Only a short walking distance from Shimokitazawa station on the Keio Inokashira line/Odakyu Odawara line, the livehouse GARDEN witnessed a large gathering of people on December 7th, 2014. They were LOKA’s fans, getting ready for the final gig of the ECHOEZ tour. The performance hall was decorated with LOKA’s logo and calligraphy art by MiHo, whose work also appears on the sleeve of LOKA’s album QUATTRO. The walls and ceiling were also criss-crossed by glowing lines.
To great cheers from the audience, the curtains were drawn aside to reveal the stage, which were also adorned by a giant LOKA’s logo and more of MiHo’s calligraphy artworks. The speakers begin blasting the opening song, and Katsumi (bass) walked in, followed by SIN (guitar), and Ken’ichi (drums). Singer Kihiro joined them on stage after the three other members had started the intro of the first song, SLICK. LOKA and fans didn’t waste any time to start burning the room with their energy. The fans started jumping vigorously, and broke into a mosh, a circle pit, and a choir during the second song, BREATHE ME OUT OF THE SHADOW.
Men and women – they were there in a roughly equal number – did not need any instruction from Kihiro, who was also busy jumping around, to start headbanging during 11th HOUR. Band and fans both took a break after this third song, but some fans exercised their powerful lungs by calling the members’ names outloud. A couple of “SIN-samaaa!” made SIN crack a wide grin on his face. Kihiro addressed the fans in Japanese and English, saying that he’s “feeling fucking great” and riling up the fans, “Let’s do the shit!”
Ken’ichi that night several times showed off his prowess not only in banging the drums, but also in doing some entertaining acrobatic tricks. For instance, during YELLOW CHERRY (the fourth song) we could see him repeatedly releasing one of his stick mid-air and catching it again without failing. He also did other small tricks later during the other songs.
By the 5th song, FIGHT NIGHT, the heat had become too much even for the band members. Kihiro threw some water bottles to the audience, and he took off his jacket. He looked around the room and commented, “Ii keshiki da (Such a beautiful sight)” then in English, “Beautiful, beautiful…” Fans cheered enthustiatically.
Ken’ichi also took off his hoodie, baring the top half of his body, to the shriek of some fans. He pretended to shiver though.
Kihiro then asked the audience, “Put your hand in the air, because I want to be a human, not a fucking ghost.” It’s a signal for their next song, GHOST, that was followed by their heart-wrecking Left of Me, which Kihiro introduced with sweet words to the audience, “Every single one of you… You are what’s left of me.”
So far, according to Kihiro, it has been a good year for LOKA – with only a few weeks left for 2014 to end, it seems like LOKA has had a good run. Not only their Japan tour, they had also toured Europe during the summer, to the excitement of their overseas fans. They have also released their second album, QUATTRO, back in September. Kihiro seemed to be truly honest when again he addressed the audience before DON’T EVER LEAVE ME OUT, that the song was for every single one of them, “from the heart”.
Done with this song, Katsumi and SIN left the stage, followed by Kihiro after he thanked the fans. Ken’ichi also left, but only for a while. He returned not long after for his drum solo, again defying the crowd not to stand still with the powerful rhythm he created. The rest of the band then returned to continue the second half of the show.
SIN’s fluorescent green hair, gathered above his head, matching the glowing-in-the-dark calligraphy and yarns, was also a special attraction. Kihiro even asked him to stand at the center of the stage with the lights off, and let fans took out their cellphones from their pockets to take pictures of his glowing hair.
Katsumi, with his wide smile and killer basslines, also made fans scream time and again. And with Ken’ichi energetically amusing behind his drumkit and Kihiro jumping around without showing signs of tiring, we can with certainty say that everyone in LOKA is a special magnet of their own. It’s just difficult to focus on just one person and miss the others.
The fans too were surely a sight to behold – and to join, because they were just so fun! Kihiro, perhaps rather unnecessarily, asked, “You know how to dance, right?” They sure did! Not only dancing on their own, in some songs they put arms around each other and began dancing together in circles. They radiated happiness and love that infected everybody else in the room.
The main setlist ended with TSUBASA TRIGGER, and again energy ran high. Kihiro jumped very high, then crowd-surfed, letting fans supporting him over their heads. Such a glorious way to end the main part of their show, but of course it’s not over yet. Fans thunderously clapped, calling for LOKA, asking for encore. LOKA granted their wish with EVERYBODY ROCK’N ROLL and MAKE IT THROUGH. Hands were put high up in the air, as fans again bounced up and down to the music. They still had energy to dissipate, it seemed, but the show must be brought to its end. The band repeatedly thanked the fans, and Kihiro bro-fisted some fans nearest to him at the front. He then threw his goggles and a towel to the eager hands of the audience. Fans shouted “Otsukaresama!”, congratulating them for finishing a long tour.
The night was closed with the band taking a pic together with their staff and fans. Everyone was still a bit out of breath, with sweat still evaporating off their skin, but all faces in the room was beaming. The memories of the night surely will echo far into the future in their minds.
LOKA’s setlist 07122014
2.BREATHE ME OUT THE SHADOW
7.LEFT OF ME
9.DON’T EVER LEAVE ME OUT
10.SEITEN NO AKATSUKI
15.CLUB ROCK SHIT
1.EVERYBODY ROCK’N ROLL
2.MAKE IT THROUGH
For LOKA’s 2015 schedule, including a tour with TOTAL OBJECTION, check their website.