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Well, it is what the title says. コロナウイルス is forcing people to stay home in Japan and the japs have a nice philosophy of spreading hope in times of despair, so they went there and performed anyway and are being nice and posting the gigs that got cancelled online for all to see, including us, poor gaijin. No live audience, no staff, etc. These are the ones I've seen so far: Let's make this collaborative so do share other links here if you know of any. I'll keep updating this list. Previously unreleased lives uploaded for viewing due to the Corona situation are also to be freely shared in this thread - MH Staff And bear in mind most of these gigs will be available for a limited time only, so hurry up and watch or download the ones you're interested in watching ASAP.
a topic posted nomemorial in Interviews & Live ReportsWow - it's been a long time since this happened, but I remembered mentioning I'd write up a report and life has finally slowed down enough for me to try and do just that! This was a show I felt really lucky to be able to attend while I was there - it was the night before I was scheduled to leave Tokyo and had multiple acts I had hoped to see while I was in Japan. I'll get right to it (though this might be a bit "stream of consciousness" so bear with my antics and anecdotes) On this afternoon my wife and I were wandering Ikebukuro before we were going to go to 高田馬場AREA for this live. She doesn't have much interest in VK and we were nearing the end of our trip, so she planned on watching a band or two and heading back to our accommodations in Shinjuku. When we arrived, she saw the line (on an incline going down a hill) and basically said "yeah, no" so I took her back to the train station (where there was a ginormous R指定 banner hanging over the staircase) while we had time to spare. Funnily enough, I went to the restroom before returning to the venue and in that time she realized she left our wifi box in my bag, so she walked back to the venue to track me down. Somehow everyone was already inside and she assumed I had gone in, too -- but I also had her ticket (I wasn't thinking much this day...) She then attempted to track down "blonde gaijin" in broken Japanese with the gentleman running the door who reluctantly (yet surprisingly???) let her run into the live hall and find me. At this point I am walking back to the venue and see her on the sidewalk. I am very confused so she explains the whole silly scenario and basically says "fuck it, I'm here, buy me a drink and I'll hang out for a little." As we enter and declare our "favorites" to the doorman (DIMLIM and gulu gulu) we enter and hear music playing while we buy beers. I see video on the screen but I am a newbie and thought it was a recording. Turns out the opening band (billed as Aster) was actually finishing their set already. (the listed showtime hadn't even hit yet - I thought we were early, but oh well!) We wandered into the live hall to see them play about half a song before stepping off stage. There were still quite a few people watching them, though, especially for an early opener I had never heard of (and can't find any info on???) I discussed this with someone before going to the live and speculated this might actually be the band GLEN, who was set to release a maxi-single called "Aster" later that month and after hearing GLEN/seeing their visuals, I am now convinced this was in fact the case. They sounded very similar from what I experienced and the visuals strike me as the same or similar to the look in their video. Anyway... After curtains closed and reopened, we were greeted by some fairly heavy visuals -- a vocalist wearing a cloak covered in creepy white masks and a guitarist with the classic medical eye-patch. From what I knew, this appeared to be MonstlloW; I had watched a few of their videos to prepare myself as I wasn't too familiar. I was immediately taken by how...cool they looked. Very heavy visuals, just really professional from visuals to sound. Their instrumentals were extremely tight and the audience was really engaged, headbanging and dancing and shimmying from one side of the room to the other (probably my favorite thing to experience at a VK live in terms of audience interaction as I had never seen anything like it before.) I'll admit that I didn't find the videos I had watched to be too memorable so I wasn't sure what to expect, but they definitely won me over by the end. Definitely the kind of band that is worth seeing live to really appreciate. (My wife was quite taken with them, commenting on how strong the singer's vocals were and how impressed she was by their overall performance. She has some familiarity with VK from DIR EN GREY and my general interest, but she seemed much more drawn in than I anticipated.) They played a total of 5 songs and handed out setlist cards from their merch table after they finished. Monstllow setlist 1. 嘘泣キ少女 2. KERBEROS 3. ビッグマウス・マーチ 4. WE ARE LIAR 5. 劇薬U.S.O After this we grabbed a few more drinks and took a seat while we waited for the next act. We were very close to the back, right in front of MonstlloW and DIMLIM's merch tables. I was surprised to see that MonslloW's guitarist and bassist had actually come out and were hanging out behind their merch table. They appeared...very tall? Probably a combination of costume, hair, and the fact that they were on a platform above us, but it felt a bit imposing! (Haha.) After their merch sales concluded for the moment, I took a second to inventory enough of my Japanese language knowledge to basically say "I really like your band" and they seemed amused and appreciative. They handed us the setlist cards and actually hung around back there for the majority of the night. (I don't know why this shook me so much, I guess VK has been at such a distance my entire life that I never really expected them to be so casually...there??) The curtains opened again revealed the next band -- another four person act, guitarist in a white dress (iirc) and bassist with a long, spotted fur coat. It was their vocalist that clued me into who they were, though -- very slim, shirtless under an open jacket, strutting directly to the center of the stage. This was definitely Hueye. (Upon seeing them, my wife immediately exclaimed "oh, they're girls!!" I had to apologetically advise otherwise...) At this point, I had no real familiarity with their songs other than "優しく殺して," as I really hadn't listened to anything else at that point (and I don't think they had much else to listen to?) Nonetheless, I was very impressed once again. The first thing I noticed was their vocalist's harsh vocals compared to what I had heard on recordings -- they seemed much, much stronger live. Like, noticeably so, even to someone who had only heard one song. As their set continued on, I noticed exactly how proficient their guitarist was, too. I mean really, he can shred. My wife was laughing at the fact that my jaw kept dropping just watching his fingers, but she agreed with me either way. Again, I only really realized "優しく殺して," and I believe they closed with that track, but after going back and listening to more of their releases I'm pretty confident they played the other tracks from that single alongside a few others. Not sure what their other songs were, but I think they also played five like MonstlloW. (My wife commented she didn't like them as much as MonstlloW, but partially because she "had to keep looking at that man's body the whole time." 🤣) At this point, we once again grabbed some more beers and she asked me about the other bands that were playing (since she told the doorman she supported a particular one and realized she had no clue who they were). I explained that DIMLIM was my favorite, gulu gulu was a new band with familiar members. I wasn't sure the order of the performances at this time, but I was cut off at that point as the curtains opened again. As the electronics of "GROTESQUE" began twinkling, I stood to immediate attention and noticed the crowd filing in very quickly. I excitedly stated that this was DIMLIM and as the band appeared, I took note of their visuals compared to their most recent photos at the time. Sho was not in his "clown" look from "離人" and instead was wearing something much more similar to the suited look from their more current appearance, glasses on his face in a look that reminded me very much of DIR EN GREY's Kyo circa "ain't afraid to die." Retsu wore face makeup similar to that of the photos, but rather than the pleather bodysuit he was wearing a very long trenchcoat. Taishi and Hiroshi appeared to match their photoshoot looks, while Ryuya wore the same outfit but with his hair tied up in a messy bun. Halfway through the first song, my wife turns to me and just says "ok, yeah, these guys are fucking good." One of the most immediate things I noticed about DIMLIM in this setting compared to the other bands that had played, is that their performance felt quite a bit...rawer than what we had seen so far. From someone who grew up going to punk/metal shows in the states in a scene that heavily frowned upon any type of backing tracks or sounds outside of "just the instruments in front of you," one of the things I found immediately standout was how many bands used obvious backtracks to fill in their sound at this live. It doesn't bother me, I can see the purpose and the value in it as it does add a certain "fullness" to these bands' sounds, but it definitely stood out. This is not to say that DIMLIM did not also use these things, as their sound does incorporate a number of electronics and multiple tracks, but I will say that it felt much less prevalent during their set. They continued straight out of "GROTESQUE" into "Malformation," which is probably my favorite song on CHEDOARA, so I was very happy. Every member seemed confident and "dialed in," but it was very difficult to divert my attention from Sho. (My wife made a comment about Sho, stating "I believe this blonde boy was on the train with us???" - I didn't notice, but I suppose it's possible? Haha.) His vocals were rougher than they sound on recording, but not in a way that felt bad or like he was incapable, just much more emotive. He stood on a riser for the majority of the set and really gave it his all from beginning to end. I know many have stated that he inhales his screams, which is troubling from a health perspective, but I really feel like he was exhaling a lot of them during their set as some stood out as very loud and impassioned. If I had one criticism, it would be that Ryuya's guitar felt too quiet for most of their set (something I had also noticed in live videos?) and I think they would have sounded even better if he was a bit louder, but they still played a very strong set. I did notice that the room was quite full for them in comparison to the previous bands, with a noteworthy number of males in the audience specifically for them and girls literally throwing themselves over the barriers while headbanging. (Another thing that I had never seen before -- they were straight up pulling all the way back and like...launching their bodies. That's dedication and western audiences could learn a thing or two!!) Their set was intense and entrancing and everything I could have wanted -- I feel really lucky to have seen them with their full lineup, though I wish their set was longer! It felt shorter than MonstlloW and Hueye, though maybe because there was no MC, just song after song with no interruption. DIMLIM setlist (to the best of my memory) 1. GROTESQUE 2. Malformation 3. ...物狂ひ...なりて 4. vanitas 5. 「人」と「形」 (it was this or D.Hymnus, but I believe it was this if I recall correctly) At this point, we're technically four bands in (and coincidentally four drinks in, so we continued that trend -- the drinks were really light!!) I kind of tried to explain who the remaining bands were, but GRIMOIRE started shortly after DIMLIM was done so I stood back up to watch them. I like GRIMOIRE a fair bit and have listened to most of their releases. I think their heavy songs are really well composed with cool guitar work and I was excited to see them for this reason. Oddly enough, they emerged with a very toned down visual look -- essentially a suit look for most of the members. RyNK wasn't even wearing his signature blindfold which I was kind of shocked by. The audience seemed to have quite a few very dedicated fans at the front, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit worn out at this point after DIMLIM's set, which was a very different atmosphere. GRIMOIRE played a fun set that had a few of their "heavy bangers" with mostly lighter songs. That was a bit disappointing to me, but I still found them enjoyable overall, just a bit low energy compared to the other acts that evening. Unfortunately I don't remember their setlist! Things are starting to get blurry to me at this point, but I'm pretty sure MAMIRETA played next. I had told my wife that they were a pretty wild band and that she might like them (though in truth, I was kinda surprised she stuck around this long! She seemed to be pretty into every band that played save for GRIMOIRE who she didn't really watch.) I planned to buy some DIMLIM merch, but then realized I was almost out of cash after drinks so...I just bought more drinks instead. I will cut straight to the point before getting into detail, but MAMIRETA is hands down one of the best live bands I have ever seen. They tripled the energy of the previous acts (somehow) and played one of the most fun sets I've ever seen. I've argued this point a few times, but I really don't think MAMIRETA would be out of place in a western hardcore festival (except for the whole makeup thing, lol) Their music reminds me a lot of some of the nu-metal tinged western hardcore that has been a thing these past few years (Vein, Knocked Loose, etc.) Their look was pretty "low-visual" or "boy mode" as my wife started calling it through the evening. Just hoodies, jeans, and big hair. (basically the same as they wore in their "もしもし" PV) I have heard some less than savory things about Batsu, their vocalist, but all of that aside I'd be glad to call him one of the best frontmen I've seen perform. An absolutely unstoppable force of pure energy from the first notes played -- he stole the show and just went absolutely hog-wild the entire time. By the end he was breakdancing, jumping out into the crowd and running around, then he borrowed someone's purse and hairbow and pranced across the stage before their set ended. (Which looking back may have been part of the reason people have issue with him -- the audience member seemed fine with it, but I could see that going less than okay in other scenarios...) I've listened to a fair bit of their music, but don't really know their song titles other than "お邪魔します." This song was a ton of fun live, the entire crowd chanting the "お邪魔します" line on command. I started raising my beer for this point in the song and Batsu immediately singled my out and pointed, yelling "hey!!" I'd be lying if it didn't make me feel a bit special...(but I am a fairly tall blonde dude, so I maybe stood out a bit...) My wife and I were both very taken with their performance and if we were to go back to Japan I'm confident we'd go out of our way to catch them again. I really can't speak highly enough of their live show!! Before the next band we tried to scope out the merch booths a bit in between bathroom breaks (and more drinks...?) I noticed that DIMLIM's merch attendant was already packing up their goods while all of the other bands were out with their items at this point. (Guitarist and bassist of MonstlloW were still behind their booth, pretty much all of Hueye were behind their booth or watching the other bands near the back exit, and MAMIRETA's guitarist was back there now, too.) As the curtains opened, the audience was greeted by a giant "ぐるぐる" banner and the members of gulu gulu entered the stage to great fanfare from a packed crowd (maybe the biggest crowd of the night?) Their opening SE came to a close as Ai entered the stage and they blasted into "変なメリーゴーランド," which I immediately recognized from the PV teaser they had launched a few days prior. They wore their exact outfits that had been used to promote the single up to this point and this was one of their first shows as gulu gulu (they were actually billed as 烏名 鳴と不愉快な仲間達 only to be updated a few weeks prior coinciding with their announcement to begin activities as gulu gulu). They were also extremely high energy, with Ai slinging around a megaphone and shoving the entire microphone in his mouth. Lanju swayed his hair back and forth and drew a lot of my attention as my most immediate favorite from their lineup. ("This bassist fuckin' slaps," according to my wife and I absolutely agree.) Their set felt very much like a "headlining" set in every sense of the word -- whether that was intentional or not (and I don't really think it was). They felt very professional, but still fun and goofy. The audience for them was probably the most intense of the evening -- they all seemed really devoted and it was clear they had been waiting for them most of the night. They followed Ai's commands religiously. Musically I was glad to hear just how heavy they were, as this was the first time I had heard anything other than the sample of "変なメリーゴーランド." Their overall guitar/bass tone was really thick and despite the "fun" nature of their set, they still had a dark atmosphere that made them really stand out. They played "嗅覚障害" fourth for maybe...twice as long as the actual song? They held out a number of the sections, particularly the "la la la la la" parts what felt like an extra long time, Ai prancing back and forth on the stage as the band played the bouncy riff on repeat. Overall, their set cemented them as "the band to watch" and it's clear that they've maintained that reputation for very good reason. Of all the bands I saw this night (and in VK right now as a whole) they are probably the band I'm most interested in watching grow. After their set they were giving out "red paper" (which I believe later turned out to be a link to their first PV) to those who followed them on Twitter, but my wifi box was dead and I didn't even realize what was happening until it was too late. They posted the setlist that evening and now I recognize all of the songs except for the second, which I believe is still unreleased? gulu gulu setlist 1. 変なメリーゴーランド 2. 汚れた豚 3. 左手はスナッフフィルム 4. 嗅覚障害 5. 不味い麻酔 The last band on for the evening was The Guzmania. I'll admit that I was pretty exhausted at this point and had pretty much no vested interest in them (plus my dead wifi box was beginning to make me a bit nervous so I started to shuffle around the venue to see if I couldn't find an outlet to charge it for a few minutes...). My wife was pretty insistent on staying, to my surprise, and said she'd feel bad leaving these "nice boys who were trying hard" to play to such a small crowd. I agreed and we watched the rest of their set from the side of the hall. They had very few fans in the audience so it did make me feel a bit bad, but they are a very new band (I believe had just played their first live a few weeks prior). Their sound wasn't terribly memorable in my opinion, kind of jumped back and forth from pop-rock tunes to a few slightly heavier numbers. Their bassist did almost all of the MC and the rest of the band felt a bit shy. They took a bit of a long MC pause after two or three songs and almost made it seem like they were done for the night before they played three or four more, which surprised me as it made their set pretty long in comparison to some of the other bands. (Or maybe it just felt that way because it was the end of a long live?) After this we hit the road, hailed a cab back to Shinjuku to save some energy, ate some late night KFC, and passed out for the evening. Sorry for the super long post!! Like I said, it was kind of stream of consciousness and probably included a bunch of unnecessary details, but it was fun to "relive" the event in my head. I'm hoping I can swing more than two lives next time I make my way to Japan! Thanks for reading!