If the “End of the World” really involved a concert, I think I would be ok with that. On Tuesday, August 23, 2016, SEKAI NO OWARI, or as they’re known in English – End of the World – performed at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. The floor and balcony were both filled from front to back with people dancing along to this pop rock electronica band from Tokyo.
Prior to the band taking the stage, the house music was one single song on repeat: “End of the World,” a slow song with a female vocalist. (Google has told me there are many covers of this song.) It was very appropriate for SEKAI NO OWARI.
The band emerged on stage to a burst of cheers, dressed in suits and a beautiful black dress for the only female member, pianist Saori. They immediately started one of their most well known songs, Anti-Hero. It should be noted the setlist for the evening was performed entirely in English! The band plans to release a full album of English songs in 2017.
“Hello New York! How are you feeling tonight? We are End of the World!” vocalist Fukase shouted in English before jumping right into Monsoon Night. All of End of the World’s music is danceable and the audience took full advantage of this, constantly moving to the music.
August 23 was a special night for a reason other then End of the World’s New York debut – it was also DJ Love’s birthday! Throughout the evening, people would shout out wishes of Happy Birthday to the DJ.
There were loud screams when the crowd heard the intro music for the next song: Dragon Night. This version was a softer version of the song, unlike the music video – this was almost acoustic. During the second verse, DJ Love led the audience in a clapping pattern to the beat of the music.
DJ Love gave the next MC, “Good evening everyone. Nice to meet you. I’m DJ Love!” He asked about the best pizza in New York and the audience shouted their suggestions. He said he would try it the next day. “Next song is Starlight Parade.”
“Are you having fun? It’s so nice to finally come here and perform in America. Thank you everyone for coming! Please meet our touring band!” Nakajin introduced the drummer and bassist, who wore horse masks to hide their identities. Nakajin then introduced himself.
“At the back, DJ Love!” At this point, people once again shouted, “Happy Birthday!” and DJ Love took the chance to reply, “Thank you so much! I’m so happy!”
“And next, Saori on keyboard!” continued Nakajin.
“Thank you so much for coming tonight! I’m really excited for our first show here. I hope you guys are excited to be our first audience in New York.”
“And on vocals, Fukase!”
“I’m so happy to be here tonight! I hope you enjoy.” Fukase said, before starting the next song.
The audience stood in awe as they listened to Fukase hit the high notes in the beautiful ballad “SOS.” The crowd would sway with the music and mouth the words. During the song, without warning, the lights went off and the music stopped! A few people gasped, but rest assured, it was all part of the performance. After the loss of light, the stage lights gradually illuminated the band again. They performed in low light at first but as the songs crescendo, the lights became brighter. Everyone was silent for this song at the end; it was so quite you could hear a pin drop. At a New York City concert, this is extraordinary.
“Thank you everyone for coming to see our very first show in New York,” Fukase said, “We are looking forward to coming back soon!” The applause of the audience seemed to agree with this notion. “This is our last song, Mr. Heartache.” It’s hard not to feel happy when you listen to End of the World’s upbeat music, and despite the groans of protest at this being the last song, the upbeat music had everyone dancing and enjoying themselves.
During the chorus of this song, Fukase went near the edge of the stage and reached out to touch a few audience member hands. Following DJ Love’s lead, everyone started clapping to the beat of Mr. Heartache. Fukase danced around the stage while singing, DJ Love continuing the clapping pattern.
As the song ended, all the band members went to the front of the stage and reached out to touch the crowds hands. A few audience members handed over letters and someone even handed over a banner they had made for the band!
Shouts of encore quickly began and the band didn’t disappointed, reemerging for one more song. It was Dragon Night, the English version that can be heard in their music video – this was different from the earlier version they had performed. “Jump!” Fukase shouted, and the audience jumped while he, Nakajin and DJ Love all jumped on stage. It was a dance party! It was the perfect way to end the End of the World’s set.
“Thank you so much, you guys were awesome!” Fukase said, before he and the rest of the band went down the front of the stage, giving high fives to those in front before finally leaving the stage.
2: Monsoon Night
3: Dragon Night
4: Starlight Parade
5: Roller Skates
9 : Mr. Heartache
10 : Dragon Night -different version-