Live Report Exclusive

Do you know visual kei? powered by MAVERICK DC GROUP at Nippon Budokan

24/02/2023 2023-02-24 02:00:00 JaME Author: Tomo

Do you know visual kei? powered by MAVERICK DC GROUP at Nippon Budokan

Arlequin, girugamesh, MUCC, KIZU, D’ERLANGER and DEZERT took part in a special event to show their respect to the popular Japanese subculture "visual kei", which also featured a number of star-studded session bands.

Visual kei bands of all generations gathered at Nippon Budokan for a special event called Do you know visual kei? on December 27th, 2022. The fact that all tickets for the concert were sold out showed that visual kei still has a strong fan base, and the presence of many overseas fans at the venue made it clear that the scene is still appreciated worldwide.

"Respect and revival of visual kei" was the theme of the event, which consisted of two parts. The first half featured live performances from six bands: Arlequin, girugamesh, MUCC, KIZU, D’ERLANGER and DEZERT. The second half consisted of special sessions featuring various visual kei musicians covering songs from their favorite bands from the scene.


Arlequin was the first band to perform at this historic event. The band started the show with PICTURES, which featured vocalist Aki both monologuing and singing.

"I hear a lot of people say 'today's visual kei is not as good as it used to be'. I am angry with myself for not being able to prove that wrong. I will prove it wrong. Let's talk about future!", Aki said during the performance. Accompanied by the band's uplifting melody, Aki sang with determination.

"You are little bit crazy because you love visual kei. I love visual kei myself too. We are all 'Dame Ningen'. We are all Lovable Dame Ningen!". Aki led the fans into the band's killer number Dame Ningen. The blasting sound from the band and Aki's death voice made the fans headbang.

"Visual kei lit up my life a lot. I want to light up someone's life. All the darkness in my heart was for this very moment," Aki spoke to the fans again before the last song Sekai no owari to yoakemae. Aki sang his heart out in his powerful high-toned voice. The band's heartfelt performance surely brought light to some fans' hearts that night.

"We will come back to this place for a one-man show in the near future. Please come and see us again when that time comes. See you again in the grand future!", Aki said at the end.

Set list

3. omit
4. Dame Ningen
5. Razzle Dazzle
6. Sekai no owari to yoakemae

Dancho (NoGoD)

NoGoD's vocalist Dancho appeared during the intervals of the event, entertaining the fans by singing karaoke. He sang popular visual kei songs that were requested by fans through SNS, such as MALICE MIZER's Gekka no YasoukyokuJanne Da Arc'Vampire, SIAM SHADE's 1/3 no Junjo na Kanjo and X JAPAN's KURENAI. Fans enjoyed his humorous talks and powerful singing while the event staff changed the stage set for each band. During his last appearance, Dancho sang his own band's song Kamikaze. "I will come back to this stage with my band members next time!", he stated at the end.


girugamesh returned to the stage after six years just for this event. Their set started with Break Down. The hard-hitting music and vocalist Satoshi's fierce vocals heated up the fans.

The second song Drain fully exhibited the band's signature heavy guitar sound, aggressive drum beats, and enrapturing melodies. "Clap your hands!", Satoshi stirred up the audience and girugamesh's performance united visual kei fans of all generations.

After the song, Satoshi thanked DEZERT's drummer SORA for inviting them to the event. The band's full force performance of the last song evolution was met with enthusiastic fist pumps from the audience.

Set list

1. Break Down
2. Drain
3. evolution


MUCC started their set with the popular song Ranchu. The band's hard-hitting sound immediately struck the fans, and vocalist Tatsuro had the audience sit down in the middle of the song so they could jump up together. The band continued to exhibit killer numbers from their 25-year career, such as the second song, Bouzenjishitsu, which got fans headbanging. The fans also enjoyed the strong personalities conveyed by guitarist Miya and bassist YUKKE's playing.

The band changed the atmosphere in the venue with following song ku. Tatsuro dramatically described feelings of brokenness and loneliness through a mixture of monologuing and singing.

"We are happy to be able to join this great event together with our wonderful senior and junior bands. We are happy to be able to perform in front of you who love visual kei. Thank you," Tatsuro said to the fans after the song.

The band brightened up the audience's mood with one of their classics, Namonaki yume. "Thank you for your support throughout 2022! Please continue to support MUCC and visual kei!", Tatsuro said to the fans.

The band then performed the last song Kugatsu Mikka no Kokuin. Tatsuro's dynamic singing and shouts seemed to resonate deeply in the fans' hearts.

Set list

1. Ranchu
2. Bouzenjishitsu
3. ku
4. Monochrome no keshiki
5. Namonaki yume
6. Kugatsu Mikka no Kokuin


Flames emerged from the stage as the members of KIZU appeared. Vocalist LiME held up a black flag with white letters reading "VISUAL" as the band started with the first song Strawberry Blue. LiME skillfully switched back and forth from whispering to his signature mesmerizing high-toned singing. The impressive musicianship of each member of the band enhanced the vocalist's powerful performance.

Later, the heavy and melodious Kizuato followed. The blasting sounds from the band and LiME's strong high-toned voice had fans headbanging along to the song. The band continued to rock the fans with shredding guitar and pounding drum beats in the next song, Jigoku.

Next, the band delighted the audience with a special performance of Jyusei with MUCC's Tatsuro, a duet that fans first enjoyed watching during KIZU's YouTube project "ICHIGEKI". LiME played an acoustic guitar and sang alongside Tatsuro, a vocalist he had always looked up to. The beautiful contrast of LiME's high notes and Tatsuro's deep voice enhanced the haunting feel of the song. "The vocalist who gave me a dream, MUCC's Tatsuro!", LiME said at the end of the song, showing his respect for his senior.

"Can you burn your life with me!? Are you ready to burn your life for visual rock!?" LiME stirred up the fans before the last song Little girl wa yandeiru. LiME sang out the words from the bottom of his heart, as if he was leaving everything on the stage. "Did my voice reach you?!" LiME's shout was met with enthusiastic applause from fans.

Set list

1. Strawberry Blue
2. Kizuato
3. Jigoku
4. Jusei (with Tatsuro)
5. Heisei
6. Little Girl wa Yandeiru


The legendary band D'ERLANGER completely changed the atmosphere of Budokan. The charismatic band, which was formed in 1983, started the show with DARLIN’. kyo's glamorous and powerful vocals immediately captured fans' attention. Guitarist CIPHER's sharp and melodious guitar riffs, SEELA's groovy bass line, and Tetsu's skillful drum playing also amazed the fans. "Thank you!" kyo shouted at the end of the song, and fans applauded in response to show their respect to the band.

The next song LULLABY had fans swaying along to its pleasant beat and groove. "Are you having fun? Do you know visual kei? Do you know D'ERLANGER? Let's enjoy together," kyo said to the audience.

"Girls, let's get a little wild, shall we?" kyo said before the third song, INCARNATION OF EROTICISM. kyo showed off his seductive vocals and powerful shouts, sometimes swaying to the intoxicating groove the three instrumentalists created. The intensity of each sound during this performance astonished the fans.

The band closed the show with the alluring rock number Love me to DEATH, leaving some fans feeling almost intoxicated.

Set list

5. Love me to DEATH


DEZERT was the last band of the first half of the event. They started their set with The Walker, which saw vocalist Chiaki passionately singing out the band's raison d'être. A heavy sound took over during the next track, Satsui.

After the song, Chiaki bared his heart to the fans. "Visual kei inspired me during my youth, and it helped me in my life a lot. But, things are different today. People no longer think visual kei and rock are cool. Yet, I still have a great admiration for visual kei, rock and music.

Could we just stop saying things like 'revival of visual kei'? I don't care about those who say 'are you still listening to visual kei?'. I don't have time to deal with such people. What we need to do is not hold onto the past glory, but pass the music we love to the next generation.

We will do our best to become a band that people look up to because that is the best we can do to give back to the music we love.

One day, we will have our own one-man show here at Budokan. Please come and see us when that day comes," he said.

At the end, the band showed their determination to overcome the gap between dreams and reality with an emotional performance of TODAY.

Set list

1. The Walker
2. Satsui
3. Anokazeno mukoue
4. Kimi no shikyu o sawaru

Later, during the second half of the event, various session bands covered popular visual kei songs.

Kagerou Respect Session

Kagerou Respect Session consisted of vocalist Chiaki from DEZERT, MERRY guitarist Yuu, vistlip guitarist Umi, the god and death stars and gibkiy gibkiy gibkiy bassist kazu, and KIZU drummer Kyonosuke.

The band played Idol gurui no shinrigaku. Chiaki paid homage to the obsessive singing style of the original vocalist Daisuke, while the bass line of Kagerou's original bassist kazu led the younger musicians.

"We can only play one song today. I was wondering which Kagerou song to play in order for us to pass on our music to the next generation. I was thinking about which song would be best suited for a special place like Nippon Budokan, since Kagerou's songs have a lot of dirty words. After a long period of thought, I chose this song. One day I will invite kazu to play another Kagerou song while I am still alive," said Chiaki.

Set list

1. Idol gurui no shinrigaku

SID Respect Session

SID Respect Session consisted of Arlequin vocalist Aki, DEZERT guitarist Miyako, KIZU bassist Yue, and Shintenchikaibyakushuudan- Zigzag drummer Kagemaru.

The band played Hitsuyouaku. Aki's transparent-sounding high-toned voice was a great fit for the dark and haunting number, and Kagemaru's drum beat also controlled the band's groove well.

"2023 is the 20th anniversary of SID. I would like to congratulate them. With all due respect, I would like to celebrate my senior band in advance," said Aki.

Set list

1. Hitsuyouaku

ZI:KILL Respect Session feat,deadman

ZI:KILL is a popular band that L'Arc-en-Ciel drummer yukihiro and D'ERLANGER drummer Tetsu both used to be part of, and they actually had two successful shows at Nippon Budokan in the past.

ZI:KILL Respect Session feat,deadman consisted of deadman and LOA/ROAR vocalist Mako, deadman, The god and death stars and gibkiy gibkiy gibkiy's aie, MUCC guitarist Miya and lynch. drummer Asanao.

The band started with DEAR JUNK. Mako's powerful singing and shouts rocked the audience together with the band's edgy guitar riffs and relentless drum beats. The thrilling drum and bass rhythms of ROUND AND FATE followed next. aie and Miya also excited the fans with their superb guitar solo battle during the song.

"Greetings. We are deadman, a rookie band from MAVERICK DC GROUP," aie said after the song. After, the band surprised the audience by playing deadman's song lunch box, during which the vocalist showed off his signature zombie-like dance moves.

Set list

3. lunch box (deadman)

DIR EN GREY Respect Session

DIR EN GREY Respect Session consisted of MERRY vocalist Gara, Arlequin guitarist Kuruto, guitarist Reiki and bassist Yue from KIZU, and DEZERT drummer SORA.

The band started off with -I'll-, but suddenly switched over to ZAN. The performance was intended to pay homage to the memorable set DIR EN GREY played at OSAKA-JOHALL back in December 1999.

During the performance, Gara stirred the fans up with frenzied shouting and headbanging. The brutal sounds coming from the band had fans headbanging.

At then end of the song, as he always does with his own band, Gara set a study desk on the stage and did a headstand on it.

Set list

1. -I'll- 〜 ZAN

GLAY Respect Session

GLAY Respect Session consisted of LM.C vocalist maya, Kiryu guitarist Sakai Mitsuki, lynch. guitarist Yusuke, MUCC bassist YUKKE and drummer Allen.

The band entertained the audience with a medley of Yuwaku, Kanojo no "Modern..." and Ikiteku Tsuyosa. The instrumentalists seemed to enjoy playing GLAY's catchy melodies.

"'The strength to live' is the core message of visual kei," maya said before the band progressed to Ikiteku Tsuyosa. The singer brightened up fans' spirits with his clear and powerful vocals.

At the end of performance, YUKKE revealed that he was playing a bass he had borrowed from GLAY's bassist JIRO. YUKKE kissed the bass before he left the stage.

Set list

1. Yuwaku 〜 Kanojo no "Modern..." 〜 Ikiteku Tsuyosa

MUCC Respect Session

MUCC Respect Session consisted of KIZU's vocalist LiME and guitarist Reiki, Arlequin guitarist Nao, DEZERT bassist Sacchan and girugamesh drummer Яyo.

They started with Kokoro no nai machi, which saw LiME emotionally sing out his respect for the band and amaze the fans by playing harmonica.

After, Arlequin vocalist Aki joined the band for the next song, Zetsubou. Aki and LiME shook the venue with their powerful shouts at the start of the song. The two vocalists' high-toned voices made a powerful duo. The explosive sounds coming from the band, coupled with Sacchan's skilful bass playing, made the audience headbang.

Set list

1. Kokoro no nai machi
2. Zetsubou

LUNA SEA Respect Session

LUNA SEA Respect Session consisted of lynch. vocalist Hazuki, ALICE NINE. guitarist Hiroto, MUCC guitarist Miya, SID bassist AKi and Arlequin drummer Tamon.

"Here we go Budokan! Bring it on everybody! Next song ROSIER!!", Hazuki stirred the fans up with the signature line LUNA SEA vocalist RYUICHI always uses. Hazuki showed his deep respect for LUNA SEA by powerfully singing in the midst of the band's raging playing.

AKi also excited the audience with his fiery vocal interlude, and he threw the mic stand into the air just like LUNA SEA's bassist J. Hiroto's guitar solo took the fans' excitement level up even higher.

"Stand! Arena! Nippon Budokan, let's go full throttle!!", Hazuki shouted another of RYUICHI's signature lines. The frenzied sound of both the music and vocals brought the song to an explosive finish. "I am the trigger!!", Hazuki shouted at the end. Fans applauded the great cover of LUNA SEA's classic song.

Set list


BUCK-TICK Respect Session

BUCK-TICK Respect Session consisted of MUCC vocalist Tatsuro, NIGHTMAREguitarist Hitsugi, lynch./kein guitarist Reo, Arlequin bassist Shohei, and SID drummer Yuya. Reo joined the session band on behalf of SID's Shinji, who could not attend due to a health condition.

The band played Akunohana. Tatsuro articulated the song well with his deep and glamorous voice. Hitsugi's sharp guitar solo also provided a fitting homage to the playing of the band's guitarist Imai Hisashi, and fans really appreciated Shohei's fierce bass line as well.

"I am so happy to be able to sing BUCK-TICK's song at Budokan at the end of the year!", Tatsuro shouted out his joy at the end of the song.

Set list

1. Akunohana

hide Respect Session

X JAPAN's guitarist PATA participated in hide Respect Session. The rest of members were KIZU vocalist LiME, MUCC guitarist Miya, SID bassist AKi, and DEZERT drummer SORA.

The band started with DICE. As footage of hide performing was being played on the stage screens, LiME sang as if he was singing together with hide. Miya and PATA played the guitar solo together beautifully and LiME ran freely around the stage, sometimes singing facing PATA. The band conveyed their love and respect to hide with their performance.

"I don't know why, but I really feel hide may be in here somewhere today! Let's show our love and respect to him! I hope he feels it!" LiME said after the song.

The band then played TELL ME. PATA's powerful guitar riffs deeply resonated with the fans. The band's heartfelt performance united the fans together. "Give hide a big round of applause!", LiME shouted at the end. Applause filled the venue.

Set list


D'ERLANGER Respect Session

D'ERLANGER Respect Session consisted of L'Arc-en-Ciel and THE LAST ROCKSTARS vocalist HYDE, DIR EN GREY guitarist Die, and bassist Tetsu and drummer Nero from MERRY.

The band's set started with an aphrodisiac. HYDE thrilled the fans with his fierce and glamorous voice, performing in the midst of the band's sharp guitar playing and the aggressive rhythms of the bass and drums. The charismatic singer paid homage to D'ERLANGER's concept of "SADISTICAL PUNK".

Fans cheered when Die played his fiery guitar solo while kneeling and facing HYDE. HYDE delivered a powerful shout while he held Die.

Next, the band played the alluring rock 'n roll number LULLABY. HYDE really made the song his own and, at the end, he jumped up from the drum set. The joy he felt performing D'ERLANGER's music was clear on his face at the end of the song.

Set list

1. an aphrodisiac


The event closed with a special session from SADISTICALPUNKERS, who performed D'ERLANGER's classic song LA VIE EN ROSE.

SADISTICALPUNKERS' line-up included the following members:

Vocals: kyo (D'ERLANGER), HYDE (L'Arc-en-Ciel/THE LAST ROCKSTARS)Tatsuro (MUCC) and Chiaki (DEZERT).
Guitar: CIPHER (D'ERLANGER), Die (DIR EN GREY) and Miyako (DEZERT)
Bass: SEELA (D'ERLANGER) and Sacchan (DEZERT)
Drums: Tetsu (D'ERLANGER) and SORA (DEZERT)

This dream session of visual kei rockstars from all generations excited the fans. The two iconic vocalists Kyo and HYDE sang while facing each other. The distinct sounds of each guitarist created dynamic chemistry while the veteran musicians SEELA and Tetsu skillfully kept all the musicians together. Fans cheered when they saw HYDE kiss SORA on the cheek.

Set list


After the memorable event finished, the organizer SORA spoke to the fans. "Thank you for coming to this event. It is very overwhelming and I don't know even know what to say. I developed my admiration for visual kei, and started playing it with DEZERT. My band members and I will do our best to inspire the next generation," he said.

All of the musicians then gathered on the stage and took a group photo with the fans behind them. The musicians and audience made one loud clap at SORA's call to bring the successful event to a close.