Live Report Exclusive

DIR EN GREY at Gramercy Theatre, New York City

15/01/2020 2020-01-15 01:00:00 JaME Author: Sasha H. Photographer: Danielle Cimafranca

DIR EN GREY at Gramercy Theatre, New York City

DIR EN GREY returns to New York City for a long-awaited sold-out show at Gramercy Theatre.


© Danielle Cimafranca

Despite it being a cold and rainy Friday the 13th, the line at Gramercy Theatre started with the early post-work rush hour. It’s been four years since DIR EN GREY's last US tour, and it was apparent fans were thirsty to see one of the most popular metal bands to come from Japan. Tickets sold out early for this show and it was obvious—the venue was packed to maximum capacity.

The merchandise and coat check area was a sea of chaos, the atmosphere filled with feverish anticipation. DIR EN GREY's style has gone through a lot of transformations over the years, and it was as if the audience represented that. The crowd was a mix of older metalheads, young goth and punk fans, and everyone in between.

Finally, the lights dimmed and strobe lights flashed around the stage as a background track and video played on a large screen onstage. Screams erupted as the individual members walked onto the stage and the opening of Zetsuentai began. It was a low-key but dramatic opening to the show. Kyo’s outfit was a simple black sleeveless shirt and jeans, paired with white gloves. However, his makeup had a chilling Joker-esque feel about it.

As is typical of DIR EN GREY shows, Kyo undertook a series of pieces of performance art while the rest of the band members largely focused on playing their instruments. A large fan was pointed at the band members the entire show and Die, with his long silky hair flying about, looked like a rock guitar god in a Pantene commercial.

Some moshing began during the next song Ningen wo kaburu. Scenes from the music video played on the screen throughout. Kyo cued the audience to sing the chorus at one point, and for a mainly non-Japanese speaking crowd, they did an impressive job. Kyo’s stage performance, with the paired imagery and lyrics flashing in the background, along with the skilful instrumentals, made for another memorable DIR EN GREY show.

One of the most memorable parts of the live came during the performance of their recent single, The World of Mercy. Kyo used the red cord of the microphone to elaborately pantomime his own disembowelment. Thankfully, despite long departing from their visual kei roots, Kyo continues to include plenty of shock imagery in the band's performances.

Most of the songs DIR EN GREY played were from their 2018 album The Insulated World. However, there some small departures with throwbacks such as -saku- and Merciless Cult, both of which threw the already lively pit into a frenzy. Despite the length of songs like The World of Mercy, the show flew by and even felt a little short. Then again, considering how difficult it seems to be to pull off the kind of vocals Kyo does, it feels a little cruel to ask for more.

Also, it is easy to forget that there was little to no chatter from the band in-between songs. Whether this was because of the language barrier or simply the band's style in general, it definitely made the show flow by seamlessly quick. Short but sweet, if you will. Nevertheless, like the others before this one, DIR EN GREY left a powerful impression to last in the minds of fans until their next US tour - hopefully they will be back sooner next time.


Set List

01. Zetsuentai
02. Ningen o Kaburu
03. Downfall
04. Devote My Life
05. Values of Madness
06. Celebrate Empty Howls
07. Aka
08. "Merciless Cult"
09. "Rubbish Heap"
10. Keibetsu to Hajimari
11. Keigaku no Yoku
12. Ranunculus
13. The World of Mercy

Encore

01. Followers
02. -saku-
03. Utafumi

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Gallery

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Related Releases

Album Digital Release 2018-09-26 2018-09-26
DIR EN GREY
Album CD 2018-09-26 2018-09-26
DIR EN GREY
Single CD 2019-09-18 2019-09-18
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