Kanasambana - GLACIER One-man

live report - 28.11.2009 14:24

A report of GLACIER's one-man live at Shibuya asia P on November 8th.

The Okinawan pop-rock band GLACIER is known for many things, including their variety of musical styles. Their sound is strongly influenced by Okinawan culture, which makes them unique in the world of visual kei. At their recent one-man live at Shibuya asia P, the fans gathered were as colorful as the band. They came all dressed up and eagerly waited for GLACIER to take the stage. Before the show, people were already dancing, and they were clearly ready for the show to begin.

The concert started once the venue grew dark and a video of Okinawan scenery was shown on the screens. It was accompanied by a traditional Okinawan folksong. This was a very unusual way to kick off a live for a visual kei band, and it showed how much pride GLACIER had in their place of birth. Soon, the members appeared on stage in outfits that defined their individuality, originality and creativity. Vocalist MAKOTO wore a yukata with short boots and walked out holding a bangasa (a coarse oil-paper umbrella); guitarist NAO looked like a ninja or samurai; bassist AKI wore a baggy clothes paired with geta; and drummer YUKI was decked out with Japanese accessories. Support member KOJIRO, less colorfully dressed, rolled up his trousers in concession as he faced the audience. All of the members had a hibiscus in hand, matching many of those in the audience. As the band began to play, the flowers were held up and waved.

The first song, Nangoku Shōjo, was an up-tempo number full of vitality. YUKI played the drums with a smile and looked delighted. AKI and NAO jumped up and down excitedly, prompting the audience to follow their lead. During the next song, Aoi chura shima, they looked extremely happy while singing and dancing together. They waved to the crowd, and all the fans with flowers waved back, making the venue seem like a tropical summer garden.

“Hello! Hello everyone! How are you? We are glad to play in this place, in such a big city, Shibuya!” MAKOTO shouted during a short break. The band played hard and the energy was pouring off the stage. Through Kiku saki beni ao, the atmosphere was warm, immersing the crowd in a feeling that was like soaking in sunlight. The following songs - Urizun Biyori - Rainy Day, Ryūkyū Carmen, Kugatsu incence - kept the mood going. YUKI played while smiling artlessly, and NAO and AKI moved to play at center stage. They came right up to the edge, getting as close to the fans as they could. MAKOTO's voice encouraged the audience to dance and jump around crazily, and KOJIRO played his guitar beside MAKOTO before running around on stage.

After the drum and bass solo was Doll Parade. The song had everyone headbanging, and MAKOTO shouted to keep them going. “Is that all? More! More!” He stretched out his arms to the audience as though to capture the wild energy they were producing. Every single person was smiling after the song finished, and a sense of unity that would last until the end developed between the band and the crowd.

During another MC, the band celebrated YUKI's birthday by surprising him on stage. The other members shouted “Happy birthday!” as the birthday song filled the venue. YUKI was stunned and at a loss for words, but his shy smile showed just how happy he was as he accepted the audience's birthday wishes. Then, it was time for the important news the band had promised to release before the live. The words “KOJIRO joins as official member” flashed across the screens, and it was greeted by cheers from the audience. KOJIRO was just as surprised by this announcement as YUKI had been by his impromptu birthday celebration, and both members were overjoyed at the news.

As the live picked up once more, everyone was dancing. The audience cheered and shouted the band members' names any time there was a break in music. Kariyushi and Hoshi no Shirushi, the two closing songs, had the venue rocking until the end. AKI and NAO played energetically, while the new official member KOJIRO grinned happily at YUKI “Come on! Everybody!” MAKOTO shouted, and the fans responded with smiles and by making heart shapes with their hands. Once the last song finished, the band left the stage. However, the fans didn't have to wait long before the encore began.

“Thanks for coming today. This place is so far from Okinawa. We wanted to make music that reflected Tokyo, and many other places too, and I think we have achieved that,” MAKOTO said to start the encore. "But we still want to be linked to our roots. Today, we chose this song for the encore because we had wanted to play Okinawan music." That was the signal for the band to play Shimauta, a popular Okinawan song. Though they had changed the arrangement of the song a little, the message of the song wasn't changed. NAO played the sanshin (a Japanese guitar) and made the vibrant culture of Okinawa come alive. The second encore started with Kanasambana, and it was clear the audience loved the song. The powerful drum rhythm added to the excitement, and MAKOTO went to the edge of the stage and stretched out his arms, as though trying to physically give his feelings to the fans.

When the song was over, MAKOTO shouted “That’s GLACIER!” The band thanked the audience, and MAKOTO blew them a kiss as he left the stage. After all the members had gone, the lights went up, and the live came to an end.

GLACIER doesn't quite fit the mold of current visual kei style. They are unique, extraordinary and groundbreaking. Though they do have a visual aspect, it's very different from most other bands and only serves to highlight their music. GLACIER manages to take their hometown culture and mix it with mainstream music, and they do it well. They released an album in November and have another one-man live planned in December. Now, with five full members, they will definitely be keeping busy, so make sure to keep an eye on them!

Set list:

0. Haisai!! GLACIER
1. Nangoku Shōjo (A Girl from the Southern Island)
2. Aoi chura shima (The Ocean Blue Island)
4. Orion no Tegami (A letter from Orion)
5. Kiku saki beni ao (Chrysanthemum First, Cardinal and Azure)
SE (sound of the rain)
6. Urizun Biyori - Raiy Day (Early Summer - Rainy Days)
7. Ryūkyū Carmen
8. Kugatsu incense
Drums and bass solo
9. Doll Parade
10. Kariyushi
11. Hoshi no Shirushi

Encore 1
1. Shimauta
2. Hoshizuna

Encore 2
1. Kanasambana
2. Deigo no Hana ga Saku koro ni (When the Red Flower Blooms)
3. Taiyō no kuni (The Land of the Sun)
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