All posts filed under: Writing

Live Report: the GazettE at the Wiltern, Los Angeles, May 2016

For a decade and a half -almost-, one band in particular has embodied the soul of visual rock to not only be pioneers in style, but in sound. While they skate the edge of ‘legendary’ in the eyes of many, there is also little doubt that there will ever be a band like them again. They’ve had the makings of a serious force since their inception and in recent years, their music has proven time and again that their creative force is still on the rise. That band is the GazettE. From 2002, fans of Visual Kei and Japanese rock have at least heard of the band and likely numerous songs over the years. Most Japanese music fans can name a few songs even if they’re not die hard fans. It’s testament to their reach and influence to be able to reside in the memories of so many. For those dedicated ones who have come to love this band and their music, were you to ask any one ‘what is your favorite song?’ The response …

Hizumi: Beyond Music

Hizumi: Beyond Music by: AliW How far back does one have to travel to say ‘this is the beginning’? For anyone’s career, that could depend on what one is doing at this moment that defines where to look for the start. Today, HIZUMI is the sole designer and creative force behind his company, UMBRELLA. His products and accessories feel as though they are tailored for everyday people and for everyday life. Not only are his designs unique, his products are primarily utilitarian; and quite fashionable! A reflection of a sophisticated ideal that is easy for most to connect with. In that sense, let’s take a look at ‘the beginning’. The end of an era Perhaps one of the most curious questions people tend to have for HIZUMI is ‘do you look back?’ or worse, ‘what do you think when you look back?’. In the time during our Naka-Kon adventure, I’ve heard these questions posed to him in as many ways. Time and time again, explanations were laid out; but if we are to consider the …

VAMPS in Denver with Apocalyptica and Sixx:A.M.

April 13th, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. When VAMPS, Apocalyptica and Sixx:A.M. announced a tour together, one could already see it would be a badass show. VAMPS being from Japan, Apocalyptica from Finland and Sixx:A.M. from the U.S. promised a refreshing complement of styles and a conglomerate of fans usually reserved for festivals. The three bands definitely did not disappoint, delivering hard hitting sound and soul pounding energy to the masses that built from start to finish. At 8pm sharp, VAMPS took the stage, wasting no time to crush into their first song, World’s End, from their latest album BLOODSUCKERS, which was released on March 24th in the United States. HYDE’s style of vocals has always been strong with L’arc en Ciel; with VAMPS, he’s had the opportunity to showcase rock and metal elements that deliver and then some. Following Devil Side and Revolution II, HYDE spoke briefly to the crowd, starting out with a warm welcome, “Hello, Denver, we are VAMPS! We are very excited to be here!” For much of the performance, he carried …

A-Kon 25: GEEKS & Ra:IN

For A-Kon’s 25th year anniversary, they pulled in some pretty heavy weight when it comes to music. GEEKS, a punk-esque band, opened the night with a hard rocking drive that had fans jumping throughout their performance. Many fans might not have been previously unaware of this band, yet before the night was over, they undoubtedly won quite a few new ones. When one thinks of punk shows in the 90s, high energy comes to mind. A passionate and alive crowd that’s a hair shy of moshing, fists in the air and fans moving in the kind of turbulent tide that promises violence but doesn’t deliver savagery. Even the sounds were reminiscent of ‘old school’ punk with a modern flair that drew one in without hesitation. Each member demonstrated skill and the same kind of energy the crowd gave until the last note where screams sounded for more. GEEKS OHP: http://geeks.co.jp/ GEEKS Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/geeksjapan The headliner for the evening was none other than Ra:IN; Rock and INspiration, a band formed by Pata, and includes Michiaki, DIE …

Japan Night: Move with the Music 2014

Move with the Music of Japan. This was the theme and focus of Japan Night, a two-night festival held on May 28th and 29th in National Olympic Stadium (Kokuritsu Kyogijo), which closed its doors for good on May 31st. But it’s not only a celebration to the National Olympic Stadium’s finale that Japan Night celebrated. The first night, May 28th, was titled, “Yell for Japan” and showcased well known bands in Japan: IKIMONOGAKARI, UKASUKA-G, Kaori Kishitani, The Gospellers, KAZUYOSHI SAITO, SukimaSwitch, Naoto Inti Raymi, FUNKY KATO, and YUZU. The second night was titled, “Japan to the World” with artists SEKAI NO OWARI, Perfume, MAN WITH A MISSION, and L’Arc-en-Ciel. On seemingly rare occasion, events have provided international ticketing options specifically for overseas fans. Japan Night offered the opportunity for international fans to see this historic event. On each night, an estimated 50,000 fans filled the stadium, each armed with a LED glow stick that lit up in various colors during performances that made the audience an additional member to the artists who performed. The energy …

Yoshiki at the Qui Restaurant at SXSW 2014

Following his appearance at the SXSW showcase at St David’s Bethell Hall on March 14th, YOSHIKI held an intimate party at the Qui Restaurant off of 6th Ave. in downtown Austin. Incredible food and drinks were served as guests eagerly awaited the anticipated YOSHIKI vs. hologram that was to take place that night. The hologram appeared almost discreetly from the feet up to the excited and hushed whispers of those in attendance. Once the full image appeared, the apparition of YOSHIKI announced the commencement of the night’s event beginning with Art of Life. In a surreal and ethereal show, the image sat at the waiting piano and began playing the familiar song. Almost halfway through, the flesh and blood YOSHIKI took the stage without introduction and began to play as well. Watching the two play was an experience perhaps never to be seen again. For those lucky enough to witness this epic event, it will not soon be forgotten. For the most well known, and, perhaps, the most beloved, rock star in Japan, such events seem …

Tomoyasu Hotei in NYC 2013

On November 14th, Tomoyasu Hotei took over New York City’s Highline Ballroom for a sold out performance. Hotei, whose roots include the band BOØWY (pronounced like ‘boy’), has been part of an influential movement in the Japanese music industry, which continues to this day. Over the years, he’s furthered his skill and shared his talent with various sources, collaborating with artists and performing around the world. Arguably, his most well known achievement in the Western world is the theme “Battle without Honor or Humanity” from the Quinton Tarantino motion picture Kill Bill. The occasional theme song is just a taste of the talent and expertise of this guitar virtuoso. He’s sung in many tracks, as he did during his performance in New York City. Complementing his music were musicians: Zachary Alford- Drums Tony Grey- Bass Toshiyuki Kishi- Keyboard/Programming Steve Eto- Percussion Over the years, Hotei has produced albums that sell millions, cultivating an international fanbase and demonstrating time and time again why he’s one of the top guitarists in the world. That night in New …

Interview: Die of Dir en grey

We had the honor of speaking with Die over the phone prior to their Seattle, WA show, one of the last three stops on their North American tour. Please enjoy. [Originally posted to JRockRevolution.com in this article.] Dir en grey seems to be a band that does not do things without reason, from your lighting to the videos you have chosen for this live tour, everything falls into place effortlessly and is usually something we would only see at Japanese lives. Is there a particular image you had in mind when choosing the lighting or videos for your sets? Die: Basically, on all of the different shows that we do, depending on what kind of songs, and the images behind the songs, there is always a certain message we try to put across. When it comes to presentation, such as lighting or visuals, that has a lot to do with the band manager who helps judge what is best for us, because we’re on the stage facing the audience, so we can not see what …

Cell at Anime Expo 2013

JRockRevolution.com had an opportunity to speak with CELL following their activities on Saturday. Enjoy! Members: Vocal:  紺 (Kon) Lead Guitar:  Nao Guitar: Shin Bass: Yuki JRR: How was the concert last night, and the crowd? Kon: I was very excited over the unexpected reactions of the American fans. It’s my first time here, so I didn’t know what to expected, but I was overwhelmed. JRR: What did you think of the crowd and how they reacted? Kon: Overwhelming. JRR: Have you encountered anything that was kind of a culture shock while here in America? All: Everything is so huge compared to Japan! Kon: The food portions are huge, I expected the food portions to be bigger here, but when I saw it, it was double the normal amount in Japan. I was very culture shocked. Yuki: For Shin, it was perfect, because he eats a lot. Nao: It’s almost perfect for me; I can’t finish it, because I feel like I’m going to explode. Kon: You eat traditionally, so you eat everything. Nao: That’s right. [Note: In Japan, it’s not good …

A look at Lost Vector

There are times when people have said ‘try out this band!’ For many of these great bands, trying out is as far as I go. With Lost Vector, their story and music were very intriguing. For a few weeks, I paid attention to the band’s activities and their path as a new emerging band in a world where it seems thousands are born daily. While many bands that travel overseas do so at risk, most are at least well established enough to take that leap of faith. All artists start somewhere. This is where Lost Vector begins. This year, the final location of the Emergenza Festival will be held in Germany. The Emergenza Festival is an annual competition of newer and unsigned bands that number over fifteen thousand from various locations around the world. In each participating country, bands vy for top positions in elimination rounds before moving on. Lost Vector made it to the finals in O-EAST at the end of July. Unfortunately, they were not selected as the band to continue onto Germany.  Their accomplishment up …