Moran’s “Romantic Movement” at Akasaka Blitz

Live Report

by Maya Kawaguchi, posted March 29, 2014

Moran presented the colorful palette of their mesmerizing world at Akasaka Blitz on January 18.

A sheer, white curtain hung in front of the stage behind which the set could be seen, resembling a temple with columns set on the back wall and a white canopy surrounding the drum kit. It had a visual impact such that when the fans poured into the venue and laid eyes upon the stage, voices were raised in surprise and fascination.

As the opening music resounded, the house lights dimmed and a swarm of flashing ring lights sparkled in the dark upon the fans’ fingers. The members, attired in their new costumes, came out one by one to be showered with welcoming cheers from the excited audience. The show kicked off with the heavy tones of Manicure and a bursting sound effect. From the start, the fans were energetic, with loads of pumping fists and headbanging to prove their ardor. “Eclipse” followed on with wildly flashing lights amidst which Hitomi and Soan repeatedly shouted “Jump!!” at the frenzied mass. The up-tempo song had a catchy guitar solo by Sizna and the band used the stage to their fullest to draw the audience closer.

“We will be one until the last moment of the night!” shouted Hitomi in welcome as they proceeded to “LOSERS’ THEATER.” The melody drew out the fire in the audience and all began alternately headbanging and shooting their fists into the air. “Wow, you guys are good!” praised Hitomi. “Hameln” followed, picking up the pace as the members’ shouts incited further energy from the crowd. A mysterious guitar intro then started off “Lyrics of the DEAD” which featured a lively and heavy melody that encouraged everyone both onstage and on the floor to jump rhythmically as one.

The atmosphere turned completely as the stage was enveloped in darkness and a faint blue light cast down upon the forms of Hitomi and Sizna.  From “Wing or Tail,” with its melancholy guitar and soothing vocals, to “rub,” the music continued to bewitch—as did the fires that wavered on the numerous torches set upon the stage—and the fans soon fell silent under the musical spell of the two songs.

As the stage dimmed, Soan, Ivy, and vivi left  in exchange for the pairing of cellist Taizan Aotsuki (Kαin/Hidarikiki no Goju) and  violinist Sachi (Kokushoku Sumire) who took part in Fairy Tale.” The melody of Sizna’s acoustic guitar, along with the duo’s cello and violin, blended beautifully with Hitomi’s vocals as the song embraced the venue. In the “Hika ni Nijimu,” with the addition of  vivi’s acoustic guitar, the music developed into a colossal and passionate epic which held the audience until the song’s end.

Hitomi’s poetic emcee added to the mesmerizing atmosphere for the next number, “Onaji Yami no Naka de.” “Spangles come off my costume and scatter on the floor. In the dark, I can see the spangles glitter around me and it is like I am standing in space. It may be frightening to be here alone but now I can share it with all of you. I want to give this space to you,” spoke Hitomi. Although a ballad, it seemed as if every part of the number had power, particularly derived from the strong impressions of the lyrics. In the midst of it, the fans fell silent as an imitation of snow fell from above. Then, the snowy scene drastically evolved into a colorful vista in the following numbers, “Cactus Aka” and “ReCover.” The fans kept pace with Hitomi’s choreography which brought back memories of more decadent 90s visual kei performances.

Lost Sheep” showed off the members with each adding their own unique movements to a short section of pantomime as the spotlight shone upon them in turn. The atmosphere gradually shifted to a heavy setting, settling in as Soan shouted, “Bring your voices to us!!”  In “Vega no Hana,” head banging and fist-pumping returned, continuing into the fast and hot “Maybe Lucy in the Sky.” The house went into a frenzy of moshing and oritatami (headbanging from the waist) as Sizna and vivi continuously shouted and further fired them up further.

“Let’s drown here. This is where we drown!” cried Hitomi. From this statement began “Konya, Tsuki no nai Kaigan de” which had the crowd jumping desperately before “Star Gazer” concluded the main set. The crowd clapped out the rhythm with hands above their heads and Hitomi, gazed at them with a delighted smile until a final strike of the drums put an end to the set.

Amids encore calls, a screen rolled down from above and an announcement was played: On March 18, Moran would release their first ballad mini album dark” and a, DVD release of the current live. Then, then on September 21, they would take on Akasaka Blitz once again.

The audience cheered with joy at the happy news and the members came back to the stage to share their first encore, the uplifting and melodious “bulbs.” The piece started with Hitomi’s vocal solo and he sang as he walked the stage, focusing on individual members of the audience. Afterward, Soan took the mic for a brief emcee. “Did the announcement surprise you? This was what I meant by ‘shocking.’ It is our first time to release a ballad-themed mini album.”

Hitomi followed, saying, “This was the first time I composed a song. So I conveyed the melody to my fellow members by singing it. I think many people compose songs in that way…?” he added, looking to Ivy who gave him a nod and a thumbs up.

Soan then took the mic again to say, “Hey, he did a great job. Don’t take this the wrong way…” he warned Hitomi, before assuring the audience, “He definitely made the melody.”

Resuming, they continued on with the first performance of the main song from their ballad mini album, Haru no Yoru no, Hitoshizuku,” composed by Soan.  The light reflected in the mirror ball scattered throughout the venue in a visionary match to the music. “Minami He followed on with Ivy’s growling bass and spot solos that highlighted each of the members. When the next “Hollowman” started, picking up the pace, silver tape flew across the hall to be snatched up in pumping fists. Sizna drew out the colorful melody while he twirled around, his hands sliding about the neck of the guitar with precision.

For the double encore, vivi appeared onstage first and said, “Thanks for coming!” He seemed a bit shy, yet took his position with as smile as the other members poured onto the stage. Hitomi warmed up the fans, calling to those from left, to right, then to the front and the back as well. As each member was introduced, fervent calls could be heard from the floor and, as they prepared for the next song, Sizna provided fuel for the fire with his signature, piercing voice, cueing “Cello Suite.” The audience moshed from left to right and as Hitomi shouted for more, a storm of headbanging swept the floor. Soan stood up from his stool, gesturing for further agitation before “Kare induced more violent activity. Up front, the twin guitars lead the charge while the rhythm team held their own, not to be outdone.

“Give us more!” Ivy shouted to the crowd as “Ester” picked up the pace again with sharp guitar and careening drums. The party couldn’t end without Party Monster,” of course, and vivi gave it away with a cry of, “Give us your voices! Let’s PARTY!” As Moran’s signature live piece began, the fans held up their flashing rings. Rainbow lights flickered in the dark venue and, with the rotation of the mirror ball above, BLITZ became a disco. “Akasaka, give all you’ve got! Are you ready to DIE?” Hitomi shouted from top of his lungs, introducing the final song, Silent Whisper.” The fans gave all that Hitomi asked for and more, ending the show in hyper-intensity.

Having offer up 26 songs in total, Moran ended their first Akasaka BLITZ gig successfully, and bid farewell to their gathered fans. Hitomi, alone, stayed until the very end for the final word: “I think it’s romance that you all tell me that I exist to be here onstage and nowhere else. For you all, we exist as a place that you can feel is everything. A grim romance… Shall we do it again?”

The words of farewell left a lingering promise for the second round at Akasaka BLITZ to come in September of 2014. While there was no doubt that January 18, 2014, would become a memorable entry in the growing legend of Moran, the anticipation for September writhed like a living entity and only time will tell how the story will unfold.

Set list

  1. Manicure
  2. Eclipse
  3. LOSERS’ THEATER
  4. Hameln
  5. Lyrics of the DEAD
  6. Wing or Tail
  7. rub
  8. Fairy Tale
  9. Hika ni Nijimu
  10. Onaji Yami no naka de
  11. Cactus Aka
  12. ReCover
  13. Lost Sheep
  14. Vega no Hana
  15. Maybe, Lucy in the sky
  16. Konya, Tsuki no nai Kaigan de
  17. Star gazer

 

Encore 1

  1. Bulbs
  2. Haru no Yoru no, Hitoshizuku
  3. Minamie
  4. Hollowman

 

Encore 2

  1. Cello suite
  2. Kare
  3. Ester
  4. Party Monster
  5. Silent Whisper

VK Exclusive

There are 61 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Maya Kawaguchi is a Japanese native who grew up in California. She was introduced to VK in college and soon became fascinated by the genre and nagoya-oriented bands in particular. Since then, she has been surprised by the number of foreigners who are interested in VK and hopes to introduce this world to as many potential fans as possible.

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