KISAKI PROJECT “A Return of Visual Monster” at Akasaka Blitz
On November 27, Akasaka Blitz was packed as fans came to see the rebirth of a variety of ‘90s visual kei bands, many of them returning to the stage for the first time in more than a decade. Fans were subject to inevitable nostalgia and some reclaimed their youth as they watched the feathered performance and peacock-like screaming of Ailene Ma’riage, the hard-boiled gothic of deshabillez, and the energetic rock of Kneuklid Romance.
By the time KISAKI PROJECT was up, the audience was squirming, more than ready for the final act. The band took their sweet time getting ready, and the crowd waited in patient silence. Finally, a video screen appeared with the title KISAKI PROJECT, the live house filling with the sound of ticking as a projected clock’s time passed by rapidly. Then each member of KISAKI PROJECT was projected in turn with Satsuki on vocals, Yoshitsugu and JACK on guitars, HAYATO on drums, and finally KISAKI on bass. With a swell of triumphant music, the band appeared in silhouette behind the curtain and a cloudy billow of dry ice covered the floor of the stage behind the parting curtains.
“Sou” opened with light synthesizer and very strong bass that possessed a sense of contained energy. Satsuki gripped the microphone, his jacket sparkling, and a moment later he threw it back revealing shiny material beneath. HAYATO played the drums powerfully though the heavy song, and it was impressive that in a group of such talented instrumentalists, every one managed to shine individually and to work together beautifully. Most impressively, Satsuki’s voice was strong enough to carry over the music and not be lost in the talent backing him.
The fans watched in rapt silence as rays of blue and yellow light shone through the cloudy mist creating a celestial atmosphere. “Wasurenagusa” was measured, and all but the drum remained still while operatic female backing vocals and violin joined with Satsuki’s vocal line. The effect was trance-like, a sound almost as suitable for a meditation retreat as for a concert hall. Then the instruments returned with a big crash, and the spotlight on Satsuki flickered like lightning breaking over the stage. KISAKI’s bass kept the moody feel of the song under JACK’s fancy guitar work, and Satsuki leaned heavily on the mic-stand as if pained. Suddenly, orange light flared from behind and a church bell sounded to silence the music. Satsuki spoke at last. “Nice to meet you, we’re KISAKI PROJECT featuring Satsuki. This is from our hearts, so please listen until the end.”
The instruments picked up again and quickly reached a powerful crescendo, Yoshitsugu swaying with his instrument and KISAKI throwing himself into his playing. The long instrumental faded into the sound of running water, then silence.
A fresh synthesized run of piano lead into “Sonzai riyuu.” JACK was spotlighted in yellow before orange light burst through from side-stage like day breaking. The music picked up speed for the passionate song, and the atmosphere became more rock and roll in response to the heavier beat. Pouring emotion into the performance, Satsuki’s voice reached even the far corners of Blitz and the stage came alive with a sudden flare of purple, blue, and white lights, the band lost in a hazy glow. Satsuki reached out and JACK stared at the floor, KISAKI holding the rhythm, before a high point in the song had both guitars squealing. The lighting shifted again and the band became dark shadows on the stage as they were lit from behind.
The audience was still stunned, neither clapping nor moving between songs. A synthesized violin and soft, pre-recorded notes picked up in a rolling lullaby and the disco ball began turning and twinkling in time with the music.
“The next song is the last,” Satsuki announced. “Please listen.”
Gold light hit the disco ball and glints of gold shone like shooting stars around the arena. “Michishirube” had the measured bass and calming feel of the first numbers with a complex yet pretty melody. Satsuki reaching out as the band and audience were bathed in the golden light to complete the beautiful number.
“Today’s KISAKI PROJECT member introduction,” Satsuki said before introducing the members one by one. He began with HAYATO who picked up a march beat, then JACK, whose solo joined with the same driving feel. Yoshitsugu added his instrument’s voice to the music, then finally KISAKI had his turn, the audience showing their excitement at last as everyone cheered and made hearts for the man behind the event. KISAKI showed no outer reaction, but responded to the cheers with passionate bass. As everyone played together, a flash of bright lights and shower of paper “snow” fell from the ceiling as Satsuki opened his arms to the crowd for the final notes.
“We’re KISAKI PROJECT. Thank you.” The members all took big bows before gracefully exiting the stage.
Not only were fans treated to a technically impressive performance with beautiful music and aesthetics, there were also many revelations sure to thrill fans of classic visual kei. Announcements of further upcoming performances by Aliene Ma’ariage, Kneuklid Romance and La’Mule have 2012 shaping up to be a blast from the visual past!
There are 28 photos in this visual kei exclusive.