos as Dye rocked the air drums before returning to his keyboard for a jazzy addition to the session. The music shifted into the epic tones of a movie soundtrack and Dye whipped out a pair of silly, big red sunnies. They barely stayed on as he attacked the drums.
During the opening strains of “Seize your mind,” Daiki popped up onto the stage in time to belt out the catchy melody. For the most part, though, it was the following cover of “ENDLESS LOVE” that drove the venue to a new frenzy. The poignant melody floated out of the darkness in Daiki’s rich tones and the crowd looked on in wonder, arms spread wide in a show of appreciation for the live rendition of the cover song. The following ballad, “everlast,” was a lovely continuation, the touching music augmented by hundreds of specks of light of varying sizes from the collection of mirror balls hanging overhead. The performance was absolutely beautiful, Daiki’s smooth voice at last done justice in proper balance with the instruments. “This song, “everlast,” means a good deal to us, so please treasure it,” Daiki murmured at the number’s completion. He then went on to introduce another special piece written for the sake of solace in hard times. “Please listen to ‘starlight.’” Although the number was almost twice the pace of “everlast,” the view was quite spectacular. Each of the fans held up a huge yellow glow-stick, turning the floor itself into a field of bright stars, lighting up hundreds of enamored faces. “Tokyo,” crooned Daiki. “Are you heating up?” he asked. Faster still, the most recent single, “overHORIZON,” blew away the magical air and replaced it with excitement and energy once more. The memorable refrain had bodies heated for sure as the fans bounced away with grins to spare. The music itself dug into the blood stream, both crowd and band marking out the beats in their movement throughout.
“Are you having fun?” Daiki asked repetitively, winding up each section of the floor time and again until they were all yelling without reservation. “Oneman’s… They’re quite rare for us, so this is a thrilling experience,” Daiki explained solemnly, greeted with applause. “We’re going at it with everything! So you guys better put your all into it!” “SOUL OF LIBERTY” upped the pace, racing along. The hip-hop interlude had both vocalist and crowd getting their groove on, ‘gangsta’ hands boppin’ in da e-ya before rolling out a volley of shouts to bring down the roof. “ACCELERATE,” churned the air as towels flew, abandoned only for serious head-banging. Meanwhile, Daiki clung flat to the podium, down on his knees while the crowd went wild, moshing and thrashing heads. With a cry of “’brave!’” the final number began with a call and response that all but shook the walls. Sai jumped up on the podium for his shining moment, singing along emphatically even after he returned to his own territory. All heads whipped into the music with relish, the guitars bent over their instruments while Dye yelled into his drum-side mic. “Yeah!” Daiki cried ecstatically. “LOST!” he called. “ASH!” responded the crowd. After ten repetitions of the shout, Daiki screamed with unmistakeable pride, “We are… LOST ASH!”
With a final jump on the last cymbal crash, Daiki took his leave, a finger thrust high in the air. Looking frazzled but no less delighted, Dye climbed out over his kit to make off with Show and Sai and the crowd began the time-tested Japanese encore chant of “en-co-re.” Dye wasn’t having it, though. He ran out onstage, saying “No, no, no, no!” and in English, started a chant of “One more song! One more song!” which the crowd picked up to his satisfaction and yelled with all the air in their lungs until a video began to roll documenting LOST ASH’s promotional project towards a first album release. Following the March 11 earthquake, the project came to an uncertain halt, but soon zoomed on again with the desire to express the band’s hopes and wishes to more and more people. The goal was to reach out to 12,000 people and receive their signatures on a petition for the album release.
With a “yay” from Dye, the band returned to the stage. “Thanks for the encore,” Daiki greeted the crowd-then corrected himself. “Thanks for the ‘One more song.’” He paused a moment. “Wow, this has gone really fast. I have some announcements! First… Sold out! This happened last Sunday and we were pleasantly surprised. Thank you! We hope that our voices will reach many more people… VTR start!” Once more, the video played, stating ‘First album release, 12,000 goal. March: 3,683. April: 6,318. And May 21…’ The numbers spun down in backwards order. ‘8. 8. 4. 5. 1: 15, 488!’ Overjoyed, the crowd loudly made their excitement known. “Which means…” Daiki began. “Success! Thank you!”
“These lyrics were written over and over again and now today I want to play this song for everyone’s… No. For our sake. “REALIZE.”” With such a heartfelt intro, the performance could be nothing but passionate, towels and shimmering multicolored lights filling the air. Show’s guitar solo was a sight to see, the guitarist pouring his heart into every note. With the lyrics, “Towards tomorrow,” Daiki raised a fist into the air, bringing the piece to an end. “Thank you,” he said. The crowd applauded. “Thank you for helping us reach our goal. When we started this DEAD or ALIVE project, we had no idea there would be so many problems, but March and April passed, and here you all are with us.” Daiki talked of his confidence in their songs and his wish for countless people to hear the coming album. Then, the screen lit up once more, announcing 2 consecutive digital single releases in August and September as well as corresponding events held by LOST ASH at Takadanobaba Area. “Please, listen to our music and come and see us again. Now… Do you mind if we go on?” Daiki joked. “”superNOVA.””
The final song of the night whipped up with a flurry of melody and motion.The memorable tune complete with harsh rap wound the night up with just enough satisfaction to send the crowd home happy yet keep them longing for the next performance. The repetitive shouts of “LOST!” “ASH!” resulted in “We’re… We’re ALL LOST ASH!” That last, Daiki growled before profusely thanking the audience. Finally, his inexhaustible energy waned and he lay down on the platform with a euphoric expression, causing Show to prod him awake. After his recovery, the four joined hands. With a yell of “15,000 Thank you!” the band bowed in gratitude. Jokes and laughter ensued, Daiki finally tossing his water bottle backwards over his head and crying “Since I went out of my way and joined a band… you’d damn well better follow us!”
Despite that clincher, the crowd persisted in a shout for “One more song!” and succeeded in drawing Dye out one last time for a quick word before the night came to a close for real.
- Burst My Emotion
- Seize you mind
- ENDLESS LOVE (cover)
- SOUL OF LIBERTY