MUCC 2010 Tour 'Chemical Parade' in Hibiya

live report - 22.11.2010 06:00

For the fans gathered in Hibiya on October 31st, it wasn’t Halloween with a side of MUCC; it was MUCC all over with a touch of Halloween fun.

Emulating the Karma album art, the stone shell of the outdoor amphitheatre doubled as a projector screen complete with green grass, blue skies, and a somewhat grumpy looking goat. The stage was littered with disco balls of various sizes, some seemingly embedded in the ground. In addition to the album theme, a tribute to the holiday appeared in the form of blow up pumpkins throughout the stage and the seated rows. Halloween appropriate music played as hundreds of fans sporting cat ears, witch hats and the occasional pumpkin costume searched for their friends and seats. A pumpkin clad roadie could even be seen attending to pre-show matters onstage.

Lighting scrolled through a multi-coloured sequence as the entrance music started and fans leaped to their feet, clapping in rhythm. MUCC entered to excited cries until Tatsuro made his way to the front of the stage, tossing a hand up over his eyes to survey the crowd. “FALLING DOWN,” he sang suddenly. The laid-back start quickly picked up energy as fans began jumping under the light of bright green lasers. The crowd responded enthusiastically to the vocalist’s prompts with equal if not greater energy until the number came to an abrupt halt mid-phrase. “FALLING-” The segue into Zeroshiki was nevertheless a smooth affair that had fists and voices raised in a unanimous rhythm. The highlight of the number was Tatsuro’s experimentation with a theremin – an instrument involving the manipulation of soundwaves without physical touch by the player – in the form of a fire truck.

Chemical Parade Blueday was announced by a technicolour projection of the title onto the stone wall. Meanwhile, Tatsuro can-canned to the techno beat and classical-pops violin. Miya’s guitar solo added a hard rock component to the dance-beat of the number which was immediately contrasted by the perfect blending of Tatsuro’s voice with an electronic sound effect. A lingering techno beat transformed into music until the opening guitar solo of Oz tipped fans off. Gasps of appreciation led into shouts integrating with the music. The vocalist danced back and forth across the wide stage as the crowd jumped, a light disco atmosphere infecting the night air. Tatsuro threw in a heavy growled verse that let up in time for the chorus to return to disco-land. Throughout the party sound, a strong, catchy guitar theme held the piece together until the very end, instantly rating applause.

A. created a relaxed opening under the open sky with only a light rain sprinkling down. Miya’s plucking melody and Tatsuro’s calming tone led into a surprisingly strong chorus, the vocalist’s strength of voice plainly evidenced. Applause broke out in response to Tatsuro’s bow. “Hibiya, this is where it starts!” he cried, cuing the heavy opening of Dakkuu. White strobes lit punching fists and thrashing heads as the crowd dove into the number. Tatsuro’s monstrous growl resounded to wicked effect amidst the Halloween set as the crowd tossed their bodies back and forth, caught up in the music. The number was short but sweet, even the lighter sections driven by a minor melody and simple but hard underlying beat that had the fans locked in its grip.

The next song was preluded by the projection of a lily. Its wilting was the lead in to I am Computer. An electronic sound and techno beat were coupled with images of circuitry drawing across the walls like a typical computer screen saver. Several other screensavers played throughout the song, the lyrics “I am computer” in Tatsuro’s accent combining with the scenery to create a clever comment on the digital age. Meanwhile, SATOchi went nuts on the drummed outtro until ‘The Last Warning’ flashed red on the backdrop and the crowd’s applause rang out. The opening of Hotaru saw Tatsuro, Miya and YUKKE all up front, silhouetted. The vocalist jumped about in the twilight while the musicians dug into the melody. He continued bouncing athletically throughout the instrumental, cutting in for his solo which led to a subtle but effective key change, impressively pulled off. Then, light, jazzy cymbals introduced moon [L・N]ight. YUKKE’s opening bass solo coolly executed under a red spot. A murmur of recognition issued from the pleased crowd who swayed to the music as Tatsuro’s voice weaved the difficult melody with apparent ease. Corruption kicked in with another jazzy intro complete with cymbal touches and trickles of piano. The red-lit pumpkin patch set and background graveyard projection were an eerie aid to the threatening undertone of the melody and strong imagery of the English lyrics. YUKKE performed his solo on an almost miniature double bass. It was Tatsuro’s break into scat and falsetto that accelerated the song to the next level, the words “More than anyone” repeating until Miya plucked the final chord.

The lovely tune of Polaris was enhanced by the image of a galaxy rotating above the band. With strong influences of theatrical melody, violins and flutes accented the vocals, also accompanying Miya’s guitar solo. The number evolved throughout until Miya could be seen grooving to the classic/rock blend. Finally, the repeated opening melody brought the number to a plain but sweet end. “… We’re MUCC,” Tatsuro stated at last, launching into an MC full of light chatter concerning Halloween, the weather and the colourful array of the crowd. “We had Halloween in mind with the staging, but the setlist is all MUCC right until the very end,” he announced, proceeding to rally the crowd. “Let’s go!” he cried, Miya launching FUZZ with a funky guitar solo before Tatsuro got down on the harmonica. YUKKE brought out another fancy bass for the number, he and Miya providing backing vocals of “Ah wo~ah wo~ah!” through the chorus. Hands held to his ears, Tatsuro demanded volume from the audience. The positive melody of the bridge evolved into a heavier sound until the chorus broke out once more with Tatsuro throwing an invisible lasso above his head and the crowd jumping with abandon. Miya bent over his guitar, holding out the last notes and YUKKE executed a courtly bow before they joined Tatsuro back at the drum kit. SATOchi beat out a long riff leading into his drum solo. As the crowd picked up the timing of his pauses to shout out to him, the remaining three members made sure to keep them going. Then, a sweet growl from Tatsuro kicked off Howling. Heads banged and hands flew throughout the fast instrumentals. The number came to an abrupt stop, fans crying out as the band encouraged more and more out of them. Then it was back on, a heavy riff and deep growl propelling the crowd back and forth on the spot. A crazy top speed duet brought Miya and YUKKE to centre stage. Then it was the crowd’s turn to sing a series of drawn out melodic “Woah’”s that resounded even outdoors. SATOchi’s outtro looked like a kid throwing a tantrum, but with unbelievable precision and timing as he smacked the cymbals to completion.

Without dropping any energy, Lion had the crowd moving to the music, Tatsuro booty-dancing through the verse. Wicked guitar and wicked growls infected the crowd without restraint as they folded to the beat. In extreme contrast to the violent sound, the uplifting melody of the chorus was raised to the sky until Tatsuro literally kicked off the guitar solo. It was the crowd who led in the chorus once more at Tatsuro’s cue and eventually the number came to a heavy end, vocalist rapping over the top. The next moment was SATOchi’s, the crowd yelling in time to his drum beats and then responding to Miya and YUKKE’s short riffs. “Last!!!” Tatsuro screamed. Hands and bodies flew everywhere as the crowd moshed into each other and across the rows for Na mo naki yume. Meanwhile, Tatsuro skipped back and forth across the stage, crossing paths with Miya and YUKKE along the way. A pause stopped the fans in their tracks. SATOchi’s cymbal crashes had them screaming back until the band acknowledged their efforts and led back into the number. The lyrics were handed to the crowd at one point, their strong voices probably travelling beyond the venue. “Yeah!” Tatsuro cried, evidently impressed before initiating one last, moshing rampage before he left suddenly. Miya and YUKKE took a little more time, bowing and laying down their instruments in one smooth move before they too left the stage. Last but not least, SATOchi climbed out from amidst pumpkins and disco balls to give the crowd one last view before he took himself off as well.

But the crowd weren’t about to let it end. With the MUCC symbol burned into the background and pumpkins rotating eerily onstage, they called steadily for an encore. Re-entering, YUKKE made the mistake of sitting on a disco ball from which he fell as it rotated, receiving a kick from Tatsuro in punishment. “It’s YUKKE’s MC time,” Tatsuro announced, handing over the proverbial mic. “What do we say on Halloween?” YUKKE prompted. “Trick or treat!!!” the crowd responded. Tatsuro chimed in then with a quote of “Trick AND treat”, a phrase he believes is splendidly ‘MUCC.’ SATOchi had the task of prepping the crowd. “Being the second day, we won’t let it end like this! We’re gonna make you wet!”

The heavy opening of Orugooru was a good way to start, the crowd jumping in response to hot bass supported by mean guitar and the menacing figure of a dreadlocked Tatsuro. A deceptively light verse gave way to heavy moshing the moment his voice turned dark. Running across the stage, Miya took a dive, grinning wildly as he got to his feet and continued on his way. Drums and bass continued to drive the number, recklessness spiking as Tatsuro unleashed all restraints. Miya’s opening solo of Ranchuu had Tatsuro swaying and dancing in the background. “Let loose!” he cried, inspiring hundreds to start tossing their heads to the forceful drums which wound down into a laid back verse, energized by YUKKE’s bass line. The instrumental had Tatsuro showing off his best clubbing skills. Eventually, he grabbed a basket from side-stage, yelling “Trick or treat!” and tossing tons of goodies at the crowd. “Wanna eat? Then all of you sit down. Let’s eat… Are you ready? Are you fuckin ready!?” With a countdown of ‘3 -2 -1’, Tatsuro’s deep growl had the crowd back on their feet and moshing all in one chaotic moment.

“Last!” Tatsuro called, the machine-like beat of freesia resounding through the night. Electronically modified, Tatsuro’s voice carried on the wind. The number summed the live up perfectly, techno elements meeting the soaring chorus in a brilliant display of vocal and musical talent. Tatsuro stuck the climax pitch perfectly despite some wavering early on. From there, it was clear sailing under the digital universe of red and green pinpricks rotating overhead. Gorgeous guitar and moving drums combined with the imagery, making it easy to get lost in the music if not for the grounding influence of Tatsuro’s deep voice. Bowing through the final instrumental, he extended his thanks, then exited amidst applause swelling into shouts. The others took their time throwing inedible treats to the crowd before they too took off. But the show wasn’t over. A digital beat persisted, an image growing steadily clearer on the backdrop. Karma picked up pace, the wilted lily seen before I am Computer gradually blooming once more as beat after beat and simple melodies escalated and entwined, at last leaving only the positive image behind.

A pumpkin-filled screen took its place, ‘Happy Halloween’ appearing across it letter by letter. As the crowd slowly gathered their things, Halloween theme music saw them off, reminding them that the concert may have ended, but the occasion was not yet over. MUCC offered just enough holiday spirit to satisfy those with a passion for Halloween, but the main event was nothing more or less than a great concert, showcasing the new album. In the words of Tatsuro, it was pure ‘Trick and Treat.’

Set list

3.Chemical Parade Blueday
7.I am Computer
15.Na mo naki yume

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