Moi dix Mois - Mana's 2011 Birthday Live

live report - 08.24.2011 20:01

After a postponement due to the earthquake in March, Moi dix Mois gave a special concert belatedly celebrating the birthday of guitarist-songwriter and fashion designer Mana.

Elegant gothic vampires dared coming out in plain sunlight for a memorable live at Shibuya O-West that celebrated Mana’s birthday. The fans waited patiently for the start of the show – dressed in their best gothic attire – despite the rain and heat. Black and blue were the dominant colors as Mana’s own Moi-Meme-Moitie collection seemed to invade the street outside the venue. Blue roses, feathery headdresses, voluminous Lolita skirts and even a couple of Victorian top-hats gave the passers-by something to talk about.

The live house was engulfed in dim lights that revealed a simply set stage with Moi dix Mois' signature decagram adorning the wall behind the drum set. Right on time the lights turned blue and the five men made their appearance. Hayato was the first on stage followed by Sugiya and K. A massive roar filled the venue as all hands were raised to welcome Mana, a blood red cross flashing daringly on his custom-made guitar. The four men raised their hands up to the sky in the metal devil-horn sign and the audience followed as Seth made his entrance for The Seventh Veil. The crowd heatedly launched into the song pumping their hands in unison and head banging to the heavy tune.

The guitarists helped set the mood in their heavy gothic make up and attire, contrasting a little with the other three men that seemed quite ‘normal’ next to K and Mana’s daring attire. The lead guitarist wore a frilly black and white Moi-Meme-Moitie shirt that fell neatly over his black gothic pants. K’s look was a bit more European-Goth, red braids falling over half his head the other half of the hair pointing up to the sky like red flames.

The fans screamed loudly as the song reached an end and Mana kissed a pick, throwing it to the devoted crowd. A group of aristocratic and gothic lolitas rushed to get the pick, the ruffles on their dresses crushed in the process. The band wasted no time and dove into Witchcraft under hot red lights. The two guitarists took the center of the stage battling each other in an impressive performance.

“Let’s have a blast!” the vocalist shouted as the song reached an end. The crowd complied, heating up for Unmoved. The guitars took the lead with the lights alternating from Mana to K before resting on Seth who let out an earsplitting growl that cleared the path for some heavy head banging. It was visually outstanding with sweet lolitas shaking their heads violently to the beat. The lights went down for Divine Place, the slower song allowing both the fans and the men on stage to catch their breaths. A female voice echoed throughout the venue and we were transported to a gloomy gothic church. Seth showed good voice control, his demoniacal cries adding intensity to the performance. The song built up to fast guitars, the heavy beat engulfing the venue and making the transition to the next song very smooth.

The SECT started with a haunting a cappella that allowed the vocalist to show his range. The band’s decagram changed from black to white and Seth’s growls pierced through the crowd, encouraging the fans to drown in the song. The audience fiercely pumped their fists in the air as they shouted “The SECT” in unison.

Sanctum Regnum was preceded by a brief MC where Seth remarked that the show had to be postponed due to the earthquake and thanked everyone for their patience and support. With this said it was time to practice the complicated hand movements that accompany the song. “Let’s put our hearts together!” he said encouragingly. But by the crowd’s reaction, explanations were quite unnecessary. At the vocalist’s request K lent a hand, shouting “One, two, three!” at the top of his lungs before crying –D-I-X– in time with the crowd. Seth put his heart into the rehearsal encouraging the fans to be louder and adding, with a smile, that if they were loud enough, and since it was a special day for Mana, he might actually sing –D-I-X– along with them. The stoic faces in the crowd lit as Mana gave everyone a thumbs up for their effort without breaking his tradition of not uttering a single word. Mana’s guitar flashed daringly as the gothic tune took over. Everyone joined in with the furi, first bringing their right hands to their faces for the D, then raising the left one in the air for the I, before crossing both up high for the X and lowering them down as they shouted DIX. K did a great job heating the crowd and helping with the backup vocals – always keeping it cool! The drummer was very energetic, keeping the powerful drums roaring thunderously.

Strong guitars delighted the crowd during Dies Irae and with the crowd on fire Mana left the stage, the vocalist taking the lead for the amusing MC that followed. “What day is it today?” Seth asked the crowd with a smirk. “It’s Mana-sama’s day!” the fans replies in unison. The shouts didn’t seem to please K though and the guitarist shook his head teasingly, saying, “That wasn’t enough! One more time!” The second time left no room for doubts about how devoted the fans were as a massive shout filled the room: “It’s Mana’s birthday!” “Let’s sing Happy birthday – Moi dix Mois style!” Seth said challengingly as the song started with a very heavy rock/goth beat. It was fun to see all the stoic faces in the crowd and on stage transform as everyone sang “Happy birthday……ma!”

With the crowd laughing contagiously Seth addressed the fans talking a bit about their slightly new look. “Well… I got a perm…K now has a goatee and Sugiya got some red highlights!” the vocalist noted. “As for Hayato, I can’t see his eyes!” he added with a smile referring to the hat the drummer had on which hid his eyes completely. “I think it’s time to call Mana! Everyone down here please look and point up! People on the second floor you have no choice but to look and point down! ...and I want to see sweet devotion in your eyes!” Seth added as a giggle escaped his lips. After two attempts in which the crowd’s voices didn’t seem to satisfy Mana, the guitarist finally made an entrance – and what an entrance! A massive roar echoed throughout the venue almost causing the ground to shake as the intro of Malice Mizer’s own ‘Ma Chérie’ started and Mana made his entrance – in a scooter – holding a teddy bear and a toy gun like in the old days with Malice Mizer.

Now in a white frilly shirt Mana delighted the fans as he went from one side to the other, pointing the gun at the excited fans, the people in the front rows trying desperately to get closer to him. The crowd was on fire, thrilled by the kisses the guitarist blew as he swirled around the stage. With the crowd still gasping for air the staff brought a strawberry cake, decorated with… roses!

Having blown the candles Mana passed a notebook to Seth, instructing him to read it out loud in what they called “Corner – Message from Mana.” The guitarist thanked everyone for coming to his birthday (which was technically in March but had to be postponed due to the earthquake). He mentioned it had been ten years since he'd started Moi dix Mois and it was fitting he would celebrate the date with a live on August 21st at Shibuya Duo.

Jokes about a future okonomiyaki tour were greeted with laughter (even Mana smiled despite his best efforts to keep a stoic face!) before the vocalist introduced the new photobook, Philosophy, which depicts the course of the band. Mana also introduced his new guitar – the royal Moitie blue – with a white lit cross, now available at ESP stores before diving into the next song, La dix croix.

The song, taken from the band's first album, was warmly welcomed with the crowd head banging earnestly to the music. Guitars sped away as Seth’s voice changed from sweet and melancholic to heartfelt growls announcing the arrival of the Prophet. The guitarists head banged intensely, lost in the fast guitars and imposing drums while the red lights flashed from behind the vocalist, giving him a somewhat demoniacal appearance.

The lights fell and the sound of rain invaded the room for Pendulum. With the venue engulfed in penumbra a storm took over with the thunderous guitars chasing each other, the blue cross on Mana’s guitar flashing imposingly like frightening blue lightning. A veil of smoke invaded the stage, building up the atmosphere. Seth sang, disappearing into the darkness for an instant before reappearing with a white rose in hand, the audience standing speechless as he sang Agnus Dei to the flower.

The mood picked up for the MC with the fans yelling “Happy Ba!” to Mana and K teasing Seth who despite the imposing red hair was extremely sweet and cheerful during the talk. Some confusion took over as Mana, without uttering a word, gestured to the crowd. “You want them to scream louder?” asked the vocalist. “No, no!” interrupted K, “he wants them to jump so their energy can reach the boss!” Laughter took over as Mana nodded in approval blowing kisses to the crowd. A bit disappointed by not being able to immediately understand Mana’s command, Seth pouted sweetly before the guitars took over announcing Immortal Madness (X-time). It was impressive to see the way the band controlled the crowd, encouraging them to shout “DIX Love!” as the fans pumped their fists in the air. Cool bass lines, fast guitars and powerful drums accompanied Dead Scape and Forbidden. The two songs allowed the fans to head bang some more and the band to interact with the crowd before leaving the stage. Instead of the usual encore demand, the fans just stood in silence waiting for Mana-sama to decide it was time to return.

The fans didn’t have to wait long as Sugiya and Hayato came back, followed by K, who blew a mouthful of smoke at the crowd, and finally Mana – blue riding crop in hand. Seth introduced the next song - deus ex machine and they launched into it, K shouting “Come on Shibuya! Give me everything you’ve got!” as he encouraged the fans to pump their hands in the air. Now with a white guitar on, which flashed a bloody red cross, Mana approached the fans who eagerly raised their arms to touch him and the guitar. K’s performance was superb and very energetic as he head banged fiercely and lit up the crowd. With all the excitement the fans ended up pulling Mana a bit too strongly causing him to lose balance. But as the good aristocrat he is the guitarist didn’t lose composure, arching his back to the crowd who smoothly pushed him back to the stage.

Red took over as Seth sang the solo intro for Ange~D side holy wings. Soon the others joined him with Hayato putting all his energy in the performance as the drums raced away. Mana shook his head violently to the beat and the crowd immediately followed, blue roses and hair accessories miraculously holding in place as aristocrat and gothic lolitas head banged fervently.

Again the five men left the stage and again the silent encore demand. The sound of a pipe organ and waves crashing became clearer and clearer before the band returned, the crowd shouting their names fervently. Mana turned to the crowd as he held a white glow stick – the same that had been given to every fan at the entrance. Seth instructed the audience to break the stick at the count of three. Count they did – in French – obviously, hundreds of blue lights illuminating the dark venue.

The audience waved their sticks in unison throughout the last song of the night, Pageant, in a visually stunning performance. As the song reached the end a clock began to toll, marking the end of the show. The quintet left the stage under a thunderous ovation, throwing glow sticks and other paraphernalia to the devoted fans. It was indeed a night to remember and most surely worth the wait. We look forward to the band’s upcoming shows and songs to come!

Set List:

The Seventh Veil
Divine Place
Sanctum Regnum
Dies Irae

Rock Happy Birthday and Message from Mana

La dix croix
the Prophet
Agnus Dei
Immortal Madness (X-time)
Dead Scape

Encore 1:
deus ex machine
Ange~D side holy wings

Encore 2:
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