While the Gothic Lolitas had worked to suppress my urge to bounce and w00t in front of the stage, they could not stop me from having a good time!
Hauling ass to Club Cyber
Located a short walk from Ikebukuro station, Cyber stands out on the side street it is on; being the brightest lit spot there sitting adjacent the local TUC shop. The entrance was quite nice with enough visual kei band posters adorning the walls to make your average European Goth-mag editor salivate.
Inside Cyber, the stage space is well laid out. The center had a raised platform letting the players get right over the audience so you could get a good gander at band members. The crowd space was too small though. The place should rip out the DJ box on the crowd floor and stick it upstairs or somewhere.
Crowd :: Gothic Lolitas everywhere
Upon opening the blast-doors, I was hit by the reality of wall-to-wall Gothic Lolitas. We are not talking about your Tokyo Dark Castle-roaming GLs, but rather the younger, Harajuku-types who always seem distant from the rest of the crowd at events. These are the quiet ones sitting in the corner appraising the crowd, deciding who they are going to kill in some dark alley with those exceptionally long and pointy daggers squirreled away beneath one of those lacey bodices (oh, you didn’t know about that did you?).
Another thing you notice about these Gothic Lolita crowds is that they don’t make a lot of noise. They like hand-waving at the front, but are not likely to applaud unless they really love the band. I was the only member in the audience to let loose with a couple of w00ts for the bands during sets, but I knew it was wrong, wrong, wrong. I should have just quietly sipped my Blood cocktail in the corner (that was yummy).
I found myself tripping over daypacks dumped all over the place. I guess the girls must have got dressed up in a public toilet and brought their day-clothes along to the event. OH, COME ON! Japan is the “safety country.” You could walk about in GL style anywhere. Hell, I could walk about dressed as GL anywhere!
This is why I was here and I was glad I came! The bands were an interesting mix of styles from dark synth-pop to glam to rock. Sure, they have heavy links with the [shudder] visual kei scene (this explains the Goth-Loli chans), but these bands play pretty damned well. Two of them have done Tokyo Dark Castle. Another has been globe-trotting quite successfully. There’s grittiness here!
Sexy hot-rocking stuff.
Storming though the entrance and trying to avoid tripping over Gothic Lolitas and their associated baggage, I already knew Brand 0 band were good. Even the phalanx of black froo could not stop my inexorable progression to the front of the stage. I was drawn like a fly the flame. Four axes, real drummer and vocals were onstage grinding out this hot mix of glam and hard rock Esix freaking people! The music was not revolutionary, but it was done damned well and with a hell of a lot of energy. The costumes were great, but Brand 0 doesn’t need these props to pump the crowd Ejust loud and powerful music with good stage presence from all. Band members had a symmetry about their moves in parts of the set working together to rip some emotion out of you. I w00ted a few times even though I knew the GLs wouldn’t approve of such ruffianism. Would I go to a gig just to see them again? Yes, definitely. Oh, yeah, I scored the guitar pick from the re-haired guy – 2cool.
Candy Spooky Theater
Candy Spooky Theater has been around for a long time and I think the band did a couple of sets at the early editions of Tokyo Dark Castle. A three-person dark synth-pop unit whose style might be described as a combination of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands. The first half of the set was heavily synthed with lots of DAT sequences and was largely an indulgence. The singer even had a little doll and told a story using a synth-warped mic. The second half of the set was livelier, with a bit of anarchy on stage. Would I go to an event just to see them? Possibly not, but I would not avoid an event where they played.
Dark, complex, emotional sounds with great visuals
Ah, this is why I came here. An interesting band as they seem to have quite a range of styles in their repetoire: classic Goth rock, moody melancholy, some Cure-esque layers and a bit epic J-rock akin to Gackt and the like. A difficult band to classify, because of this mix of sounds, but they have very listenable, creative music. Crisp and complex, their style will grow on you. Their costumes and magnificent and probably cost more than the average English teaching drone’s salary. Right from the start of the set you know these guys (yes, they are guys) have invested heavily on creating the look and feel of their music. The ax-work is precise with both lead and bass laying down the sounds with perfection. Fu~ki, the lead singer knows how to work the audience into the music. It was not the kind of act that you would jump to or mosh with, it was the act you’d just move closer to the stage to enjoy the songs and performance. I have to toast them for doing what they intend doing, which is creating a unique, quality band. It may not be the kind of thing you would see at Tokyo Dark Castle (because of their Japan epic rock influence) but they have kudos. Would I go to a gig just to see them again? Yes, definitely.
Hard rocking stuff.
A one-song set (!) alas as the lead singer was sick on the night Eprobably a result of a long tour since last year. Fu~ki of Blood did a fill-in for the vocals and blasted a terrific rendition of the fuck you song! Un-fucking-believable Eloved it.
All-in-all a pretty good event. The crowd was a little tame, but the bands were generally might fine. Blood put together a well-matched group of bands together and delivered a great night. Brand 0 and Blood will be doing a special two-man show at Ikebukuro Cyber again on March 18. Details for that shall be up soonish!