MAN WITH A MISSION at Gramercy Theatre, New York City
On their most recent US tour, the wolf pack stopped by New York City and lit up the stage in Gramercy Theatre.
Gramercy Theatre was packed on a Monday night with fans excited for MAN WITH A MISSION's first visit to New York City since 2014. The five-piece wolf pack rock band, along with their masked support guitarist, opened the night with 2045.
The first track off of their newest album Chasing the Horizon was then followed by the album's second track, Broken People. These two high-energy electro-rock tracks thrust the crowd into excited fist pumping action.
Most of the tracks played were unsurprisingly off their most recent album. However, it was obvious how pleased fans were when they delivered some of their older crowd favorites such as Emotions, database, and Seven Deadly Sins, among others. Because many of MWAM’s songs have English lyrics, many fans sang along with the band to the familiar tunes. It's something that doesn’t happen as successfully with other Japanese bands on their American tours due to the language barrier.
The energy of the mosh pit began to swell up towards the end of the first half of the live. MAN WITH A MISSION proved they’re not just attention drawing because of their unique appearances, but also because their energy level and engagement with live crowds is exceptional. It was evident during songs like Hey Now, when Jean-Ken Johnny cued everyone to squat down at one point and then all jump up in unison on cue with the chorus. During the funk-inspired dance rock of Get Off of My Way, fans alternated between clapping together to the rhythm and mirroring Tokyo Tanaka’s rhythmic alternating hand motions during its catchy chorus. The interesting blend of different musical genres in their works makes for a unique, ever changing live experience.
A video showing various clips and live festival performances they recently performed in Japan was played on a screen while the band took a brief break, filler that kept everyone engaged before DJ Santa Monica and drummer Spear Rib came back out and charged up the crowd with their turntable vs drum battle. Jean-Ken Johnny then took the stage to perform a touching acoustic rendition of Chasing the Horizon. Before performing the acoustic pop-rock ballad, Jean-Ken Johnny took a moment to speak to the audience. He thanked the crowd for making it possible for them to accomplish their dream of doing a world tour, and touched on the importance of the journey to each destination.
The band and crowd revved up once again post intermission, most notably when database started. The masses pushed forward and screams were audibly louder than ever during this popular opening for the anime “Log Horizon”.
They also introduced a catchy song released just this past September, which turned out to be another collaboration with popular American artist Patrick Stump, the vocalist and songwriter from Fall Out Boy. Fans’ reception of the track appeared positive as the crowd pumped their fists along to the new tune.
Another surprise that followed was the band’s unique cover of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, a popular 90s grunge rock song that they gave a hip hopping, electro-dance nu-metal rock twist, complete with explicit language to boot. Perhaps some loyalists would scoff at this version, but at this live, it proved to be a fun, characteristically “wolf-like” rocking rendition of the hugely popular American song that left fans in awe.
They finished off with FLY AGAIN 2019 and Seven Deadly Sins, during which Kamikaze Boy’s and DJ Santa Monica’s eyes lit up a bright yellow. The energy and vibes of the remainder of the set kept the audience bouncing along to the very end. After the crowd repeatedly shouted “One more song!”, the band returned once again and Jean-Ken Johnny replied “We’re actually going to be playing two more songs.” The show ended with another Patrick Stump collaboration, Dead End in Tokyo, followed by a final crowd favorite, Raise your flag. As is tradition with every great rock concert, guitar picks were thrown to the audience and the band took some selfies with the fans. Despite the no camera policy that had been in place for most of the show, Jean-Ken Johnny kindly verbalized an 'okay' for everyone to take pictures at the very end to commemorate the show, which was a nice gift for the fans. MAN WITH A MISSION's appearance, musical styles and blend of English and Japanese lyrics have the ability to transcend boundaries and labels, and they are truly phenomenal to experience live. Hopefully fans will not have to wait too long for them to return for another rocking US tour.
2. Broken People
4. Hey Now
5. Get Off of My Way
6. Winding Road
7. Take Me Under
DJ & drum solo
8. Chasing the Horizon
9. My Hero
11. 86 Missed Calls
12. Smells Like Teen Spirit
13. FLY AGAIN 2019
14. Seven Deadly Sins
15. Dead End in Tokyo
16. Raise your flag
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MAN WITH A MISSION
New York, NY