SuG’s Oneman show at Hibiya Yagai Ongakudo, B.A.B.Y.

Live Report

by chi.yow, posted July 14, 2014

For their first tour after coming back from hiatus, SuG ambitiously hit venues across the country as well as heading overseas to Asia before returning to Tokyo for a oneman show titled B.A.B.Y. on May 6 at Hibiya Yagai Ongakudo. The day was unexpectedly chilly but that didn’t put a damper on spirits as the band heated up the outdoor venue with their non-stop energy.

The show opened with flag bearers marching between the aisles from the back of the venue down toward the stage, joined by masato (guitar), yuji (guitar), Chiyu (bass), and shinpei (drums), each carrying a letter to spell out the name of the show: B.A.B.Y. After making the rounds between the eager fans, the members placed the block letters at the front of the stage before taking up their instruments. Takeru (vocals) dashed out from stage left to get the party started with “Koakuma Sparkling.” The funky summer tune had everyone dancing from the start. The crowd followed Takeru and the back-up dancers in the set choreography and engaged in a call and response with the vocalist for the rapping portion. Beatbox scratching signaled the start of “Block Party MonstAr” which kept the energy flowing as everyone clapped and jumped along to the heavy yet catchy tune that was punctuated by a strong bass line from Chiyu. When he wasn’t rapping and calling out the lyrics, Takeru traveled about the stage in Michael Jackson style, pulling off a mini moonwalk before the jungle safari intro of “Fast Food Hunters” dropped in. Each member gave a small, individual showcase of their talent during the funky song and Takeru continued to show off his dance skills alongside the back-up dancers during his own moment to shine.

“Good evening, this is SuG! We’ve returned, Tokyo!” Takeru excitedly addressed the crowd. “Today’s show, B.A.B.Y., is not a tour final—but from here on, we, SuG, are going to put the full strength of our power into the show. For the most fun show ever, this is really the best weather.” That statement was not entirely exactly shared by all, though, as Yuji complained, “It’s super cold! Why is it like this?!” with a touch of exaggerated despair, to the amusement of the crowd.

“Even if it’s the coldest day today, let’s just make it the hottest day! Bring it on, Tokyo! Come on! Let’s make it the best party with ‘LOVE SCREAM PARTY!’” Takeru cried, overriding any attempt at negativity. The lively tune was the perfect choice to heat up the venue as Takeru led everyone through the various choreographies while Yuji showed his excitement off with little kicking dances. Chiyu impressed with a skillfully plucked bass solo before everyone began dashing about the stage to rile up different sections of the crowd. “Boom Boom Neat” continued riding on the positive high; the smooth, groovy number taking the craziness down a notch, at least until Chiyu brought out his saxophone for a small solo. Takeru called for the audience to continue showing their energy and going “stupid crazy” for the following “Fukanzen Beautyfool Days.” shinpei’s drums varied the tempo, giving the crowd the cues for when to jump and shout and building the tension up for an explosive last verse and chorus as everyone let loose.

“It’s not cold, it’s hot!” The crowd readily agreed with Takeru in a chorus of cheers. “Let’s make it even hotter. Let’s make it so freaking hot that we have to go sleeveless!” He gestured to his own sleeveless outfit before moving on to a different subject. “Really, after seeing so many different places, it’s been a while since we’ve received feelings straight from the heart from people who enjoy SuG’s music! We, too, want to deliver our feelings straight, as well as in a super cool way. For making this the best tour—thank you so much. We’re going to carefully keep all the feelings we’ve received from the tour. Today, in this open air, we want to convey our own feelings in the coolest manner. It’s been a really long time since we played this song but please listen.” After a blitz of high energy songs, “kanon” gave the audience a short respite as intertwined keyboard notes and guitar filled the air. Takeru spun a tale of bittersweet summers in a voice wrought with emotion, finishing with a bare whisper. The period of calm continued with “Mujoken kofukuron,” music box notes woven among the guitars adding a touch of nostalgia to the reflective piece. Takeru’s vocals and motions were especially moving until he called out the last lines before the music faded.

The vocalist then left the stage for the instrumentalists to entertain the crowd with a fun little jam-fest that was slightly unworldly as a digital intro filtered in to start. A team of bicycle stuntmen also made their way to the stage to perform tricks between the different “team” displays before the band transitioned smoothly into the next song. Takeru returned to the stage to lead into the soon-to-be-released “B.A.B.Y.” which proved to be another heavy and positive number that continued to infuse the crowd with energy. DJ turntable scratching accented the playful guitar-work while Takeru called out the lyrics from atop the front stand. “NO OUT NO LIFE” gave the show an entertaining twist as the baseball-themed song not only had everyone jumping and clapping along but then, mid-song, each member took turns to send out plastic balls for the audience via a stumpy plastic bat. They quickly found that an underhanded technique worked most efficiently in sending the balls out to the furthest reaches of the venue.

“Are you having fun?” Takeru called out, receiving enthusiastic affirmations. “Before this, we had an event, so we were short on time to do a rehearsal. Everything was all over the place! This is kind of what happens a lot in visual kei but despite all the difficulties, it was super fun!” The crowd continued to cheer as well as laugh appreciatively as the vocalist shared a summary of the tour leading up to the night’s show before he turned his attention back to the weather. “It’s a beautiful sky over us, huh? So this ‘beautiful sky, under the’ kind of thing, with this kind of great atmosphere created, it’s been really fun, thank you!” Although the English was out of order, the message was clearly communicated. Takeru then encouraged his bandmates to share their feelings and stories.

“In every single country we visited on this tour, everyone we’ve seen has been amazing and so have all the memories they’ve given us. Fans, no matter what their age, did their best to come see us,” masato praised, the first to share his thoughts. Fellow guitarist yuji apparently felt after about two minutes that this speech was a bit long. “Sorry, but we’re a little short on time. We only have about 50 minutes, after all,” he was interrupted. However, when masato attempted to wrap it up, yuji overrode it with a few playful guitar notes. “It must be nice to go first as leader, isn’t it?” Takeru concluded for the now slightly confused lead guitarist, effectively passing the opportunity to talk over to yuji, who focused on using funky guitar chords to convey his mood to the crowd.

Takeru then asked what sort of energy Chiyu had to contribute, particularly interested in his impressions of the 3-man show that was held in Osaka. “Osaka was super-duper fun. This entire tour was really fun, actually, and interesting, too.” As Chiyu spoke, it seemed that yuji wasn’t quite finished giving his impressions, adding in the occasional guitar chord to the bassist’s thoughts. Takeru then helped to share a story involving Chiyu and an iron plate chef. Evidently, when grilled meat is involved, it results in the bassist behaving like an elementary school kid.

The vocalist then turned the discussion to pre-live troubles. “We had some trouble during rehearsals. For the first time, all of our data disappeared! Of all days, today was seriously the worst day for that to happen!” Takeru groaned. “But SuG has always been a band that has fun in the face of adversity. Today’s trouble actually raised our excitement. Although, Pei-san (shinpei) was like, ‘Oh, no. What do we do? What do we do? My heart is pounding!’” This comment drew gales of laughter from the crowd and also introduced shinpei’s turn at the mic—which mainly centered on how the data was thankfully recovered in time before Takeru used a pun to spin the words into a more perverted interpretation. “Sorry for the perversion but, well, everyone who likes SuG has to be somewhat perverted,” the vocalist added with a mischievous grin.

“It’s still a little cold, and we promised a hot show. So let’s heat it up!” he continued. Giant colorful balloons suddenly made their appearance for “☆GimmexGimme,” bursting to shower the fans with even more (smaller) balloons to wave about in sync to the music. In keeping with the title’s implications, Takeru greedily demanded that the crowd give him more of their energy throughout the light-hearted number. yuji then opened “Oreshiki Continue” with some crazy guitar; Takeru wielding a whistle—when he wasn’t powerfully belting out the lyrics—as he directed the crowd to dance from side to side to which Chiyu joined in, dashing about the stage for a number of rounds. “Crazy Bunny Coaster” continued the silly fun, especially when the vocalist directed the crowd to follow in the cute dance that called for participants to make flapping bunny ears with their hands as they hopped about to the cutesy, poppy tune. Much like a roller coaster, the tempo kept changing as per shinpei’s drumbeats and Takeru’s half-rapped, half-sung style of singing.

Toy Soldier” brought the crowd under the direction of the heavy positive generals of mischief as Takeru commanded all to salute along to the chorus. Chiyu gestured for even higher jumps in accordance to shinpei’s continuous drumming, the bassist wandering about the stage to play to different sections of the audience. Towels were quickly brought out for swinging as the spirit-rallying intro of “39GalaxyZ” rang out, Takeru praising their speed with the comment, “You’re all good children!” For this basketball-themed song, fans put their necks to the test with brief, yet intense headbanging sessions with each “period” that shinpei rapidly tapped out. Back-up dancers with pom-poms in their clutches aided the crowd through the choreography, shaking the fluffy items in highlight of masato’s skillful guitar solo as his bandmates ran amok about the stage.

“For all the lives that we’ve had since ‘update.0’, thank you so much. That you for waiting for us! From here on, I want to say so many different things, like no matter who it is, any band can do anything like SuG did. No matter how scary the place is, even if it’s outside, and no matter who is there and what is there, anything can happen. Basically, for letting us carry out and do whatever… Thank you so much for supporting us. This song is SuG’s strongest song, so please sing along with us.” “dot.0” finished the main set in an emotionally-laden ballad that reflected on things that should not be forgotten, Takeru crouching at the front stand as he switched between a sweet, melodic style and half-rapped vocal delivery. He once more beckoned the crowd to join him in singing the last chorus, taking a bow as the last notes dissipated into the night. “Everyone here’s the best. Thank you so much!” After blowing a kiss to the crowd, the band took their leave of the stage.

As the lights dimmed, it did not take long for the crowd to insist that SuG return for an encore performance—which was willingly granted. “MISSING” opened in a quite literal fiery blaze as stagefront torches burst into columns of flame and dark guitar riffs swiftly took over; the audience clapping along excitedly. Takeru matched the intensity by powerfully belting out the lyrics, building the tension up toward the climax of the song.

The band shared another round of gratitude with the supportive crowd as well as various live announcements before continuing with “gr8 story,” utilizing the excitement built up from the new concert announcements as fuel for even more fun. Takeru once more showed his beat-boxing skills during the fresh and playful song and masato followed with an extensive guitar solo as yuji signaled for the crowd to continue jumping along. The guitarists then aided in cranking up the excitement further with “heavy+electro+dance+punk,” demanding another energy-draining session of choreography that ranged from headbanging to feverish fist-pumping as Takeru dashed about the stage to entice everyone into participation. Each member added in their own style of yells—yuji’s more guttural than the rest—as Takeru rapped out his lines.

“Come on!” They finished off the live with the now traditional “Tokidoki suteki na kono sekai” and streamers burst out to the grand fanfare as back-up dancers and stunt bicyclists made their collective return to the stage to join the band in a colorful celebration of a successful show. Everyone joined in to sing the final chorus, as simple as it was, to conclude the live with a strong sense of unity before the band departed the stage after calling out their continued “Thanks!”

Continuing to charge full-steam ahead in 2014, SuG shows no signs of stopping as they announce more one-man shows, including a set of “versus” lives that will pit the “positive” against their “heavy” (darker) image, with the resulting DVD footage dependent on the attending audience to decide. Such unique ideas make SuG a band who can continue to please vast crowds, to say nothing of their tenacity and guts.

 

Set List

  1. Koakuma Sparkling
  2. Block Party MonstAr
  3. Fast Food Hunters
  4. LOVE SCREAM PARTY
  5. Boom Boom Neat
  6. Fukanzen Beautyfool Days
  7. kanon
  8. Mujoken kofukuron
  9. B.A.B.Y.
  10. NO OUT NO LIFE
  11. ☆GimmexGimme☆
  12. Oreshiki Continue
  13. Crazy Bunny Coaster
  14. Toy Soldier
  15. 39GalaxyZ
  16. dot.0

 

Encore

  1. MISSING
  2. gr8 story
  3. heavy+electro+dance+punk
  4. Tokidoki suteki na kono sekai

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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