All-girl visual band exist†trace gathered in the company of their loyal fans for an emotive and memorable show on November 9th at Daikanyama UNIT. Fans of all ages, styles and nationalities chatted excitedly as they waited for the start of the show, the unusually high number of foreign faces and male fans – salary-men included – contributing to the live’s uniqueness.
As the lights went down we were transported to a moon-lit forest, the lonely howls crying into the night. UFO sounds were replaced by an old radio before red lights and sirens started shouting frantically. Thunder and a heavy beat marked the pace for pumping fists as Mally (drums), Naoto (bass), miko (rhythm guitar), Omi (lead guitar) and Jyo (vocals) made their entrance to a cheering crowd.
Daybreak ~13gatsu no shikisai~ opened the show and allowed Jyo to display her unique and powerful vocal range. The song (reminiscent of an anime opening) was warmly welcomed, miko showing great energy as she head banged to the beat while Omi delivered some hot guitar lines.
With the words “Shall we dance?” Jyo introduced Honnou. It was Naoto’s time to shine with the bass standing out through most the song, Omi stealing the spotlight as it reached the end with a smooth solo. A short MC gave the band a chance to welcome the fans and promise a show full of energy and surprises before the band dove into RESONANCE with an earsplitting yell. Making full use of the space, the band moved around and incited the crowd to head-bang and follow the furi (hand choreographies).
The powerful ballad be Naked saw the drums take over the room, Mally setting the pace for the moving bodies in front of her with zeal. The rhythm built up for SACRIFICE BABY with plenty of jumping to hot red and pink lights. With miko and Naoto helping with the death-voice, the song really got the crowd moving in response to the contagious and energetic performance.
“I was looking forward to this live so much that I even dreamt about it!” Jyo confessed to warm cheers during the night’s first emcee. Wasting no time, the band moved on to some well accomplished ballads. Confident drums set the tempo for the angry, fast-paced, ballad I feel you. miko delivered a nice solo between dancing and helping-out with the back-up vocals while on the opposite side of the stage Omi kept it cool, always with a very strong stage presence. And with another strong drum intro to pink and purple lights, Neverland started. The ballad was accompanied by some memorable guitar lines and steady drums, the vocalist doing a good job emphasizing the lyrics with every move.
Appropriate blue lights welcomed water in a good mixture of slow and fast that indeed resembled the movement of waves. The pace built up for the head-banging only to shush again as the circle repeated itself. The transition between the ballads was very well accomplished and Kimi no masshirona hane stood out with its spoken intro and dramatic start. The song was strong with heated guitars, determinate drums and powerful vocals to which the crowd responded with fervor.
Leaving the stage – and leaving the crowd curious as to what would come next - the band took a short break. Only a few minutes had passed when, one by one, they returned, faces half covered in shiny masks. Mally took off with a strong solo, Naoto and Omi joining in before miko took the center. The guitarist beautifully sang the opening lines for little Mary to utsukushiki nikushimi no donau, stepping back as the song built up and Jyo took her place in the center of the stage. In a piece reminiscent of the Venetian Carnival, the band lulled the crowd in an intense and mesmerizing performance that was definitely one of the night’s highlights. Fan-service was not forgotten as both guitarists took the center for a waltz to the crowd’s delight.
The drummer and bassist were left alone for a short rhythm duet while the other three got rid of their masks and readied themselves for some head-banging. Venom was the first in a set of heavier songs that set the crowd aflame. “Today we played some older songs!” the vocalist stated with a smile as she took over the short emcee. “I’m tired but it’s a secret!” she confessed, shouts of “You’re so cute!” escaping the crowd every time she smiled. And with that said, it was time for the heavier part of the set. Head-banging and pumping fists went on zealously as the ladies on stage moved around and interacted with the fans. Jyo kept the fan-service alive, caressing miko’s breast half way through TRUE, leaving the crowd quite euphoric. The shouts grew louder for liquid as the fans moved back and forth like a giant human wave, before Jyo announced the last song, VANGUARD. The two guitarists shared the central podium for a fiery duet while Mally shook her head to the beat. Keeping it cool, the bassist delivered some strong lines, also head-banging and demanding more from the crowd who seemed to give it their all head-banging and pumping fists earnestly.
The five left to cheers and claps but the crowd didn’t seem ready to go home just yet, and shouts of “One more song!” (in English!) filled the room. With pleased smiles, the five v-kei ladies returned diving right into KISS IN THE DARK. The last one on stage, Jyo surprised everyone as she appeared with a long blond wig and sexy outfit, adopting cute poses and blowing kisses to the crowd throughout as she moved from one side to the other. The beat was contagious and the crowd sang, moving to the cool guitars and steady drums. After a mouth-to-mouth kiss with Omi, the blond made her exit allowing red-haired Jyo to get back in character for Orleans no shoujo with its choreographies and lots of jumping.
Once again the crowd shouted for the band to come back, and wasting no time, they did. The vocalist was the first one back. “They told me to come back by myself,” she explained to an amused crowd. “Did you see the pretty blond singer/song-writer from America that was here before?” she asked with a teasing smirk. The MC went on with Jyo revealing how impressed she was to see many people cosplaying her in Europe and complimenting some male fans for doing the same for that night's performance. “I can’t play by myself so let’s call the others one by one!” she finally said before calling out with a yell, “On drums, Mally!” The drummer came in showing her muscles to approving shouts and without a word got behind her drum-set. Naoto came in eating candy, throwing some to the crowd before the vocalist called out “the princess” miko. “The four of us will do our best tonight…” she stated, and at once the crowd let out an amusingly angry yell pointing out someone was missing. “What? Oh, that one is way too cool to be in the band!” Jyo explained with clear amusement before yelling out “Our prince, on guitar Omi!” The vocalist’s attempts to get the other four speaking were not very successful, despite being extremely amusing, and it was refreshing to see her tease “the prince” and the crowd addressing her as “he” and asking with surprise “What, he is a guy, right?”
With twirling fists and towels that accompanied the choreographies, Forward got the crowd moving. The jumping and pumping fists calmed down a bit with [Owari no nai sekai]. Mally was completely lost in the beat singing and head-banging to passionate guitars. With a special song, the rocker girls ended the night thanking all present for their support. New Song with its lulling tune was indeed a great way to end the night. With the new light of the rising sun, the determined, hopeful ballad reflected exist†trace’s spirit and unending strength in a men-ruled world in which they have with passion in dedication gained a well-deserved spot in the sun. We look forward to the band’s new released and further surprises!
1. Daybreak ~13gatsu no shikisai~
4. be Naked
5. SACRIFICE BABY
6. I feel you
9. kimi no masshirona hane
10. little Mary to utsukushiki nikushimi no donau
– Bass & Drum session –
15. KISS IN THE DARK
16. Orleans no shoujo
18. [Owari no nai sekai]
19. New Song
exist†trace One-Man Show THE FIRST DAYBREAK
live report - 01.14.2012 19:01
Visual kei girl band exist†trace broke all the rules and delighted fans at their one-man, THE FIRST DAYBREAK, at Daikanyama UNIT.