V-ROCK FESTIVAL 2011 - Rose and Moon Stages

live report - 05.29.2012 20:01

Here’s what happened on the main stage side of the Saitama Super Arena, where fans ran from side (Rose Stage) to side (Moon Stage) to catch as much musical goodness as possible.


Beginning with their debut single, THE END OF THE DAY, YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz appeared full of energy, not at all tired from their recent European tour. The guitarists, synced in headbanging, the vocalists moving, gyrating, singing like clockwork—the performance was a well-oiled machine that kept the fans wanting more. GACKT cried out “YFC!” to the fans between songs, perhaps in encouragement, perhaps to remind new fans what to look up on Google when they got home. Fan favorites from GACKT’s solo career, including VANILLA and SPEED MASTER, made the bulk of the day’s set, followed by the last song, YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz’s Mata, koko de aimasho. GACKT and JON walked into the crowd as they sang, creating a mild panic as fans did their best to reach out to the two. When the song had ended, the band waved goodbye and left together, with the fans loyally waving in turn.

Set List:
05. EVER
06. Mata, koko de aimasho


girugamesh opened at 11:51 with a metal pipe organ instrumental. The band arrived on stage with a flag bearing the group’s name. Vocalist Satoshi punched the air to the music, with the fans clapping in what resembled a cheerfully conditioned reflex. Songs evolution and bit crash opened the live, with the energetic guitarist Nii running back and forth across the stage. Bassist ShuU and the audience combined to give backing vocals, with Satoshi adding in quality growls to keep the audience enthused. Then, it happened—perhaps the most brilliantly unexpected song of the day—as girugamesh performed a variation of idol group AKB48’s Heavy Rotation. The band performed until they appeared exhausted; when they left the stage, the monitor above the stage teased an official site announcement, leaving fans wondering what to expect next.

Set List:
01. evolution
02. bit crash
04. Heavy Rotation
05. Break Down
06. volcano


The next band was ViViD, coming onto the stage one member at a time to increasing applause. The audience swayed with the band through Yume ~mugen no kanata~, all but hypnotized by the time singer Shin started their new song, FAKE. It was a treat, accompanied by Shin sitting on his knees to serenade the crowd. While they expressed concerns of being a fairly new band during their MC, the approving roar at the mention of a pending Budokan live was more than enough to quash any doubts. The perpetually active quintet ended their set by thanking Saitama and its thousands of rockers.

Set List:
01. Yume ~mugen no kanata~
02. risk
03. FAKE
04. BLUE
05. Re:load
06. Kimi koi


Versailles wasted no time getting on stage, approaching their rose-laden set almost in a hurry. Each member came equipped with a mask, fitting for their opening MASQUERADE. The first song from their new album Holy Grail was received warmly, as was vocalist KAMIJO’s “Bonjour!” to greet the audience. The band’s image of togetherness could be seen in full, with the members occasionally hugging each other while they performed their major hits. With the band’s world tour set to conclude in Shibuya, Versailles made the day’s set a reminder that they were ready for the performances to come.

Set List:
02. Philia
03. The Red Carpet Day
04. The Revenant Choir


The odds are few people had heard of Piko coming into V-rock. On the internet, namely video sharing site Nico Nico Douga, Piko had already become renowned as a legend, covering Vocaloid and other popular songs with ease. Equipped with cat gloves and a generally feminine outfit on stage, the singer surprised many by revealing that he was, well, a he, body and soul. The Japanese refer to him as a “ryôseirui,” replacing the “life” character in “amphibian” for “voice.” Here, it means Piko can produce both masculine and feminine vocal tones, though for today Piko stuck to the feminine. He ended the set with his new song, Yume no hana, doubtlessly acquiring a fair share of new fans in the process.

Set List:
01. Sakurane
02. Main Dish
03. Rollin'MerryGoRound
04. Piko Piko✩Legend of Night of Galaxy
05. Yume hana


It’s difficult to explain the allure of ALI PROJECT, the aristocrat-themed darkwave duo up next at the festival. The pair has found immense popularity in recent years, with their eerie arrangements serving as themes for several popular anime. Their stage performances adhere to both their popularity and their unique style, with backing instrumentalists replete with bright, blond wigs, soldiers in uniform—even a bit of weaponry to keep things interesting. The dancers in soldier uniform found the time to change into orange dresses, a little reminiscent of the musical Chicago, but no one seemed to notice. As for their musical style? Singer Arika Takarano put it best: if not visual kei, then definitely anti-J-pop and anti-K-pop.

Set List:
01. Boukoku kakusei Catharsis
02. Yukyou seishunka
03. Baragoku otome
04. Mokushiroku zengi


The MC of the V-ROCK FESTIVAL came onto the stage, greeting fans under a massive LM.C curtain. Speaking to the now jam-packed crowd in fluent English, he introduced the rock duo, former Miyavi support guitarist Maya and ex-PIERROT guitarist Aiji. With a flurry of rapping and crowd-jumping, the energy in the audience seemed all but animalistic. Water sprayed into the crowd, in addition to songs like Super Duper Galaxy and a dancing robot-like bunny all helped make LM.C’s performance a show like no other.

Set List:
01. ✩Rock the LM.C✩
03. Super Duper Galaxy
04. meteorion


New visual kei fans might not have heard of Eins:Vier, the band’s initial run having lasted from 1991-1999. Their presence was palpable during that time, with a plethora of singles and five major albums to their credit. Twelve years later, they resumed their activities at V-ROCK, precisely at 3:50pm, to understandably massive applause. Bassist Luna and guitarist Yoshitsugu appeared before their singer, Hirofumi completed the original line up. Hirofumi, in a businessman-like outfit with shades, feverishly swung his microphone wire around, crouching into it, all but dancing with it, as if twelve years of pent-up energy were being used up in a mere half-hour set. But what a half-hour it was, with more lives to come, including an Akasaka Blitz performance on February 26.

Set List:
01. Not saved yet
02. Notice
03. In a void space
04. In your dream
05. Dere Song

Golden Bomber

Golden Bomber isn’t your typical band. Those in the know know that they aren’t even a “band” to begin with, labeling themselves as an “air band.” It’s true: the vocalist, Kiryuin Sho, handles the composition and on-stage singing. The rest of the band spends their time being silly. Incredibly silly. Absurdly silly, to the point where taking a shower on stage, stripping down to V-shaped overalls for the purpose of a gag, and performing behind a sign with an arrow marked “I’m gay.” pointing to the vocalist make perfect sense. The band members happily rolled over the stage that GACKT had performed on previously. Dirty jokes were told. Corn on the cob was consumed feverishly. To top it all off, the band even ran into the crowd, returning sans most of their clothing. Par for the course, and what a course it was.

Set List:
01. Kirei ni naritakute
02. Dakishimete Schwarz
03. Yowasete Mojito
04. Doku gumo onna (moe moe-hen)
05. †The V kei ppoi kyoku†
06. Memeshikute


LA’ROYQUE DE ZAVY, also known as cali≠gari’s side project, treated the fans to a “reunion live,” starting with an elaborate, documentary-styled featurette, telling the (hopefully) fake story of the band finding an abandoned youth and raising him as one of their own. The video was some fifteen minutes long, yet remained entertaining throughout. When the band arrived on stage, initially performing alongside a PV, their aura matched the video: glam rock makeup, mixed with a potpourri of videogame and cabaret-styled costumes. The crowd ate it up. Singer Sagittarius no Tricomonas called out to the crowd, “Do you like sex?! It doesn’t matter with who or what. Sex! Sex! Sex!” The crowd ate that up, too.

Set List:
01. Moumoku de arugayue no THE touitsukan
02. -Tou-
03. 37546
04. 187
05. Machina
06. Erotopia


SOPHIA returned to the musical stage tonight, one of several performances following a long hiatus. Their keyboardist, Keiichi Miyako, had recovered from cancer, and with that the colorful concert began. Even the songs were colorful, with Kuroi Boots ~oh my friend~ and Aoi kisetsu starting the night strong. Vocalist Matsuoka Mitsuru, dressed in all brown, apologized in advance for what he felt would be long MC sessions, but the audience knew they were necessary. Coming back from the hiatus, there was a lot for him to say, and the audience was there to listen. By the end of the evening, an air of youth had been restored to the audience members, many of whom left the stage in tears.

Set List:
01. Kuroi Boots ~oh my friend~
02. Aoi kisetsu
04. Missile
05. cod-E ~E no angou~
06. Machi
07. End roll


MUCC would close the evening, their set beginning with pounding sounds emanating from both the speakers and the audience’s jumping in sync to the music. Fan favorites Falling Down and FUZZ kept the crowd energized, as the set became progressively louder. Faster. Until finally, in perhaps a culturally fitting fashion, Tatsurou united the crowd with a request; at his call, the audience sat down and jumped all at once. It was a fitting end to a night full of jumping, of laughing and screaming in unison.

Set List:
01. Falling Down
02. Houkou
03. FUZZ
04. Zetsubou
05. Syouhu
06. Arcadia
07. Utagoe
08. Ranchuu
09. Libra
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Saitama - Japan
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