By Lydia Michalitsianos and Melissa Castor
As one the largest anime convention in the Northeast, AnimeBoston 2011 drew in the usual crowd. For the first year in quite a few, AnimeBoston invited a Visual Kei band to perform — girugamesh. This invitation shows the influence that Jrock has had on American conventions as well as its sustained popularity.Eager fans lined up far in advance (much to the dismay of AnimeBoston staff), to all events the band participated in. Seating for the concert began at 9 p.m. Around 9:30, it was announced a surprise opening guest would perform before girugamesh.
The opening guest the American band, Acey Slade and the Dark Party, who opened for girugamesh on the rest of their U.S. tour.
During their brief set, the band got the audience pumped for girugamesh’s first live performance of the tour. The band was very humble, with vocalist Acey stating, “I know we’re the opening band. I know you aren’t here to see us. You are all here to see girugamesh!” The audience nonetheless seemed to enjoy Acey Slade’s set and jammed out.
There was a brief break while the stage sat empty with the lights down low, keeping the audience in suspense for the main act. At just about 10 p.m., drummer Ryo entered the stage first, followed by bassist ShuU, guitarist Nii, and finally vocalist Satoshi. All of them waved to the roaring crowd as they grabbed their instruments, prepping and tuning for the show.
They started off with the high-energy song “Bit Crash” from their previous album “Now.” Right from the start the audience pumped their fists into the air, jumping up and down. They continued the intensity by following with “NO MUSIC NO REASON” and “BEAST.” Satoshi, Nii and ShuU all moved forward to the front of the stage, waving the crowd to jump and clap.
Satoshi’s voice was vibrant and loud throughout the show, so that the audience was able to hear Satoshi’s incredible vocals and watch his facial expression as he sang passionately into the microphone.
Although Ryo was hidden in the back behind his drum set, his presence was just as prominent as the rest of the members of the band as he sat glowing beneath the red, yellow and green stage lights. Throughout the entire show, he sang along with the lyrics and smiled as he drummed in the background. At times, he stood up while drumming and waved the audience, jumping with his drumsticks in the air. He seemed to be having just as much fun as the audience during his first concert at the start of their U.S. tour.
At about halfway through the show, ShuU stopped and began talking to the audience, stating it was “funny time with beats!” He had everyone chant various short phrases with him while the band kept a rhythm. First, he had the audience follow him with “Woah Woah Woah Woah.” The next phrase to repeat back was, “Yes we can!” four times. This was followed by a “famous baseball team,” which , appropriately enough seeing as this convention is located in Boston, was the “Boston Red Sox!”
Throughout “funny time with beats,” Satoshi was jumping up and down at the center of the stage and conducting the audience to follow. He also pulled a camcorder out and did a pan around the audience to capture the moment. ShuU chanted more phrases such as “famous anime” (Samurai X) and a “famous game” (Angry Birds, which the audience knew of and continued to repeat back to him each time). The last thing chanted was “Ganbare Nippon” and then asked everyone to pray for Japan.
Nii brought an extreme amount of energy throughout the entire show. He repeatedly danced back and forth from one end of the stage to the other, swinging his hips and hair to the beat of the song. Multiple times, Shuu and Nii would meet in the center of the stage in front of the drum platform and play their guitars facing each other. They would then disperse back to their positions, but still often swapped sides of the stage to mix it up. Every time they did this, the audience screamed louder with excitement.
Although Nii did not have anything in English prepared to say to the audience, the audience cheered after he said some brief things in Japanese, as though they still received his message. It was a moment that truly showed how music can be a universal language.
During their harder songs, such as “Vermillion,” the audience became a bit rough, even knocking over some chairs as they jumped up and down to the music, shaking the floor of the auditorium. Many times, the entire band would all meet in the center, forming a circle while facing each so that it included Ryo at his drum set.
They played songs from all of their albums throughout the set, including their newest album “GO,” which is on sale during the tour. Their second to last song was an older one, “Vermillion” from their first album, “13’s reborn”, which surprised many long time fans. They finished with “evolution” from the album “MUSIC,” keeping the energy high until the very last second. Satoshi continued to keep things going by continuing to jump up and down, sometimes up onto the drum set platform and back down. At around 11:30 p.m., the band waved to the audience as they dismissed the stage.
It wasn’t long before the audience began their encore chant as the stage and room stayed dark in order to increase anticipation. Eyes didn’t leave the stage as the thought that they would return at any minute kept everyone on the edge of their seats. A short while later, the band returned to the stage in their tour t-shirt which has the dates from this tour as well as their European one. The audience screamed as they came one by one, back onto the stage.
Satoshi started out by talking about their charity song “Pray,” which they released as a digital single to support the relief efforts from the earthquake in Japan. They began their encore with the English version of this heartfelt song. The emotion was tangible. Even after such an emotional moment, the band had a powerful finish with two more songs, the final one being “Break Down.” As a final song, “Break Down” had everyone in the first few rows head banging as would be seen a typical Jrock show.
Before leaving the stage, the band thanked everyone in English, which had the audience clapping and cheering to thank the band back. Nii stated in Japanese how much fun he had and again thanked the audience and everyone who participated. Even though it was all in Japanese, the audience responded positively as if everyone — even those who spoke no Japanese — clearly understood his message.
After such a successful first show for their upcoming U.S. tour, it’s a sure thing that the band will bring the same amount of excitement and intensity to each and every venue they will perform at, up until their final show at Jaxx Nightclub in DC.
NO MUSIC NO REASON
Real my place
Dance Rock Night
I think I can fly
Deceived mad pain