Thomas First Production Event: Gekijou Madness
With striking vocals and a rough edge that gets under your skin, Thomas and their hand-picked support acts rocked the Shinjuku basement live-house in competition with the best!
December 1, beginning of the end of the year and preparation to move onto the next. The timing of Thomas’ first production event could hardly have been more appropriate, marking an important landmark in this band’s evolution.
A total of six bands took the stage at Ruido K4, all highly varied yet complementary:
- gaudie – Ambience and anger in motion.
- ReivieЯ – Concisely violent, featuring screamo techniques tempered with melody.
- As If in the Darkness – Deliberately gothic with a melodic focus, rare to visual kei.
- Video Grammar – Surrealistically, disturbingly, fascinatingly jazzy.
- Tokyo Heroes – Complete with skillfully harmonized ballads and rampagers to make your heart race.
- Thomas – Striking vocals with a rough edge and music to get under your skin.
Blue strobes lit the empty stage accompanied by a rock theme with an electronic edge. Fans kept up a steady clap until drummer Lotto, guitarist Toshi and bassist Zun entered ahead of the curb and launched “Target.” Vocalist Masataka made his own appearance soon after, lighting a fire under the crowd with a raw scream as they threw themselves back and forth to the driving beat. Toning it down for a simple but aggressive vocal entry, the number soon escalated into something hot and heavy that kept bodies in constant motion whether diving over barriers, bouncing on the spot or tossing heads to a frantic rhythm courtesy of Lotto. The chorus, catchy and addictive–later repeated in angry, growling tones–unified the crowd in a vigorous bout of jumping capped by Masataka’s scream of “Tsugi wa omaeda!” (“You’ll be next!”) The musicians rocked out until the very end.
Masataka launched “Pistol” with a “Yay!” as he hopped up on the stage-front speaker. Toshi and Zun were spying the crowd, on the lookout for responses to the vocalist’s triple yell, which was satisfyingly repeated. The number gave the instrumentalists a chance to shine, featuring short but vital musical interludes, a special bass solo and some cute interaction between the two wingmen. With avid moshing both in the pit and onstage, it was hard to tell whether the crowd or the band were more invested in the number. “Tokyo!” Masataka screamed, wrapping it up with a “1, 2, 3!” A dark verse and prominent guitar adjusted the mood before “Buranco” then shifted again into a rare, positive sound. The crowd couldn’t get enough, careening across the floor through both chorus and instrumental, somehow pushing the pace even further in response to Masataka’s “You can do better!” Zun was right there moshing along with them only stopping to watch as the wave of movement broke into a roiling sea of thrashing heads. The finale was a crazy vision of tangling limbs and a mass of travelling bodies. “Yeah!” Masataka approved as Lotto wound it up with a drawn out riff and final cymbal crash. A pause was filled with screams for each of the band members before Masataka addressed the crowd. Explaining that the title of the event, “Gekijo Manifest’” matched the title of the new single, he encouraged the fans to get their hands on it before kicking off the second half of the set. Yelling “”Chain!”” he broke out his sickest growl, then contrasting it neatly with a melodic turn. The crowd battered the air with eager fists until the number dissolved into a mishmash of bodies bending in half, propelled by the music. The alternation into a bright chorus saw Toshi strumming with a dramatic flair and singing a high harmony. Meanwhile, Masataka made skillful use of the tools of stillness and movement to compliment the melody, then leading the charge in a wave of shouts and pumping his own fist in example. In the background, Lotto gave his all to the drums while singing along energetically. Finally, leaning back into a growl, Masataka ended the number on a high.
The band quickly got into “Psychedelic Mobile,” each physically expressing the music in his own way. A driving instrumental sent reams of hair whipping all over the place, the vocalist surveying the scene from up close as he murmured into the mic. Toshi dragged Zun to center stage for the instrumental and guitar solo, assisted by the crowd’s consistent clap beat. When the wayward guitarist backed into Masataka, he received a comical expression of outrage, grinning foolishly in apology. Spurred on by shouts and gestures from the band, the crowd took Masataka’s advice to “Enjoy every last second!” Soon, “Tsumi to batsu” saw them worked up into a constant shout, Zun churning out a groovy solo under the spotlight before red and green strobes reappeared to illuminate the lively number. A heavy evolution had the crowd first clapping then headbanging, then slamming back and forth and soon the band joined in, all going nuts to a wicked rhythm, Masataka almost knocking himself over in a fit of unrestrained thrashing. After a spot of teasing, the final song, “Cold Delay,” began with a typical ballad sound although an electric current whined a high counterpoint to the melody throughout. At first this provided an uncomfortable edge to the tune but through constant escalation the music soon caught up to the tension of the sound inducing a substantial emotional effect. Though a ballad in nature, the piece was not softly sung, Masataka’s near frantic tone a powerful tool, the crowd transfixed from calm start to intense finish. Then, soberly, the members exited one by one without a word, leaving behind a speechless crowd–though not speechless for long.
The need for more soon inspired a dedicated encore chant which successfully drew Thomas back onstage, Zun running back and forth waving about the bandage hanging from his wrist. After expressing their gratitude for the encore, Masataka then apologized for selling out of the new single. He also made sure his appreciation for the line-up of bands was known but aside from those facts, he wasted little time, quickly renewing the crowd’s energy for “Namida Iro Laboratory.” Sung out proudly at top range, the tune provided Masataka the chance to show off, vocally and physically, leaning off his mic stand in true rock star fashion. A rift in the music gave air to both band and crowd, all jumping in unison before applying fists and voices in one final spurt. To finish with a blast, Thomas whipped out “Personality.” Vibrant guitar had the fans bouncing across the room almost from start to finish, both Zun and Toshi headbanging along as they played–although the bassist pulled it off whilst bouncing around in circles and even made the combination look cool! The fun was infectious, girls climbing up on the front bar to have their heads patted by the musicians. With Masataka screaming for all his worth, the precisely synchronized final chord carried an air of finality and satisfaction. Some drum improv and one last crash of the cymbals and Masataka offered up a round of applause to the crowd who returned it in appreciation of a set well played.
Proving they have what it takes to pull together a great event and dominate the stage, Thomas’ event was not only successful but also inspiring. Don’t miss out on their exciting future!
- Buranko (Swing)
- Psychedelic Mobile
- Tsumi to batsu
- Cold Delay
- Namida iro Laboratory