girugamesh play to a good-sized audience in Japan, yet when they come to America, they are able to play small, intimate live houses. Their second stop of their four-stop U.S. tour was the Starlight Ballroom, also known as Club Polaris, in Philadelphia, PA, where they played to an audience of around 300 people. The stage was a good size for a venue such as this, and they made good use of their space by constantly moving around.
They started out with three songs off of their “NOW” album – “bit crash”, “NO MUSIC NO REASON” and “BEAST”. As the lyrics at the beginning of “BEAST” say, “All right everybody clap your hands, all right together right now,” the band members were clapping, getting the audience to clap along with them. This upbeat song had the audience constantly clapping and feeling the need to dance along with the members on stage.
Satoshi had the first MC, speaking briefly in English. He said hello to Philadelphia, asking, “Are you having fun?” to which the audience roared. He asked everyone to enjoy their show until the very end. “Are you ready?!” was followed by the beginning of “ALIVE”.
The moments just before the chorus of “ALIVE”, Satoshi stood in the center of the stage and flung his arms out wide, looking up, as Nii and ShuU took backing vocals before Satoshi’s part began just seconds later. There is a passion Satoshi puts into his actions and voice that is mesmerizing. The next song “Driving time” had everyone jumping up and down. During Nii’s guitar and backing vocal parts, he would smirk and shake his head back and forth, shaking his long hair around. During this song, ShuU had a bass solo, during which he went to center stage to show off his talents. Each song played had a highlight, and “Suiren” was no different. Nii had an impressive guitar solo during which all eyes were on him.
Nii had the second MC of the night. His MC was entirely in Japanese. Even though not all in the audience speaks or understands Japanese, they cheered regardless. The feeling of what Nii was saying came through, even if the translation did not.
During the 8th song of the night, “smash!!”, Nii and ShuU both moved to the center of the stage, to play facing each other as they had done before. However this time, ShuU decided to reach out and start playing Nii’s guitar. Nii proceeded to pluck a few strings on ShuU’s bass while still keeping rhythm on his guitar. Both ended up smiling and laughing at the ordeal before returning to their respective spots on stage.
Drummer Ryo was not left out of the fun. While stuck behind his drums, his energy never once failed. He kept going strong the entire set. Many times Nii or ShuU would jump up on the drum riser, playing off of Ryo’s energy. When members of the audience shouted Ryo’s name during breaks of songs, he would wave and smile back at them.
ShuU’s MC included “Funny time with some beats” in English. He had the audience “repeat after me” in a chant. The most memorable of his chants was “cheese steak” (something Philadelphia is famous for). However, this chant was misheard by some as “cheesecake” which was, as ShuU intended, funny. He had the audience chant, “We are crazy!” as well.
During harder rock songs when it was appropriate, many people, especially those up against the stage, could be seen head banging to the beat. Fists were thrown into the air by both Satoshi and the audience. The energy only increased as the live went on.
The final song of the evening was “evolution”. As soon as the band left the stage, shouts of ‘encore’ could be heard. The band did not keep the audience waiting, as they soon came back out. Satoshi talked about the recent tragedy that struck Japan and how they did a song called “Pray” for charity. All proceeds from the digital download will go to charity. An uplifting hopeful mood could be felt as Satoshi sang the lyrics to “Pray” in English, bright lights illuminating the entire stage. During the chorus, “Now the world becomes one,” Satoshi held the microphone to the audience, asking them to sing along, which they did.
The band ended by playing “Break Down”, one last song during which everyone could go crazy. Before the band left the stage, Satoshi said, “We will be back. See you next time”!
The set list contained 15 songs total, 8 songs of which were from their “NOW” album, released in 2009.
1 bit crash
2 NO MUSIC NO REASON
5 driving time
7 DIRTY STORY
9 I think I can fly
En1 pray (English ver.)
En2 Break Down