King Ghidorah is a three-headed kaiju (‘monster’) that often appears in Godzilla films. It is easy to see why this event, featuring three well-known bands originating in the visual kei scene, was named after the monster. When the event was announced in vistlip’s MERRY BELL, audience screamed excitedly. And even though it was vistlip’s one-man, BugLug and SuG got a lot of cheering too, making vistlip a bit jealous that they asked audience to scream the loudest for them.
But how could they not be excited? Three big bands, in one night, in a legendary venue! So on February 12nd, 2014, we found ourselves in Shibuya-AX, among fans of the three bands. Most of them held A-tickets – more than 1,000 people – so when we, as B-ticket holders, finally could enter the venue, the place was already full even to the back corners. (Some fans chose to lean on the back walls, maybe it gave them clearer view to the stage.)
We didn’t mean to belittle the other two bands, but we thought nobody had guessed that SuG would be put on the first slot. Their fans too were surprised – they let out a loud scream when SuG’s opening music was heard through the speakers, and SuG’s members appeared on stage one by one. Maybe because they were not expecting it, many SuG’s fans were still stuck at the back rows during SuG’s performance. (In multiband events, Japanese fans usually take turns being at the front rows according to the band they support the most.) And from what we could see, the saizen (the first row) was not filled by SuG’s fans either. Although taken by surprise, SuG’s fans quickly began responding to SuG’s music. With singer Takeru also playing guitar, SuG opened the event with Howling Magic. Even from this very first song, we could see what had made this band be loved by so many: upbeat songs with catchy beats (supplied faithfully by bassist Chiyu and drummer Shinpei) and singalong feels. Lead by Takeru himself, who danced through most of the songs, fans jumped and moved around cheerfully.
Fans then were treated with their newest single – the first under new management, the proof that they have returned – MISSING. A bit dark, perhaps – somehow matching with SuG’s current toned-down appearance, with members wearing dark-coloured ‘street-style’ clothes, except for guitarist Masato who alone looked different with his long hair extension and white clothes. We could say that Masato was the only member who still sported a ‘visual kei’ look onstage – he and Yuji looked as if they played guitar for two different bands!
SuG presented a setlist full of fun, including Fukanzen Beautyfool Days from their last full album before parting ways with their old company, complete with its B-side Boom Boom Neat. Fans too got to see Chiyu play his saxophone today. Another treat for fans came in the form of Rolling!!, another new song that was truly fun. Takeru with hand movements asked fans to move around the room – ‘rolling’, like the song title suggested – to which the fans happily obeyed. And during Crazy Bunny Coaster, fans together with Takeru lifted up their pointing finger each time the song reached ‘mou ikkai, mou mou ikkai’ (‘once more’). A loved classic, 39GalaxyZ, after which SuG’s fanclub was named, closed their set. Takeru gave the audience his microphone, and he was awarded with an emotion-stirring choir of the lines that must have meant so much to SuG’s fans, ‘hitori hitori bitsuna kokoro de sasae au kono no basho ga nakusenai nakushitaku wa nai tatta hitotsu no kyobasho nanda, okubyou de yowai kono boku wo kaetekureta no wa kimi dakara… aishiteru’. SuG has returned, triumphantly.
Setlist SuG 12022014
- Howling Magic
- Fukanzen Beautyfool Days
- Boom Boom Neat
- Crazy Bunny Coaster
Next was vistlip – who seemed to have attracted most fanboys that evening, if we judged by the number of male fans who came with vistlip’s red muffler towels slung around their necks. Without hesitating, they challenged fans to move as energetic as they could with Recipe, followed by a heavy set that consisted of songs like Dead Cherry and HEART ch. Curiously enough, they inserted CLASSIC OPERA in the middle of the set. Somehow, though, this song didn’t come up like a sore thumb among the other ‘harder’ songs. It was more like giving fans a brief break before starting to fiercely do furi again. A moment of awe came in the form of spotlights shining on each member one by one during the bridge of the song.
Vistlip wanted to treat their fans too; they performed aim, a song that will be included as a B-side to their new single, Period, that will be released on April the 9th. Guitarist Umi, the only one who helped singer Tomo with MC part that day, reminded audience about this new single. While Umi dan Tomo talked quite a lot, the others did not say anything – a bit unusual for drummer Tohya. Guitarist Yuh and bassist Rui, as always, focused more on their instruments. Yuh often climbed up his platform (he had one for himself, not using Tomo’s) while showing off his guitar skills with his nimble fingers. Vistlip ended their performance with GLOSTER IMAGE
Setlist vistlip 12022014
- THEATER OF ENVY
- Dead Cherry
- CLASSIC OPERA
- Shinkaigyo no yume wa shosen
- HEART ch,
- GLOSTER IMAGE
Although they were the youngest band in the line-up, BugLug was chosen to be the last performer. We wondered whether they felt nervous, playing after two bands several years their senior. (BugLug was formed in 2010, while SuG in 2006 and vistlip in 2007.) But they turned out to be massive crowd-movers – almost everyone in the room moved their bodies to BugLug’s music, although the towels on their necks are red (vistlip’s) or pink (SuG’s). Ever since the first song, BUKIMI, BugLug showed the audience why they are right now one of the hottest bands in the visual kei scene: their songs are built around rhythms that are very fitting for furitsuke during lives. A comparison with the band that performed before them – vistlip – would be apt; if you are familiar enough with how furi movement matches the rhythm of the music, you’d realise that many vistlip’s songs are difficult to do furi to. It is not like that with BugLug’s music: theirs is like the epitome of how songs for furi should be. Quickly, lead by not only singer Issei, but also by drummer Masaumi and bassist Tsubame and guitarists Kazuki and Yuu, the audience turned into a mass of bodies smashing and bumping to each other and hands waving.
Realising that those who were having fun to their music were not only their fans, Issei several times mentioned and thanked fans of the other bands. Of course he did not forget to give a nod to the two more senior bands. Unfortunately, BugLug’s performance was a bit marred by some trouble that Yuu seemed to experience with his guitar – we saw him disappear for a while out of the audience’s sight after looking bewildered for a moment and stopping playing. It didn’t stop BugLug from delivering a glorious performance that was brought to a close with their latest single from last year, HICCHAKA x MECCHAKA, another dance floor fun.
Setlist BugLug 12022014
- Mazelna Kiken
- Ms. Alligator
- Zekko Etsuraku Ron
- HICCHAKA x MECCHAKA
After they finished their set, BugLug called the other two bands to come back to the stage. SuG was first to appear, and they took positions on the right hand side of the stage (seen from the audience’s point of view). Vistlip then also appeared from the left hand side, and moved to the right to take position – only to find that the side had been, of course, occupied by SuG. Vistlip had to turn around and walk back to the left, to the giggles of some audience who knew it was just so vistlip to be funny eventhough they did not even mean it. Surprisingly, Chiyu followed and joined vistlip standing on the left! We could only guess, but judging from Chiyu’s wide grin, it’s because he found that when he stood among vistlip, he would be leaving all members of his own band who were all shorter than he was on the right hand side of the stage.
All band members held signed small balls; they were going to throw the balls to the audience, to be caught by a few lucky fans. We did not know what kind of exchange Umi and Tohya had, but Tohya looked very annoyed and he hurled one of the balls he had in hand at Umi angrily. Vistlip didn’t stop causing laughter there; somehow they managed to ‘push’ Tomo to stand on the center platform to say something. Tomo looked confused. “Uh, I don’t know…” Umi, who still displayed a satisfied grin after making Tohya angry somehow, said something to him, and as if reminded, Tomo shouted out loud, “ARIGATOU GOZAIMASHITA!” Audience clapped their hands and began calling band members to get their attention to throw the signed balls at them – the balls were tossed, and the three-heaaded KING GHIDORAH was officially over. Another fun night to remember from Shibuya-AX, which soon closed its doors after 14 years in operation.