J 14th Anniversary Summer Tour, 'THE FOURTEEN' at Studio Coast

live report - 11.22.2011 19:01

J and a trio of guest bands celebrated fourteen years of the bassist’s solo career in style.

From Tokyo’s Shin-Kiba Station, a steady flow of THE FOURTEEN-emblazoned T-shirts, worn by men and women alike, made their to Studio Coast, mere minutes away. Several fans stood beneath the venue’s marquee, cell phone cameras on full assault, while inside, others took to the multiple goods and music stands.

On stage stood a white drum set with a string of yellow Christmas lights draping over the set and across the stage. A set of devoted fans had formed a wide triangle at the front, with more and more people piling in from behind as the clock ticked towards the start of the evening. At 5:00pm sharp, the BGM sharply changed from hard rock to a live number announcing Andre Williams. However, instead of the legendary punk blues singer, KING BROTHERS took the stage amidst firey red lighting.

“Are you ready to rock!?” Guitarist-screamer Maaya screamed. The audience was without a doubt ready, as were the other band members – vocalist-guitarist Keizou, bassist Shinnosuke, and drummer Taichi, the only one on stage not wearing some sort of tuxedo suit. The rocking had commenced; three songs in, KING BROTHERS and its audience had become one. Maybe it was the drummer, violently pounding on his instrument song after song without sacrificing an ounce of rhythm. Maybe it was the band itself, which near the middle of their performance moved themselves and their instruments to the center of the Studio Coast audience, playing the remainder of their set amidst hundreds of thoroughly impressed fans. A standing ovation greeted the band when they departed.

A short time later, Ziyoo-vachi took the stage. The uninitiated were left speechless from the first note, with existing fans ecstatic – and deservedly so. The colourful all-girl quartet, of whom two are half-Japanese siblings, regularly throw convention out the window with their vibrant performances, and tonight was no different. After beginning their first song, vocalist Avu-chan, dressed in a mix of black and gold, shed her outer blouse, asking the audience if its heart was ready. The audience roared their approval, and the band roared back. Avu-chan, gyrating and dancing with enough brute energy to put 80’s pop to shame, left a lasting image on her audience. Fans will soon be able to see them in the movie Moteki, along with their song Disco.

The last opening act was dustbox. Classified as “melodic hardcore,” both the band’s sound – and its apparent popularity with J’s audience, seemed to recall foreign acts like New Found Glory or NOFX. Within seconds, the audience had formed tiny mosh pits, with a steady stream of crowd-surfers at the center. It was a familiar environment for J lives, as the audience relished in being able to physically roll alongside the rock. Vocalist SUGA, in the band’s MC, commented on how a lot of the fans at the live were likely new to dustbox. No longer; the consistent energy brought by the band would stay with the audience through the main act.

When the main act did start – when J and his band came onto the stage to loud cheers and chants – the crowd and its various mosh pits erupted. From I feel you, the first song of the evening, Studio Coast seemed to become a living, breathing thing. Water consumed and, just as quickly the empty bottles thrown into the audience by J only fueled the fluid, progressively louder rush of the audience. In Pyromania, the crowd revealed hundreds of red candle-shaped lights, cementing the feel of a live house on fire.

And what a fire it was; from J’s new song played amidst fan favorites like Vida Rosa and SALVAGE, to Scott Garrett’s drum solo and the heat of go crazy, the fans had clearly engulfed themselves in their hero's music. At the risk of hyperbole, J’s lives are, arguably, some of the purist rock concerts Tokyo has to offer. There’s no need for flashy sets – barring the aforementioned décor, nothing was around tonight to distract from the music at hand.

Was it a coincidence, then, that the songs seemed to illustrate the atmosphere by their titles alone? The audience, RECKLESSly jumping about So very High, never losing speed - to say they had gone crazy was an understatement.

The energy of the live extended through to the encore, where a surprise performance of LUNA SEA’s TONIGHT made the crowd louder than the music, as they sang along to the chorus, bringing a smile to the singer’s face. J thanked his fans for fourteen years of support, and promised that he would continue screaming as long as his fans allowed him to. Even with a song named BURN OUT closing the evening, it seemed like fourteen (or more) years would have to pass before J - or his audience – do the same.

Set List (J):

01. I feel you
02. speed
04. break
06. Vida Rosa
07. So High
08. New Song
- Drum Solo -
11. walk long
12. Die for you
13. Go crazy
14. Feel Your Blaze

1. Go Charge
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