BVCCI HAYNES Partied with ~KNZ birthday Live 2014~ at Club Asia
The streets of Shibuya are a lively place at any time of the day, always teeming with life—but there is something quite special about the buzzing and excited crowd that shows up around the music venues in the late afternoon, ready for a rocking night out. The crowd that lined up outside Club Asia on December 9 had every reason to be excited because they were all in for a birthday live of the best kind. That night, KNZ celebrated his birthday by inviting friends and fans to join him as he went onstage with brand new songs from this solo project’s third single, IX Lives, more than a week before the official release.
While his fans made themselves at home on the floor and filed the club to the brim, KNZ and the friends he had invited to come and play with him, took the stage. The lineup he brought in for the first set was a fun lot of familiar faces. On guitars he brought in Umi from Vistlip and Saito Shinichiro from 12012, aka, Mokichi. Strumming the strings of the bass was former GOTCHAROCKA member Shingo, while Hayakawa Seiichiro dared to pick up the drumsticks KNZ left stranded as he himself took the part of the vocalist of BVCCI HAYNES.
KNZ sauntered to the front of the stage in a custom made, oversized hoodie which matched his confident attitude to a tee. It wasn’t quite big enough to hide his radiant smile as he called out a warm and vibrant, “Hey, hey, hey! Let’s have fun!” to everyone in the club. Mokichi was already pulling the sweet opening notes of “Bokura no katachi” from his acoustic guitar and KNZ wasted no time before he launched into the happy and upbeat song. His energy seemed to spill right over the edge of the stage and into the crowd as he jumped and danced and played around with anyone within reach. And with that they were all off to a flying start. He followed up with the powerful “Here I Am” that added both depth and sensitivity to his performance. Perched on the edge of the stage, he watched the crowd as he sang, mastering notes quite different from his first song and lyrics all in English. His hands fisted in the hem of his massive hoodie and he pulled at it, as if he could pull out more emotions the same way. Only two songs in, and KNZ’s performance was already leaving a lasting impression.
However, the night could not go on much further without KNZ introducing his support, even if most of the crowd was already familiar with the regular lineup. Everyone in the club was laughing as he brutally attacked each member with friendly teasing and loving comments before finally moving on to introduce the first new song of the night, “GEM.” White and blue lights spilled over the fans as KNZ guided them through the motions of the song, his smile once again absolutely blinding as he watched them wave their hands along to the cheerful tune. It made for a flawless transition into the following “IX Lives,” a perfectly smooth, feel-good song that offered a perfect display of the warm, pleasant voice on offer, as well as the skills of each and every member making up support. Mokichi, in particular, added to the song when he brought in his acoustic guitar again.
After just four songs, KNZ was momentarily left alone but only until a keyboard was brought in, followed by a shock of pink hair. KNZ faked a look of surprise, even though he himself had invited Kazami from DaizyStripper to come and play with him. This time, however, neither of the talented drummers actually intended to drum. Instead, Kazami put his fingers on the black and white keys while Kenzo sat down next to him. “This is the piano version of my very first single, “Hello hello,” he said softly and smiled at the crowd who had fallen into a respectful, anticipatory silence. What followed was by far the most gentle and beautiful version of any of his songs to date. The new arrangement brought all attention to KNZ’s voice; both sweet and soothing but endearingly unpolished—giving the song a very genuine feel that was hard to shake off afterwards.
Kazami did not let the moment linger for long. With the flash of a cheeky smile, he started playing “Happy Birthday,” on the keyboard, surprising KNZ, who spun around and called out a frantic, “Wait, wait, wait!” when more of his friends came onstage, carrying out a birthday cake for him. Ryo from Baroque added proper vocals for the birthday song, backed up by Kazami, Mizuki from Sadie, and Takehito from AYABIE.
With Takehito there, it seemed an AYABIE song was in order but since Ryo had no intention of drumming, KNZ gave up his microphone and jumped behind the drums, hardly afraid to take on a song he had written and played himself, back in the day. “RISE” certainly revealed every AYABIE fan in the crowd as they jumped and danced to the crashing beat of KNZ’s drums and Takehito’s guitar solo. Ryo did an excellent job on vocals, backed by Mizuki with Shingo back on bass.
The next song saw a slight change in the lineup when Takehito and Mizuki excused themselves. Umi came back in but took his guitar to the other side of the stage this time, making room for another of KNZ’s guests. Kei, from Baroque, joined in on guitar and together they played one of Baroque’s most famous songs, “Gakido.” KNZ continued to prove his skills as a drummer as everyone on and offstage enjoyed the well-known song. “Congratulations!” Ryo called out near the end of it; all eyes on KNZ as he took the song to a crashing finish and triumphantly threw his drumsticks over his shoulders.
Afterward, everyone left the stage except for KNZ who was left to ponder his somewhat lonely situation for several long moments before Mizuki came stumbling back in. “I brought friends!” he announced in a cheery voice as Chiyu from SuG and Hitsugi from Nightmare—a secret guest for the night—were all but pushed up onstage. Together, the lot made up the group Gremlins, KNZ and Hitsugi’s joint project, and no one in the club doubted what was coming next.
KNZ was back behind the drums, launching into the high-paced intro of one of Gremlins’ first songs, “to die.” Hitsugi joined him, first on guitar then soon on vocals, while Mizuki added in his own guitar as well as the raspy background screams that Gremlins really couldn’t be without. Chiyu was down on the floor with his bass. Under the blinking lights, the crowd was dancing along and adding in their voices as well.
Once again, everyone but KNZ left the stage after the song ended but he wouldn’t let Mizuki go that easily. “Mizuki! Mizuki! Mizuki!” he called out insistently, bringing the guitarist running back to give him a sweet parting kiss on the cheek. Satisfied with that, KNZ let them all go as Kei, Shingo, Mokichi, and Seiichiro came back in for the final set. Perhaps Mizuki couldn’t resist KNZ’s charm after all, because before they started, he came running back in to join in on the vocals for a final double performance of “Squall.”
This made for a fun and different version of the popular BVCCI HAYNES song, where the two took turns singing, growling, riling up the crowd, and headbanging along. Everyone clearly had a blast, not least KNZ and Mizuki. It was the perfect, maybe slightly crazy ending to a fun and different night, and KNZ ended it right up the front of the stage where he could see every smiling face in the crowd and give a last grin back, beautiful in its sincerity.
After the last song ended, KNZ brought all of his guests back onstage to thank each one of them for coming. How he managed to forget the loudest of those friends, there’s no saying, but the crowd reminded him none too gently. “Cut! Cut! Cut! Rewind!” he cried out and turned to the forgotten guitarist. “And finally, Mizuki! Thank you!” he said and apologized to Mizuki who brushed it off haphazardly. His friends onstage were not the only ones to thank for the night, though, and after the performance was over, KNZ went offstage and to the venue door, to meet and thank each and every one of his fans as they left.
KNZ has proven over the past year that his fans have nothing to worry about in regards to his starting over from scratch. With drive and determination—and a healthy portion of confidence—KNZ has started showcasing his skills and versatility as a composer, drummer, singer, and performer through various projects, giving fans much to look forward to now as they follow him on his new adventures into a bright and promising new era.
- Bokura no katachi
- Here I Am
- IX Lives
- Hello hello
- to die
- Squall x 2