deathgaze & gotcharocka @ shinjuku loft (2013)
This show got off to a great start when, upon leaving the station at Shinjuku, I ran into two girls both wearing Deathgaze t-shirts stashing their belongings into coin lockers. Taking the shoutbox’s advice of talking to as many people while in Japan as possible, I wandered over to them and told them I liked their t-shirts and asked if they were going to the show. They looked a little shy as I approached but lit up as soon as I mentioned Deathgaze and the concert. Once they knew I was a fellow fan they were more than happy to walk me to the venue and chat along the way.
I think they thought I was in Tokyo for the explicit purpose of seeing Deathgaze, but I didn’t know enough Japanese to correct them, and had no real reason to anyway.
Outside the venue (I was early this time) was an orderly line of VK fans waiting for the doors to open. I walked past and down the stairs to buy my ticket.
Again they asked which band (something I didn’t understand), but I was expecting it this time and naturally responded “Deathgaze”.
I didn’t spot my guides back on street level so I left in search of hydration at a convenience store. A bottle of Pocari Sweat (surprisingly good) later and I was back at the venue, although I’d missed the door times and everyone was already inside.
As perhaps you could tell from the ominous MC:Cutt on the ticket, they were filming this show for a website/show called Jrock-a-gogo. Kind of cool that there’s some pro video of the show I was at (look for my big head filling the rear of the venue shots). Just on the right as you walked in were tables and chairs where it was obvious some interviewage would be taking place. Loft beats Blackhole in terms of layout in that the space immediately inside the doors provided a terrible view of the stage and eased congestion there.
The first band up was Thomas and after a couple songs I got the distinct impression they drank heavily of the Merry flavored Kool-Aid. They were a little more metal sounding, but the singer had a warble that really reminded me of Gara and the band were wearing black suits that I’m pretty sure Merry have done in the past.
The music was mostly unremarkable but the band (especially the drummer) were high energy and fun. Despite seeing about 8 bands the night before, the singer for Thomas was the first to display a full-on Kyoism. He put one foot on the riser/crate at the front of the stage, grabbed it with one hand, and then shook violently as if the crate were holding him and he was struggling to escape.
Their set ended and I assumed MC Cutt would talk to them before Deathgaze. Unfortunately, no, Deathgaze came out to be interviewed. This was certainly going to mean a long delay between sets and less music.
You can watch it in the video above (the music starts at 5:15 by the way), the interview seemed boring even for the people who understood everything. There was some describing their music as heavy but still melodious (who wouldn’t describe their rock band like that!?!) and I swear our friend Cutt actually asked them all if they liked cats or dogs better. Ugh.
There was a girl at the rear of the venue near me speaking english and taking notes during the whole show, so look out for her live report if you want something certainly more in depth than I’ve provided.
A silver lining of the bands wasting time being interviewed was that shorter sets meant no time for ballads. Deathgaze’s set was 6 (I think) rockers from start to finish. Ai still isn’t a very good singer, but this was mostly masked by playing screamier songs (he played guitar for half the set, but put it way for the really heavy numbers).
During one song Ai made eye contact with a girl up front (probably a pretty scary proposition considering his vermillion red contacts) and then proceeded to massage her head/hair for a solid 30 seconds while going about singing normally. It was just odd and likeable enough for me to really dig it.
They ended their set with Genocide & Mass Murder. You may remember this song as having been kicking your ass for almost a decade now. (This song is definitely on my list of ‘VK songs its not embarrassing to play in front of your metalhead friends’) A killer set closer, and it was awesome to see the sea of hair being thrown about wildly when I could look up from my own headbanging.
Gotcharocka came out to be interviewed next and the first thing that popped into my head was “Holy shit, that’s the dude from Vidoll!”
So Gotcharocka is a fairly new band with Jui and the pink-haired Hide acolyte from Phantasmagoria. They weren’t my cup of tea, but they were obviously having a lot of fun and generally played uptempo catchy tunes, much better than the flaccid ballads Jui was pumping out the latter half of Vidoll’s run.
They played 2 songs in which their name was part of the chorus. One that had a call and response ‘We are!” “G R !” and another that spelled the bands name “G-O-T-C-H-A-6” (get it?). Spelling your name in your songs has a kind of cocky and cheesy at the same time vibe that I found really endearing.
A short encore later and the show ended in plenty of time to do some exploring of the bright lights of Shinjuku at night :)