Mix Speaker’s, Inc.’s Halloween Party at Shibuya O-EAST

Live Report

by Laura Cooper, chi.yow, posted December 7, 2013

Well-known in the visual kei realm for their incredibly detailed and sometimes grand-scale costumes accompanied by an ongoing saga, it would seem only natural that Mix Speaker’s, Inc.  contribute to the Halloween holiday festivities. For this particular event, titled Halloween Party!! ~Pumpkins of Pandemonium~, the band invited members from six different bands to guest as alternate versions of Mix. The guests joined  Mix Speaker’s, Inc. on October 20 in a crazy journey through Mix Land at Shibuya O-EAST with the bands fans, currently referred to as bangya hime  (band-girl/groupie princesses).

Team M

The show opened to the glittering sounds of a harp before the crowd was cheerfully greeted by Mix Speaker’s, Inc. ’s beloved bird mascots, DoDo and PaPa. “Welcome to the Mix Land Halloween party! Today will be a special party—different from usual. I heard the dolls sleeping in the house of wax deep in Mix Land will start moving. Well then, have a good journey to the bizarre house of wax!” As a haunting melody played through the speakers, the curtains drew back to reveal the stage decorated festively with scattered orange balloons and skulls. The band was met with great enthusiasm as they made their appearance decked out in the wildly appropriate HELL FIRE costumes. S (drums), keiji (guitar), AYA (guitar), and seek (bass) slowly marched to their respective positions while the sounds of a door creaking opened then closed announced the arrival of the vocalists, YUKI and MIKI—who had the right halves of their faces painted in skeletal style as a special addition for the night.

“Let’s Halloween,” YUKI whispered, starting into one of their signature Halloween-themed songs, “Midnight QUEEN.” Its haunting intro and melodies subtly set the mood for the night. YUKI swayed from side-to-side as MIKI sang and, in contrast, MIKI steadily posed and surveyed the crowd when it was YUKI’s turn. Thus, the two traded verses before leading their fans in one of the multiple sets of furitsuke the band is known for. “THIRTEEN” continued to send chills down the fans’ spines with its dark, carnival tunes—at least, it tried to. The effect was sabotaged in good fun when YUKI and MIKI brought out giant bones to swing and direct the crowd. “Shibuya, keep going!” YUKI called out at the beginning of “NO, 5 COASTER” which had the crowd furiously headbanging to the guitar-heavy intro. Keiji could be seen jumping and turning in place as he played, while seek danced along—a feat made much easier once he had rid himself of his over-large shoes during the previous song. “HELL FIRE then started with its signature “metronome” style of headbanging to the intro which continued when prompted by YUKI and MIKI. The crowd also clapped along as seek played out a funky bass solo accompanied by the sounds of tambourines.

Set list

SE Narration (DoDo&PaPa)

  1. Midnight QUEEN
  2. THIRTEEN
  3. NO,5 COASTER
  4. HELL FIRE

Team S

As the curtains closed, murmurs rose until spotlights drew the audience’s attention towards the miniature side-stage to the right of the main stage. MIKI re-emerged accompanied by Yugiri of DaizyStripper. To play his role as YUKI, Yugiri appeared dressed in the Mix vocalist’s old White Warlock costume, although he took on an alternate and slightly bloodied version in the spirit of Halloween. Yugiri’s high voice blended well with MIKI’s deeper tones for “Capsule.” As the two sang with solemn expressions, they created a landscape of colorful lights via the audience who waved their light sticks to the synthesized beat. When the last notes had faded, MIKI thanked the crowd as Yugiri took a bow before the two retreated from the small stage.

The curtains of the main stage then opened to reveal which costumes the other guest performers had chosen for the occasion. Besides MIKI and Yugiri, TEAM S were represented by seek and AYA from the regular crew of Mix Speaker’s, Inc. , and joined by guests “Adam Dragon” SARSHI (HERO) and “Doctor Balloonfish” YAMATO (Uchuu Sentai NOISE).

Yugiri and MIKI brought out hand-held fans and shuffled across the stage during “Urameshi Yashiki”—another Halloween-centric song of Mix’s. SARSHI had a bit of difficulty dancing along due to his dragon feet but gave it his best effort as he continued to play. Keiji then made a surprise appearance to lead the crowd in the mid-song chant, stopping to tease Yugiri before he left the stage. Next, MIKI brought out his whistle for “Yuuwakusei Rhythm” as Yugiri led the crowd in the choreography. Continuing to surprise everyone with tricks and treats, S ran onto the stage to toss candy out to the fans in the spirit of Halloween. Cheerfully waving, he retreated when his pumpkin was emptied. Next, SARSHI took center stage to open “Pandora,” playing out the heavy guitar intro with ease. AYA later came forward from his regular position on stage to challenge SARSHI in a brief guitar face-off. Then, cheating on his own band, Yugiri playfully gave AYA a kiss before the red-haired Medusa took center stage for the next guitar solo.

Set list

  1. Capsule
  2. Urameshi Yashiki
  3. Yuuwakusei Rhythm
  4. Pandora

Team I

When the curtain fell once again, fans knew what to expect and quickly turned to welcome the next troupe. Keeping the wait short, YUKI popped out accompanied by “Cat Pierrot” Makoto of THE BEETHOVEN to join in the beautiful melody of “Boku.Mikazuki,” once again transforming the atmosphere of the venue into calm serenity. An electronic police siren then signaled the beginning of “PINKY ADVENTURE” performed by TEAM I.

Koudai was virtually unrecognizable as a member of Royz when playing the rather unexpected role of “Uriel Castle” while miko of exist†trace made for an energetic “Rabbit Zombie” with black ears to better match her dark hair. For this song, YUKI and Makoto not only brought out giant toy hammers but also chose to don frilled coats for more dramatic effect.

Makoto eventually gave into temptation to playfully smack YUKI with his hammer and YUKI looked back indignantly as he continued to sing. Miko hopped forward to show off her feminine charms during “CIRCUS” by leading the crowd in the actions. For the next round, AYA rushed out to direct the left portion of the crowd while miko focused on the right half before the two switched during the verse. Koudai stepped up to the center spotlight for the intro of the heavy “Wanderer,” skillfully plucking at the strings of his bass while being surrounded by the vocalists who shared their microphones for the first, spirited yell. Later, seek made his appearance to further rile the crowd, signaling for the fans to start a headbanging frenzy as YUKI and Makoto growled and sang.

Set list

  1. Boku. Mikazuki
  2. PINKY ADVENTURE
  3. CIRCUS
  4. Wanderer

MSI

After the set, Yugiri and MIKI reappeared on the mini stage to chat about the event thus far. MIKI jokingly introduced Yugiri to the crowd initially as “DaizyStripper’s STARGAZER”, and further joked, “Is there anyone who thought ‘Where is Koudai?’ If so, he was on the stage a few minutes ago,” he helpfully explained of the bass-playing castle for the night. The topic then wandered over to the four vocalists’ heights as YUKI and Makoto appeared to add their input. “I am 174 STARGAZER,” Yugiri stated, which was followed by the others confessing their heights via the fictional ‘STARGAZER’ unit of measure.

MIKI then turned to Makoto to ask how he was doing so far. “I don’t have so many chances to sing twin vocals,” Makoto said with a nervous grin before YUKI added his own comment: “I don’t feel nervous with Giriccho but I feel nervous with Makoto because he is our senior. I couldn’t hit him with the toy hammer!” Despite this, the atmosphere between the four remained playful and relaxed, Yugiri referring to MIKI as “Mikirinko-senpai (Senior Mikirinko),” which MIKI responded to with “Don’t call me Mikirinko!” before a schoolbell chime rang out to signal the end of the emcee. YUKI and MIKI continued to poke fun at DaizyStripper’s vocalist “STARGAZER” as the vocalists disappeared from view.

The regular Mix lineup resumed with “JUNK STORY,” sending the audience dancing from side to side. seek’s jazzy bass solo was a signal for the fans to bring out their lights as YUKI serenaded them before the frantic pace resumed.  “SCREAM go AROUND” then had the crowd churning and twirling to the frantic beat that S set with his drums. AYA and keiji stood back to back center stage for a joint guitar interlude before seek took a drill to his bass strings to add to the eclectic collection of sounds. The bassist came forward to the center to get the crowd pumped up with some bass slapping that merged into an explosive and violent “Crash Clover.” YUKI and MIKI kept calling for the crowd to “Explode!” and “Destroy!” following each de everyone jumped. One of the highlights of the extended song was seek diving into the crowd after stripping off the outer layers of his costume, to the delight, and possibly a touch of pain, of fans who were able to support the tall bassist then bring him back to the stage. HAPPyyy Land” wrapped up the main show on a positive note, with YUKI and MIKI playfully fighting for a position on the center stand for a brief moment before settling to stand back-to-back while singing. “This was the best, thank you!” YUKI called out before departing the stage after his bandmates.

Mix Speaker’s, Inc. answered their fans’ encore call with the popular “ONESTAR” which treated the audience to see all six members of the band sing and dance like an idol group.  “Thank you for the encore call,” YUKI greeted them. “Did you have fun? It’s been a while since we’ve had a oneman in Tokyo. Today is a special live. However, everyone says we are a Halloween band throughout the year. In November, we will release our new single for the anime Koroshiya-san…?” The vocalist turned back to check this fact with S, who confirmed, to which YUKI replied with “As expected from an anime otaku.” As AYA dealt with some technical trouble, YUKI joked about requesting miko to return for the next song. “Miko has three times more visual presence than our AYA,” seek said with a laugh, referring to her uncanny presentation as a female. HE went on to say, “I didn’t tell Koudai to choose the castle. I just asked him which he wanted to wear and he answered that he’d like to wear the castle.” MIKI followed up with a story about SARSHI’s inability to manage the footwork of some of the choreography in rehearsal. “I was wait for him to mess it up! He was able to play the song perfectly but couldn’t do the little kicks. Then when he finally got the kicks, he forgot to play the guitar!”

Once AYA returned to the stage, the band gave their fans a full preview of their upcoming single, “the end.” The new song was a relatively cheerful and upbeat musical number despite the title, with horns accenting the guitars throughout while seek played steadily, briefly taking the spotlight before keiji played solo. “Shiny tale” then once more had the crowd following YUKI and MIKI as the vocalists led them more choreography for their anthem of sea adventures.

Mix Speaker’s, Inc. ended the night with the absolutely chaotic “MONSTIME,” inviting their guests back onto the stage for an epic jam session that featured a variety of antics including vocalist abuse, seek brandishing the drill once more, multiple air guitar sessions, and a headbanging balloonfish. It was difficult for anyone not to get caught up in the reckless energy exuding from the stage—the crowd were jumping and dancing along when they weren’t busy watching the silly men (and woman) play around.

After the customary group bowed to bring the musical portion of the party to a close, seek took the mic to request a round of applause for all 12 members of Mix Speaker’s, Inc. and ask the six guests for comments about the short time they had shared onstage together, starting with Koudai. “Mydream to wear a castle costume came true!” the bassist excitedly proclaimed before the microphone was passed over to miko. “I felt nervous to wear AYA’s costume today. Our staff told me that AYA was much more feminine than me, and so, I will brush up my feminine power by learning from him.” For his turn, Yugiri wanted to make one thing clear before the night ended. “I think Mix Speaker’s, Inc.  and DaizyStripper share many of the same characteristics. Please remember one thing today, my name is Yugiri, not STARGAZER.”

seek complemented Makoto’s pierot costume choice, remarking that it really suited him, to which THE BEETHOVEN’s vocalist responded with, “Then I will take the role of Mikirinko from now on,” to which MIKI only protested with, “Don’t call me Mikirinko!” Next, SARSHI, like Koudai, expressed his pleasure at being given the opportunity to try on a costume different from his band’s usual style. “I really like this costume. When I was looking in the mirror a little while ago, I thought I looked really cool!” Finally, Yamato just had one thing to say, “I am really impressed by S-san!” The statement was in reference to his new-found experience of drumming in S’s large and bulky costume and the difficulties the Mix drummer hides well.

Before everyone departed, YUKI made a few last comments for the fans. “We are planning to have an amusing live around the Halloween season next year as well, so I hope we can meet next year again in cosplay! Thank you very much! Bye-bye!” The curtains closed for the final time with the cast cheerfully waving to the crowd, signaling the end of the special masquerade party. However, this does not mean the fantastic journey through Mix Land is finished. With another upcoming oneman tour through the country, Mix Speaker’s, Inc. continue to present eccentric visual and musical attractions to their fans—encouraging them to show their own creativity in turn throughout the year. Every day is Halloween for bangyahime!

Set list

  1. JUNK STORY
  2. SCREAM go AROUND
  3. Crash Clover
  4. HAPPyyy Land

Encore

  1. ONESTAR
  2. the end
  3. Shiny tale
  4. MONSTIME
  5. Fanfare

VK Exclusive

There are 56 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Laura Cooper started photographing rock and jazz bands at university. While completing a degree in English Literature, she was literary co-editor of the York University arts magazine and held poetry soirees with comedy jazz bands. Laura wrote for the now defunct UK Goth magazine Meltdown, as well as edited for an occult/spiritual website while she lived in York and London. She disappeared into the mountainous depths of Japan in 2006 and is now based in Tokyo, capturing rock bands in action.

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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  1. SuwanHime
    SuwanHime / "If music be the food of love, play on" - William Shakespeare

    That sounds like so much fun! I really enjoyed reading this article, good job!