V-ROCK FESTIVAL 2011 - White and Rainbow Stages
The two smaller stages of V-ROCK FESTIVAL 2011 featured performances by BORN, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Matenrou Opera, SCREW, DaizyStripper, DEAD END, lynch., and many more visual kei acts.
The two-member band Umbrella, backed up by support musicians, opened the night at the White Stage. Having entered the stage to a cool SE, the visually rather calm and stylish Umbrella started their show with Requiem, without superfluous movement, delivering their flowing music with a slight flare of Western soft-rock aimed at a more static listening audience. The second song performed resembled ocean waves as it faded out into calm and quiet guitar lines, then violently overflowed with heavier riffs, members rocking out and moving around the stage, an impression aided by YUI’s voice, which was at times calm, with a soft harshness to it, and at other times strong and moving with a charming hint of vibrato. Having finished their set, the band thanked the crowd and to their applause left the stage.
A very contrasting second opening act, the comic visual kei band Jin-Machine attracted attention to the adjacent Rainbow Stage. The band, dressed in spectacular dark outfits, were already on stage when the curtain started opening to dramatic music, and immediately started greeting the crowd with loud screams of “We are Jin-Machine! This is our last song! It has been a short performance, but thank you for everything. Our last song will be about a lover whom I separated with 10 years ago. I put my heart into writing it, so please listen with all your heart,” announced featuring16. The members took their instruments and enthusiastically struck a chord as the second vocalist Attsu the DESTROY growled “Yuzu sour!” (Yuzu sour is a type of Japanese cocktail drink), and within two seconds the song was over. The crowd exploded with laughter, and featuring16 urged them to make an encore call, which they did with enthusiasm. “Hey GACKT, can you hear it? They’re calling us for an encore! I wrote the next song thinking about Saitama Super Arena!” screamed featuring16, and once again with one chord and Attsu the DESTROY’s growl of “Saitama!” the song was over. Then as the vocalist explained that the band is from Sendai, a similar song about Sendai with the simple lyrics “Gyutan!” (Gyutan refers cow's tongue, a type of food Sendai is famous for) was performed.
Going back to a more visual kei-like topic, the band performed a song titled Ai no tame ni boku ha anata wo kizutsukenai, which again consisted of one chord and the growl “I will not hurt you for the sake of love!” “In such a short time we performed four songs, and they are all new songs as well!” the band continued joking, to the applause and laughter of the audience. As they announced their upcoming one-man at O-Crest, they pretended to be the GazettE and challenged Golden Bomber.
Finally, they went on to their last song – starting with a cover of X JAPAN’s Kurenai, the lyrics of which featuring16 was mumbling indecipherably while moving around the stage in comic ways, then progressing to heavier melodies of Kankyou DESTROY, to which the audience started head banging. As the song switched to poppy upbeat melodies, the crowd went moshing from side to side, waving and jumping all together, uniting in a euphoric movement. The curtains then suddenly started closing on the band who was trying desperately to continue performing even after they closed completely, then gave up and screamed “Sorry! We are Jin-Machine!” to the cheers and laughter of the crowd now completely warmed up and ready for the main part of the show.
01. Kankyou DESTROY
After the performance of the Italian visual kei band DNR on the White Stage, HERO made an appearance on the Rainbow stage. As the curtains opened by a slit, they revealed the vocalist Takahashi Jin who greeted the audience, paying special attention to those sitting in the food court. He admitted that he went out and sat down there to eat as fan-service, but no one came up to talk to him except for one person, who said “Takahashi, you’ve got such short legs.” As the audience laughed, Jin asked them to scream in a death-voice and jump along to the songs, and regardless of whether they were sitting down and eating, they should still join in at least with their upper body.
The curtains closed, and as they reopened completely, Jin asked everyone to take the hands of the people next to them, even if they were at the food court. As the happy and upbeat ningen teigi started, the audience head banged and jumped holding hands with those next to them. Jin once again addressed the crowd and comically scolded the frail male fans of visual kei, whom he always saw just watching hesitantly while the girls went crazy moshing. So in the next song, he asked everyone to join in and if they saw someone who was hesitant, especially men, they were to grab them and make them mosh.
To the heavier melodies of KAZOEUTA the fans raised their fists and head banged as the members were rocking out on stage. The vocalist urged everyone to put their arms around the shoulders of the people next to them and to head bang, then turn with their backs to the stage and repeat the same actions, next to turn to their left, put their hands on the shoulders of the person next to them and head bang, then to kneel down and do the same. The audience gladly followed Jin’s orders, next raising their hands joined as if praying to the band, then turning with their back to the stage, kneeling and praying “to the staff at the back, so that they take good care of HERO,” then jumping up and uniting in a crazy mosh to the fast and heavy melodies of the song, and finally as Jin said “Make friends today!” the crowd head banged while holding hands with the people next to them. Happily tired, the fans screamed the members’ names, and the band thanked them for their enthusiasm and invited them to their one man at Shibuya O-EAST. Finally, the vocalist said “We love you!” and the band waved goodbye, going off stage.
01. Ningen teigi
Tension rose at the White Stage already during the sound check when the fans of the band Administrator raised their fists and cheered for the band while the curtains were still closed. As the curtains opened, they revealed the members of the young band clapping their hands and urging the audience to join in, greeting them and asking them to make the hall a supreme scenery. Starting with Shining!, a powerful song with heavy riffs to which the crowd jumped as the members, full of energy, used the whole capacity of the stage to move around and switch places and interact with the fans. Akuta greeted the crowd and introduced the band, asking everyone to enjoy themselves although it was only noon.
The new song Liberation followed, to which the audience was encouraged to shake their fists and scream to the heavy beats, the rhythms of which were varying and changing throughout the dynamic song. As the members mouthed the lyrics, the audience sang along in loud voices. The band’s use of the stage space could not have been better, and as they interacted with one another during the performances and came together to urge the fans, one could feel a real team spirit in this vivid young band.
RED EYES, as with other Administrator songs, had a mixture of heavy and lighter, catchy and fresh melodies in it, and as the vocalist announced “On guitar — Kousuke!” the guitarist came to the center of the stage, producing one of his dramatic guitar solos, radiating a rock-star attitude.
Concluding the set was HAZAKURA GO ROUND, a calmer song with slight oriental flavour in the chorus, in which synth melodies intertwined with Akuta’s strong voice and prominent vibrato. As the sounds of the instruments faded, the vocalist continued singing alone, putting down his microphone, as if reaching the crowd from the distance. All members rejoined him, concluding the performance on a powerful and moving note. Administrator thanked the crowd, bowed and left the stage to loud applause.
03. RED EYES
04. HAZAKURA GO ROUND
Once again the crowd started going wild at the sound check, hearing BORN rehearse one of their mosh songs. As the curtains opened to sounds of the heavy SE and the fans started screaming and raising their fists, the members of the band walked out calmly and confidently, hoods covering their heads. Having reached the center of the stage, they revealed their faces and urged the fans to scream. “Come on baby!” screamed Ryoga, “Everybody jump!” The crowd followed his request, spinning their towels to the heavy but upbeat and catchy ran toge ℃. As Ryoga ran up to K, they performed a can-can-like dance, which did not look out of place at all at this band's show that seemed to have no limits.
The audience exploded in head banging to RADICAL HYSTERIA, and Ryoga went around interacting with the other members, teasing K who shied away from him. On the contrary, KIFUMI playfully shoved the vocalist away and went spinning around the stage wildly. As Ryoga pointed his microphone to the crowd, the fans sang a couple of phrases audibly and mad moshing broke out. “Hey TOMO!” called the vocalist and the drummer screamed into his microphone, urging the fans to go ever wilder. After an MC in which Ryoga, backed up by the others, greeted and encouraged the crowd, RED DESIRE started. The fans clapped as the members simultaneously raised their right hands dramatically, and Ryoga urged the crowd to become one as they jumped to the heavy but upbeat melodies of the song.
The crowd was warmed up to the very back of the hall for the last song, joining the head banging and crazy moshing as K, Ray and KIFUMI sang along to the song while Ryoga went shaking and head banging like a madman. Simply watching the band and the crowd unite in this energetic feast of a show made adrenaline surge through one’s veins. “You were a great audience! We love you Super Arena, let’s have fun together again!” To loud screams of the tired but happy audience, the members threw their picks and bottles into the crowd and left the stage.
01. Ran toge °C
02. RADICAL HYSTERIA
03. RED DESIRE
04. DIRTY STACKER
05. THE END SHOWTIME END~aori
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Following BORN was the adorable model and pop artist Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. To happy electronic melodies of Kyary's march she appeared on stage, backed up by six dancers wearing puffy tutus, reminiscent of her well-known PV for PONPONPON. In a cute voice, she started the catchy CHERRY BONBON, holding the microphone with both hands like an idol, and together with the dancers, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu put on a whole colourful show, bringing in a fresh and feminine touch to this evening dominated by heavier male artists.
Kyary greeted the audience bashfully and said that she was rather surprised to be called to the festival, but was very happy to receive a warm welcome. She stated that she was happy to be the only girl at the festival and explained that she changed her image to make it darker specially for this show, wearing a Lolita dress and a black wig. On a positive note the show continued with more dances to PINPON GA NANNAI, and then she finished with the well-known PONPONPON.
01. Kyary’s march
02. CHERRY BONBON
03. PINPON GA NANNAI
After the sprightly performance by the colorful Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, it was Lolita23q’s turn at the Rainbow stage. After a short SE, the five band members appeared on stage, starting with Ginga no Tsubasa ~GALACTIC WING~. Right from the start their set was energetic with a fast beat and metal-like guitar sounds, but also with plenty of electronic effects woven through their songs. The song -HIKARI- — their newest single that was just released a few weeks earlier — followed in the same fashion, this time with synthesizers playing a larger role.
Vocalist soshi, dressed in a black jacket with blue and white shirts underneath and a patterned scarf with skulls around his neck, was able to get the crowd jumping with the catchy Laser Light Theme Park. The five band members head banged along and drummer BAN, with blue fluffy accessories in his hair, helped to cheer the fans on. B.I.O.S was already the last song of their show, the rhythm becoming even heavier with more metal and techno added. soshi’s vocals came close to rapping and the audience jumped along once again.
1. Ginga no Tsubasa ~GALACTIC WING~
3. Laser Light Theme Park
Next up was Matenrou Opera, who started their show with an electronic SE and flashing lights, although the effect was a little lost in the hall that was illuminated by daylight. Before the band members came on stage, the hands of the fans were already raised up in the air and moving along with the beat. Soon after the five band members appeared on stage, each of them dressed in a black outfit.
Sono’s voice was impressive and strong, even doing the "opera" part of their name some justice as his howls neared a classical-like sound. In a short MC the band members introduced themselves and talked about their new release, the single Otoshiana no soko wa konna sekai which they promptly played. During the show, the blonde keyboardist ayame played both his regular keyboards and a keytar, the instrument looking heavy on his small frame.
It was unfortunate that they were scheduled to play so soon after Lolita23q. Both bands’ music featured a combination of metal with electronics and showed many similarities, though Matenrou Opera’s was more symphonic metal-based and lacked any sort of happy sounds. Despite the lack of originality, the band delivered a great show and made a lasting impression with their dark looks and professional attitude on stage.
02. Otoshiana no soko wa konna sekai
03. Hiai to melancholy
PS COMPANY band SCREW was next to grace the Rainbow stage. The band seemed to be well-anticipated by the V-ROCK fans as loud cheers immediately erupted, with the fans jumping and raising their hands up in the air. Vocalist Byou, known for his eccentric taste in suits, was wearing a bright pink snake-patterned suit this time, with his hair pushed back and big sunglasses hiding most of his face. Together the band made an interesting fashion mix of animal patterns and military outfits, with guitarists Manabu and kazuki being more dressed down than the others with black and white tops.
They launched their show with DUALITY, and then treated fans to the songs Fester and BRAINSTORM, both from their newest single BRAINSTORM. The latter gave a short moment of calmness in their otherwise energetic show as it started with an acoustic guitar intro. During Barbed wire both the fans and band head banged along to the catchy rhythm, Byou crouching on the ego riser.
After only five songs SCREW disappeared backstage again, the five band members leaving the stage in what seemed like a hurry, not throwing any picks or water bottles to the audience as the other bands had done before them.
04. Barbed wire
05. DEEP SIX
Another PS COMPANY band came up next: D=OUT. Without any SE playing on the background, the band members immediately started with ROMAN REVOLUTION as they appeared on stage. All five of them were wearing hakamas in shades of grey and black, with vocalist Kouki wearing a white haori jacket over it.
Not only in appearance did they stand out from the other bands, but also music-wise as ROMAN REVOLUTION lacked the heavy sound that the other bands had sported, but instead had a far merrier feeling to it, with a catchy melody in the vocals. The atmosphere on stage and amongst the fans was also much lighter, the band and fans both in a cheerful mood. In their MC, Kouki announced their upcoming one-man concert, and then announced the next song. The fans were treated to the brand new Zenshin zenrei LIVES, which was still unreleased at that time and would come out in early November. Compared to their other songs, it was a little quieter but the gentler parts were alternated by more upbeat rock with some hints of ska.
The band ended their set with the old-time favorite Hanasaki beauty, which the fans welcomed by enthusiastically jumping and waving their arms up in the air.
01. ROMAN REVOLUTION
02. Bara iro no jinsei
03. Zenshin Zenrei LIVES
04. DANCE NUMBER
05. Hanasaki beauty
Mix Speaker’s Inc.
Next up was Mix Speaker's Inc. at the rainbow stage, instantly giving the audience the illusion they had accidentally ended up at some weird children’s show or a deranged dream as the six band members appeared on stage in their colorful, fantasy-like costumes. During the first song, Cinderella, none of the band members played any instruments. Instead, they sang together on the upbeat electro-tune as they danced around the stage.
After the first song they picked up their instruments and started on JUNK STORY, the catchy rhythm filling the venue. It was surprising that the elaborate costumes didn’t get in the way of their instruments. The size of Seek’s bass looked comically dwarfed against his tall green statue, wings on his back and his head in a cage. The two vocalists were less grotesquely dressed with matching black and white outfits and cat ears and tails.
With the fast and chaotic MONSTIME the fans jumped up and down with the beat. The song was quite heavy, with fast, metal-like guitar solos. Seek called out to the audience, but everyone was singing or yelling along already. Also guitarist Aya, dressed in a pretty pink dress screamed along, this time using his own low voice that was terribly out of character, but nonetheless it added to the fun feeling of their performance.
02. JUNK STORY
04. Kasa no shita no sekai
As the audience clapped to the SE, the members of vistlip took a leisurely stroll to their places on stage. Omoide CG welcomed the audience into the world of heavy mixture with its prominent bass lines, characteristic of vistlip’s music. Fans' voices got louder as they recognised the synth intro of DeadCherry and Tomo screamed “Let me hear your voices” as the fans raised their fists. The vocals interchanged between rapping and melodic singing, some of which was performed not only by the vocalist, but also by the guitarist Umi. The band welcomed the crowd and noted that it was great to be able to perform together with bands from the old days. They announced their new releases and thanked everyone for making them possible, and continued the MC in a joking manner. Going back to a more serious tone, Tomo announced that they would play a very important song since there were so many people watching. The set continued with –OZONE– , starting with a soft synth intro and shifting into upbeat and rather light melodies by the bands’ standards.
With LION HEART the band dived into a heavier, fast sound, to which the crowd raised their fists and screamed, then returned to a more melodic, flowing chorus. Yuh’s filigree guitar riffs progressed into an elaborate, flawless solo, and as Umi rapped, Tomo urged the crowd to make more noise. To Tohya’s fast drumming the last song of the set Hameln started with happy, upbeat melodies to which the audience united in dancing, creating a positive atmosphere in the venue. “Thank you for the wonderful smiles!” screamed Tomo, and the band said goodbye to the happy fans, leaving the stage.
01. Omoide CG
04. LION HEART
The members of DaizyStripper took their time to emerge to the slow electronic SE. The crowd was immediately captivated by tsuki ni juusei in which the moving, somewhat melancholic instrumentals intertwined with Yuugiri’s clear, piercing vocals. A transition into heavier sounds came with PSYCHEDELIC HEAVEN, which varied between fresh and catchy melodies to which the fans moshed, and harder, violent melodies when the members screamed into their microphones in deathvoice.
Yuugiri introduced the band, saying that they were happy to be performing at their second V-ROCK FESTIVAL in front of so many people, although he stated that they were worried because Golden Bomber was performing at the same time on a different stage, to which the audience responded with laughter. Having checked the number of people who were seeing the band for the first time by asking them to raise their hands, the vocalist said that although they didn’t have much time, he would like to explain to the audience what to do during the next song so that everyone could dance along together. Rehearsing clapping and jumping to the beats, Yuugiri seemed satisfied with the results as he smiled wildly and moved around the stage with excitement.
SUNDAY DRIVER followed and the audience, all the way to the very back of the venue, danced and jumped to the upbeat melodies of the song. “We have a disgusting dream. When we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we want everyone to mosh holding hands to this song in Tokyo Dome,” announced Yuugiri as decade began. The fans joined hands and were moshing together from the right to the left to the fast beats of the song when Rei took his pick into his mouth and passed it to Yuugiri’s mouth, who threw it into the excited crowd.
The tension in the venue was so high that the capacity of the stage did not seem enough for the band, and both Yuugiri and Mayu went climbing up and inside the constructions supporting the stage, interacting with the many fans, and the temperature seemed to rise as head banging broke out in the audience. Announcing a one-man at YOKOHAMA BLITZ for next year, the band thanked the crowd and asked them to enjoy the show to the very end, leaving a positive and lasting impression on the excited audience.
01. Tsuki ni juusei
02. PSYCHEDELIC HEAVEN
03. SUNDAY DRIVER
The sky that could be seen through the transparent bits of the ceiling of Saitama Super Arena was already pitch black when SuG appeared on stage to dark but somewhat fairy tale-like melodies. Straightaway, the air seemed to be charged and the atmosphere was tense, the show seeming to have been taken to a whole new level. Somewhat of a unique flair was added to the show by the appearance of two dancers dressed in loose outfits reminiscent of hip-hop, who together with Takeru, whose face was covered by a hood, demonstrated the moves to the first song. Taking off his hoodie, Takeru asked the crowd to participate as all members came to the front to encourage them. ☆GIMIGIMI☆ raised the tempo and the fans excitedly stretched their arms out to the happy synth melodies of the song and sang along to bits of the chorus.
As fans screamed the members’ names, Takeru greeted the crowd and reminded them that Saitama was in fact the prefecture of their origin. But even more exciting for him was the possibility to perform a show with SOPHIA, a band that he has been listening to since primary school. He then added that when they first got the schedule of the show, they were to perform at the same time as Golden Bomber. When they arrived to the venue on the day and realised that they were in fact not playing at the same time, they were so relieved and happy. “And when I realised myself being relieved about it, I thought, I am so lame, I am so… Memeshikute, Memeshikute, Memeshikute!” (meaning effeminate, weak) he started singing as the band started playing one of Golden Bomber’s most popular songs. The audience exploded with laughter and Takeru protested, “No, no, we are not going to play it! We are going to do our best with our own songs!” However, the members did not seem to agree, and eventually restarted the song, to which Takeru got comically upset and pointed out that actually they could play the guitars lines better than in SuG’s own songs. Concluding the MC, Takeru asked the fans to save him a spot in the front row for SOPHIA, preferably on the left side of the stage, met by more laughter from the fans.
Toy Soldier, the title song from their new single, continued the set, with xylophone adding a flair of magic to the catchy melodies. The dancers executed dance moves as if they were shooting guns, and together with Takeru the fans pretended to be playing on military drums. The atmosphere of the song, however, was that of a positive toy story. Mad$hip had a hip-hop taste to it, and there was a lot of movement both on stage and in the crowd, with the members spinning around and the fans jumping, head banging, waving their hands and clapping to the beats. “Let’s do it together to the last song!” said Takeru as he raised his hand, holding a towel, and started spinning it together with the fans to the fast and cheerful melodies of 39GalaxyZ as dancers with big SuG flags took their places at both sides of the stages, waving them around. The members sang into their microphones, moved around the stage interacting with one another and the fans, who sang along audibly as the music faded out. With this positive union of all present in the venue, the band thanked the crowd and asked them to enjoy the show until the very end, waving and saying goodbye.
01. L.E.D Ghosty
03. Toy Soldier
Following SuG was a band with a very different atmosphere from any of the acts of the night, the old-school legends DEAD END. Curtains opened, revealing a stage lit with dim blue light and to a dark SE the members slowly walked out and took their places. MORRIE froze at the center of the stage, piercing the venue with his cold, captivating glance. He remained motionless throughout the first half of Matenrou game, heavy instrumentals roaring around him, then seemed to have been shaken by a violent fit and awoke, dancing slowly to the powerful guitar melodies. The music of the band had a somewhat Western metal flair to it while the atmosphere of the show was prominently Japanese, making a curious combination.
In contrast to the strong, captivating and flowing vocals of the first song, MORRIE’s vocals became harsh and coarse in the heavy Conception, then switched back to being smooth and clear. Having taken off his coat, revealing his well-toned torso, MORRIE greeted the crowd and invited them to their upcoming tour, then announced the next song. As the fans raised their fists, a slower paced but dark Dress Burning with a classic hard-rock flavour started, to which the vocalist walked around the stage interacting with the audience solely through his piercing look and erotic dancing.
To the faster melodies of Frenzy, the members, looking like old-school rock stars, came to the front of the stage which looked as if it was being struck by lightning, and the crowd head banged violently. YOU produced another one of his lengthy, fast and skilful solos, cheered on by the fans who stretched their arms out towards the stage. The last song of the set was DevilSleep, powerful and heavy, somewhat dissonant and full of contrasts, with vocals alternating between harsh and screams and operatic melodies, presenting a whole range of singing styles. The audience reacted enthusiastically, head banging and raising their fists. Leaving a strong and lasting impression, the band thanked the crowd and left the stage.
01. Matenrou game
03. Dress Burning
The last band to play on the small stages was lynch.. Instead of the 25 minutes all the other bands had gotten, they were planned for a longer period and were able to fit ten songs in their set list. While a rock song with an electronic beat played, the five band members entered the stage, looking quite nonchalant. All of them were dressed in black, with vocalist Hazuki wearing a white shirt under his jacket. It had gotten properly dark in the venue, which made it possible to have a proper light show, which fit lynch. ’s dark atmosphere quite well.
Right from the start the band made a powerful and confident appearance and the fans head banged along enthusiastically to the heavy and fast beats. Red lights flashed as the band played one song after another. After the older songs Adore and I'm sick, b'cuz luv u, the band mostly played songs from their newest album I BELIEVE IN ME, much to the delight of their fans. Occasionally, some gentler parts were incorporated in their music, but the band always moved back to their heavy sound, with Hazuki often screaming and screeching. The lights flashed brightly as the guitarists and bassist rocked their instrument and Asanao pounded the drums hard.
After they said their thanks and threw picks and water bottles into the audience, lynch. left the stage again, looking accomplished with their strong performance. Right away, the audience started to leave the hall to move over to the other part of the arena, to view MUCC’s performance at the Rose stage.
02. I'm sick, b'cuz luv u.
03. I BELIEVE IN ME
08. ALL THIS I'LL GIVE YOU
10. A GLEAM IN EYE