DaizyStripper’s December 15 Full Revival at O-East
After a rocky start to 2014 with guitarist Mayu’s temporary exodus from the band, DaizyStripper rallied, proving themselves resilient and resourceful. Now, Mayu is back and Daizy are stronger than ever with newly forged determination and an arsenal of new skills discovered on their journey.
With black curtains obscuring the stage, sweet, ringing guitar opened the show, firmly supported by bass and drums. Even after the vocals of “Adam” cut the night, the stage remained covered, curtains only parting when it seemed they might remain closed for the entirety of the song. Even then, there was little to see with the members hooded and no vocalist fronting the stage. As massive projected wings of shadow and light sprouted to flank a human form above and behind the drum kit, Yugiri’s whereabouts finally became known. The crowd’s cheers finished the number with fervent approval.
The intriguing opening had been set to one of DaizyStripper’s more pop-themed numbers but the next song choice was designed to blow that atmosphere right out of the sky. With their hoods discarded, it became clear that Nao was now in the position of lead guitarist at stage left with Mayu mirroring him at stage right. “G.Z.S.K.K” crashed in forcefully and the crowd surged forward, everyone getting into the thick of things and displaying incredible unity of choreography and headbanging across the wide floor of the venue. Sparing no expense, a live feed of the stage was projected to the backdrop in the hard-hitting “Mannequin.” “Come closer to me and scream louder!” Yugiri demanded over the top of the instrumental when he was done licking his fingers dirtily. He sunk to the platform, splay-kneed like a broken doll, or a remnant of the fallen angel he once had been. Plunging on, “Zero Crysis” began in deceptive stillness onstage as the quick, intense play of the members sent heads whipping violently in the crowd. Singing his vocal solo to the heavens as if searching for the way home, Yugiri continued to exert his character until all the chaos of the Earth came storming back with the music and he let out a round of demonic shrills through the outro.
“Having fully recovered here today, we are the five members of DaizyStripper,” Yugiri announced proudly, having regained his breath in more ways than one.
“Thank you. This scenery is amazing,” Mayu gushed, addressing his homecoming. “The tour was so much fun. It was just so much fun! Putting the sounds of all five of us together… it’s gone so fast. I love this! I’m gonna be rocking out all night, so don’t you lose to me!”
Screams of excitement greeted the opening of the charming “Seaside Avenue” which heralded a fresh section of the show, ushering in lighter tunes such as TRAGUS number, “QUALTIER LATIN.” Once the crowd had sung out beautifully in “Seaside Avenue,” “Sunday Driver” encouraged them to clap along brightly with a playful Yugiri hiding behind his platform and peeking out at them before a new song transported them to Europe. The upbeat French air of “QUALTIER LATIN” saw the vocalist wander the stage freely with a tambourine in hand while Mayu embraced an acoustic guitar poised before him on a stand, adding a great deal of atmosphere to a song created in his absence. “Merci, thank you!” finished the vocalist.
There was more cheer to come with the bright and inspirational power of “Shikisai Vivid,” further powered by the crowd’s enthusiastic shouts before the calm play of light upon the water projected on the backdrop settled things down in the sweet and soulful “aquarium.” Mayu turned out soft arpeggios while Nao scratched out effects indicative of whale song, giving the scene of a small aquarium the scale of an ocean. Yugiri joined the two with a guitar of his own to round out the music. From there, the audience was led into a bittersweet journey that panned out into a fantasy world through Kazami’s beautiful grand piano solo. A pause allowed room for applause before Yugiri joined the pianist onstage for a gorgeous rendition of “Shinkai,” the melody well suited to piano arrangement.
“Today is full of our best songs and we just played ‘Shinkai’ with a piano and vocal arrangement. This is a song that makes me feel good when I’m down. I really sink into it,” Yugiri explained as the members returned. The atmosphere grew increasingly lighter as he began to make fun of Mayu who played along, agreeing that he had spent his time off picking coffee beans in Brazil.
“Actually, I went to the US to play guitar,” Mayu announced in time, expressing his gratitude that while he doesn’t really speak English, the power of music made it possible for him to get by. “Let’s just have fun, have fun… have fun… and be happy!” he enthused.
“You’ve said the word ‘fun’ about eight times today, already,” Yugiri pointed out. “We’re weird guys,” he reminded the crowd. “But then, if we’re so weird, people who like us are probably…. weird. That was a compliment. We have our own style that I’m sure you can all recognize and I hope you’ll continue to believe in it.”
Those words were followed by many more though the pitch and speed of the riling rant rose remarkably until the tone itself was an inspiration to the crowd who dove into the lazer-studded sex appeal of “5xSTARZ” with increased relish, heads flying all around. Flat on his back with his knees tucked under him, Nao gave in to the heavy atmosphere while Rei kept it cool, chilling with some loose base during the rap section. “STARGAZER” was no less heavy but also infused with positivity from head to tail, Mayu’s “fun” certainly coming across as the word of the day. The flirty “Lyrical Night” only heightened that notion with languid, smooth tones and a haze of purple light, Mayu’s swingy guitar keeping the atmosphere grounded in the jazz era even as the pace tripled and fists were let fly to accompany the crowd’s shouts. The screen fed the crowd lyrics with directions as to the gender of the conversing characters.
The first riff of “Screaming Husky” brought screams of delight and soon, the entire audience was flinging themselves forward to the rough tune, the bludgeoning drums and bass, and the harsh vocal line. A long interlude saw Mayu jump up on the center platform where he blasted out a teaser of his guitar solo, leaving the crowd hanging. Several times he repeated this, driving them to a frenzy though, in the end, their voices couldn’t overcome the full volume of sound ringing from the speakers, turning their screaming façade into the scene of a silent movie. The guitar intro of “GIRL HUNT” rushed in soon after and the crowd bounded about the floor like lost rabbits. This great song, full of intensity, catchy tunes, heaviness, and love, saw the rabidly moshing crowd link hands to protect each other from harm.
“Let’s smash everything!” Yugiri encouraged during the course of the ever-violent “BLACK DROPPer,” perfectly expressing the song’s purpose. Not only an opportunity for the crowd to go wild, headbanging and diving at each others’ backs, this song has become an unrestrained playground for the band, as well. From Kazami’s harmonized vocals while drumming to Nao’s emptying of water bottle after water bottle over his own head, to Nao and Yugiri’s repeated crowd surfing and Kazami’s release from behind the drums as Yugiri takes his place to pound out the beat, it has become a free-for-all in the truest sense. Even the drummer took a turn diving into the crowd at O-East. Reclaiming his mic as he switched out with Kazami once more, Yugiri made a demand for a show of devotion. “Anyone who’s going to stick with DaizyStripper from now on, raise your voice!” The unified roar he received made the crowd’s answer clear.
The following blackout saw Nao literally floored with his efforts in the rampage and the crowd were surely not far behind but Yugiri’s words bolstered them. “Thank you for gathering here today,” he said earnestly. “Those who come to see us are truly our greatest treasure.” The poignant moment turned to good-natured ribbing as he noted, “Haha. You guys are all beat up. That’s great.” He went on to express his heartfelt feelings to the crowd. “We caused a lot of trouble but it’s ok now, right? Who knows what will happen from now on but we’ll always overcome it tomorrow. I believe in music. So believe in music, believe in DaizyStripper… and we’ll believe in you, in return.” Another live feed filled the screen for the final number “decade” played with an emphasis on the heavy, rather than the cute. Again, Mayu’s favored word, fun, was the name of the game as the crowd careened across the floor, shouted, and sang along with heart and soul. When the powerful upbeat emotion of the number passed, it was immortalized in the words that followed. “We’re not DaizyStripper! You are!”
While band and crowd recovered from their exploits, DaizyStripper’s upcoming single, “Arrest” was hyped up to a triumphant music video teaser screening complete with an announcement of the band’s full revival. Upon the band’s return, Yugiri instantly recaptured his rapport with the crowd. “Did you see the video for ‘Arrest?’ Was it cool?” “Cool!” agreed the crowd. “Was it cute?” “Cute!” agreed the crowd. “Was that a lie?” “It was!” agreed the crowd. “Our coming tour is called the Arrest Tour so we’ll probably play ‘Arrest’ from song one to eight then ‘BLACK DROPPer’ from nine to thirteen… then maybe throw ‘Shikisai Vivid’ in for the encore,” the vocalist projected, all the while sporting an ineradicable grin. “Earlier, we filmed part of the video for ‘G.Z.S.K.K’ but now we’re gonna play it one more time and film the rest, so go nuts, ok!?”
Massive smoke jets obscured the stage for the reprise of “G.Z.S.K.K” but the rolling fog was soon blown away by the force of the fans’ rolling fists and thrashing heads. They were certainly not disappointed to have another go at the hardcore number. Then it was time for the title song of the single, “Arrest,” and cardiac arrest seemed imminent as a vicious scream kicked it off and instigated further rounds of incorrigible headbanging. Heavy as hell but with sweet lyrics, the song captured the molten core of DaizyStripper and expounded upon it with a hot section of spot solos, picking up members one by one from Kazami through to Mayu until all four were going at it in a full on riff. Forming a circle, the members headbanged into the center before the mobile four arrayed themselves at the front of the stage.
The lyrics of “Kyun Neko Kami” were displayed onscreen, the firm rock but somehow simultaneously cute number giving the crowd a chance to call out for each member in turn. Friends reached across partitions in the crowd to hold hands as they pulled each other back and forth across the floor. That sense of oneness was brought to a head in “STAY GOLD” with a live feed once more hitting the backdrop as colored streamers burst forth to decorate the crowd. The fans were key as they took on the burden of vocals while a crying Yugiri first hugged Mayu and then buried his face in a towel, unable to get the words out. He pulled through, though, to shout, “Here comes the world’s best guitar solo!” as Mayu and Nao reunited on the central platform to play back to back, both the crowd and vocalist watching on in high emotion. To cap off the encore, Yugiri suggested in English, “Can we take a photo? Ok?” and the band posed with their loving fans spread out behind them. After the other four members had taken their leave, Mayu grabbed a mic to affirm, “I’m truly grateful to be here on this stage like this again.”
There was really nothing for it but for one final encore and Yugiri’s words when the band rolled out one last time proved the importance of DaizyStripper’s bond with their fans. “So that we can take on the future together, we’ll do one more song with you guys.” “Shooting Star” not only offered the crowd a chance to sing, but also Kazami, who took a vocal solo through an overhead mic even while drumming. The beautiful atmosphere of hope and strength peaked with one final yell from Yugiri, who reiterated, “Thank you so much! You guys are DaizyStripper!”
Those final words express the band’s true feelings that DaizyStripper is not just made up of the five indispensable members onstage but also the veritable army of fans whose involvement and participation in every concert completes the experience in a way that nothing else could. DaizyStripper have a long journey ahead of them yet and they are more than welcoming of fellow travelers by their side.
- Zero Crysis
- Seaside Avenue
- Sunday Driver
- QUALTIER LATIN
- Shikisai Vivid
- (Piano solo and) Shinkai (Kazami and Yugiri)
- Lyrical Night
- Screaming Husky
- GIRL HUNT
- BLACK DROPPer
- Kyun Neko Kami
- STAY GOLD
- Shooting Star
There are 107 photos in this visual kei exclusive.