Umbrella Opens New Doors in Osaka

Live Report

by chi.yow, Mark Weich, posted April 3, 2014

For the last stop of umbrella’s first Tokyo/Nagoya/Osaka oneman tour, KNOCKIN’ ON THE NEXT DOOR, Osaka Gou, the crowd gathered at Osaka MUSE for a show full of grungy and rough visual rock. As the opening track of a digitized and eerie rainstorm played, the audience immediately began to clap their hands and the curtain opened to a misty, blue setting for the members to step into. Drummer Sho came first, followed by bassist Hal and guitarist Syu before vocalist Yui came out—already wearing his guitar to start the show.

Greeting the crowd with “[Tsuki],” Yui’s deep voice sounded out from the artificial fog, delighting the audience—especially when the other members joined in for united choruses. Hal and Syu even amused the crowd with a brief, cross-stage guitar battle before returning to a more sedate disposition. However, the calmer atmosphere did not last long as Syu gestured for the crowd to start pumping their fists for a more spirited “Samidare.” Even while displaying his impressive ability to confidently hold long, calling notes, Yui traded off the vocals with Syu for a few lines. Sho easily kept the beat while raising a hand to the crowd to encourage them to join in the set choreography. The drummer’s crashing cymbals then signaled the start of “Kazaana,” a bass-laden song in which Hal made his presence known in competition with Yui’s powerful vocals.

The audience once more brought out their fists as the first notes of “Raining letter” played and Yui switched to a more falsetto-based singing style for the solid, rock beat. The vocalist then set aside his guitar for “Kuro neko ga touru,” allowing him to move about the stage freely to interact with the crowd and his bandmates as he sang. Without a guitar to limit his actions, Yui also directed fans in various choreography. Meanwhile, Syu cheekily stole Hal’s spot on the stage—but only for a moment. The bassist swiftly returned from the right side of the stage to reclaim his spot before the end.

“Good evening, this is umbrella. We’re really grateful for everyone who has come to today’s live.” Yui briefly took the time for a polite greeting before continuing the show with “Red Signal Day.” The tune brought back the rainstorm in a drizzling intro mixed with sounds reminiscent of subway announcement tones. Yui re-emerged from the darkness with his arms open to call forth greater energy from the crowd as Hal encouraged them to keep pumping their fists and clap with the vocalist. The spotlight next shone on Sho as he introduced “Dennou-Shounen-Speakeeer.” with an impressive drum solo before Yui shouted for everyone to start viciously headbanging. Hal enthusiastically set an example worth following. The vocalist effortlessly matched the rapid pace Sho set, moving aside from the center box of the blue-washed stage for Syu’s guitar solo before returning to call for a finishing round of headbangs. The energy carried over for “Witch?” as Sho’s cymbals and Yui’s calls cued the crowd to start jumping. This continued for the entirety of the catchy song; even Syu getting caught up as he hopped about while strumming.

Opening with a series of chords from Syu, “LoV” calmed the crowd by merit of Yui’s soft crooning voice and a relatively mild pace,
although Sho would occasionally cue for moments of fistpumping as the rhythm deemed fit. The closing notes smoothly flowed into the opening of “Hi [Jou] Kaidan,” with Yui once more donning his guitar as Hal took up the mic to call for everyone to “Bring it! The back too!” while skillfully plucking at his bass strings to set an aggressive pace.

“Thank you very much, everyone, for coming to the live today!” Hal exclaimed as he took charge of the main emcee of the night, starting by expressing his gratitude for the many lives they had played so far in 2014, as well as to those in the crowd who expressed that they had bought the latest single. The bassist then gave Sho a turn to share his feelings and comments—which were mainly a repeat of what Hal had already said but added, “I’m really happy we were able to do a Tokyo/Nagoya/Osaka tour. Next, I want to try a Zepp tour!”

Syu then stepped up to his microphone, sharing that he was nervous when starting the tour but that every live had been a fun experience he was grateful to be able to share with the different fans from each city. “Please continue to support us as we grow from here!” The guitarist ended his turn on a cheerful note before passing the spotlight on to Yui who kept his words simple and straight-forward by re-expressing gratitude for all the support from everyone which had allowed the band to make it to their current stage.

“Eh? You’re done already? But we need more time!” A surprised Hal used the extra time to showcase the day’s goods in case there were audience members who were still debating which items to purchase before moving onto the main announcement. This responsibility was given to Yui as Sho playfully extended a drumroll leading up to the news. Subsequent amusement crowd quickly turned into cheers of delight as Yui shared that a Kyoto one man had been organized to celebrate the band’s 4th anniversary on June 23. “It will be at my house!” Yui joked before Hal pointed out that they probably wouldn’t be able to fit so many people into such a space.

umbrella continued the show with their first demo song, “Powdery Snow.” Melancholy notes bid farewell to winter—making it a suitable song for the time of year—with Yui’s soothing vocals backed by Hal and Syu. Yui then struck the opening chords for “Ito,” back on guitar, and Syu added in his own sounds as the vocalist crooned softly into the microphone. As the bass and drums filtered in, Yui cranked up the power of his voice as well as the song’s tempo, alternating with vibrato techniques before the lights faded, leaving Yui alone in a singular spotlight.

Guitar opened “Door” with heavy notes, Syu dancing about as Sho raised a hand to get the crowd to follow along. With his mischievous
side re-emerging, Syu crossed the stage to playfully kick Hal before hurriedly returning to his position—the bassist returning the favor moments later. Yui and Syu finished the song leaning back-to-back as the guitar carried out its ending solo. “Toumei” then brought another spike of energy to the crowd with its faster pace and cheerful notes. Hal and Syu leaned against each other as Yui called out to rouse the crowd once more for a rolling finish, taking a quick bow before closing the main set with the mellow instrumental, “Sekai no Owaru Oto.”

Sho treated fans to an extensive drum solo as the curtains opened to grant the audience’s encore request. Hal could be seen encouraging the drummer to continue as the other members slowly made their way back to the stage to retake their instruments. Hal once more took charge of the emcee in order to thank the crowd for the encore call. In another unconventional twist, umbrella requested that their fans bring out their phones in order to record (and live stream, if possible) the performance of “Wasurenagusa.” Multiple screens extended the colorful stage out to the floor, transforming the venue into a starry, night-like landscape that complemented the calm melodies.

Although Hal clearly signaled a “Stop!” to the recording, the surprises did not end there. The bassist quickly announced that the next song, re-play of “[Tsuki],” would be sung entirely by Sho. The drummer was understandably a little nervous at taking up such a challenge—to sing while simultaneously drumming—so Yui offered his help by accompanying Sho for a practice run of the chorus while playing the opening guitar chords. After, repositioning themselves so that the drummer could be seen more easily, Sho put forth his best effort for the alternate version of “[Tsuki]” while fans and band mates cheered him on.

“That’s a really difficult song!” Sho commented immediately after finishing.

“That was the best!” Hal exclaimed, asking the audience if they would like to hear more from the drummer in the future.

The encore performances continued to delight the audience and after chatting about chocolate, sweets, and—the most important information—the recording of a new upcoming single, umbrella presented a new song, “Fake – Under Ground,” amidst flickering lights and riling yells.  Syu took a low stance to observe the crowd’s reactions as he played, grinning as fans continued to enthusiastically follow the various cues from Sho’s cymbals while Yui’s powerful vocals dominated the song. Ending the night with the light-hearted “Haikei, amebiyori,” Yui prompted the crowd to bring out their towels to wave and swing. Sho even stood from his drum kit to show the audience what to do while continuing to tap out the beat. Similar to the opening song of the night, each member each took a verse to sing before ending it with a spirited yell and jump.

Bringing forth a torrent of talent, umbrella finished their first oneman tour with an enjoyable show for all present. They announced a slew plans to continue gathering power for their next storm, with their notable, upcoming 4th anniversary live scheduled to take place in Kyoto on June 23.

 

Set List

  1. [Tsuki]
  2. Samidare
  3. Kazaana
  4. Raining letter
  5. Kuro neko ga touru
  6. Red Signal Day
  7. Dennou-Shounen-Speakeeer.
  8. Witch?
  9. LoV
  10. Hi [Jou] Kaidan
  11. Powdery Snow
  12. Ito.
  13. Door
  14. Toumei
  15. Sekai no Owaru Oto

Encore

  1. Wasurenagusa
  2. [Tsuki] -Sho version-
  3. Fake – Under Ground
  4. Haikei, amebiyori

VK Exclusive

There are 54 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.

Mark seriously started into photography in 2006 after becoming frustrated with a recalcitrant cherry blossom and a laggardly point and shoot digital camera. Since then he has refined his technique and enjoys taking photographs of anything that piques his interest: anything from macro- and astro- photography, portraits and art photography. He hopes to communicate a sense of wonder, beauty, adventure or sometimes just whimsy with his photographs.

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