Mix Speaker’s Inc. SKY HEAVEN at Shinjuku BLAZE

Live Report

by Kate Havas, Mio Nagasaki, posted October 11, 2012

Orchestral music ranging from light and charming to dark and frenzied set the mood for Mix
Speaker’s, Inc.’s debut of their 4th attraction, SKY HEAVEN “Shinigami to Tenshi no Tengoku
(Death God and Angels’ Heaven)”, on September 14 at Shinjuku BLAZE. The new look wasn’t
the only thing being celebrated as it was also bassist and band-leader seek’s birthday. As the
band came onstage dressed as their fairy-tale inspired angel characters, the audience laughed
and gasped at S’s pegasus garb, complete with attached horse’s backside and hind legs and
seek’s massive castle getup. The bassist’s instrument looked like a toy against his huge frame
until he discarded his towering shoes and came down to a comparatively more reasonable
height.

The set opened with the high-energy new single “SKY HEAVEN,” its soaring chorus well matched with heavy drum strikes. Next, MIKI spit water at the crowd as keiji took center stage for the darker “Pandora.” “Whoo-hoo!” YUKI whooped as seek ordered the fans closer with
creepy intensity. The crowd responded with fist-pumping and barking, thrashing to the crazy beat. “JUNK STORY” was equally high-tempo, with fans bouncing back and forth across the live house floor joined by MIKI, Keiji, and even seek as they danced across the stage. Only AYA
remained still, looking like the topper on a wedding cake as he played without expression.

“Thank you!” YUKI called. “Let’s have a great debut as angels!” “Romeo no Melody” had a clicky beat and choreography reminiscent of an 80s dance party, the crowd following along as the
vocalists swung their arms and turned right and left. The fans called for the members as they took a brief pause and the sound of seashore wind and waves came from the speakers as they began “Mr.HOOK.” seek’s upright bass gave the song the air of an old-time nightclub number as synthesized piano chimed emphatically, the whole band giving an emotive performance before they took their leave.

seek returned in his gigantic block shoes, eliciting applause just for being able to maneuver in them. He stood at stage right as keiji and AYA strolled into view, arm-in-arm. “It’s so peaceful here, it’s heaven,” keiji’s pre-recorded voice said as he mouthed the words and Aya nodded in agreement. S then ran out from the wings, MIKI right behind him, smacking the unicorn’s rump and trying to climb on. “I’m not a taxi!” S yelled as AYA stepped in to stop MIKI from trying to ride the drummer.

YUKI appeared onstage just as a shinigami (angel of death) arrived with a businessman who choked on a fish bone.

“Is this heaven?” the man mused. “Well, however my life was, it can’t have been so bad if I ended up in heaven.”

“Oh no, you’re not guaranteed a place in Heaven,” keiji was quick to inform him.

“But don’t good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell?”

“No, it’s decided by a game. If you win, you get to stay!” The rest of the band gave thumbs up as
the businessman began to panic. Antics and puns abounded as they lead him through a series
of three games, one of grabbing money (the game lost by taking it because, as YUKI pointed
out, “we don’t need money up here!”), one marshmallow eating contest against AYA, in which the guitarist’s face became as puffy as his dress, and the final challenge, going teeth-to-teeth
with S as they stretched a large rubber band across the stage using their mouths. Though the
businessman let go first, thus losing, it was S who got slapped in the face as the rubber snapped
backwards.

“It’s okay,” YUKI tried to reassure the businessman as he realized he was being sent to
hell. “You have another chance to try for heaven next year!”

“Wait,” seek finally spoke. After a convoluted explanation of the extenuating circumstances of the
man’s death, he decreed that the businessman would be reborn. The band waved as the man
and shinigami returned to Earth. “We’ll see you again!”

ONESTAR” was a nice transition from play back to concert as the band all danced together
like an idol-group, waving their magical-girl light wands. Fans cheered along to the infectious
club beat as the members gathered around seek to spin and rap, each getting a moment in the
spotlight.

“Welcome to our house of bitterness,” seek growled and the audience took on the look of a Japanese festival as they held up their MSI sensu (paper folding fans). “Urameshi Yashiki”’s traditional notes had the crowd waved their fans to the vocal inflections, chanting along to the
ghoulish lyrics when prompted by seek. As the song came to a close, MIKI blew a handful of paper cherry blossom petals into YUKI’s face and the other vocalist grimaced as a few stuck to his sweaty skin.

“Time for the Angel Roll!” MIKI appeared with a dice-like box, each side with a different instruction. “Woody Nightmare” was upbeat and Miki tossed the dice. “Follow S!” he yelled as the box landed and the crowd and band posed with the drummer, “hooves” in the air. The
song continued with a bubbliness that bordered on ridiculous, another roll of the dice prompting hyper fist-pumping as YUKI spun his microphone. “Smile!” he called to the crowd, though it was
doubtful there was anyone who wasn’t smiling at the silly number.

“Once again, we’re Mix Speaker’s, Inc.! We’re angels, though my wings fell off.” He turned
slightly to show the crowd his now wingless back. “It’s really your fault!” he laughed, blaming the
crowd for inspiring his wing-ripping energetic performance.
“I feel a bit weird. It’s my first time to wear so much white,” MIKI noted.
“And how does the castle feel?” YUKI turned to seek.
“I’m having fun,” the bassist answered. “AYA, show them your wedding dress.” The guitarist
revolved on the spot but didn’t speak.
“And our prince!” MIKI reached over and into Keiji’s pocket to show off the transparent fabric. “He
has wings on his boots.”
“They help me fly,” keiji deadpanned.
“And our horse!”
“Pegasus!” S corrected. “By the way, that rubber band? It wasn’t weak, it really hurt!”

S wasn’t letting the pain stop him as thundering drum took over for “No5 COASTER.” YUKI and keiji danced to the rock number with its undercurrents of electronic pop, and seek grooved as best he could. keiji backbent into YUKI’s arms as fans swayed to rhythmic chanting and MIKI danced his way over to seek, screeching “Congratulations!” at him in a high-pitched voice and causing him to burst into laughter and momentarily lose concentration. Crazily flashing rainbow
lights set the mood for “Crash Clover,” the stage becoming a more demonic heaven as the band moshed and barked with flair. Seek caused momentary panic as the castle threatened to remove
its bass and dive into the crowd but he restrained himself and MIKI and YUKI took it upon themselves to lean out and rile the audience. After that wild number, “Kasa no Shita no Sekai” was more subdued but no less energetic and the band ended with smiles. “We just started as angels,” YUKI announced, “But even though it’s early, we’re already thinking of what we can do next time! Look forward to it!”

A typical encore call quickly evolved into a chorus of “Happy Birthday” directed at seek, fans well-
prepared to complete it with jangling tambourine accompaniment.

“You know what day it is!” YUKI called from offstage. “It’s seek’s birthday! We need the man
himself to get out here!” seek marched on accompanied by cheers. A karaoke version of “Happy
Birthday” piped out of the speakers and seek lead the fans in singing, his gravelly voice blending
with their high ones as he became a bouncy castle, jumping nimbly around the stage. The
song went from slow to fast, the bassist forced to keep singing until the music ended. The rest
of the band returned with a cake of castle-seek, and MIKI shoved a piece into seek’s face in
celebration.

“How was the lonely version (of ‘Happy Birthday’)?” Yuki teased. “You’re thirty-three now—
though I guess if I say that it might give away our ages, too! Now we need to do some recording!”

The recording turned out to be the call and response from “UrameshiYashiki Chika Nikai,” the
band holding up cue-cards to prompt the crowd as there was no music to help them out. S
conducted the chanting in 4/4 with his hands until every line, including a rapid series of cheers,
had been recorded perfectly.

Satisfied, the band began “Shiny Tale,” gently spinning lights matching the nicely timed bass lines and strong melody. Then there was no holding back for “MONSTIME.” The businessman and shinigami from the earlier play returned to dance with the band, and the fans jumped and headbanged to the raucous song. The number was full of other surprises, such as seek playing an electric drill along his bass and AYA jumping up to yell to the crowd in a manly growl.
Everyone spun, jumped, and thrashed until the song came to an exhausted end. With bows and hugs all around the band exited, and a video screen was rolled out with a big announcement at the end: A Mix Speaker’s, Inc. one-man at Shibuya Kokaido.

“We’ve done “C.C.Lemon” twice, but never “Kokaido”!” YUKI said as they returned, referring to the venue’s change of name. “I know I say this all the time but I want everyone to leave here happy!”

WEN, HAPPyyy LAND” finished the set on a happy note indeed, flashing lights and fun guitar lines leaving a bright impression. Seek tossed his bass into the crowd (who kindly returned it) and the other members tossed out bottles and drumsticks. YUKI and MIKI took the final bows, leaving under applause and the fans continued to dance endlessly as a cd began to play even
more Mix Speaker’s, Inc.

It would be hard to find a more conceptually creative band than MSI, as they continuously prove
with their ever-more outrageous costuming and inventive story-lines. No doubt they will continue
to find new outlets for their creativity, bringing whatever they can dream up into reality with fun
music and memorable characters.

Set List

SKY HEAVEN
Pandora
JUNK STORY
Romeo no Melody
GREEN
Mr.HOOK
ONESTAR
UrameshiYashiki
Woody Nightmare
Mermaid
No5 COASTER
Crash Clover
Kasa no Shita no Sekai

Encore
SHINY TALE
Monstime

Encore2
Wen, HAPPyyy LAND

VK Exclusive

There are 25 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Kate Havas first became interested in Japanese fashion and culture in college when manga, anime, and visual kei were just beginning to make their way to America. An art and English major with a love of clothes, Kate signed onto ROKKYUU in order cover fashion and report on Tokyo trends, but was quickly also recruited to the music side of things and has been having an adventure expanding her knowledge of all things VK since. Follow her on twitter at keito_kate!

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

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