Now it’s time for LUNATIC FEST. Day 2! After a very explosive Day 1, we were really looking forward for the second day of the festival that brought together the more experienced bands and their juniors in one event.
One of the very first things we noticed was several booths on the far corner of Hall 5 were now closed. Yesterday they were X JAPAN’s official merchandise booths. X JAPAN was the only band outside LUNA SEA who had their own booths and waiting line set up separately. Other bands only got one booth each at performing bands’ merchandise area. Some of LUNATIC FEST. merchandise were sold on specific days only, so the variations on sale today were a bit different today than the previous day. At Tower Records booth at EDEN area, now they only sold CDs and DVDs of today’s performing bands. They no longer sold DVDs and CDs of X JAPAN and DIR EN GREY, for example. Also, today’s wristband was of black color.
But there was still a long winding queue in front of LUNATIC FEST. and LUNA SEA’s official merchandise booths. In EDEN’s food court, LUNATIC CAFÉ ~ UNAGI YA~ and TENRAIKEN were still the busiest. In LUNATIC CAFÉ ~UNAGI YA~, fans could buy and taste a special eel dish which LUNA SEA’s chef has been cooking for the band for years. TENRAIKEN was a ramen restaurant owned by LUNA SEA’s SHINYA. While at EDEN’s GUITAR MAGAZINE x BROTHER, fans could still get personalized on-demand LUNATIC FEST. t-shirt. At EDEN’s Fender booth, fans still could take pictures with INORAN’s life size figure board.
Upon entering the stage area, most people gathered in front of Shine stage. Today LUNACY would kick start the day at Shine stage instead of Fate stage like yesterday. Therefore, VJ Boo opened Day 2 on Fate stage at 11 a.m. sharp. Just like yesterday, he welcomed and thanked everyone for coming. And then, at 11.10 a.m, it was LUNACY time. They notched up the old school vibe by having Bauhaus’ classic gothic rock King Volcano playing in the background as they came into the stage. All of the songs they played (Fate, Suspicious, and Shade) were taken from their very first album, the self-titled LUNA SEA (1991). INORAN wore the same get up from the previous day. SUGIZO had traded the mesh shirt with a black sleeveless shirt and black arm warmer, one of his signature styles before LUNA SEA’s hiatus.
The second band was Ling Tosite Sigure. This band, which was formed back in 2002, was appointed to kick start the Moon stage. Their sound was characterized by rich, intricate, fast-paced, beat with heavy bass lines, perfectly combined with soft and high pitched duet of their male guitarist and female bassist, with occasional scream and wailing. They were definitely very well received by the gathering crowd in front of Moon stage. Bassist 345 was, in fact, the only female musician to perform in LUNATIC FEST. Their last song, Boukan, started very calm and soft but in the middle it picked up to higher pitch and groovier music to the end. The trio left the stage with resounding round of applause.
The next band was ROTTENGRAFFTY at Shine Stage. This dual-vocalist band was actually signed to J’s label Inferno Records. Therefore it was no surprise when J joined them on the stage during their second song, This World. Their music was very energetic mix of punk rock and alternative metal with a splash of electronic sound. It was a perfect music for thrashing and headbanging.
The fourth band was minus (-) at Shine stage. Unlike its name, minus (-) was actually a plus as they brought catchy tune of ambient electro-industrial music. It definitely painted a new atmosphere for the festival and gave a nice contrast among other bands. Everyone across the three stages happily danced to all five of their songs.
minus(-) was newly formed last year, but both members, Ken Morioka and Maki Fujii, were both members of senior band SOFT BALLET, one of the pioneers of modern electronic music in Japan in the 90’s. Maki Fujii once collaborated in RYUICHI’s solo albums. Also, under the name Soft Ballet, the band once had a tour with LUNA SEA and BUCK-TICK.
In between minus(-) and the next band, AION, VJ Boo appeared at Moon stage. He then invited a guest, VJ Yamada, who was hosting LUNATIC FEST. live streaming on niconico. VJ Yamada mentioned that LUNATIC FEST. was a huge success. Many viewers of niconico said that it looked like so much fun at the venue and they expressed their wish to be there. The audience cheered proudly to that.
AION is one of the seniors in Japan’s metal scene with close relationship with LUNA SEA. In the past, they used to tour together with LUNA SEA. In fact, LUNA SEA’s members were featured as backing vocals on several songs of AION’s third album Aionism (1991). AION’s fans who gathered in front of Shine stage, where they performed, were very lucky because the band dished out three completely new songs! Their mix of thrash, power and speed metal music make theirs the perfect music for non-stop headbanging.
KA.F.KA is the latest band project of the renowned and enigmatic Masami Tsuchiya. Ken Morioka from minus(-) returned as the keyboardist. The prominent sound of bass guitar,which perfectly matched vocalist Issay’s deep voice, gave their music a heavy atmosphere, but the synthesizer keyboard elevated it with grandeur touch. SUGIZO joined them for the last song.
During KA.F.KA performance on Shine stage, more and more MUCC fans gathered in front of Moon stage. Unlike the SIAM SHADE’s chapter of Battle of Moon Stage the previous day, where the fans suddenly rushed forward, MUCC fans methodically marched forward. This, unfortunately, cut off our line of sight to that fantastic collaboration.
Welcoming their favorite band, MUCC fans pressed even closer to the stage. So, when the band finally took the stage, it was Battle of Moon Stage all over again. MUCC’s performance was like riding a rollercoaster. Starting with Suiren, MUCC steadily eased the crowd into state of excitement. Deeming the audience had warmed up enough, the band rocked them hard with ENDER ENDER only to cool down with D.f.D.
Afterward, they got the audience dancing and jumping with G.G and then hit them with headbang-inducing RANCHUU. At this point, two girls were rolled across the head of the audience and the security staff in front of the stage quickly caught and got them to safety. During the last song, vocalist TATSUROU sat at the edge of the stage and even sang while laying down on it. With TONIGHT, MUCC reserved the effect of Suiren, as with TONIGHT they gradually eased the high adrenaline caused by RANCHUU into a calmer mood before bidding their farewell.
[Alexandros] was another raising-star who participated in LUNATIC FEST. Most of their songs are energetic and fast paced, like Stimulater, Famous Day, andWataridori. But they also showcased their musical skill with the technical and intricate song like Starrrrrrr. Groovy song like Kick & Spin hid a heavy twist which tempted the audience to do some headbanging. With their unique and dynamic music, the band easily won over the audience.
Ten minutes after [Alexandros] left Fate stage, it was time for GLAY to take over Moon stage. This rock and roll band spent their early years together with LUNA SEA in YOSHIKI’s Extasy Record. In 1999, the two bands even made a joint concert together. GLAY is one of the few Japan artists who have sold over 50 million records, making them one of the titans of Japan music industry. Furthermore, that number signified that GLAY are not only a very active and productive band, but they also have a massive and loyal fanbase. Therefore, the sheer number of people gathering in front of Moon stage was to be expected.
GLAY actually started easy with slow-paced yet groovy Heavy Gauge. But the enthusiasm of GLAY’s loyalists were enormous so that the Battle of Moon Stage was stirred back to life. And when they continued it with the energetic Yuuwaku, the Battle turned full blown. Then, the band got the audience into a dancing and jumping mass with fun-pumping Binetsu (A) Girl Summer. The consecutive Tsuki ni Inoru and Kuchibiru only served to rekindle the Battle of Moon Stage.
Guitarist HISASHI definitely became the center of attention with his two-tone hair arranged in a ponytail and a very visual look. He wore a mesh sweater decorated with some pins (one of them was Darth Vader’s) and a black and white checkered cloth which served as a makeshift skirt layering another black but shorter skirt and black pants. Guitarist TAKURO also appeared very stylish with a black vest and a blazer. Later he discarded the jacket. There was almost an accident when he stood too close (about 1-2 meters) to one of the stage’s flame throwers. When the flame throwers blasted off, he was startled but managed to keep his cool and calmly moved away. Bassist JIRO had a simple yet fresh look with a simple button up stripped shirt. Throughout the show, he displayed tremendous energy as he never stopped jumping around, as if he had a pair of springs on each of his feet.
As a present for the festival’s host, GLAY did a cover song of LUNA SEA’s Shade. It was a huge success. Also, it made Shade the most played song in LUNATIC FEST. On the next song, Kanojo no “Modern…”, the audience obediently followed TERU’s command to yell, jump, punch both fists to the air, and sing. The audience was running (or rather, jumping) in high adrenaline. After that, TERU announced that they would do another LUNA SEA cover, Jesus. TAKURO even played the intro to the song. But they just teased the crowd and played the calmer Till Kingdom Comes instead. It was a well-deserved break since later GLAY blasted HEROES as their last song and gave a cheery farewell to the audience.
Next in line was D’ERLANGER at Shine stage. D’ERLANGER was regarded one of the pioneers in visual kei movement in the 80s and 90s. Some also credited them to have a big influence at how the next generation of visual kei bands, including LUNA SEA, sounded. Proving that age mattered not in rocking hard, D’ERLANGER opened their performance strongly with an old song from their first album, Sadistic Emotion. Headbang ensued when they next blasted the powerful and high-paced dummy blue, taken from their first album Lazzaro after they regrouped in 2007. Afterwards they cooled down a bit, just a bit, with Lullaby. It was a song from La Vie En Rose, their first album in 1989 which was recently remade in their latest album, Spectacular Nite –Kuruoshii Yoru ni tsuite– two months ago.
Before the fourth song, vocalist KYO announced that a guest would join them on stage, which turned out to be INORAN. This was the only time INORAN performed as a guest in other bands’ performance during LUNATIC FEST. As INORAN entered the stage, he respectfully shook hand (with a little bow) to bassist SEELA and then KYO. But when he was two steps away from guitarist CIPHER, instead of shaking hand with him, INORAN promptly kneeled and literally bowed down at the older guitarist. And then INORAN blew kisses to him. It actually startled CIPHER, so he too went down on his knees and blew some kisses back to INORAN. Both of them spent the next few seconds on their knees and blew kisses at each other. Other members on stage and the audience of Shine stage laughed at such silly but sweet gestures. Then INORAN returned on his feet and respectfully shook drummer TETSU’s hand. During the song, La Vie En Rose, there was a moment when KYO stepped behind INORAN and then pulled the guitarist’s head to his right shoulder and tenderly stroke INORAN’s cheek. Later, before the song finished, INORAN stood behind CIPHER and then fondly kissed the older guitarist’s right shoulder from the back. One more song after that, and D’ERLANGER left the stage.
Another legend of visual kei movement, BUCK-TICK, entered Moon Stage. BUCK-TICK is a band of their own league. They are one of the longest running band in Japan music industry. And they have never changed their line-up since 1985. They greeted a vast mass of their fans with an industrial rock piece, Dokudanjou Beauty-R.I.P-. The audience enthusiastically clapped to the song’s rhythm.
Their next song, Melancholia -ELECTRIA-, was more solemn but more loaded with electronic and synth sounds. Then the band went easy with the next song, ONCE UPON A TIME and continued it with the more buoyant Django!!! -Genwaku no Django-. They were soon followed by a very enigmatic song of Memento Mori, a song which showcased vocalist ATSUSHI’s beautiful baritone voice. The next song was ICONOCLASM, a mesmerizing industrial song. In 2006, J covered this song for BUCK-TICK’s tribute album. Therefore, the band welcomed J as a guest during this song to delight of the general crowd. J brought edgier bass beat to the song and he also sang the song as a duet with ATSUSHI. The band then continued with Makka no yoru and a majestic ballad of KeijijouRyuusei. BUCK-TICK ended it with Mudai, a mesmerizing song yet heavily laden with deep bass beats.
On Day 1, LUNA SEA opened their act with LOVELESS, which has a groovier and heavier feeling. But on Day 2, they chose to open their act with one of their new songs, Anthem of Light, giving it a brighter start compared to the previous night. Afterwards, by playing TONIGHT, DESIRE and TRUE BLUE in consecutive order, they ramped up the energy that night higher and higher with each songs.
During RYUICHI’s MC that followed, SUGIZO picked up his black folded fan and fanned himself. He then stretched his hand forward and mockingly fanned the fans in front of him. His act was caught on the big screen, and many audience laughed at that. The laughter distracted RYUICHI from his MC and he turned his head to SUGIZO, who was still fanning the fans. Then RYUICHI asked what happened and if it was hot.
LUNA SEA did make the atmosphere hot and intense with their next song, FACE TO FACE. Similar to previous night’s SWEETEST COMA AGAIN, they incorporated fire in their performance but at an even bigger scale. At first, they blasted series of fire balls, one after another, just like what they did at SWEETEST COMA AGAIN. But later on, approximately after two third length of the song, all flame throwers emitted constant fire, effectively creating actual pillars of fire all around the stage. It went on for about 30 seconds. And then they went back to series of fire balls again. But near the end of the song, the fire pillars were back, with even longer period (approx. 40 seconds). If you had read our LUNATIC FEST. Day 1 report, you knew that the flame throwers were extremely hot. Blazing them into fire pillars literally turned the whole stage and the first fifteen rows into inferno.
After that raging song, LUNA SEA quickly turned the atmosphere around with the beautiful Providence. SUGIZO finally graced the audience with his mesmerizing violin play, nicely accentuated by RYUICHI’s gentle voice. INORAN’s acoustic guitar layered with J’s unusually soft bass and SHINYA’s light percussion served as beautiful background.
During this first half of their performance, it seemed that LUNA SEA wanted to bring the crowd gradually travelling back to the past. Their opening song was taken from their newest album, A WILL, which was released at 2013. The second song was taken from LUNACY album (2000). The third song was taken from STYLE album (1996). The fourth and fifth songs were taken from MOTHER album (1994). The sixth song was taken from EDEN album (1993).
Similar to the previous night, LUNA SEA dedicated the next song, I FOR YOU, for their loyal fans. After that, the band invited everyone to celebrate LUNA SEA’s most beloved person, hide. Another picture of hide adorned the big screen behind SHINYA. When they played the intro of Rocket Dive, the crowd exploded in excited cheer. The song’s happy tune brought everyone to spontaneous dancing and jumping; even INORAN could also be spotted jumping in excitement. During the song, each LUNA SEA member addressed their beloved sempai by pointing to the sky or at his picture. J also lovingly blew his kisses skyward several times.
LUNA SEA brought the audience back to the present by playing another song from A WILL album, which was Metamorphosis – only to throw the crowd back to the era of their first album, LUNA SEA (1991) by playing TIME IS DEAD. When SUGIZO was doing his solo, RYUICHI stood behind him with one hand raised up in a pose that spoke pride towards his fellow bandmate.
And then they went manic with energy at the last song before encore, ROSIER. Just like the previous night, the giant LED screen behind SHINYA split into five screens, but there was no more incident of INORAN not getting any screen. When the song finished, they left the stage one by one. INORAN gently laid his white Fender on the sound control in front of him and kissed the guitar’s headstock before he left the stage. SUGIZO, always for a dramatic touch, did not only left his guitar on stage floor. He ramped his shirking guitar effect to maximum value and left it that way as he walked away from the stage.
LUNA SEA’s performance on Day 2 was as brilliant as it was on Day 1. They exhibited the same, if not higher, level of enthusiasm, love, joy, and pure happiness. INORAN and J still held their never ending battle of who could rise the loudest cheer from the audience. Both of them were splitting identical wide smile numerous times. With exception of Rocket Dive, INORAN still had his one-man lip sync show along all songs. When SUGIZO and INORAN played their guitars in front of each other, SUGIZO playfully shoved at his bandmate’s shoulder. INORAN responded by happily fixing SUGIZO’s fringe to the delight of the older guitarist, not that it actually needed any fixing. At other time, SUGIZO poked INORAN’s forehead. INORAN repaid it by making obscure movement with both hands in front of SUGIZO’s laughing face.
If during the previous day RYUICHI only brought his mic over to SUGIZO for the guitarist to sing with, this night RYUICHI decided that it would be much better to kneel in front of each other and to share his mic so both of them sang to it with their heads pressed so close at each other’s. RYUICHI believed it was a brilliant move so he decided to repeat the move a couple more times.
On Day 1, RelawanKonser secured our prime spot at the second row in front of the left side of Moon stage. But on Day 2 we deliberately took the back rows especially during BUCK-TICK and LUNA SEA performance. This new position gave us a good view of how thousands of people responded to the performing bands, something we mostly missed on Day 1. It was truly amazing to witness how such mass of people merged into a singular entity in front of their beloved bands. And it was actually humbling to realize that we were part of it.
Unfortunately, ROSIER was the last song that we saw that night. The song finished at 8.30 p.m. and we had to catch our midnight flight (at 11.45 p.m.) back to Indonesia from Haneda International Airport. Therefore, we missed the encore when LUNA SEA played BELIEVE (with members of other bands, and GLAY’s HISASHI playing the guitar solo) and WISH. However, these two days had been an exceptional experience of witnessing Japan’s greatest bands performing together. We bid our wish of success to each and every band who had made LUNATIC FEST. an unforgettable weekend. May we hear more from them in many more years to come, especially for the festival host: LUNA SEA. Happy 25th Anniversary!