Stripper's Kingdom at Shibuya BOXX

live report - 17.06.2008 22:00

DaizyStripper's first oneman takes Shibuya BOXX by storm.

Tiny Shibuya BOXX was jammed full for DaizyStripper's first oneman concert. The band had managed to sell out the small livehouse, and it certainly felt like it as every nook and cranny was occupied by girls in lolita dresses.

Opting for the dramatic opening, there was a sheet that covered the stage throughout a grandiose SE with violin-led music and swirling blue lights. Like dawn breaking, these lights became golden and through the sheet, the silhouettes of the band became clear. The vocals of Yu-giri from behind the sheeting began the first song semi-a capella, although one could barely hear him above the curiously noisy chatter that filled the livehouse. As Yu-giri finished singing the chattering stopped for the sheet to fall and the band to burst into life. Suddenly the audience did the same, abandoning their chatter to punch the air violently with their fists.

This first song, Dandelion, proved a thundering opening with a melodic heavy sound that got the audience head banging into the first guitar solo. Nao, the second guitarist, mouthed the words with great overblown gestures and a huge smile plastered on his face. Throughout the night he became a more potent bundle of energy, even climbing the stage in his enthusiasm. In contrast to Dandelion, Tsumi na batsu began with a funky drumbeat and much lighter riffs as the guitars attempted to emulate a harpsichord. As Yu-giri led the girls in the furitsuke dancing it seemed that DaizyStripper had suddenly hit their stride. In the first song, Yu-giri's vocals were a touch off, perhaps through nervousness at their oneman but by Juliet no Knife these teething issues were ironed out. The bassist, Rei, also began to mess around a little, purposely bumping heads with guitarist, Nao.

DaizyStripper took a moment to briefly introduce the band members then before Baby Kingdom rocked the place once more with its thumping guitars. Strobe lighting pounded BOXX, serenaded by guttural screams from Yu-giri - a surprising sound from someone as fragile looking as he. It was a song of many differing complex parts that Yu-giri's vocals managed well with the trembling melodic chorus and ferocious bursts of guitar. There was one particular moment of stunning calm where Yu-giri's a capella vocals were matched only to minimal synths that then exploded into the guitar solo. Baby Kingdom was followed by a drum solo from Kazami which proved to be an incredible display of speed drumming. He really had talent! Kazami played with the girls in the audience a bit during his solo too, hitting one beat then holding up his drumstick for the girls to say his name. He repeated this over and over, altering the pace of the beats and calls from fast to slow.

This game ended on a drilling beat that led neatly into the next song, another heavy number that got the whole livehouse jumping from side to side. Everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun there. Even Yu-giri's attempt at rapping was commendable. The heaviness continued into ~White Butterfly~ with its borderline metal sound, and a single strobe light illuminating the room complemented the guttural growls from the guitarists. Yet again the choruses were surprising, providing respite with a balladic feel and some powerfully held falsetto notes from Yu-giri. This segued into Hoshizora to kimi no te, a proper ballad with a stunning guitar opening and some funky bass work. After the metal sound preceding it, this was a sudden jolt with distinct pop sensibilities, and a disco ball that created a room of stars just served to cement this. Even with a slightly disjointed guitar and bass breakdown, Hoshizora to kimi no te was still a memorable effort of the evening.

The guitarists and bassist left afterwards, leaving only Yu-giri and Kazami remaining. Yu-giri spoke a little about the new single and a new song, SMILE WORLD they had written would now receive its premier performance. It proved the highlight of the concert, too, as the music was stripped of any flourishes or flamboyant displays of expertise for a simple piano ballad instead. It was a startlingly mature and deeply heartfelt offering. Although Yu-giri's voice at times wavered and hit wrong notes, this brave effort and sound that would not be out of place atop the Oricon charts lingered in the mind long after it had gone. DaizyStripper followed this with another show of their talents through an incredible cover of hide's MISERY. The piano continued to play its sweet melody as with one impressively held note, Yu-giri sang the words 'hallelujah'. As the guitars joined in with Yu-giri's vocals it became an astonishing rendition of hide; pitch perfect and emotionally attuned to the great song with a sound that reached beyond the small confines of Shibuya BOXX. It was a truly stunning arrangement of the classic song. DaizyStripper would continue to amaze - After a short MC they dove into their new single, Brilliant Days., with a beautiful acoustic lead in from Mayu. The song had neat changes in pace that varied between heavy guitar driven instrumentals and passionate piano-accompanied vocals from Yu-giri.

As this section came to a close, DaizyStripper decided to do a longer introduction and each member was given a short time with the mic on their own. The bassist, Rei, however was a little slow, causing Yu-giri to ask him if he was asleep before telling Rei to wake up! There was no need to tell Nao to wake up though as he screamed 'Are you ok?' to the crowd before thanking the staff for their efforts. The first guitarist, Mayu, meanwhile was teased during his MC: first he was called the 'red ranger' for the clothes he was wearing and then, while he spoke, Kazami played a childish melody on the piano as if to highlight his failure at speaking. Kazami continued to play over his MC; Yu-giri joined in too, singing along until Mayu told him to stop. The MC ended with the announcement of a second oneman and a tour of the major Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka gig triangle.

After the mature ballads earlier, Trigger with its stark American rock sound was quite different. It was the start of a heavy finale as the band began to throw themselves around the stage with increasing violence. The interaction between band and audience increased too with pauses for chanting of the member names amidst screamed orders of 'JUMP!' DaizyStripper tried their hand at more rapping in endorphin. and again in Black DROPPer as they continued to bring out the heavy guns with a thundering drumbeat making the bridge between songs. The guitars too had begun to favour noise over complexity, not that too many people minded as the girls head banged wildly while Nao started to climb the staging and Mayu decided to hit Kazami's cymbals. The head banging refrain continued over and over for about five minutes and while the crowd seemed to be enjoying it, it was perhaps too long for those merely watching. It seemed to be an overindulgence in repetition. Once over though, BOXX was filled with screams and calls for the members.

Before the final song, Yu-giri took the opportunity for one more MC as he spoke in more detail about the band's hopes and their path to this oneman. It was a touching talk during which no girl made a sound. The finale however was a fun heavy affair as the audience was sent from left to right by the energetic vocalist. It had a noticeably more visual sound along with anthemic 'oh oh ohs' in the chorus during which the moshing violently moved between each side of the livehouse. As the song ended BOXX was filled with a cacophony of noise, above which Yu-giri tried to make himself heard, shouting orders at the front and back. Nao decided to perform half a stage dive and proceeded to fall over as he stumbled back on stage. The free gifts were many and varied as the band threw coloured balls out into the crowd - their enthusiasm even resulted in the bucket being thrown out.

DaizyStripper seemed rather happy with their first oneman and as a result their return for the encore was after an extremely short wait. As the audience waited though, a female voice came over the tannoy system to announce the end of the live only to be interrupted by Yu-giri's voice screaming their return. He ran out with the other members to a thudding techno beat and air punching from the crowd. 'So you didn't want to go home yet?' shouted Yu-giri as they launched into the encore song, a reprise of Dandelion. Ever obliging, the girls responded to calls of 'jump' enthusiastically. It was a good encore; the heavy melody of Dandelion this time had a poppier dimension to it that together with the well sung chorus made for a memorable encore. The final chorus was a grand sing-along with every person standing in BOXX joining in.

The band could barely leave the stage once it was over and spent a while with their fans leaning far into the crowd for high-fives. It was a memorable night for DaizyStripper fans with the young band showing real promise on their first one man and occasionally a stunning maturity beyond their years.

Set List
1 Dandelion
2 Tsumi na batsu
3 Juliet no Knife
4 Baby Kingdom
5 ~White Butterfly~
6 Hoshizora to Kimi no te
9 Brilliant Days.
10 Trigger
11 endorphin.
12 Black DROPPer
13 Decade

14 Dandelion
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