Schwarz Stein’s Full Revival at Shibuya Rex

Live Report

by chi.yow, Eric Agnew, posted September 3, 2014

With a title befitting of the whimsical band, GEBET -eins SUN,acht NOIZ,WR-, was a highly anticipated affair for gothic visual kei fans as it signaled the return of Schwarz Stein on March 23 at Shibuya Rex after a decade of dissolution. As the notes of the intro “Testament” filtered through the speakers, cheers erupted from the crowd to herald the return of the legendary duo before either of them had stepped onto the stage. Keyboardist and programmer Hora arrived first, gesturing for the crowd to scream louder before donning his portable keyboard. As the lights continued to strobe and the volume of calls increased, Kaya finally made his appearance so that the show could start.

Introductory piano notes blended with synthetic mixes quickly silenced the crowd as “Last Hallucination” signaled the start of the show. Kaya’s ethereal voice filled the venue as both musicians stood stoically at their positions onstage for the solemn and calm song. However, this soon changed as the synthetic violin chords for “Perfect Garden” played. Kaya screamed out, “Shibuya, are you ready?” before dancing along to the upbeat electronica, twirling gracefully as he sang. In contrast, Hora remained the picture of composed concentration on the right side of the stage. “Shibuya! Dance!” Kaya let out a demanding shriek as the tempo increased for “Release me,” Hora beginning to show signs of movement by swaying along to the beat. Kaya held the microphone out to encourage fans to sing along between verses, as well as cueing fans to jump with him.

“Good evening, this is Schwarz Stein. We’ve returned.” Kaya ended the last statement with a giggle, grin increasing in size as the crowd warmly welcomed the duo back. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Ten years in fact.” Kaya then shared his thoughts of photo shoots and interviews preceding the live, as well as wishing for the crowd to look forward to the publication. He then turned attention over to Hora, asking if he wanted to impart any words now… or possibly later. The keyboardist replied to the audience’s prompts to speak in his anticipated manner of, “Shut up,” before uncharacteristically grinning and thanking the crowd. They responded with delighted shock at the combination of kind words and actual facial expression.

Following Kaya’s requests for the audience to support the duo once more, Hora took his place behind his full keyboard for “GENUINE” while Kaya continued to freely dance about as he sang to the synthetic beats. The pace of the song increased as it continued; dub step elements blending smoothly with Kaya’s signature voice. “HYPNOS” opened with operatic organ while Kaya complemented the dramatic atmosphere brought on by swiftly stepping forward. He exhibited slightly crazy eyes, and held the microphone held outwards as Hora beckoned for the audience to raise their arms. As the crowd jumped along, Kaya displayed a more seductive style of dancing among the crimson lights, continuing to encourage the crowd to call out his name.

“So nostalgic! It’s been 10 years,” Kaya commented, then spoke of the rehearsals leading up to the night’s show—to which Hora jokingly added his ever-straightforward opinion of, “I really hate them.” The vocalist once more reacted in shock, although the greater surprise came when Hora promptly apologized for saying so. Kaya followed by continuing to promote their upcoming single, as well as in-store events that would be held for the release.

The two continued to exchange a playful banter about the last decade before Kaya drew out a letter he had written, politely requesting the audience to listen to the words he had carefully prepared. The recital consisted of a melancholy story of reflection on the past and lost dreams that served as a prelude for the following song. As the intro for “PREDICT” played, Kaya maintained a solemn pose at his microphone stand as his clear voice rang out, adding more to the tale with sweeping gestures of his hands. The electronic duo then treated the crowd to the first performance of their upcoming release “lapis lazuli,” Kaya bringing more theatrics for the rainstorm-reminiscent intro notes, his arms open as he twirled amid the artificial, rolling fog. Hora blended the electronic piano and violin notes masterfully to create a bitter-sweet atmosphere with a dynamic pace.

The keyboardist then raised his arms to signal for more calls from fans as the bass-heavy “Emergence of Silence” swept through the venue. “Let’s sing together,” Kaya requested. The fans eagerly complied with a few simply waving their arms when it proved difficult to meet the high standards the vocalist set. As the last notes began to fade, the beginning of “Rise to Heaven” began in a smooth transition between songs. The audience began to clap once more to the constant beat as Kaya continued to weave a spell upon them, gesturing to various sections of the crowd before Hora concluded the song with trilling piano notes.

Schism” served as a brief interlude for fans to gather their strength to continue the show with “Kuro ageha” in which haunting, dark beats created an ominous atmosphere while Kaya’s voice echoed mysteriously about—until he gave a piercing shriek to release a dam of raw emotion. The vocalist seemed to plead to a higher power to end a current misery before suddenly vanishing into the darkness. The haunted house-like intro of “fester love” then brought Hora forward to join Kaya as the vocalist brandished a whip in time to the electronic drum beats while he sang. As the song continued, Kaya eventually made his way to center stage, concluding the song with an impressively long-held note. Hora then gestured for the crowd to once more call his and Kaya’s names, Kaya tauntingly calling out, “I can’t hear you!” before brilliantly flashing lights signaled the beginning of “Queen of Decadence.” The blood-red lighting added to the eerie atmosphere of the operatic song as Kaya reached out toward the audience, both with his hands and his powerful voice which was particularly impressive during the a capella interlude mid-song.

Kaya once again thanked the crowd for calling out his name and asked if everyone was having fun, to which they responded eagerly with a few whoops thrown in. “I’m happy to hear that. I’m having fun, too,” he said, then asked Hora if his keyboard’s tuning was okay for the next part of the show. Hora swiftly played a few tones to confirm that, indeed, everything was fully functional for the rest of the night to proceed. “This is the first time that I’ve worn silver and dressed as a woman for photos in a while, however it’s obviously not the first time for me to have breasts.” Kaya successfully drew a few giggles with his comments about the current costume before Hora added some “cruel” comments about Kaya’s choices of accessories to the crowd’s great amusement.

The singer’s voice took on a more distorted quality for beginning verses of “beautiful the virgin” as he twirled and gestured for the crowd to join in the mad dance, eventually screaming out his demand after a series of distressed yells. All while, Hora kept his calm and stationary stance with his portable keyboard until he set aside his instrument to take up a microphone and provide the backing growls for the heavier number “CREEPER.” The duo led the audience in the VK standard Hitler-style saluting as Hora growled the chorus lines. Continuing with the prominent electronic “Syphilis and Disorder,” the audience added their own choruses of yells after Hora’s lines, the keyboardist working them into a frenzy alongside Kaya—both prompting the crowd to pump their fists. The intensity only increased with “Succubus,” bleeping electronic manipulations quickly escalating the pace as Kaya drawled the lyrics. Hora continued to back the vocalist with haunting growls to punctuate the dark chorus.

“Please always continue looking for love.” Kaya imparted this simple request to the crowd before Hora returned to his keyboard station to end the main show with the serene “SIRIUS,” meticulously playing the piano notes with an air of calm. Kaya’s voice complemented the music in soothing the crowd after an energy-demanding night before the two left the stage to a sea of applause.

The night was far from over, though. After a barrage of insistent encore calls, Hora returned to the stage first. “Let’s keep calling for Kaya,” he suggested, the continued calls bringing the much-loved vocalist back out. Hora then apparently thought it would be the opportune time to check the tuning of his keyboard; Kaya and the audience voicing their opinions of his actions to be “cute.” “Are you stupid? Take a careful look,” Hora quickly countered with a look of indignation. Although they continued to tease each other and the crowd with words like “liar” and “stupid,” it was clear that Kaya and Hora were not taking things lightly as they asked the crowd to look forward to their upcoming plans for the year.

“Please listen to this song,” Kaya requested simply before the show resumed with “transient.” Fans waved their arms in calm, synchronized movements to Kaya’s unwavering voice while Hora continued with his ever-stoic manner of playing. The peaceful atmosphere did not linger for long as the show proceeded straight into “current,” Kaya calling for the audience to summon up any ounce of energy they had left to dance along. Hora took his hands off his portable keyboard at times to prompt everyone to keep jumping to the techno tune. The duo concluded the revival with “New Vogue Children,” lights flashing with synthetic beats that the audience members clapped and pumped their fists to. A brief interlude saw Kaya holding the microphone out in order to hear the fans’ voices, grinning happily as they dutifully sang out the lyrics before the vocalist wished everyone a good night. However, Hora disrupted the serenity by adding in a practical, “You guys better be careful going home,” before departing the stage swiftly.

In the pair’s wake, announcements flashed upon the screen, filling the crowd with hope and excitement and bringing the exciting night to an end. GEBET -eins SUN,acht NOIZ,WR- proved that the gothic electronic of Schwarz Stein is far from a thing of the past and that there is plenty of room for expansion, even now for the dark duo.

Set list

  1. Testament(SE)
  2. Last Hallucination
  3. Perfect Garden
  4. Release me
  5. GENUINE
  6. HYPNOS
  7. PREDICT
  8. lapis lazuli
  9. Emergence of Silence
  10. Rise to Heaven
  11. Schism(SE)
  12. Kuro ageha
  13. fester love
  14. Queen of Decadence
  15. beautiful the virgin
  16. CREEPER
  17. Syphilis and Disorder
  18. Succubus
  19. SIRIUS

Encore

  1. transient
  2. current
  3. New vogue children

VK Exclusive

There are 23 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

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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