RYO:SUKE’s Birthday Blast at BLAZE
WING WORKS held the final for their nationwide summer event tour THE LIVE WORKS_#1 at Shinjuku BLAZE on the night of July 6, falling on the date of project leader RYO:SUKE’s birthday. GIGAMOUS, DEZERT, LIPHLICH, Megamasso, and Blu-BiLLioN were the other bands participating in the event before WING WORKS took to the stage in a show of brilliant lights, electro-mixed music, and bright smiles for all. There were even a few surprises thrown in.
Starting with a dramatic atmosphere, the supporting band—dubbed WING-MEN—marched onto the stage to an electric mix intro and wildly strobing lights clad in cult-like outfits, complete with masks. Each took a turn in encouraging the crowd to clap along in welcome for the birthday boy before taking up the signature hand gesture over the forehead as they waited. Even as RYO:SUKE came out, they remained masked for the beginning of “ILLUMINA LUMINALION.” Heavy guitars from Narukaze and Kei induced side-to-side shuffling en mass before RYO:SUKE began to fiercely growl out the lyrics. As the leader of the gathered assembly, the vocalist directed the crowd in a series of synchronized movements, ending with an aggressive yell. By the time the electronic intro for ”VAD+MAN” chimed in, the masks had disappeared—with good reason, as drummer Shou threw himself into the frantic beat required for the song and RYO:SUKE alternated between death voice and a more hallowed style of vocals. Intetsu entertained with skillful bass lines, occasionally immersing himself in miniature frenzies of headbanging even while keeping the rhythm.
“Welcome to THE LIVE WORKS_#1 tour final! This is WING WORKS! Thank you so much for coming to the LIVE series’ final show!” RYO:SUKE welcomed before sharing a story regarding Megamasso’s vocalist Inzaragi in relation to the attendance of one of his instore events—as well as a few other random facts about the fellow vocalist. “Everyone has made today’s live really great, so far. Thank you so much. Let’s make this the best day of your lives!”
The show rekindled with “Fushichou -FENNIX-,” RYO:SUKE calling for the crowd to raise their hands to the lively dubstep intro before heavy guitars barreled in alongside an eclectic, neo-traditional backtrack. Audience members alternated between clapping to the beat and sending hair flying everywhere throughout the song as RYO:SUKE delivered an energetic and powerful vocal performance from his perch atop his podium. An immediate transition into the upbeat “ADAM” demanded continuous fist pumping as the stage erupted with growls from all of the band members; Narukaze especially active in calling out to the crowd to get them going. RYO:SUKE visited all parts of the stage to encourage further participation and energy as he sang, occasionally joined by Intetsu. The tune finished with a flourish of wildly pounding drums from Shou before the stage was plunged into darkness.
In a change of pace, gentle guitar strains filtered in alongside a more gently singing RYO:SUKE for “Moving Light Kiss,” giving a refreshing pause to the rowdy live. It was also during this song that audience members brought out penlights the WING-MEN had distributed prior to the live—without RYO:SUKE’s knowledge—to create a colorful landscape in a show of affection for the birthday boy. The considerate act certainly did the trick as the vocalist’s face split into a wide, fond smile. He crooned to the synthetic music, taking turns to serenade each WINGMAN and then the crowd. “Mr. FANTASIX” got the crowd going once more with its heavy dubstep beat, transforming the floor back into a large club. Narukaze added his own stage-crossing, kick-filled dance as RYO:SUKE energetically rapped out the lyrics. This particular party was especially prolonged, the band performing multiple rounds as they enticed fans to come forward to the rail and mosh with their favored band members.
“There’s nothing that you can’t do when you have the support of so many, like staff and everyone here today. Thank you so much.” Following the touching speech given by RYO:SUKE was “SILVER,” a song filled with meaning in that it was the first song the bassist-turned-vocalist had released under his solo project. However, the song itself was anything but gentle as the crowd executed the set choreography before finishing with the band’s distinctive salute.
An encore call started up immediately, though the lights came back up as the venue staff began to lay down a blue tarp on the stage floor. Fortunately, the reason was not kept from the audience for long. The band re-emerged with RYO:SUKE immediately taking the mic to thank everyone for the encore call and ask how the show had been thus far. “Thank you for the previous surprise, by the way. The lights were really beautiful. Who arranged it?” Fans immediately replied that his WING-MEN were the conspirators, to which the vocalist reacted with gratitude, and slight disbelief—mainly at how well the secret was kept. Such gratitude was likely to be short-lived, however, as the encore activity was unveiled, accompanied by the ominous Star Wars theme, “The Imperial March.”
Contrary to the music, Intetsu’s distinctive tones did not quite inspire terror as he went on to explain. “As you know, today is RYO:SUKE’s birthday! Do you remember from last year what we’re going to do this year?” The bassist teasingly tested the birthday boy’s memory—which appeared to be in perfect condition as RYO:SUKE replied with some trepidation about “Ganmen ke-ki…” (face cake), a popular Japanese celebratory activity of applying cake to the face of the celebrated party.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do every year, no matter what,” Intetsu stated with a mischievous grin. Never one to disappoint his fans, RYO:SUKE gave a spirited yell for the act to be carried forth. “By the way, an amazing patisserie made a wonderful cake for today,” the bassist announced. RYO:SUKE was left in the dark once again Narukaze was signaled to start the tune for all to sing the birthday song while the cake was being brought out. Another pleasant surprise came in the form of the cake’s presenter—who happened to be the pastry chef himself; occasional frequenter of the WING-MEN ranks, bassist Sato. After a group photo was taken with the detailed cake and RYO:SUKE took a quick bite to declare it delicious, another confectionary was brought out for the promised moment. Intetsu took a few steps back for a running start to produce a more magnificent splatter, though this resulted in the bassist getting some on himself, too, to the amusement of the other WING-MEN.
“Alright, now that that’s done—and this (cake) is rather tasty, too—let’s go on for one last song!” RYO:SUKE made for an especially entertaining sight during “METOROA,” occasionally sampling the cream dripping off his face between singing lines of the guitar-laden and death voice-filled song. Having his face covered in the sweet mess did nothing to alter the intensity of his performance as all present exerted their remaining energies into multiple rounds of wild headbanging, fist-pumping, and jumping, in conclusion to the night’s event.
Continuing to push and break at the limits of the visual kei genre can be challenging, but it seems that RYO:SUKE is up to the task with his conceptual HYBRID SHOCK MUSIC. As WING WORKS continues to tour the country with the second leg of THE LIVE WORKS event tour series, one can only imagine what else the creative bassist-turned-vocalist has in store for the visual kei world.
- ILLUMINA LUMINALION
- Fushichou -FENNIX-
- Moving Light Kiss