†я i ¢к Show Their “Method” at Ruido K4

Live Report

by Kate Havas, Mio Nagasaki, posted August 2, 2013

†я i ¢к finished off their first one-man tour promoting their album “METHOD” at the packed-out Ruido K4 on June 29. Bell chimes and gothic organ notes mixed with the sounds of the fans’ screams to welcome leader SHUSE (bass), MAKOTO (vocals), Taiji (guitar), SIN (guitar), and TERO (drums) to the stage. They  kicked off the set with the purring bass and rich vocals of “unknown sphere,” the measured beats and smoky stage creating a cool image. Lighter opening tones were taken over by strong guitar lines in “feelin rose.” The prominent backing vocals made the song almost a duet and the fans waved their arms back and forth with the melody.

“This is †я i ¢к’s first national one-man tour!” vocalist MAKOTO greeted the crowd. “We wanted to come meet you, Tokyo, and it’s finally the day! Get wild to the very end!” The powerful, easy groove of “SCAR” lent itself to a smooth, polished performance while “artra” had a more underground rock feel. The members flung their hair in slow headbanging and the crowd followed suit as red lights drowned the livehouse in an angry glow. This number contrasted nicely with the languid vocals and catchy rhythm of “gensouka” during which bright spotlights illuminated the band and Taiji played a rocking guitar solo that finished out the song as the crowd applauded.

“Today is our final show!” MAKOTO said, beginning to list the places they had performed on tour. “In each city, we felt the spirit of our fans. We’ll keep that spirit in here-” He touched his heart, “-so please give it to us!”They certainly got the crowd’s spirit with “Dimension,” an old-school rock number that showed off TERO’s violent drumming. SHUSE came forward for a heady bass solo and then SIN was given a chance to show his stuff center stage with wild guitar playing. The long, stormy instrumental was accented by strobes that flashed like lightning. Ominous sounds came from the speaker as Taiji played his guitar to make it sound like a revving engine, giving the crowd a strong sense of anticipation before diving ferociously into “Gladiolus.” SHUSE and TERO lay down a slamming rock beat while MAKOTO sang with a brooding air. The band then continued to show their personalities in the raucous “messiah” and were rewarded with loud audience applause and calls for the members.

“How was the tour?” MAKOTO asked, turning the microphone over to the other members.SIN was the first to talk. “It was awesome, start to finish. There were so many people. I was really pleased.”

“There was a lot that happened,” Taiji said. “When you’re on tour, you’re in ‘rock mode,’ so you’ve got to try to take care of yourself—but we drink a lot and eat a lot of good food.” “†я i ¢к is definitely a band that likes to eat,” MAKOTO agreed. “Like the fish we had in Hokkaido. The tuna was this thick!” He demonstrated with his hands as the chatter on stage devolved into a rundown of all the delicious things they had eaten on tour. TERO stood up for his turn to talk, prompting MAKOTO to scold him to sit back down.”But my legs are short,” the drummer protested. “Anyway, we had a lot of drinking and good food and fun, and the shows were almost all sold out so I was happy. How about today? It’s so dark in here I can only see about half of you.” The staff turned up the lights so TERO could look at the crowd.

“How many kilometers are between Hokkaido and Tokyo?” SHUSE mused. “That’s how far we’ve come for you. Let’s have a great time!”

The fans clapped above their heads as the band began the mellow opening of “DREAMS,” the relaxing melody suddenly sprinting into an upbeat rock rhythm. SIN strolled across the stage as he played and the fans called back to the band, creating a fun atmosphere. “Radient” had a pop feel, and SHUSE jumped enthusiastically throughout the song. A few classical notes accented the driving beat of “Mumeikyu DIVE,” and MAKOTO grinned as the fans answered his yells.

“Are you guys pumped? In three years, we’ve had three singles, but this is our first album and national tour. We’re really grateful for everyone’s support.” Then, revealing that the previous emcee was still on his mind, he began to compare the band to food. “Right now, we are like the level of chu-toro (medium-grade fatty tuna). Can we become o-toro (the most expensive grade of fatty tuna)? It’s hard. Sometimes you go up to o-toro and then you get downgraded again but we’re having a lot of fun. We don’t want to stop!” The band chimed in, in agreement.

They continued the show with “Phenomena,” putting a lot of energy into the rock standard. “DEEPER” had a more hair-metal band intensity, making it the kind of song perfect for speeding down a highway and the crowd threw their hands in the air, some making hearts and some making rock “devil horns.” They ended the set with the appropriately titled “MADNESS,” MAKOTO shouting the lyrics and calling out to the different areas of the crowd as the band crouched close to the edge of the stage. “Thank you!” he yelled as they finished and left.

An enthusiastic encore call brought the band back out in their tour t-shirts. “Thanks to you, we’ve safely made it to the end of the tour!” MAKOTO said, then interrupted by a staff member who had a special present from the fans: a flag signed with dozens of heartfelt messages. The band expressed how surprised and happy they were to receive it—except for SHUSE who gave the excuse that he was too surprised to be moved by the gesture.

LIES” kicked off the encore as the two guitarists played face to face, Taiji especially looking like he was having a grand time. An explosion of green lasers blinded the crowd during “ADAM,” and though the vocals were a bit muddy, the grunge-guitar and cool bass brought the song to a strong finish.

The second encore then brought a very surprising part change. As Taiji took over the drums, TERO was handed the bass and SHUSE grabbed a guitar. MAKOTO acted in the role of backup dancer, carrying a large, stuffed version of the †я i ¢к mascot character, and the band played a hot instrumental jam session that finished with laughter and smiles. The spirit continued into “LOVE RAIN” and “★” (black star). “Let’s go fuckin’ crazy, man!” MAKOTO yelled as they finished on a passionate note of energetic jumping and moshing. MAKOTO reached out to shake the fans’ hands and TERO tossed out his sticks. “Thank you! Bye!” The vocalist exited with a cute curtsey, and the other members followed him out.

Judging by the crowd reaction, the band can congratulate themselves on a successful tour. Following their Tokyo final, they doubt rewarded themselves with even more of their favorite thing: food. Sometimes it’s nice to know there are bands who eat.

Set List

unknown sphere
feelin rose
SCAR
artra
gensouka
Dimension
Gladiolus
messiah
DREAMS
Radient
Mumeikyu DIVE
Phenomena
DEEPER
MADNESS

Encore 1
LIES
ADAM

Encore 2
LOVE RAIN

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There are 12 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Kate Havas first became interested in Japanese fashion and culture in college when manga, anime, and visual kei were just beginning to make their way to America. An art and English major with a love of clothes, Kate signed onto ROKKYUU in order cover fashion and report on Tokyo trends, but was quickly also recruited to the music side of things and has been having an adventure expanding her knowledge of all things VK since. Follow her on twitter at keito_kate!

Mio Nagasaki is a freelance photographer lending her time, skills, and love for the genre to ROKKYUU Magazine.

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