Live Report Exclusive

the GazettE at The Electric Ballroom, London

22/07/2019 2019-07-22 18:00:00 JaME 670 views Author: ChrisN Copyeditor: Silverfaye

the GazettE at The Electric Ballroom, London

After a long overdue return, it’s like they’ve never been away.


© Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. All rights reserved.

WORLD TOUR 19 THE NINTH PHASE #04 -99.999- finally sees the the GazettE return to the UK after 12 years. Despite this long absence, their fans haven’t forgotten them and the queue for the sold-out gig stretches down Camden High Street and around the block. Everybody manages to cram inside The Electric Ballroom and with no support act the crowd are left to buzz with excitement for the GazettE’s long awaited return.

For an intro, the opening track of latest album NINTH, 99.999, blares through the speakers, letting the crowd know its time. They respond, clapping and screaming as the GazettE emerge from backstage. The band have toned down their look from their early visual kei days and are dressed in restrained, but stylish black and bassist REITA, as you’d expect, wears a black mask across his eyes. Leave the flamboyance to singer RUKI, who’s the last to arrive on stage in a lush purple velvet suit with an elaborate floral design embroidered across the back.

Though NINTH was released a year ago, tonight’s set leans heavily into that album. As the GazettE's look has changed over the years, so has their sound and their latest evolution continues to build on previous album DOGMA’s harder sound. The opening of the show follows the track list of NINTH in order with Falling, NINTH ODD SMELL and GUSH making for a hard and heavy start. In an instant the audience transforms from a patiently waiting crowd into a heaving, jumping mass, clapping and screaming along to the full on, thunderous assault of the GazettE.

There’s a brief pause as guitars are swapped over, but even then, the screaming and chanting carries on in the darkness.  RUKI has a quick chat, greeting everybody and whipping them up with cries of “Make some fucking noise!” before launching into the back catalogue with VORTEX from 2011’s TOXIC album.

It’s hard to believe the GazettE haven’t played the UK in 12 years as their fans are right on cue joining in with the song.  Chanting, clapping and shouting “I don't wanna become the fuckin' garbage like you”, the crowd are completely into it, feeding on the energy the band are blasting out and directing it right back at them.

The screams of appreciation have barely died down before the venue is lit up with blaring white strobe lights, flashing in time with KAI’s drumming intro to BIZARRE. The whole song is driven by crunching industrial rhythms—even the guitars manage to sound like drums between the chopping, hammering riffs and URUHA’s nifty tapping. Amongst this percussive barrage, RUKI’s strangely elegant hand gestures seem to cast a spell over the audience. Then we’re back to NINTH with THE MORTAL which showcases RUKI’s vocal talents as he switches from ferocious growling to a clean vocal, full of emotion. The song shows two sides of the GazettE, brutal and gentle by turns.

There’s finally an oasis of calm in the evening’s storm of growling vocals and crashing guitars. AOI leads off Sono Koe wa Moruku with a bright and airy riff of an intro. The song's whole vibe is something of a throwback to the band’s visual kei roots. It might be the lightest song of the night but RUKI still gives a powerful vocal performance. URUHA is picked out by a spotlight as he delivers his solo and the band are backlit by rays of white light piercing the darkness and illuminating the audience. AOI sees out the track the way it started, bringing this emotional moment to a close.

It’s back to the heavy stuff with DOGMA and INCUBUS and after their little break, the fans get right on with their jumping, chanting and clapping. The band’s "no photography" policy seems to have gone out the window, but the cell phone snappers are mainly confined to the back of the venue. Everybody at the front is too busy enjoying the moment to bother capturing a blurry replica of it.

For the home straight the GazettE return to NINTH, giving us TWO OF A KIND and ABHOR GOD, which bookend 2015 single UGLYAOI and URUHA cut loose as they dance all over the place and RUKI keeps the crowd hyped up as they build to the big finish. The crowd scream as they recognise the intro to show closer Filth in the beauty while Ruki lounges casually on the riser at centre stage. The song kicks into full force and he bounces back up on his feet, leading the crowd like a conductor, and they wave their arms in the air, singing along at the top of their lungs. Before you know it, it’s all over.

the GazettE shower the crowd with "thank you"'s and water squirted from RUKI’s bottle, before heading off stage. KAI bounds out from behind his drum kit and jumps up on the riser at centre stage to milk a bit more adulation all for himself as the last man standing. With the band gone, the calls start for an encore while roadies straighten things up on stage and security hand out some much needed water to the front rows, helping the crowd catch their breath after what has been a relentless performance. 

If it seems the time has flown by, it’s partly because it hasn’t had far to go. the GazettE have blitzed through their set in one hour flat. The wait for an encore begins to drag, though.  The clapping and cheering, backed by the rumbling bass of feet stamping on the venue's wooden floor, comes and goes in waves as the enthusiasm in the room begins to flag. A hardy few keep chanting “An-Ko-Re”, borrowed from the Japanese style calls for encore.

It’s more than 15 minutes before the GazettE finally reappear, looking a little more casual as KAI and URUHA are wearing black T-shirts now. RUKI shouts “Are you ready?” and the long wait all forgotten, the crowd scream, leaving no doubt how ready they are for one last blast from their heroes. KAI kicks things off with the military drum beat of INSIDE BEAST’s intro and the crowd fall into step, clapping along. RUKI reels off some snake-hipped dancing, touching himself where he shouldn’t, which gets some excitable fans screaming. 

The excitement carries on building through COCKROACH, which has the whole venue jumping before the big finish. RUKI screams "TOMORROW NEVER DIES!", announcing the last song of the night. Everybody is clapping and chanting, determined to enjoy the GazettE to the very end, and for who knows how long until they appear again. Briefly it seems the night’s finished, until the song kicks off again with a flashy solo from URUHA and the crowd go mental as the song builds to its crashing crescendo of KAI thrashing his drum kit half to death.

the GazettE set down their instruments and soak up the applause from the heaving, sweaty crowd. RUKI makes them just a bit damper, sending huge squirts of water into the audience from his bottle while the guitarists offer more solid souvenirs in the shape of guitar picks flung at a sea of grasping hands. KAI is the last man off stage again, pausing to take photos of the cheering crowd. It’s been an epic evening that’s flashed by. Hopefully, the time until their next world tour is gone in a flash too.

Set list

01. Falling
02. NINTH ODD SMELL
03. GUSH
04. VORTEX
05. BIZARRE
06. THE MORTAL
07. Sono Koe wa Moruku
08. DOGMA
09. INCUBUS
10. TWO OF A KIND
11. UGLY
12. ABHOR GOD
13. Filth in the beauty

Encore

01. INSIDE BEAST
02. COCKROACH
03. TOMORROW NEVER DIES

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