Tag Archive: Tokyo nights

Demons’ Evil Roll is a three day event featuring a lot of metal, industrial and hard rock. The event information is all below along with a couple of clips featuring Twisted Clock and Despair.

Where: Club Chop
Address: Floor B1, 2-46-3 Ikebukuro Toshimaku, Tokyo 171-0014 :: 〒171-0014 東京都豊島区池袋2丁目46-3 :: Map

Date: Friday November 9
Bands: Apologist, Killer Chainsaw, Spike Honey, Mach Trigger and the Demons
Price: 1,500 yen advance :: 2,000 yen @ door.
Open: 18:30 :: Start: 18:50

Date: Saturday November 10
Bands: Dazzle, Skull Smash, Unholy the 13th Preachers, Twisted Clock (ex. Calmando
Qual) and Demons
Price: 1,500 yen advance :: 2,000 yen @ door.
Open: 18:30 :: Start: 18:50

Date: Sunday November 11
Bands: The Lechery from Mars, Der Eisen Rost, Despair (yay!), Shrine and Demons
Price: 1,500 yen advance :: 2,000 yen @ door.
Open: 18:30 :: Start: 18:50

Twisted Clock

[youtube rDdQebXL5ZM]

Despair :: Junk War Live

[youtube jMLa_hB3lDE]

My first overnight stay at Tokyo Dark Castle for over a year was damned exciting. The crowd set was a bit different from what I remember with only a few familiar faces, but they were pumped up and ready to scream. Golden Week is usually a pretty light time in terms of people turnout (because everybody runs away to their hometowns), but this event was pumping with a comfortably crowded Marz club and more cool fashion than you can point a sparkler at. Gothic, lolita, cyber, leather, fetish, dreg (uh me), and more.

Auto-Mod :: info
The bands were fiery hot. Auto-Mod were in fine form with a fantastic set featuring ye olde metal grinder (a real one flashing out sparks and shit), fireplay, and a meatier sound that showed these legends of the local scene can continue to deliver to today’s audience. The band has come a long way in the past 14 months, when I last saw the start of the change with the new line-up/arrangement.

Lloy :: info
Lloy smashed my pre-conceptions of thinking of them as a moody alt-rock band. These guys are hard rock with strong femme vocals making them a very hot item on stage. A number of people inside the scene told me they were damned good – I just didn’t know how good.

Baal :: info
I was primed by this time, but I was not prepared for the next act, my dear friends Baal. They just ripped shit up on stage and had the audience screaming and jumping. I have loved Baal’s live performances since I first saw the band as Chronotrigger in 2005 (A fresh, harsh industrial group who’ll blow you away), but Baal has kept on ratcheting up the intensity, power and its appeal to the point where it truly is one sexy beast! While they are my friends, I am being completely honest in my comments – they are that damned good!

Destruct System :: info
Finally I scoped Destruct System who I have seen quite often at a number of events. These guys are harsh hard rock that is just plain hot. Where Baal left off, DS took over turning the lower level into a grinding pit of Gothic flesh. They know how to connect and their sets are varied to suit the tastes of the night (metal, Gothic, electronic, etc.) so you will get something a bit different every time you see them. These guys are damned good and can ignite any crowd with their intensity.

So that wraps that up. Tokyo Dark Castle is bigger and flasher than ever. All the bands are stepping up the intensity to deliver an array of hard-hitting sounds that will soon be able to shed the “J” moniker and be considered as part of the global Goth scene. And the crowd is growing all the time.

As for me personally, turning up after a long hiatus as a cybernetic entity, it was kind of strange. There were some familiar faces, but I am a stranger again. It was good to catch up with a few good friends and see just how far the scene has progressed in the past 12 months.

There is also some great stuff afoot with a some fuck yeah! news, a couple of viddies but more on that stuff later…

Tokyo Dark Castle #17 once more showed why it is the biggest event in the Japanese Goth scene with more hot bands than you can point a sharp pointy thing at and a large crowd to push things into overdrive. While the sadness of Isola’s passing was not forgotten, the celebration of life was supreme.

Crowd As beautiful as ever. The dress was more style-oriented than fantasy-oriented tonight. There were more people than normal for TDC as it was in part kind of wake for Isola. Cheers to the guys who made it out, said hello, etc. There were quite a few gaijin from various corners of the globe about to boot.

Venue While I like Marz for the funky two-floor layout, it pales compared to Deseo, which had a nice foyer space to talk and more space in general. Marz works very well for smaller events, but once you reach a certain crowd size it just gets uncomfortable – tonight’s TDC was probably a comfortable size for Deseo, but not for Marz space. There was nowhere to escape to and talk (unless you’re “staff”) and if there is a fire, then you’re all going to die! Don’t get me wrong, it is a good mid-size place for events, and would be good for a quiet TDC (Golden Week for example), but regular TDC nights will be a bit of a squeeze. I hope they move the event for Halloween, which shall be most insane!

Up to the usual high standard of TDC, there were no misses. The sounds ranged from the ambient, classical to extra industrial.

Slightly longer set with some Hindi-like riffs being added. The new direction works well for the band, bringing out a new accent for the band along with Selia’s addition in back-up vocals. Would I go to a gig just to see them? Goth/metal rock events – for sure.

Speed ID
Liked them a lot and strong Goth sound. I shall keep looking for their outings in future. Would I go to a gig just to see them? Yes – quite an interesting group I want to learn more.

More ambient sounds with two sweet voices plus violin. The singers are very good (as usual) with an operatic style, but the performance seemed lack-luster due to a heavy reliance on taped sounds. I guess I shouldn’t complaint, but with the interlude live acts at previous TDCs (e.g. Vexation and Selia) had more power with straight live performance. Would I go to an event just to see them? Hard call. The voices are great and work well in Goth or ambient scenes, but I just feel they need one more musician…

Destruct System
Hard-assed all the way. Sounds to riot by – and people did with a bit of light moshing and surfing. Would I go to an event just to see them? Oh yeah, as long as I had some Japanese genki drinks (power drinks like Red Bull… except more potent with liquid nicotine and other stuff you wouldn’t believe).

Calmando Qual
Showing that a band from the visual kei scene can rip out some good dark, rocky, gritty sets. Would I go to a gig just to see them? Hmmmmm. Yes, I think they’ve got a good mix of sound and delivery.

As always the craziest, maddest industrialists around – more mosh-stuff, I just held the stage barrier and tried not to bounce back into the riot behind me! Would I go to an event just to see them? Absolutely! Yes damn it! Yes, yes, yes.

The addition of Jude, Wakana and Taizo to Chihiro and Violet made the DJ sets as zesty as the bands themselves.

Armed with his harp, the supremely beautiful sweet soprano provided a last farewell for the night. Smooth as honey the whole way through. Would I go to an event just to see Selia? Absolutely.

Overall, a very good event. In terms of the bands and DJs it was one of the better TDCs. However, venue size was an issue. While it was a sad closure for many, it also re-affirmed that life goes on and should be celebrated.

Vengeance for Blood @ Ikebukuro CyberWhile 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!

Brand 0
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
Dark synth-pop.

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.

Calmando Qual
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!

BSL Junk BaptismBlood-stained gloves, gas masks and cattle prods greet the new slaves. Raw fear at the knowledge of their fate seeps into damaged brains. Re-animating the dead to serve the overlords of the final industrial revolution. Serving beyond the grave.

Death certificates already signed; the rights of the living are denied. Screams of the half-destroyed minds of society’s victims. Destinies sealed to exist in squalor, to serve the corrupted elite, to fight wars they did not understand, to test the latest nanites, to suffer until their bodies are ruined beyond repair.

The scientists rejoiced. The powerful nodded approval. Those on the edges applauded, simply glad to avoid the fate. The slaves hung their heads in the hazed knowledge that they were already born into hell. Even in final body death they served. Like the farms of the 20th century the bodies were reprocessed and served to the slave populace.

Some slaves escaped their fate. First-lifers and those who survived the re-animation with minds relatively intact. And there was always the madmen. All who escaped had only one place to go, wastelands.

In the wastelands surrounding the cities, the toxic landscape, cultivated from decades of man-made catastrophes, kept the elites in their urban cradle. In these areas where no-one else would dare venture, small communities of slaves developed. Death and pain are abundant, but one word keeps the slaves coming, Freedom.

Near the massive labor camps of what was once called Tokyo, a new escapee community has risen. Stealing decades-old technology from the ruins of the old city, the community has built a rogue lab to remove bio-circuit tags from the bodies of new arrivals and treat what can be cured. Known among the warlords controlling the area as Brain Scan Laboratory, it is viewed with fear as a challenge to the slaver system in the local region. The first riots ignited in the city three months ago.

Already named by historians as the Slave’s Midnight Riot, it is seen as the first direct attack on the elite since they took control decades earlier. Melting into the landscape after inciting the first of the Slave Riots, the guerrilla leaders have waged skirmishes at times and locations of their choosing.

The guerrilla leaders have already been marked for collection and reprocessing. The ex-slave units in charge of the first riots have been named in official and unofficial media: , Baal, Demonoid and Scorpions Death Rock. Individuals, including 666Fox, Undermine and Doom Spider have also been implicated.

Official reports within the warlord councils point to a new uprising likely to occur in late January. There appears to be a movement towards the new action in the URGA district no later than January 21, 2006. Unconfirmed reports suggest the rebels will be led by the unit known as Baal, with tactical support from 666Fox, Undermine and Margath Orgia from another underground unit known amongst sympathizers as Golgotha.

While the warlords are seeking to secure the zone surrounding URGA, matters have been complicated by continued unrest in this and other areas.

The night closed with DJ Violet speeding away on a scooter in full Victorian dress. With blue ringlets spilling from under his helmet and a smile of pure delight, Violet shot down the deserted street into the heart of Shibuya. Just eight hours ago the Goths of Tokyo, and beyond, had poured into Deseo for an underground event like none other. Welcome to Tokyo Dark Castle.

Tokyo Dark Castle 101
Tokyo Dark Castle, for those who just dropped in, is Japan’s leading Gothic event. The creme de la creme of Japan’s darker side come here to perform everything from the hardest industrial overdrive to the sweetest neo-opera sounds. For six hours guests are treated to the total Goth package. The night is filled with the best-dressed Goths, Gothic-Lolitas, metallers, glam-lovers and more. Imagine a night where Marilyn Manson would sweep through unnoticed in the crowd.

TDC’s Halloween
The October 29 event was doubly special as it celebrated Halloween and the 25th Anniversary of Auto-Mod, who have been at the helm of Japan’s dark underground scene for a generation and whose lead singer, Genet, is responsible for bringing Tokyo Dark Castle to the people. The pure creativity of Auto-Mod cannot be underestimated in Japan’s narrow mass market. In an environment where institutions like Johnnies and the Morning Musume industrial complex have produced bands and music that hold to a very thin template of J-Pop, Auto-Mod is one of the standouts who have led Goth and underground rock sounds since the 1980s.

Let’s have a party
Deseo’s not a small place and previous forays have left me with enough space to scope things or bounce with abandon, but tonight the dark lords and ladies arrived en masse filling the entire space with glorious visions of phantsy wherever you looked. There were also many new faces in the crowd so it was full of surprises. Igor felt pretty normal in his loafers, but thankfully people overlook the underdressings of foreigners here and we could all have a good time. The shops had all kinds of displays, but it was hard to concentrate on the pretty things on the tables, when you’re surrounded by it! I did manage to pick up a new Auto-Mod CD though – thanks to my audacious dancing skills (or lack thereof) the Auto-Mod crew member remembered me and gave me a nice discount (you see, it pays to lose yourself from time to time). Everyone was so friendly (as always) and once you find one new person to speak to, you’ll discover three more and so on. This is one aspect of all the Goth events that I have found – people really are open. It’s something that I have never found at any regular night spot in Tokyo – the bridge is so much easier to cross.

But let’s get onto the sounds.

DJ’s Voilet & Chihiro & VJ Kihito
The DJ’s were cooking some great stuff tonight. Often overlooked when they do there job right (and Chihiro and Voilet are good) I would just like to give a quick w00t! to them for keeping the night on pace! As always, Kihitio kept the visuals rolling smoothly with all kinds of great footage mixed in.

Calmando Qual
Because the line outside Deseo was long (and I grabbed another chu-hi beforehand) I missed the first act, Calmando Qual. Technically, I think they are in the visual kei crowd, but as I have come to learn not all visual kei is popsy-cute Shazna wannabes – actually there are a couple of pretty hard mutherfuckers around in the visual scene. One thing about Calmando Qual is that they know how to get it on! Definitely a band worth catching and seem to be doing a lot of places that would not usually get Goth bands (like Fukuoka). So keep tabs on them.

Genet and his boys went fell knell for over an hour! Slamming out some great classics that us recent visitors may have missed this year and drilling them into our skulls. It was the full deal tonight with theatrics reminiscent from earlier years’ events intersticing the songs and guest appearances abounding. Tonight was one special show and if you missed it – shame on you! With dark dance and performances in the mosh area, and Selia’s haunting support vocals and the vampire visuals from Genet and co. it was a very special performance.

Oh, god. These guys were hot when I first saw them and they just get better with each performance. Solid new generation industrial-rock, this stuff is heart-beltingly good. Between Mikito’s all-too-cool demeanor grinding his axe and managing the mix, U-Tarou’s total vocal attack and Chihiro’s manic drumming, these guys are one tight unit. If you like rock, industrial, or just plain dark stuff, these guys should not be missed! Capping off tonight’s performance was an invasion by Destruct System’s Kohki who just took things up one more peg. Ripping stuff.

You want audio assault? These guys are it! Industrial sounds mainline straight to your brain with the vocals driving their voices into the mix. Every time they are on it’s a crazy, mad, sexed-up sound that takes your breath away. All three players have their stage craft working full tilt for an exhausting set of hot industrial sounds.

I’m spent baby!
After that madness it was time to relax. I should feel bad for not checking out the performance sets of the night, but the triple hit with the bands just took me out of action. Auto-mod got me going hard, Baal took me to overdrive, Despair hit me like a train on Chou line!

So, for a couple of hours we could enjoy the slow approach of dawn, catching up with friends and discovering what was going on from people coming out. It was chill time at the end of a great night. And as I wound down with friends – punters like me, musicians, DJs and more – I realized just how many friends I have found here at TDC and beyond. In all my 8+ years in Tokyo this was the first time I felt “at home.” Thank you.

It was a night of magic in many ways, but there’s still one more to go!!

Tokyo Dark Castle Xmas!
The final Tokyo Dark Castle for the year (and the last one at Deseo) is set to be explosive. With 12 bands prepping take you to nirvana and back on Xmas eve. And what great freaking bands!! Auto-Mod (the lords of underground), Destruct System (hell yeah!), Jubilee (legendary Osakans), Agent Murder (psychotically great), Phantasmagoria (darkly sweet sounds), BAAL (industro-complex attack), Vexation (Sisters Grimm), Seirenes (siren Selia & Violet), Gadget (great retro harsh rock), Euthanasie (hard elektro), Aural Vampire (sexy & dark elektro) and Cut the Crap (hard rocking mofos with “the bassist”)! Man, book with one of them bands and support the cause (and save one drink on the entrance fee!). December 24 :: 23:30~ @ Shibuya Deseo (3,000/3,500 yen).