【report】 DIR EN GREY (Tokyo | Shinkiba Studio Coast )
TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of VULGAR]
Unarguably one of the most anticipated tour being hold in 2016, DIR EN GREY fulfilled all expectations and delivered an unforgettable night of July 2nd 2016 at Tokyo’s Shinkiba Studio Coast. After taken places, the bright lights of the hall dimmed, the backdrop music stopped bruptly and the attendees merged their voices into a sea of roaring madness and hands into frenetic clapping. The opening music then soudtracked a film on a big screen displaying psychedelic aerial and spiral galaxy images which prepared the ecstatic audience to a rewinding-journey to the VULGAR era. Accordingly to the graphic color pallet used at the time, violet and purple lights switched on — which spectrum happens to be the symbolisation of power, mystery, dreams and prestige. These colors, relating to the world of imagination and the escape of the practical and everyday life, reinforced further more the idea and feeling of being about to be taken somewhere out of reality.
When the band finally walked upon the stage — as usual one member at a time, the crowd’s energy solidified into one giant pumping fist. It then chanted in unison the words of the first song’s chorus THE III D EMPIRE ‘spark and spark’ along with dancing vocalist Kyo, who was obviously pleased to receive such tremendous support. Before knowing it, the heat increased to such a degree that guitarist Die poured substantial water on the crowd as the set went onto the second song ASUNAKI KOUFUKU, KOENAKI ASU. All dressed in black members (only drummer Shinya wore a white top) gave 100% of themselves, they kept communicating their enthusiasm to the audience who was returing the favor. Hair could be seen whipping through the air as people started headbanging to the beat of the music. Rearranged and lyrical-changed FUKAI didn’t let them catch their breath. Heightened tension and frenetic energy felt throughout the space. Every single person was living in the moment with absolute abandon. After a short break, the distinctive introduction of MARMALADE CHAINSAW made the crowd erupted in trance-like euphoria. Everything was going as fast as a blink of the eye, bassist Toshiya and guitarist Die exchanged places, singer Kyo was constantly dancing from left to right, guitarist Kaoru stepped forward until standing close to the edge of the stage while drummer Shinya looked like a multi-handed hindu deity behind his impressive drumset. The stage-lightening turned into orange/red and green meanwhile the screen showed in rapid motion horror punk patterns. The voltage raised even higher as the audience jumped up and down unrest to the uplifting beat of the song while throwing their arms in glee.
The hectic pace eventually slowed down for a while as melancholic AMBER followed. It nonetheless enhanced the already intense performance but this time around, through a poetic and some sort of gloomy atmosphere, the audience was quietly listening and watching in awe. The song reached its peak during guitarist Kaoru‘s solo while the light-staging became radiant as stars and bright as the dawn. Relative mid-tempo Un deux came after. The band looked then very focused, the screen offered an abundance of beautiful landscape images: from nature to castles and cathedrals. After a while, the stage turned into intense red when audience KILLER LOOP started being played. During SHOKUBENI, it became clearly noticeable the enormous work the band has achieved so far, the long path it has covered, as vocalist reached effortlessly higher notes than on the recorded track while musicians gave it deeper insight ! Latest album of the combo, ARCHE, was then put on the spot as Tousei and Rinkaku followed. As the lights were dazzling the stage, guitarist Kaoru performed his solo with ease and grace. Right after vocalist Kyo sung the final sentences of Rinkaku claiming the devil to join in, he turned into one himself as he performed his a cappella INWARD SCREAM set. The audience let itself completly loose into the deepest abyss of DIR EN GREY‘s universe. A sense of intimacy between the band and audience was created and almost palpable.
Then, musicians went back on stage and the concert went on with KASUMI permitting the attendees to gently awaken their vitality in order to get ready for what was coming next. And there it was, the bouncy beat of NEW AGE CULTURE brought back an electrifying energy. The music had hand clappling and heads bobbing all along. Every single word was sang along with the hyper-kinetic and non-stop dancing frontman Kyo. The set continued on with Я TO THE CORE, when suddenly guitarist Die took his strap off and threw the guitar up in the air. He wandered around the stage giving middle fingers, but eventually approched the audience towards the very edge of the stage smiling and fired it up. As the night was winding to an end, the band and the crowd drove themselves into a frenzy as heavier music, SUSTAIN THE UNTRUTH and Revelation of mankind, followed.
Encore chant started echoing throughout the concert hall as soon as the band left the stage. A little while later, the lights dimmed back again and DIR EN GREY finally returned to lead the second round of the night. A big Pentagram appeared on the screen while the lights turned into vivid green. As OBSCURE, in its newest version, opened the set, smoke was released and quickly enveloped the stage. The band became more laid-back when playing the not-yet-released new single UTAFUMI. Leader Kaoru seemed to really enjoy performing as he kept interacting with the crowd, stricking poses with his guitar and walking around the stage. Humidity as well as energy increasing, bassist Toshiya ripped his t-shirt off and challenged the audience. As the set went on with INCREASE BLUE, musicians gathered around drummer Shinya and turned their backs to the attendees for a while. Altogether, they were interacting with one another in a free yet totally on-top-of-their-game manner. More than just notes, chords, or rhythms, we could hear musicians vibing off each other creating a magical moment in time. Finally, CHILD PREY closed the night out on a party-like atmosphere. The crowd was seething with joy, attendees engaged themselves into serious headbanging, hair was waving all around wildly until the final note.
Altogether stylish, electrifying and dazzling performance, DIR EN GREY captivated the attendees’ imagination and made this rewinding-journey to the VULGAR era a real success. The music was loud and full of energy from the start of to the very end, yet it still provided moving moments. The musicians showcased their skills through uplifting melodies and furious rhythms, no instrument outplayed another but rather had a blend of talents. All in all, the band managed to balance precision with authenticity.