J LIVE 2012 [ON FIRE] Yokohama BLITZ

live report - 07.23.2012 20:01

J sets Yokohama BLITZ aflame with fiery songs and passion.

Deep piano notes sounded, augmented by cheers as the lights faded, the accolades doubling as the band entered into the darkness of the stage. The ring of guitar and a shout resounded, “Welcome, motherf**kers!”

Pay Money to My Pain were more than just an opening act. They had the crowd hot and sweaty within moments, inducing circle moshing and isolated break dancing through their hard, angry sound.

An angry rock tune and bright strobes brought the support to the stage, followed by J himself. His first action was to toss a half-full water bottle into the crowd. Bring the Light cut right through the background music, hard drum and guitar instantly converting the atmosphere while Js strong voice carried over the simple musical line. It escalated quickly, the crowd jumping and rolling their fists, shouting unanimously into a pause. As the drums picked up, J finally made his dramatic bass entry.

“Okay, Yokohama! I missed you! Today's the second of the special three nights. I played at Shibuya yesterday but let’s get even hotter tonight. Was anyone here yesterday? Tonight will be wilder! Go Charge!” J’s prediction was on target as the moshing went wild, guitar racing off and crowd-surfers rolling across the roiling human sea. PYROMANIA had a wicked rhythm that resulted in jumping and shouting. “Come on!” J called, and the lights blacked out, replaced by a starlight effect as the crowd held hundreds of lighters aloft.

“Yesterday, the three days started but it’s going to become four days,” J revealed. "In between, I was recording… and recording… and recording… Did you listen to ON FIRE? I hope you can enjoy those songs here tonight. Also, today, PTP whom I love came and rocked Yokohama. On Golden Week. It’s the Golden coupling live. Let’s go nuts! here we go!”

A hot, classic guitar riff opened and a vocalized “oooh” set the crowd off. J soon had then “woah”ing along with him as the simple music beneath grew wilder and wilder in rhythm and tune. Similar yet brighter in sound, storm rider featured an interesting chorus, the melody descending and showing off the range and clarity of J’s vocals. The finale was full of false endings, including a face-off between the rhythm section and a deep bass solo. A deep breath and only a moment’s pause and fire played right in, the strong bass line grabbing attention in contrast to the basic vocals and guitar.

“It feels good, Yokohama! Doesn’t it?” J yelled. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played Yokohama BLITZ. I love this place. It’s a venue where I can see all your faces really well. Why are you all blushing so much? If you think I can’t see you up the back, you’re making a big mistake,” he added with a laugh. “There are a lot of very kind voices here tonight.” Dividing the crowd into males and females, he got them yelling their lungs out. “Girls, guys, that has nothing to do with it! Let’s all have fun!”

The crowd continued yelling, in rhythm until the guitars powered in. J’s cool, monotone vocal line was darkened by the slight use of a vocoder, a number of repeated words smashing the lyrics home. Then the number took on a dreamy atmosphere, living up to the title Twisted dreams as overhead spotlights flashed slowly, guitar chiming and J singing gently in contrast to the earlier staccato.

Drummer Scott Garret was afforded a solo, dynamic with skillfully manipulated rhythm, tempo and volume. The crowd rode the wave from barely audible rattles to loud crashes. Then, before the beat resolved, a trippy electro backing beamed in, a little ethnic, a little alien and Scott played with it for an epic drum-focused piece. With the final crash, Scott nearly knocked himself out of his seat.

“Isn't this great, Yokohama?” J cried, back onstage. “I’ve said this before but your voices don’t travel well to the stage in this place. It’s lonely. So you’ll have to yell louder than usual. That’s it. Maybe it’s just that my ears are failing but that’s the level I want!”

Singing a cappella, J resumed the performance with BUT YOU SAID I’M USELESS. The whole crowd clapped along with the music, hands over their heads, switching to a double-clap to match the rhythm of the low verse. J worked a twang into his tone on the lower notes but his voice rang, reaching up into the chorus.

Ever inspirational, J spoke earnestly to the crowd, “There’s only today. Everyone here today came here with some incentive and you probably want to heat it up, but I think you can get hotter, more fun, wilder!” The crowd shouted endlessly and J basked in the wall of sound. “Harder. More fun. Wilder!” Gabriel began with an inspiring opening riff, vocals primarily yelled. Singing along, the crowd pointed their raised, devil-horned hands into the center, a huge wave of crowd-surfers surging towards J who reached down to grab a hand as it rolled by.

“Are you ready? Are you ready?” asked a robotic voice. “Let’s get wild! go crazy!” The good old rock theme returned to a more generic sound, intriguing after the robotic intro. Perched up on shoulders, some of the crowd-surfers began conducting shouts through a short instrumental interlude. The wild number wound down to a slow finish. “It’s going to go crazy now. Yeah,” J sang before yelling, “It’s not over yet! I can go on, baby! I can Die for you!” The crowd filled in the “woah”s of the number with its cool rhythm, nicely manipulated tune and bright guitar line. However, the lyrics and foundation of the melody contrasted with the bright sound even though J ended the number with an equally bright grin. The final number, Feel Your Blaze, came out of passionate yells, beginning on a deep guitar riff. The lights flared as the music took off, the melody constantly high in pitch and cheerful. The number took on a spirit of unity during the repetitive bridge of “Baby, everything’s alright!” which the crowd took over, singing strongly. Singing his “thank you”s, J stretched out a finger and pointed to the crowd during the playout, effusively making his farewells.

Returning for the encore, J had nothing but praise for the crowd. “You’re amazing, Yokohama. The view from here is going to get amazing. Thank you very much to PTP, their staff and all their fans. I hope we’ll have a chance to do a live together in the near future so I’ll be counting on you then.” Next, J thanked his support band, raising double devil horns out of Scott. “Here’s some rock music I made, so please sing along if you like. baby baby.” The classic tune with a Japanese rock core was light despite the rock twang to J’s tone. Ending on a subdued note, it incited cheers and applause from the crowd.

“Does anyone know what comes above ‘saikou?’” J asked. “I don’t know, but let’s go there!” Drums and bass combined for the awesome opening of break with a musical and rhythmic dive that soon tore away with the guitars along for the ride. The crowd shouted on cue, filling the music and playing their essential part. With a big “thank you,” J stormed away from the front, Scott tossing his sticks away high in the air one by one.

“Okay! Yokohama! Thank you so much for tonight! It’s been the best possible second show of these special three nights! Thank you to everyone in this venue tonight! These three days are my first lives of the year! Let’s make it a hot year to match these three nights! It’ll be a year of real rock! Here’s the last song for tonight. Ready?” The response was overwhelming and Evoke the World really rocked the floor. Hot drums and potent guitar under full lighting brought the band and crowd together as one. A huge, satisfying playout with an equally satisfying yell of gratitude brought the show to a powerful end, J pegging picks into the crowd, postured like a Spanish matador.

His last words were for the three nights finale: “There’s one day left at Shibuya AX! Let’s make it an even hotter night!”

Set List:

01. Bring the Light
02. Go Charge
04. here we go
05. storm rider
06. fire
07. Twisted dreams
09. Gabriel
10. bo crazy
11. Die for you
12. Feel Your Blaze

01. baby baby
02. break
03. Evoke the World
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