NoGoD Celebrate Kamikaze Release At Astro Hall
On July 9, NoGoD believers converged on Astrohall, a small live house tucked away unnoticed in Harajuku, gathering for a concert dedicated to the release of NoGoD’s third major single, Kamikaze.
The live opened with a burst of typical NoGoD flourish, as Kyrie and K’s powerful combination of killer guitar riffs and drumming set off a quick jam session before Danchou made his entrance. With grand enthusiasm, he greeted the maddened crowd and introduced the first song, “Shinzou.”
It was a high powered way to begin the live, taking full advantage of the energy of the audience. Clutching his ever familiar Bible-shaped mic, Danchou led them through the song with dramatic movements. It was followed by the equally heavy “Akaki hi no chikai,” with a high melody that Danchou had a couple of problems with that day. Never to be fazed though, he welcomed the audience warmly in the break with a loud exclamation of “wonderful!” before cheekily requesting the audience to applause. After thanking the fans for buying their new single, Kamikaze, NoGoD went back a few years with the song “Strawberry Night.”
The music-jazzy and vibrant with a slight British rock sound-got Kyrie dancing-until Danchou introduced his solo to the crowd with an “Ok, Kyrie!” that led to a mass outstretching of arms from the packed floor. “Today we’ve got something special prepared,” Danchou told the audience. “We’ll give back to you as much as we get.” The call and response went some way to prove this, with crowd and Danchou shouting at each other over a neat instrumental provided by the other four guys. The summery guitar sounds of “Seijaku no hate” were a little unusual and bright in contrast.
Sometimes, a NoGoD live feels like half music and half emcee thanks to Danchou’s love of talking and teasing; the vocalist chattering away and changing subject every second like an excitable child before picking on Kyrie. It wasn’t just Danchou having the fun though, as bassist Karin accented his jokes with raised hands.
“You know,” Danchou said, “we’ve only played that last song twice. I thought the dance was too hard but you guys are amazing! From now on, if there is any trouble in Japan, it’s all right. You guys are all right. Wonderful!” He then announced the release of the new single, Kamikaze. “On July 6, it’s like NoGoD safely gave birth. Do any of you guys have any experience in giving birth?” he asked the audience. “I’m the Mama, although in terms of gender, I’m the Papa. Songs are like children and for an artist, every time they make a song it is like they experience birth. Did you guys buy the single?”
There was a slight pause before the cheer rose up from the crowd. “Ahh, that silence makes me uneasy.
“You know, recently I’ve been thinking about what I say. I heard myself on the radio and thought, ‘what is that guy saying?’ I couldn’t understand myself. So recently I decided to slow down the tempo.” At this point he began to speak very slowly, “but, if I speak like this, we’ll fall behind. Anyway, I will try to speak a little slower,” he said. The subject changed suddenly to his clothing box: “I have a wonderful box called ‘Danchou Box.’ Inside, I keep the leather gloves of my costume and various other leather things. Well, today I opened it and saw mold had grown all over! More than you guys could imagine! I washed it all in warm water but all the black items had become yellow. Visual kei is really difficult. It’s not just about being sparkly. Anyway, we want to give you guys a really wonderful Saturday. Saturdays are–how many in a year?–Well, there are many, but there isn’t another Saturday as pleasant as this one!” Dancho’s train of thoughts took another turn, to the subject of the visual kei boom, as the fans tried to keep up until finally he reached the end of his long rant with a song introduction. “So for now, for the first time, we want to sing you this song that contains all of our feelings. There are many terrible things in Japan right now but Japan getting together like this is a happy thing. It is important to live powerfully and so if you do what you can with all your might, it can be an enjoyable effort, and that is what I will try to express. So please listen to “Souka.””
The piece had a rather lovely melody, on the mainstream pop/rock side but interesting with extended phrases at the top of Danchou’s vocal range and an uplifting final chorus. The music moved swiftly into the song from the b-type of the single, “Dennou shounen.” “Well then, let’s enjoy Karin-chan’s amazing bass line,” said Danchou in introduction of the much heavier number that got the crowd jumping throughout. “Come on. Jump, jump!” The wicked outtro, with drums going at double time, led into the popular “Saikou no Sekai” and a flurry of headbanging. In a pink cross-light, the movements of the band appeared rather psychedelic, although the music remained firmly rock as Kyrie and Shinno performed the bridge section in typical style.
It was again time for Danchou to run off at the mouth. “Ahhh, you guys have really warmed up, now! We have so many guys here today. I’m excited! It feels good that music can cross gender lines. Anyway, it’s been a really long time since we made all feel-good songs. By the way, among your relatives, is there anyone besides you who likes NoGod?” No one responded. “What? You should all get with your families more! When you’re eating with your parents or relatives while watching TV and you see a celeb that looks like me you talk about NoGoD, right? Does that ever happen?”
“No,” the fans replied.
“You don’t?” Danchou sounded incredulous. “Are you guys the type that don’t eat together with your parents and relatives? You will end up like me and my sister Hiromi. One day, she paid for a package that arrived for me. This morning when I was going out, I said to my sister, ‘Today is a NoGod one man.’ Hiromi replied coldly, ‘Really? See you later. Don’t forget the money you owe me.’ I cried. Ah, but it’s OK. You should treat your families well. Okay? Well, even though I’m not so liked by my sister I still think my parents were blessed. So more than anything, our believers will be blessed. Today is for Hiromi.” Danchou screamed out his sister’s name.
After more chatter about families, and failed attempts to get Kyrie to call him “brother,” Danchou introduced, “Hachigatsu Tsuitachi.” Gentle guitar notes shaped the opening of this slower, ballad style piece that crescendoed into a powerful chorus with a marching beat to the drums. Karin’s bass stood out, too, driving the rhythm through the piece. It was lovely and well performed, the music in vast contrast to the following the killer guitar opening in “II-Kaigi’ and hints of a Middle Eastern-inspired sound. The darker, more urgent music got the crowd headbanging and Danchou joined in, dancing manically to the drum beat while Kyrie rocked out in his extensive solo, long hair flying about as he played.
There was another change of pace after, as Danchou departed the stage for “Tenba, sora wo iku ga gotoku,” the instrumental piece from the forthcoming album, Genjitsu. Like preceeding instrumentals, the piece had a real 70s feel to the music in the guitar phrases and rhythms. At times it sounded a little like a TV theme from the period, all in all a fantastic, uplifting piece and great demonstration of the band’s talents sans vocals. Danchou returned for “Wonderland,” the uniquely bright and happy song of NoGoD’s repertoire. It was all very jolly and followed well by the equally upbeat “Keihatsu Frustress.” The catchy chorus saw Danchou hit some impressively high notes and sustain them. Then the vocalist encouraged the crowd to dance along, punching the air with his arms and grinning at them with a wide smile.
Danchou offered the mic to Kyrie to introduce the song, which he did reluctantly and quietly. The vocalist then asked the audience if they listened to instrumentals, saying he was the type to skip them 120%. He was shocked to find out they did listen, although when told by one that they skipped them as well, Danchou responded cheekily, “Right! See, it’s because I’m not singing!” prompting much laughter and catcalls from the audience. The topic of discussion then switched back to Kamikaze. “The recommended point of Kamikaze is, well, recently we’ve been talking about AKB48 and which member we would recommend. Mine, by the way, is Matsui Jurina.”The fans stared blankly. “Anyway, there are people who have come to the live today who have not yet bought the single, Kamikaze. Drummer, K, Please show them a face to say ‘I’m sorry.’” Danchou then turned to Kyrie to find out what the guitarist thought was the recommended point of Kamikaze inciting many an in-joke about bento (lunchbox) shops and funny voices from the vocalist.
At last, NoGoD introduced the much talked about single headliner, “Kamikaze.” Expectations were high by then, so it was lucky that the single maintained the NoGoD standard with a very cool guitar line and a drumbeat that sparked off mass headbanging the second K hit the bass drumThe mood carried over into “Suijuuka” and “Pain,” a genuinely heavy number. The aggressive punching and crunching guitars meant a much heavier vocal style from Danchou who snarled his way through. “Last!” he shouted after it had finished, staggering about the stage and seeming almost drunk on the adrenaline of the music. He composed himself to lead the crowd in shouts of “Oi!” before he announced to a happy audience, “Welcome to the Black Circus.” The crowd danced with Danchou as one, raising their arms in the unusual dance of “Bankuro shinsou dai circus.” It had a fantastic feel, heavy yet fun and melodic, and even included a sing-a-long as the audience joined in on the ‘la la la’ while Danchou clapped along. “You guys are the best!” he shouted, carrying the song to its end. “Kyrie will finish, so everyone yell to him!”
“Kyrie!” the crowd screamed.
“No, that’s wrong!” Danchou reprimanded.
“Brother!” obeyed the crowd. The song came to a satisfactory end and the band left the stage after their goodbyes.
It wasn’t long before the call for an encore went up though, and the band reappeared, launching straight into “Raise a Flag.” Danchou picked the key out of thin air, his voice coming out wonderfully rich. “Thank you for the encore,” he said before heading off on another long chat, first detailing the coming tour before moving onto a much more important subject; his own birthday on December 23, a mere six months away. “You know, there are many things I want, like a new scooter, but just to have all you fans there would be enough, I think.” The topic shifted rapidly. “Now, all you guys have come, but before, when we began, we only had two fans. I really loved those two fans, but you know… one of them was actually my friend. Now six years have passed and so many of you have come. I’m so happy. We make music and we can put on this live but from your smiles and your voices we get our strength and our courage. Gradually laughing, screaming, headbanging, sweating… I want to enjoy this remaining time we have left today! Is everyone ready to pray?” The fans replied in one affirmative voice. “Ok, let’s go to the encore!”
The frenetic sounds of “Guren” kicked off a high-paced close to the gig. Danchou led the crowd with typical charisma while Kyrie encouraged headbanging through the heavier parts of the song. It was a number where the fan-made dancing came to a fore as the audience made pretty shapes with their hands to accompany the music. “Let’s hear your true voices!” Danchou cried as “Kakusei” began. The strong melody included some more interesting moments, with a breakdown of mini solos between, K’s drums, Karin’s bass and Shinno’s rhythm guitar setting up another powerful Kyrie solo.
The whole live had passed so far without that regular feature of NoGoD onemans, “Gekiretsu kyokan ranchiki cho” but the best fun was left till last. “This is really the last one!” Danchou shouted as he led the audience in clapping the beat of the introduction before all broke loose with energetic movements and jumping in the crowd. On stage, the band were just as animated, Karin and Shinno in particular playing about on stage. “Gekiretsu” had a rather dark feel to the music, and yet inspired the most fun in terms of crowd participation as Danchou led them on a merry dance, inviting a mosh that went side to side, front to back and up and down with clapping in between. “Don’t you wanna rampage more? More moshing!” Danchou tried to pester Kyrie mid-song and got blocked in response until he could do nothing but sit on his platform. He lay back, yelling into his Bible-mic before Shinno launched into his solo part. It was different in feel to Kyrie’s and well received by the fans who stood with arms outstretched. The song came to a close on Danchou’s scream and a final bout of headbanging. “Tokyo! This is entertainment!” Danchou cried as the gig finished with a final flourish and a triumphant round of shaken hands.
In one feverishly hot night, NoGoD proved to be one of the most exciting bands in the scene, offering boundless energy and a mix of stunning music with entertaining emcee. With plenty of music coming soon to greedy, grasping hands, this is a band to watch out for!
- Hiki hi no chigai
- Strawberry Night
- Seijaku no hate
- Dennou shounen
- Saikou no Sekai
- Hachigatsu tsuitachi
- II – Kaigi
- Tenba, sora wo iku ga gotoku
- Keihatsu frustless
- Bankuro shinsou dai circus
- Raise a Flag
- Gekiretsu kyoukan ranchiki kyou
There are 15 photos in this visual kei exclusive.