On September 17th and 18th, rapper and producer SKY-HI’s management company/label BMSG celebrated its second anniversary with an event called BMSG FES'22. Held at Fuji-Q Highland Conifer Forest in Yamanashi, the two-day outdoor festival
featured performances from all of BMSG's current artists and trainees.
To allow fans who were not able to attend in-person to experience this special event, footage from the festival was also made available for streaming worldwide via ZAIKO on September 24th. Ticket holders will be able to watch the archive of the
stream until 23:59 (JST) on October 31st, and fans who missed the broadcast can still purchase tickets here until 21:00 (JST) on the same day.
This report was written from the streaming video of the event, which clocks in at about three and a half hours long.
After a short intro video, boy group BE:FIRST and their energetic pop-rock song Brave Generation kicked the
show off with a bang. However, instead of the group continuing to another song, their labelmates suddenly appeared. They moved into the "BMSG United Remix" of the track created by SKY-HI and the label’s other solo artists. However, there
was a special twist: unreleased verses from BMSG’s four trainees: RUI,
REIKO and RAN. This set the tone for the show, highlighting the camaraderie between SKY-HI and all of the young artists and hinting that there would be many unique collaborations in store throughout the
The energy level stayed high with a selection of SKY-HI songs that were used during the BMSG audition show “THE FIRST”. Partway through, all 15 of the artists boarded a moving platform that drove through crowd, bringing them directly in
front of as many fans as possible. They returned to the stage just in time to perform the choreography from Mr. Psycho.
The intro to PANIC!, a collaboration between SKY-HI and rapper Novel Core, signalled who would be the first artist up to bat. The rest of the members left the stage, leaving
SKY-HI and BMSG’s first signing alone to perform the aggressive rock-inspired track.
SKY-HI’s energy level is tough to match for even the most seasoned performers, but Novel Core did an admirable job of keeping up with him. When the CEO left, his set stayed upbeat and energetic, with
a live band accompanying him to add extra punch to the songs. The anthemic, KM-produced WAGAMAMA MONDAIJI, in particular, got the crowd clapping along, and his joy at the response was clear as he ran and jumped around
Another thing that was clear from the set was SKY-HI and BMSG's influence on him. While Novel Core was already a strong performer before linking up with SKY-HI, he has been branching out more in recent years.
For example, while Novel Core is one of the only BMSG artists who lacks dance training, Dokusou Fantasista saw him tackle some choreography to add an extra boost of energy to the performance. Another notable change over the past two
years has been how smoothly he has been able to gel with the other BMSG artists. His chemistry with Aile The Shota was obvious during their duet HAPPY TEARS. The two men moved around the stage together comfortably, playing around a bit
as the fans waved their hands from side to side along to the music.
Finally, it was time for the emotional THANKS, ALL MY TEARS, which showed off some of Novel Core’s growth as a singer. In the middle of the song, he stopped to give thanks to everyone who supported BMSG from the very beginning,
when he and SKY-HI were the label's only artists, until now. He also expressed his admiration for SKY-HI before wrapping up the song and taking a bow.
There was a sudden shout as 15 year-old rapper edhiii boi and
SOTA sprinted onto the stage, bringing a sudden burst of energy to the show. Running wildly around the stage and walkways, the boys performed 118, an aggressive hip-hop track they released this year to commemorate their shared birthday,
January 18th. At the end, Novel Core introduced his band members and he and SOTA left the stage, leaving edhiii boi in charge of the crowd.
edhiii boi, TAIKI & RUI
While edhiii boi was signed to BMSG as a solo artist, it soon became clear he wouldn’t be performing alone. The funky intro of Anytime, Anywhere started, and BMSG trainees TAIKI and RUI joined
him for the upbeat disco-inspired song. The track highlighted the strong contrast between their individual styles, pairing RUI's pleasant singing with edhiii boi's aggressive, attention-grabbing rapping and TAIKI's
boyish yet conviction-filled verses. They stopped briefly to introduce the next track, showing the strong contrast between their polite and somewhat shy personalities and their cheeky vocals. Their short set ended with Nightmare, an edgier pop song that
let them show off their dancing ability and their synergy as a group.
Aile The Shota
Up next was a surprise appearance from Show Minor Savage, a group consisting of Aile The Shota and BE:FIRST members SOTA and MANATO. One of the units formed during the final creativity
screening of “THE FIRST", they performed No Cap Navy, an R&B-inspired original track they created during the audition using samples
from SKY-HI’s Nanairo Holiday. During the final episode of "THE FIRST", SKY-HI had hinted that he would like to see Show Minor Savage create another song one day. When the group started to leave the stage but suddenly
turned back as unfamiliar music began to play, it became clear that his wish had been granted. A mellow R&B song, the new track Thinkin’ bout you fit the relaxed, yet playful energy of the group perfectly.
The atmosphere changed immediately when Aile The Shota was left on his own. He started his solo set with Tokonatsu, performing in front of a sunset backdrop that created a nostalgic end of summer vibe. The bouncy so so good highlighted
the soft-spoken singer's more lighthearted side, as he flowed smoothly around the stage and got the audience jumping along. That ended with the next song, Like This, however, as Aile The Shota took a seat, crosslegged, in the middle of the stage
and even grabbed himself a drink, as if he was performing the dreamy song at an intimate living room show instead of facing a big festival crowd.
In a short but sweet MC, he declared that he is proud of both BMSG and
his labelmates, and he considers the label to be the place he belongs. He ended his set with the energetic pop song IMA and his debut single AURORA TOKIO, a mellow, city pop-inspired track.
A growl suddenly rang out and the mood changed dramatically with
the appearance of SKY-HI and BE:FIRST’s two oldest members, JUNON and LEO. They joined up with Aile The Shota for Tiger Style, a new song they were performing for the first time. This track showed a more aggressive
side of the three oldest “THE FIRST” finalists, all of whom, coincidentally, became known throughout the competition for their kind and laidback dispositions. Aile The Shota left the stage along with JUNON and LEO at
the end, promising to repay the crowd for their good vibes with his music.
SKY-HI & THE SUPER FLYERS
Never one to skimp on energy or passion, SKY-HI introduced himself with a forceful performance of a new rap song called I am. He gave a quick shout out to his backing band THE SUPER FLYERS,
and then it was straight into the danceable Smile Drop, which highlighted his "idol" side as he and four back-up dancers performed the choreography together perfectly in sync. The upbeat vibe continued with Ai Bloom, which brought not just
his dancers but also several of the backing vocalists and band members up to the front to dance along with him.
He paused for a quick MC then, explaining that this show was the realization of a number of dreams
for him. This led into the aggressive Sky's The Limit. Seeing him passionately shouting out lines like "I'm the leader and the Godzilla breaking down barriers" and "Who says you can't touch the sky and feel the bottom of the ocean?" at an event
he had worked hard to make a reality despite all the difficult conditions brought on by the coronavirus gave extra power and conviction to an already impactful song, turning it into one of the show's highlights. The dark atmosphere continued with
Nanisama, which saw him rattle off lyrics rapid-fire under ominous red lighting. Before the mood could get too heavy, he immediately shifted gears to the upbeat Double Down, which ended with SKY-HI and his dancers walking
down the main walkway, holding umbrellas, as smoke shot out from the main stage behind them. Seaside Bound and the "Sonic The Hedgehog"-inspired Fly Without Wings followed, with the camerawork during the latter hammering
home the scale of the event, as it followed SKY-HI as he walked the runway through a sea of people.
One thing that was apparent throughout each song was SKY-HI’s well-honed performance skills. His experience showed
in the way he effortlessly engaged the audience at key moments and interacted with his band members, pausing at just the right moments to get more punch out of a line or motion.
After Sexual Healing came a series of special collaborations with BMSG's solo artists and trainees. Aile The Shota returned to
the stage first, joining SKY-HI for a duet performance of Bare-Bare, a song he co-wrote with him. His relaxed personality and soft singing were a good foil for SKY-HI's sharp voice and relentless
intensity as they sang, danced and jumped around in circles together. Next came the live staple Tumbler, which SKY-HI fans know is their designated time to swirl their towels around in the air. BMSG trainee RAN joined
SKY-HI and Aile The Shota on the stage for this song, singing the chorus. As RAN is currently the trainee who has released the least music since joining BMSG, fans unable to catch his performances in Japan must have been overjoyed to see him get so much time on the mic during this event.
Fans barely had time to applaud before the next song, 14th Syndrome, started up. edhiii boi, RUI and TAIKI suddenly appeared on a platform at the back of the stage as the song’s music video played
behind them. This energetic ode to dreams was one of the more touching moments of the event, showing both SKY-HI’s faith in the young artists he is mentoring and the progress they have already made as performers in just the last year.
It led into
ONE MORE DAY, which brought out one of the trainees who has grown the most since his initial audition for “THE FIRST”, REIKO. The other boys goofed around behind them as SKY-HI rapped about his memories from the audition
and his gratitude to the contestants and REIKO displayed some of the progress he has made as a singer and dancer.
The following performance of the remix of Novel Core’s
SOBER ROCK hammered this point home even further. It brought back memories of the label’s humble start, when SKY-HI announced the establishment of BMSG to cameras and screens in a live stream that was broadcast from his parents'
home due to COVID-19 shutting down most music venues in Japan at the time. A sharp contrast to the no-audience performance of SOBER ROCK from that broadcast, SKY-HI and
Novel Core singing the song while riding through a sea of waving hands was touching to see.
The set ended, like many of SKY-HI’s shows, with the catchy
Kamitsure Velvet. However, this time was slightly different, as SKY-HI and the artists riding on the platform along with him divided up the lines of the song. When they returned to the stage, SKY-HI gave everyone a moment
to say a word about the event before giving a passionate speech about chasing one’s dreams and finishing the song solo.
Finally, it was time for To The First, the theme song of “THE FIRST”, and a song that many fans likely knew would welcome the event’s final act to the stage. However, instead of BE:FIRST joining partway through to finish
the song with him as they did so many times during televised performances, SKY-HI and the band left the stage to an outro version of the song and the lights went out.
The set started off with BE:FIRST's pre-debut single Shining One, but there seemed to be a some nerves at work or some spark missing, as the group’s vocals felt a bit uncharacteristically lackluster. During
the second song, Be Free, however, anything that had been holding them back seemed to dissipate. The eager applause made it clear just how many fans in the audience had come specifically to see BMSG’s first boy group, and their confidence seemed
The MC that followed fired the audience up even more, and the boys channelled that energy into the aggressive audition song Move On. Following it was the alluring Betrayal Game, and then an energetic performance of
Scream, the lead track from BE:FIRST's first full album BE:1. The performance of Scream seemed almost cruel to the audience, as they could only clap in response due to the coronavirus spread prevention measures
in place. While the fans weren't able to respond to the lyrics' request to let out their voices, BE:FIRST weren't discouraged at all, performing the hard-hitting track with plenty of enthusiasm.
MANATO kicked off the next MC segment, thanking the audience and saying that while they performed at several festivals and events earlier in the year, they wanted to get everyone the most fired up at this one. This led into a performance
of their Japanese version of English DJ and producer
Jonas Blue’s Don’t Wake Me Up. Their first official collaboration with an international artist, the song has become
an important milestone on the path towards their goal of crossing borders and making music that will resonate with fans around the globe. They boarded the moving platform halfway through, encouraging fans to clap and jump along to the catchy pop song
as they passed by them. Next was Message, a love song the group recently unveiled a music video for, which they sang while looking out at the faces of their fans.
The mood instantly brightened as the cheerful opening bars of Kick Start played.
A song packed with meaning for the members of BE:FIRST, it was created from the same base track that was used during the first creativity screening of the "THE FIRST" and features lyrics they wrote together. The following track, the ballad
Grateful Pain, is another song the members penned the lyrics for. Perhaps some lines hit a little too close to home for
SHUNTO that night as a result, because he started to cry at the beginning of the song and struggled to get his first lines out. RYOKI gave him a playful punch in the arm at the end of his part, as he had the next line and was struggling a bit to maintain
his own composure after looking over at him.
The normally shy and composed RYUHEI also shed tears during the MC that followed after watching the fans raise their phones up like lighters in the darkness. SOTA and LEO spoke to the crowd after him, sharing
some heartfelt words before the bittersweet but bouncy Bye-Good-Bye lifted everyone's spirits. After a dramatic performance of their debut song Gifted., the lights went out. But that wasn't the end.
Once the lights came back on, to bring the show to its grand finale, SKY-HI and all of BMSG's artists and trainees appeared on the stage once again. After a short intro from SKY-HI, rather than simply taking a bow, they
surprised the audience with a brand new song called New Chapter that they all created together under the name BMSG ALLSTARS. Featuring a distinctly Japanese flair, the aggressive song gave each artist a chance to display his individuality. The performance made it almost seem like they were simply a group of friends freestyling together, with SKY-HI yelling
"Who's next?!" at the end of each section and different members jumping in to claim their turn in the spotlight. Towards the end, all of the members except for Novel Core and Aile The Shota performed choreography created by
SOTA as one big group, as if highlighting how BMSG has managed to bring all of their disparate styles and personalities together, and the show ended with plenty of applause and a short fireworks display.
As BMSG recently put out a call for new male trainees and its artists continue to release new music and announce events at a breakneck pace, one can only wonder how much SKY-HI, BE:FIRST and all of BMSG will grow
and change by the time the next BMSG FES rolls around.
Tickets to watch the archive of BMSG FES'22 are available for purchase worldwide from ZAIKO here. A playlist featuring the songs from the show’s set list (minus the new tracks) is also
available for streaming on Spotify.
01. Brave Generation 02. Brave Generation -BMSG United Remix- 03. Snatchaway 04. Nanairo Holiday 05. Mr. Psycho
06. PANIC! feat. SKY-HI 07. JUST NOISE 08. BABEL 09. WAGAMAMA MONDAIJI 10. Dokusou Fantasista 11. HAPPY TEARS feat. Aile The Shota 12. THANKS, ALL MY TEARS 13. 118 with edhiii boi and
edhiii boi, TAIKI & RUI
14. Anytime, Anywhere 15. Nightmare
Show Minor Savage
16. No Cap Navy 17. Thinkin’ bout you
Aile The Shota
18. Tokonatsu 19. so so good 20. Like This 21. IMA 22. AURORA TOKIO
SKY-HI & THE SUPER FLYERS
23. Tiger Style with Aile The Shota, JUNON & LEO 24. I am 25. Smile Drop 26. Ai Bloom 27. Sky’s The Limit 28. Nanisama 29. Double Down 30. Seaside Bound 31. Fly
Without Wings 32. Sexual Healing 33. Bare-Bare with Aile The Shota 34. Tumbler with Aile the Shota & RAN 35. 14th Syndrome feat. RUI, TAIKI &
edhiii boi 36. ONE MORE DAY feat. REIKO 37. SOBER ROCK -Remix- with Novel Core, Aile
The Shota, RAN, REIKO, RUI, TAIKI & edhiii boi 38. Kamitsure Velvet with Novel Core, Aile
The Shota, RAN, REIKO, RUI, TAIKI & edhiii boi 39. To The First
40. Shining One 41. Be Free 42. Move On 43: Betrayal Game 44. Scream 45. Don’t Wake Me Up 46. Message 47. Kick Start 48. Grateful Pain 49. Bye-Good-Bye 50. Gifted.
Footage from "BMSG FES'22", a two-day festival featuring performances from all of the artists and trainees signed to SKY-HI's management company/label BMSG, will be streamed worldwide on September 24th.