Chisato Charms Shibuya O-WEST with Crack6

Live Report

by Leela McMullen, posted September 2, 2012

Crack6 are a fantastic band for the summer, a season in Japan which holds the festivity of spring break. Their summery, beach party tunes intensified the heat wave in Shibuya on July 16, the blast spreading out from O-WEST with a roar of guitar and endless shouts.

Chisato, known for his guitar work in Penicillin, takes the mic with confidence without giving up his guitarist spirit. Throughout the show, he used at least five different guitars amid his singing, dancing, and generally charismatic performance. Of course, there’s more to Crack6 than the venerable Chisato with Tenzii’s passionate personality ripping up the bass line and SHIGE ROCKS bringing a dynamic flare to the band’s image. In fur and a slim gas mask, he fortifies the leading man’s guitar with his own while Chisato focuses on the vocals. Of course, tying it all together is Penicillin drummer O-JIRO, whose intense drumming never let up when there was rock to be made.

The crowd was amped and “Kyousoukyoku -dai 666-” began with high drama, guitarists and bassist headbanging in slow unison. The darkly fantastical number kept hysteria in check with its chanting melody. Drums crashed right in for “NEO” as Chisato abandoned his guitar. Hands free, he gestured widely, though O-JIRO was the star for this high-energy drum-driven number. The crowd responded to Chisato’s orders to jump with overflowing enthusiasm. “NEO” was the first of many songs that evening to feature a run of numbers in the lyrics, tying in to the band’s numerically themed name.

“Welcome to the Crazy 6 tour final!” Chisato called, subsequently wowing the crowd with a motivated guitar solo while the other members clapped along. The power sky-rocketed when the other members joined in, maintaining the energy level in “Hakai fukanou.” Guitar neck making the rounds, Chisato mimed shooting the fans, rifle-style. It was all go until the excitement blew its top– receding into an amused flutter–when two cat-eared dancers made the stage for “Trickster” and began whipping towels through the air. Adorable yet capable of pulling off coolly-struck poses in the chorus, the team “MSTR Children” seemed to have their own fans in the crowd. They remained during “Boom! Boom! Boom!,” Chisato setting aside his guitar to join them with his own towel, wrapped up in a checkered scarf to make a twirling whirl of color. With the two dancers added to the four members of the band, Crack6 was made whole.

At that point, the music took on a different theme. Chisato yelled into a mic held up to him by staff while strapping on an acoustic style guitar–no downtime here! The guitar hummed the jiving salsa tune of “Spider” while the band was bathed in a soft pink light. As the music grew even more sultry, a pale blue glow like moonlight shone down. Halfway through, the frontmen all abandoned their instruments in favor of the small, microphone-enhanced acoustic drums that were set up beside each of them, turning the number into a unique percussion piece. The number returned to the original formula for the conclusion, SHIGE ROCKS’ electric guitar kicking the festivity up another notch.

The following emcee revealed a shocking side of Chisato that was neither bad-ass and guitar-revving nor sleek-thighed boss–a part that enjoys lame jokes, cute dancing boys, and aimless rambling. “The tour was so hot and fast that I really, really worried about how the final would live up to it,” he explained. “I just didn’t know what to do. And there might be people here tonight who haven’t seen Crack6 in a while and haven’t heard Trickster,” he added. The straightforward response prompted an indignant “Oi! That’s not something to proudly raise your hand about!” He grumbled about the tough fans though the adoring crowd shouted endlessly to him throughout the night. When he brought up the dancers, someone invited him to dance and he laughed it off hysterically as though they had suggest he take up the banjo.

DAISIES” swept in with a smooth clap-beat, strong bass and drums backing up the ringing guitar. The number made for the first laid-back sounds of the night, giving O-JIRO a break from whip-crack drumming while Chisato waved along with MSTR Children who had returned during his emcee. The guitar line played right into “1996” with its poppy spring, particularly enlivening in the chorus. O-JIRO wailed on the cymbals for the finish right into “MSTR A2Z.” SHIGE ROCKS headbanged happily at stage left to the energetic number which featured Chisato focusing on vocals. He worked his twanging tone to exacerbate the summer beach-party atmosphere of the song.

“West! It’s hot!” he called, though not in complaint. Stripping down from his page-boy fashion, he revealed a red mesh shirt over a tight, thin onepiece like the cover shot of a “VK meets the Chicago Bulls” feature. “If you listen to the various versions of Trickster you can learn different things, like on the live DVD for example…” The following antics detailed Tenzii’s stomach distress during the filming and the resulting poses that earned their own titles such as the “Ground Cross” which entailed crossed legs and clenched butt-cheeks. However, the talk turned serious for a brief moment as Chisato reflected on why he chose music as a career. “I want to make a place for people who have it hard. People like students who often have to complain about how tough life is. This is a place for you to have fun. Now, let’s make Shibuya think Crack6 is fuckin’ loud! The love hotels around here will hear for sure but let’s make a fuss all the way down to Hachiko!” Whether those gathered at the famous Shibuya station exit heard or not, “Ichigeki hissatsu!!!!!!” truly made the evening with Chisato’s enigmatic, “One shot, one kill” followed up by the crowd’s, “Crack 6!” repeated without ever growing tiresome. Hot riffs completed the groovy number, Chisato clenching his fist into devil horns in approval.

Speedy summer havoc continued in “CODE NAME “666”,” Chisato ripping off his guitar mid-number to start clapping and dancing instead, riling the crowd to yell “6!” on cue in another Crack6-themed call and response. Heady drums then opened “Brilliant Life,” Tenzii growling fiercely while Chisato rocked the opening solo. His own long, rising growls of “Ahhhhh” ended in a smooth “Yeah!” Both of his hands lifted with the air of a cheesy satanic ritual that only Chisato could turn cool.

“Forget about work tomorrow!” he warned, though his attitude took an apologetic turn: “I’m sorry but there are no more quiet songs. It’s just wild music left!” “Crazy Poker Face” began with a hip-hop mood though it quickly broke down into rock. Even with cute lyrics and adorable dancers, rock truly proved to be the heart of Crack6. “Are you all having a great time? I wanna take you all higher, to a place much more fun!” Chisato encouraged the crowd to shout as the song continued and they yelled “Crack 6!” until their lungs burned, earning a, “Fucking cool, yeah!” from a thrilled Chisato. “Are you all shining?” he asked, precluding “Kira☆Kira.” “Let’s dig in!” For “Shin sekai,” tough yet bright, high-speed guitars and a positive tune brought about a fun performance with a warm message: “Get on your feet,” came the Japanese lyrics, followed by the words “Stand up!” in English.

Burning red lights and equally smoldering guitar matched timed bouts of “Hey!” in the second-to-last, “SET ME FREE.” The vocalist kept himself busy on guitar, body swaying one way and head the other while beside him, Tenzii swung his bass in a hoop about his body. The chaos peaked with shrieking cymbals from O-JIRO before settling to a false calm. “Crazy 6 Nights Tour, main set, last song. If you like, please sing along,” announced Chisato. The friendly tune of “faraway” came with strong, clear vocals and when the sweet music picked up, the gentle spirit was chased with a swig of power. Singing out sensitively, Chisato’s expression spoke of a firm belief in the lyrics, ending the set on a note of heartfelt happiness.

The encore call left no room for doubt as to whether or not the show would continue. The excitement only grew louder and louder until the classical music background had to be cranked up to be heard above the shouts.

What they got was a pair of ballads, the first, “Shining Days” featuring SHIGE ROCKS on a double-necked acoustic-style guitar, “Yuu-chan” of MSTR Children on smooth backing vocals and a rarely serious Chisato. He hooked on his guitar for the second piece, “chapter “0”,” still gentle but with electric guitar and another dose of lovely harmony. “Wow, I’m nervous,” Chisato said lightly. “There’s a lot of pressure in a tour final.”

Before the last song of the encore, Hideki of MSTR Children was invited to say a few words. “Kawasaki was amazing so I really looked forward to O-West,” he revealed.

“You were named ‘Mr. Perfect’ by HAKUEI,” Chisato noted when Yuu-chan joined the conversation. “Is there anything imperfect about you?”
“Of course!” the young singer argued, though he had no time to list his flaws before Chisato stated confidently, “Oh, well there isn’t [anything imperfect] about me! Well, MSTR Children have been involved since ‘Mirai Paradox’ so I think we’ll close with that,” he said, inviting the fun clapping and funky bass of the hit number which naturally brought guitar to the fore to wrap up.

One final encore began with a shout of “Let’s tear Shibuya down!” though a long, imaginative introduction of the tour goods took over, Hideki revealing that he bought one of the pick sets and Chisato admiring himself in the Crack6 portable mirror, “Oh, I’m cool!”

After some more joking around, Chisato returned to business. “Now, let’s see if you can’t twirl off into space!” he shouted at last, bringing on powerful guitar, jumping cat-boys, twirling towels and “770R.”
“You’re the best in Tokyo, Kanto, Japan, the world, the solar system, the universe!” Chisato exclaimed.
“Shibuya, thank you for this tour final!” The grateful cry led directly into “VENUS,” bringing the show to a cosmic end.

A prime summer evening, Crack6 drew Shibuya O-West into a world apart where fun and fantasy took over tot he max. Hot riffs, whip-crack shouts and goofy laughter made the evening memorable to say the least.

Set List

  1. Kyousoukyoku -dai 666-
  2. NEO
  3. Hakai fukanou
  4. Trickster
  5. Boom! Boom! Boom!
  6. Spider
  8. 1996
  9. MSTR A2Z
  10. Ichigeki hissatsu!!!!!!
  11. CODE NAME “666”
  12. Brilliant Life
  13. Crazy Poker Face
  14. Kira☆Kira
  15. Shin sekai
  17. faraway

Encore 1

  1. Shining Days
  2. chapter “0”
  3. Mirai paradox

Encore 2

  1. 770R
  2. VENUS

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt!!/LeelaInTokyo

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