UnsraW - Screaming Birthday

review - 08.02.2007 08:00

UnsraW shows what they're worth on the band's first live DVD, though the production does not do it any justice.

Visual-kei band UnsraW held an oneman concert entitled Screaming birthday on March 26th this year at the Shibuya O-West. The entire concert has now been presented to their fans on DVD and the set-list is no less than the band's entire discography, along with the inclusion of a handful of COЯE THE CHILD releases. Despite this promising set list, the DVD unfortunately does sport a few flaws.

Screaming Birthday

The concert begins directly after the insertion of the DVD and we realize immediately that something is wrong: the sound is not synchronized! We see the members of UnsraW appear on stage but silently, because the sound is very weak and it will considerably be necessary to turn up the the volume of your television set or your amplifier to hear the intro end of finale.

Fortunately, everything is settled as soon as the band begins to play, but it is such a shame that their intro was not more powerful because visually, there was almost nothing to see to criticize! This is due to the fact that the image is often either grainy or too sharp. Furthermore, the framing and the shots chosen by the director are not the most sensible, notably those in which the camera films the band in low-angle shots.

And then, we wonder "where is the audience!?" With a little luck, we see some heads moving on the first two rows but that's it. As a result, we lose an enormeous part of the general atmosphere of the concert, because that's part of the charm of a visual kei concert; the audience and their synchronized reactions. Nevertheless, the performance of the band is excellent on stage, without any off-key notes and with Yuki, who sounds just as good on stage as in a studio. Unfortunately, he stands mostly still in order to concentrate on his vocals, unlike bassist Jun who is absolutely brilliant in his role of a mutant man.

The best of the show is shown at the end of the DVD during Warai Oni in which the band plays in a loop, repeating themselves over and over, and enjoy themselves together with the audience. A moment to remember is when Jun jumps into the pit and begins to move around spasmodically once he's held by the audience.

In addition to the DVD, this set contains a bonus CD with the songs Holy Sink and Mawari dama..., which were played during concert and were previously unreleased.

In the end, opinion is rather divided on this DVD. On one hand, we have a great band and a perfect tracklist, but the other, we have a completely rickety production. Furthermore, the Japanese edition is a bit expensive (5775 yen) and the addition of the bonus CD does not justify this price. However, the European edition by CLJ which will be released for 22,99 euro seems to be a good investment for every fan of the band; something to tide them over while waiting and hoping that the band will come to play abroad.
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