PURE ROCK JAPAN LIVE 2009 at Kawasaki Club Citta

live report - 06.29.2009 15:26

CONCERTO MOON, GALNERYUS, SEX MACHINEGUNS and Onmyo-za joined their efforts to celebrate the 10th anniversary of PURE ROCK JAPAN LIVE.

The large venue was full of a diverse number of people who seemed to belong to different subcultures as the event successfully sold out. The organizer, Mr. Tsuchiya, went out to greet the crowd when the event began; he talked about the cool bands that were to perform that night, the problem of bootlegs and asked the fans for their cooperation to make this a safe and enjoyable live. Then he warmed the crowd up, making them clap and scream to the background music of AC/DC.

The first performance of the evening came from CONCERTO MOON. The drummer walked out coolly to mysterious music, then the guitarist and bassist ran out on stage, immediately stirring up the audience. The vocalist followed with a triumphant look on his face. The live kicked off on a powerful note with Dream Chaser as Takashi Inoue sang dramatically, holding the microphone stand in the air. The bassist and the guitarist skipped around the stage to the machine gun beats of the drums, and fired on by the band, the crowd screamed and shook their fists. The tempo did not decrease for Change My Heart. The members made eye-contact with each other and the audience while delivering a highly technical performance.

During the MC, the band greeted the audience with smiles and said that it had been four years since they performed at this festival. They continued with Fight To The Death, and the guitarist delivered another lengthy solo, characteristic to all of the bands' songs. This time it was so elaborate and fluent that the audience couldn't hold back their applause and screams of amazement and awe. After a smooth transition to Not By Chance, the audience continued shaking their fists and screaming to the slower paced but still heavy beats, which flowed easily to the slightly more upbeat It's Not Over. The vocalist urged on the crowd, asking them to let him hear their enthusiastic voices, and as the guitarist once again changed his guitar, the live continued with the slow-paced Target In The Spider's Web.

The pace shot up once again with Alone In The Paradise, starting with fast guitar lines and speedy drumming. The vocalist announced that there were only two songs left and asked the disappointed audience to do their best. From Father To Son had a darker and more intense intro, contrasting with the more melodic verses, and had an almost neo-classical solo in it, once again performed with great skill. The band proceeded on to the final Take You To The Moon, another fast and stirring song, during which the members moved around the stage vividly, interacting with the audience and each other. The performance of CONCERTO MOON ended on this enjoyable note. “Thank you!” screamed the vocalist, and saying their good-byes to the audience, the band slowly left the stage, accompanied by the crowd’s cheering and applause. “See you again!” the guitarist concluded.

Set list:

1.Dream Chaser
2.Change My Heart
3.Fight To The Death
4.Not By Chance
5.It's Not Over
6.Target In The Spider's Web
7.Alone In The Paradise
8.From Father To Son
9.Take You To The Moon

During the intermission, as classical music flowed out of the speakers, the audience was asked to move forwards once again, and the atmosphere started to warm up even more. When the start up music came on, the audience cheered, knowing GALNERYUS would be performing next. The members that appeared on the stage, however, could have puzzled an unknowing viewer, as their visuals were so different from the stereotypical metal band image. The set started with the voiceless Meditation For The Saga, the guitarist's fluent lines the center of attention. The band urged the audience on as the vocalist appeared on stage. Since the band had recently parted with their full-time vocalist, the well-known singer Masatoshi Ono took over the part for this live, and starting from the dramatic Struggle For The Freedom Flag he demonstrated his strong voice that was atypical in the metal scene. It gave the band’s songs an unexpected and refreshing sound.

As YU-TO fired up the audience, Serenade continued the set. Syu’s fine guitar lines and YUHKI’s fresh keyboard melodies created a peculiar interlacing. As the crowd cheered, the vocalist greeted them, saying that he was happy to hear their enthusiastic reaction,and jokingly added that he had to apologize for being the one standing on stage with GALNERYUS. He continued to joke about not being able to do the proper metal-style MC with high-pitched screams, amusing the audience. Syu took over, greeting the masses and encouraging them to scream after him, and as tension levels went up, the live continued with the intense Shiver. The band backed Ono up by singing in unison during the chorus, and the song ended with a long, speedy and flawless solo from Syu. Whisper In The Red Sky started with YUHKI’s quiet and beautiful piano melody, which was carried onto the guitar lines, then the song became faster, louder and more aggressive. The enthusiastic audience headbanged away to the almost operatic, dramatic melodies of the catchy song, concluded by another breathtaking solo from Syu.

“Are you not out of breath yet? No? That’s because you are young!” laughed the vocalist. He talked about fans of hard rock in the 80's and notified the crowd that he had to buy the clothes he was wearing specifically for the day’s appearance. Once again, the guitarist took over the MC, asking the audience to scream for GALNERYUS, imitating the screams of the JUDAS PRIEST audience he watched on YouTube the other day. The live continued with the speedy, heavy and intense introduction to Cry For The Dark, and the members moved around the stage, switching places and interacting with each other. As powerful vocals aided the creation of a dark and sinister atmosphere, YUHKI came from behind the keyboard, and together with YU-TO, they clapped their hands and urged the audience to scream “cry out!” along with the vocalist. The audience was once again thanked and asked to go wild for the last song, Everlasting. It started with refined and phenomenally fast guitar lines supported by the amazing, powerful machine gun-like drums and speedy bass lines. The audience screamed and shook their fists to the fresh and memorable melodies of the song. On this positive note, the live came to an end. The band thanked the cheering masses and left, throwing their towels and picks into the crowd.

Set list:

1.Meditation For The Saga
2.Struggle For The Freedom Flag
3.Serenade
4.Shiver
5.Whisper In The Red Sky
6.Cry For The Dark
7.Everlasting

As the set of SEX MACHINEGUNS started, the crowd exploded with screams, and to the dramatic starting music, the members ran onto the stage and started playing straight away. ANCHANG urged the audience to scream, and the live kicked off with Mikan no uta, the fans shaking their fists and singing along as the vocalist, guitarist and bassist danced and headbanged in a synchronized and extremely amusing way to KEN'ICHI's fast drumbeats. Not allowing the crowd to take a breath, the band continued with the speedy ONIGUNSOW. ANCHANG performed an impressive solo, and as the audience kept headbanging and shaking their fists, the bassist and guitarist danced together. SHINGO STAR receiving a smack on his backside on the way back to his position. “We are SEX MACHINEGUNS!” screamed the vocalist, and the audience replied with the band’s signature hand gesture.

Joking about the other bands performing, ANCHANG quoted Ono, who said that he was 42 and got tired out from such performances. ANCHANG exclaimed that being 39, he wouldn't be saying he was tired after performances for three years. SHINGO STAR took over, asking whether there were men in the audience. Upon receiving a hot response, he urged both the men and women in the audience to go wild in his enthusiastic, loud manner. After all the members were briefly introduced and the band had discussed the other bands performing at the live, the set continued with Pride, a positive song written last year. The guitarists presented their skills in lengthy twin solos. During the chorus for the darker Aijin 28, the audience shook their fists and screamed in unison as the members continued their choreography, jumping and turning in different directions, their great technical performance not harmed at all.

During the MC, the band joked about their concept - some say they are a band that wants to sell because of their make-up and costumes, others think they are comedians because of their behavior - and both thoughts had truth in them. However, SEX MACHINEGUNS just wanted to become a band that would not lose to anyone. SHINGO STAR, who was laughed at by the vocalist for being overly enthusiastic, screamed for the crowd to switch off their heads and just enjoy the live with their bodies, and the band went on to play BURN. The guitarists showed their amazing ability to perform complex solos while headbanging. They continued impressing the masses with their liveliness while delivering a skillful performance of Sakurajima. The live was concluded by GERMAN POWER, the guitarist and bassist speedily jumping from side to side in between singing the back-up vocals. They didn't pause in activity, except for an intermission where SHINGO STAR fired up the audience from behind the main microphone. The audience screamed with excitement and once again did the signature SEX MACHINEGUNS greeting, and the members, still full of energy and enthusiasm, left the stage.

Set list:

1.Mikan no uta
2.ONIGUNSOW
3.Pride
4.Aijin 28
5.BURN
6.Sakurajima
7.GERMAN POWER

The final act of the evening was Onmyo-za, and the audience clapped to the atmospheric SE Jyokyoku as the members came out onto the dark stage. The live started with Maou. Kuroneko and Matatabi first took turns singing, then joined their voices in the chorus, and the two guitarists also joined their efforts for a twin solo. The band then introduced themselves and asked the masses to cheer and not lose to the other bands that performed before them. Continuing with Hyaku no oni ga yoru wo yuku, the members jumped around on the stage to the dark and energetic song, and Kuroneko’s high-pitched, sharp singing especially contrasted with Matatabi’s deep, intense voice. Firing the audience up, the band played the brighter Sougenbi. Maneki and Karukan got to be the centers of attention with their solos, which were met with the masses’ enthusiastic response.

During the MC, the band once again greeted the audience and said they were happy to take part in this event, which they last performed six years ago. They talked about their upcoming releases to come out in August and September, which they were currently recording, and when Matatabi briefly mentioned that it would be nice to play a new song, the audience exploded with screams. However, they calmed down when instead of playing a new song, Onmyo-za played one of their most recent songs. Soukoku showed a quieter band that concentrated on the musical aspect of their performance, the soft and melodic song’s vocals sounding almost ballad-like.

Raising the tempo again was Onikiri ninpouchou, the band delivering an amazingly fast performance, and they continued onto the fresh and catchy Kumikyoku “Yoshitsune”~akkihougan. Some people in the crowd, recognizing the introduction of Gainagateya, took out their fans, as did Kuroneko. However, the band asked the people to close their fans, since there were many people who didn’t have them and would still like to enjoy the song. The audience continued dancing, using their bare hands, and responded to the calls of the vocalists and enjoying the fun song together with the band. The bassist congratulated PURE ROCK JAPAN LIVE for its 10th anniversary and wished that it would continue for more and more decades, supported by the fans. The final song was the dark and heavy Akuroou, during which Matatabi roared in a harsh voice to the ethnic melodies. Kuroneko danced around the stage, spinning around and encouraging the audience to go wild, and the crowd and the band united in this powerful song. The band thanked the audience and left to the applause and screams of the enthusiastic masses.

Set list:

Se: Jyokyoku
1. Maou
2. Hyaku oni ga yoru wo yuku
3. Sougenbi
4. Soukoku
5. Onikiri ninpouchou
6. Kumikyoku “Yoshitsune”~akkihougan
7. Gainagateya
8 Akuroou

Responding to the crowd’s screams for an encore, Onmyo-za came out in PURE ROCK JAPAN LIVE T-shirts and thanked the audience. However, they said that this encore was not for them, but for all of the participants – joining them were the members of CONCERTO MOON, GALNERYUS and SEX MACHINEGUNS, all of them clad in similiar T-shirts. Together, they performed a cover of JUDAS PRIEST’s song You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’, the vocalists taking turns to sing and the guitarists taking turns to play. The other members interacted with each other and the crowd. SHINGO STAR and YU-TO got into an air-bass battle. The musicians, visibly enjoying themselves, encouraged the audience to scream along to the song, and the masses responded with a warm reaction. Applauding each other and the fans, the band members joined their hands and jumped three times before throwing the usual picks and sticks to the crowd. Then, they slowly left the stage.

Encore session:
You've Got Another Thing Comin' (JUDAS PRIEST/“PIEST...LIVE!“ version)

The 10th anniversary show of PURE ROCK JAPAN LIVE was indeed a success, allowing the audience to enjoy all ranges of rock and metal. It was a hot, exciting and fun live, and the lucky fans who got the chance to see the show were definitely not disappointed.
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