"Are you having fun?" crooned VAMPS
midway through their set last April 4th. By this time, the question might as well be a rhetorical one. With everyone on their feet, hands in the air and big grins on their faces, the thousands inside The Kasablanka Hall were having fun alright. They had been in a constant state of euphoria since Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (TSPO)
kicked off JAPAN NIGHT Indonesia
with a near-immaculate set two hours earlier.
TOKYO SKA PARADISE ORCHESTRA
Underneath his crisp formal jacket, trumpeter NARGO
wore a graphic tee which screamed "SOOO SICK AND SOOO TIRED". It couldn't be any more misleading.
There was hardly any sign of infirmity or weariness in Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra's grand spectacle of a performance. Their stint at Java Sounds Fair 2014
in October just left fans wanting more and in their return, the 9-member band more than satiated the audience's demand for TSPO's eclectic sound. From the moment their name flashed on The Kasablanka's massive screens, the skaravan was revved up and everyone was on board.
TSPO's setlist mastefully showcased the band's wide range of influences. While ska and jazz remained the band's core, they were able to seamlessly integrate classical and even rock elements both in sound and in visuals. Just how many acts can claim they have an electric guitar and baritone sax duking it out onstage?
In a stroke of quirkiness, the band's take on the Tetris theme "PEDORAZU"
was followed by their cover of the classic "CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OF YOU"
. "DOWN BEAT STOMP"
made even the most reluctant dance. And as the lights dimmed down to train the spotlight on an amusing pianica solo, it was a welcome break before the pandemonium that is "SKA ME CRAZY"
. Overall, TSPO's set just solidified what folks at Glastonbury and Coachella already figured out: in today's live scene, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra is truly one of the elite.
Attitude. Talent. While possession of each may not necessarily guarantee success nowadays, a combination of both in the right dosage could be lethal. Such just might be the case with first timers in Indonesia [Alexandros]. In between songs, vocalist Yoohei Kawakami
would spew statements reflecting self-assurance and bold ambition. Then the whole band would follow it up with a performance proving they do have the chops to back up claims that [Alexandros] can be "number one in Indonesia too, that's for sure
The quartet delivered a strong hour-length succession of headbanging frenzy initiated by "FOR FREEDOM"
, off their debut album "Where's My Potato?"
Before segueing to the infectious "WAITRESS WAITRESS"
, Yoohei taunted the audience to scream even harder but the haphazard drumbeats and guitar slaps at the beginning of the song deserved to be savored without further distraction.
The back to back of "RUNAWAY"
was definitely a standout feat but it was Yoohei's MC prior that would eventually become one of the key moments of the night:
Hello we are Alexandros
And I would like to say that I am already in love with this country, this city and all you people. I love you so much. I really do. Even though you guys don’t like us, I don’t care. I don’t give a shit. I fucking love you people. So how about dancing together, huh? Alright? Until the end!
The only disappointment in [Alexandros]' performance was that the above MC was not followed by Track 7 of "Where's My Potato?", "DON'T FUCK WITH YOOHEI KAWAKAMI"
The rock unit's eagerly anticipated performance started off with a subdued intro which belied the feral nature of VAMPS' set in general. "REINCARNATION"
blared in the background as screens showed silvery clouds making way for a majestic full moon. Then as white lights from two large disco balls blanketed the venue, VAMPS launched into their first song for the night: "ZERO"
What followed was a succession of rambunctious tracks and gentle ballads - all performed in English. The first half lifted heavily from VAMPS' current album "BLOODSUCKERS"
was particularly vicious - from the adrenaline-pumping first verse to the snarling chorus. With the stage awash in red light, the whole band presented a striking tableau as HYDE - both arms extended wide - proudly proclaimed "Now your new god is me!
". In stark contrast, "VAMPIRE'S LOVE"
positioned VAMPS as fragile heartbroken romantics. Keyboardist Jin, face partly obscured with a gas mask, ushered the change in mood with a pleasing 2-minute piano piece that drew cheers from the crowd. The transition to the actual song was smooth albeit the entrance of the guitars was a bit off. But overall, the entire performance was affecting in its intensity and showcased the entire group's versatility.
The rest of the songs were favorites from VAMPS' previous albums. "ANGEL TRIP"
transformed the audience section into a mass of twirling towels while the call and response in "HUNTING"
generated even more heated reaction from fans. The 10-song main set was finished off by crowd-favorite "SEX BLOOD ROCK N ROLL"
. The band had barely exited when calls for an encore were shouted. VAMPS did come back onstage to perform the song that first catapulted them to fame as a rock unit 7 years ago: "LOVE ADDICT"
. Then to cap off the very first overseas JAPAN NIGHT, VAMPS led the audience into a stirring rendition of what the event would soon be...yet another one of every fan's most treasured "MEMORIES"
Next stop for JAPAN NIGHT is Taipei on May 23rd. VAMPS will be performing together with The GazettE
and The BONEZ
. Then VAMPS will rendezvous with [Alexandros] for a two-night performance at JAPAN NIGHT in London. OKAMOTO's
joins the lineup on July 10 while Ling tosite sigure
completes July 11.
JAPAN NIGHT TAIPEI
Venue: National Taiwan University Sports Center
MEET/OPEN/START: 16:30 ／ 17:00 ／ 18:00
VIP seating：NT$ 3,600 with JAPAN NIGHT special poster
Standing A Block：NT$ 2,800
Standing B Block：NT$ 2,400
Standing C Block：NT$ 2,000
JAPAN NIGHT LONDON
Venue: indigo at The O2
OPEN/START: 18:00 /19:00
Shared by: kenryoku