Tuesday, June 9, 2009

[NEWS] Versailles Live Report

05.19 Versailles Live Report
(From Virtual Japan)

5/19/09: Tokyo Metropolis Versailles Festival at Shin-Kiba Studio Coast Versailles

The show began promptly at seven. Now, Merry, for what they’re worth, seems to have a pretty impressive fan base. An outsider to the band’s style might seem lost at the bands utter refusal to MC, identify themselves, or really say much of anything non-lyrical outside of a rather potent “Tokyo!” but Merry’s fans don’t seem to mind, or care. Far be it for anyone in the Merry spectrum, fan or band member, to acknowledge any similarities between Merry and the dozens of other Visual bands out there, but maybe herein lies what’s made Merry last this long. Maybe the name “Merry” refers to the atmosphere they intend to give off? If so, they did a fine job.
Looking at the Wikipedia for Merry, the band’s musical style is described as a “blend (of) the genres of classic rock, punk rock, jazz and blues, occasionally experimenting with undertones of techno, surf rock, Heavy Metal, ballads and more… the result is undeniably ‘totally fresh.’” Such a discordant amalgamation, but if Merry does one thing right, it’s discordance. Along with bassist Tetsu and drummer Nero, vocalist Gara and guitarists Yuu and Kenichi did their best to force-feed energy into the crowd, and for all intents and purposes they succeeded.
After Merry’s 45-minute set, King-Show, or Kinniku Shojo Tai took the stage. The band proper is likely older than most of the evening’s guests, having been active primarily from 1982 to 1999, reuniting only three years ago. The seven-year rest either did them wonders or was wholly unneeded, as fans old and young felt their presence within seconds. A select group of fans may only know of guitarist Kitsutaka Fumihiko (click on the link to sample his solo works) from his partnership with Gackt in 1997’s “Hideki Saijo Rock Tribute ~Kids Wanna Rock,” or of vocalist Otsuki Kenji from his work in recent anime series like Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, but within the first few songs everyone in the audience knew who they were.
Sure, bands like X JAPAN, Versailles, and to a lesser-known degree a:vout are recognizable often for their dual guitar work, but despite having two guitarists King-Show only needs Kitsutaka’s furious solos – the kind where you watch him and imagine he must have been a stenographer in a previous life; that, or Neal Schon – to prove their worth. Those who needed such proof seemed to be in decently high number; in fact, Otsuki, wearing a biker coat with the band’s name stitched in large kanji letters, made the point in one of his MCs: “You know, there are probably a lot of fans out here now who have never even heard of us. That said, let’s have a traumatic time together.”
Versailles didn’t need large coats or a forgiving fanbase. Instead, they started off with a member-by-member approach onto the stage, complete with “We are Versailles” chanted menacingly to a Gothic-styled prelude (akin to Shang Tsung’s “And now, for a taste of things to come”). Once Yuki, Jasmine You, Teru, Hizaki, and Kamijo had assembled, and “Aristocrat’s Symphony” started to play, the air inside Studio Coast… somehow changed. It’s tough to explain, but here goes.
The first four rows of concertgoers started to headbang, some entirely not in tune to the music. The next two rows somehow merged with rows three and four, and while there was no moshing to be had, by the time “Shout and Bites” began to play every member of the audience had their entire body tuned into the music. A short MC later, “Zombie” filled the air, probably one of the catchier songs of the evening despite (or because of) the lack of the word “Zombie” in the lyrics proper.
Versailles continued their set with “Prince,” “Princess,” and ended with “The Red Carpet Day.” Naturally, they returned for an encore, but not before telling a story. Apparently, hearing their elders King-Show play brought drummer Yuki to tears, ultimately killing his makeup. It was a touching, humanizing moment, perhaps destroyed by the energy of “The Revenant Choir” moments later. Their first single will be hard to top, though their major debut, Ascendead Master, may do just that when it comes out next month.

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