live report - 02.10.2012 01:01

[MU:] treated their followers with a warm first one-man at Shibuya Rex on September 23rd

[MU:] is a relatively new band of members who have been in the music scene for a while, gaining a degree of recognition from their individual activities in the past. Guitarist DAISHI was the leader of Amaterase and Maitoreia, bassist JET was in R*A*P, and vocalist AIKA was in several bands, such as shichisanshiki. The band's first official one-man, [MASTER OF UNIVERSE01], took place on September 23 at Shibuya Rex, four months after their first gig, [MASTER OF UNIVERSE00], in May. In a short period of time, the band has toured around the country and released a single and several previews on YouTube, assembling quite a following of fans—fans who filled up the venue up all the way to the very back for this long-awaited show.

As the curtains of Rex rose to reveal a dim-lit stage decorated with lanterns, the members appeared one by one with hoods covering their faces, greeting the audience with a choreographed flag show. “Welcome to the MASTER OF UNIVERSE!” AIKA screamed, and the heavy electronic beats of [Rama:yana] ignited the night with violent head banging. The crowd stretched their arms out towards the members, who in response fired them on to come to the front. With its irregular rhythms and moving beats, Shinsekai brought out a wide range of colours, as if telling an elaborate story within one song. AIKA greeted the “tami”—people or nation, as the band calls their fans—inviting them to enjoy the show and thanking them for the support during the band’s summer tour. Announcing a new song, the band then proceeded with [inno:vator]. USHI’s solid metal drumming initiated and gave pace to the song, whose mood switched between quiet and violent episodes, allowing the listener to explore the whole range of AIKA’s voice, which went from clear melodic singing to violent roaring. As red lights filled the stage, heavy electronic bass and saturated guitar sounds of ALMA stirred the crowd. DAISHI came forward with a lengthy flawless solo, characteristic of the band’s heavily guitar-centered songs, and the song ended abruptly, to which the hall fell into complete darkness.

With his face hidden by his hood, DAISHI stepped into the spotlight. He spoke of the journey that humans start at their birth towards death, the transience of life and the weakness of people when alone. [MU:] aimed at being messengers of revelation, creating a new story together with the tami, lighting up their ways like a constellation of stars, thus leading into the song, Subaru. The way the touching instrumental harmonies coupled with AIKA’s strong, moving voice created a mesmerizing atmosphere in the quiet hall. The stage eventually fell into darkness once again, and JET stepped forward to introduce the next song. He spoke of the price one has to pay for things one puts his hands on during one’s lifetime, the pain of loss, and the struggle to move forward and pursue ideals, to embrace the pain, knowing that it is not only good things that await one in life. Shiawase no daishou then started with an acoustic guitar, R&B-like beats and a prominent bass line that stirred one’s body into movement. As the song went through waves of heavy electronic parts interchanged with lighter, acoustic passages, the crowd stirred up and calmed back down in response.

Stepping up, USHI talked of broken dreams and broken hearts, the lost time that would not return, and of the time spent pursuing dreams, wondering of one’s purpose in life. Inviting the crowd to travel together with them to seek a safe haven, he led the band into Yumemigaoka. Starting with an impressive, speedy solo by DAISHI, the song’s positive beats and Spanish flair had the crowd clapping and moshing. Moving similarly, the members also smiled and interacted with the fans vividly.

In the final speech, AIKA took the word, stating that [MU:] were equal with the people they met in the audience—people who were hurt, frustrated, people who fought and lived in the future—and promised to show them the same scenery. He invited the tami to embrace their hopes and dreams, and together create a new story. To the upbeat melodies of Yggdrasil, the fans united with the band as if one living body, stretching their hands out into the air and jumping, warming up the hall’s atmosphere more and more.

Smiling, AIKA thanked the fans and noted that he was able to be able to sing so many melodious songs in this one-man, since the band usually tended to play more energetic songs at events. He started thanking DAISHI for creating such beautiful melodic songs, who in return started thanking AIKA, stating it was his power that brought these songs to life. Before anyone noticed, the talk turned into a battle of courtesies, where other members also joined in, causing unstopping laughter in the audience. As the members continued carrying the talk into random directions and as the fans interacted, giving them hints, AIKA suggested that [MU:] should become the first band that leaves the MCs up to the fans, resulting in more approving cheers.

The speedy Souseiki brought the fans back into movement, and the band, too, switched places, firing them on. The powerful CARNAVAL continued the set with jazzy bass lines in a peculiar mixture with a typical Japanese-festival-like mood, characteristic of [MU:]’s tendency to mix contemporary and oriental themes in their songs. The last song of the set was Esperanto, and its speedy drumming and prominent guitar lines had the band and fans unite in an atmosphere of enjoyment. The members then came to the front and thanked their fans before leaving the stage to loud cheers.

After calls for an encore, [MU:] returned to the stage, now set up for an acoustic live. The band thanked the audience for calling them back, and announced that their acoustic songs were now available for purchase. DAISHI noted that during the recording, the sound engineers did not need to correct AIKA’s pitch at all, something that would not surprise one who has experienced the band’s impressively high-quality lives. They further announced the next one-man in February and a live at a jazz bar for Christmas. After another round of amusing talk, [MU:] proceeded with the acoustic version of Subaru, which started with AIKA playing a tin whistle, giving the song a gentle and touching feel to it. As the band played an acoustic version of [Rama:yana], the fans clapped along and a warm atmosphere filling up the audience.

The band then left the stage once again, thanking the fans. However, calls for an encore brought them back out again soon. One by one, the members thanked the crowd and expressed their feelings about the show. USHI was happy to see the progress of the band and the audience since May, and JET noted that for him, this one-man was the real start of the band’s activities, both expressing strong wishes to move forward. AIKA, on the other hand, confessed that he had been working hard towards this day more than anything and thanked the fans—without their support, he would not have been able to get so far. When he became emotional and teary, the fans comforted him with their warm cheers. DAISHI, who had been active in a number of bands, admitted that he found a place he could go back to in [MU:], with what it has become. Wanting to take the fans together with them to greater heights, he asked for their support.

Next, the band announced that they would show the moves to their new song, [inno:vator]. With DAISHI being first, one by one, the members were forced to come to the center of the stage and dance while the others played, resulting in both the band and crowd having fun fooling around. When the song was played, all the fans joined in the dancing and enjoyed themselves with this energetic song. Concluding the show was Esperanto, and the crowd went wild as the atmosphere became hotter and hotter. All the fans in Rex and the members, who looked happy and satisfied, joined their hands and jumped together. The band then left the stage, thanking their fans again, ending an eventful and warm evening.

Having only been active for a number of months, [MU:] has already gained quite a following, which is not surprising given the quality of their songs and lives, the energy and effort that the members put into making the fans enjoy their creations, and the warmth that one feels from being a part of their shows. It is definitely a band to have expectations for and one should keep a close look out for their future activities.

Set list
~Opening SE~
2 Shinsekai
3 [inno:vator]
~ DAISHI’s speech~
5 Subaru
~ JET’s speech~
6 Shiawase no daishou
~ USHI’s speech~
7 Yumemigaoka
~ AIKA’s speech~
8 Yggdrasil
9 Souseiki
11 Esperanto

1 Subaru acoustic
2 [Rama:yana]acoustic

Encore 2
1 [inno:vator]
1 Esperanto

[MU:] official website
[MU:] official YouTube channel PC
[MU:] official YouTube channel mobile
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