DuelJewel and Kim Sehun Fused Brilliantly
Duel Jewel vocalist Hayato, though on hiatus, appeared with guitarist Yuya, the two taking the stage to joke around and warm up the crowd. As Hayato teased Yuya about his weight gain, the audience was treated to the guitarist’s unique rendition of Lady GaGa’s “Born this Way.” They then went on to talk about the collaboration tour with Kim Sehun—who they invited the audience to call by his nickname, Guy. “G-U-Y, like ‘nice guy.’” Hayato pointed out. “This is our three-man tour! Me and Yuya, DuelJewel and DuelJewel with Guy.” He had his own reservations about the tour, however. “Some people will see us for the first time on this tour and since I haven’t been performing, they might not know who I am even though I’ve been doing DuelJewel since high school! Will I have to do a self-introduction?” The calls from the audience, however, showed that they definitely were aware of and supporting the vocalist. “Being back up here, I really want to sing. At the Osaka and Nagoya shows, Guy sang my heartfelt lyrics with such passion. It was touching.” Yuya wanted the vocalist back as well, though, telling him, “Without you I have no confidence! Please come home.” Hayato was keen to talk for another hour and the audience was all for it but a concert means music and so the show continued.
The musicians of Duel Jewel emerged wearing their sparkling light rings for “Konsuixkexke Doll.” The song had a rough rock sound, Shun yelling into the microphone and accompanying Hayato’s pre-recorded vocals. Fans made hearts at the stage as the band gave a strong opening and Natsuki kicked out with Val’s heavy cymbal strikes. Fan-favorite “Hana Uta ~sakuraryoran~” also whipped in early in the set and the crowd moshed back and forth, jumping boldly. The arrangement was a slightly new take on the usual version and featured some very hot bass. The crowd waved their hands delicately with the lyrical chorus. “Heeeey!” Yuya called as he took the center for “DICE” which was performed with energy and heat. As the crowd enthusiastically danced along, Shun offered them a heart gesture and a big grin in return.
“Shibuya! We’re finally here!” band leader Val addressed the crowd. He then introduced guest vocalist “Guy” who had been waiting in the wings to take his place for the main event. “Nice to meet you!” the Korean singer greeted in Japanese.
“Gloria” opened a set of EVE’’s songs and the band grooved to the smooth, pop-rock number before finishing to audience applause. “Day After” had a very old-school rock ballad feel, Shun’s guitar working especially well with Guy’s extended notes while “Rainy” let the vocalist show off more of his range as nice drum work led the rolling and rhythmic song. It finished with a flash of blue light and cymbal chimes.
“This is our third time and it’s been fun, thank you!” Guy said. “My real name is Kim Sehun but I thought it might be hard for you to pronounce so please call me Guy. Sometimes I get called other things, like pervert, motherfucker, old guy…” At this, the other members burst out laughing. “You know, it’s raining today. Both me and Hayato, we’re ameotoko (guys who bring rain wherever they go). In Osaka, when these two Japanese and Korean ameotoko got together, we made a typhoon!”
“Voice” brought the rock back, Natsuki leading in with heavy notes. Guy swung around with the mic stand as fans pumped their fists to the cool number and the guitar lines gave the song a heavier edge. The fans then let their personal strobe lights flash for “Polaris,” the rings emphasizing their hand movements. Guy’s attempts to match the original falsetto vocals didn’t quite get there but the crowd enjoyed the number anyway, waving and swaying as Yuya lead them. “Devil’s Calling” had a wild 80s hair metal feel and the band showed their energetic side, Shun and Yuya jumping with the frenzied crowd and Natsuki violently kicking at the drum platform as Val contributed some intense drumming. Guy recklessly swung the mic as he strutted, the whole performance shaded with glam rock. He continued the dramatic posing in “Psycho Love” and the fans pumped their fists through the half-sung, half-spoken song. A sexy bass interlude lead into a heavy instrumental breakdown that had all the members headbanging, Guy pointing at fans as he barked out the chorus of “psycho!”
“Thank you!” Guy called as he left the stage, completing his portion of the set.
Val took the mic again. “How was that? I think it was great. Looking out there, I see all your shining rings, like stars. I usually call it the Polaris ring, what do you guys call it? Pon de Ring (a popular donut)? Squid ring? Duel Ring? Dueringu?” The drummer was rather pleased with his pun on the Japanese pronunciation of dueling. “I just made that up! Or Jewel Ring?”
“Isn’t that a kind of candy?” Yuya asked, referring to the giant gem-shaped ring-pops now discontinued in Japan. “I think some of them are too young to remember those!”
Shun had a few comments about finally getting to the end of the tour and some timing mistakes Val had made, which somehow devolved into singing about trains and Yuya doing a very accurate—though sung—impression of a train conductor. “Welcome aboard. This train does not stop at Kichijoji,” he squeaked as Shun fell on the floor laughing. “I’m sleepy,” Yuya sighed after he finished his apparently exhausting mimicry.
“I’m thirsty,” Val countered, showing off an impression of his own. “I want to suck your blood!”
“Creepy!” was the fans’ reaction to the Dracula impression as Yuya pointed out that wasn’t the right lead in to the following songs.
The violence had been saved up for the next set, full of adrenaline and heavy rock. Val was flinging himself around behind the drum kit as the fans threw themselves onto the bar and each other for “Reincarnation Flow.” A smash of drums brought on the heavy moshing of “ASHTAROTH.” Everyone was sweating through the crashing rhythm, Natsuki drawing a bow across his bass strings to create an eerie effect. Shun gave a crazy backwards hop while playing as Yuya headbanged wildly. The band really went all out in “sin,” though, fans jumping forward with Shun’s angry barking. Natsuki made devil horns and leered at the crowd as his rapid bass line matched with Val’s fevered drumming and Yuya took the center to call to the fans.
“Hey, hey, hey!” crowd and band chanted as they pumped their fists. Val picked up a rhythm on the drums that was met by deep bass and the teal lights matched the tour t-shirts as guitar joined in for “Moon Struck.” The fans crashed together, piling up as close to the front of the stage as they could get as DuelJewel played to a big finish, the members mouthing the words and reaching out.
Reaffirming, “We’re DuelJewel!” the band waved and left but soon returned for an encore. “Let’s do a song we haven’t done in a while! Please turn on your ‘pon-de-ring,’” Val instructed as they began “Sweet Engage.” The sweet and friendly melody was a dramatic contrast to the previous heavy set but handled with equal skill. Fans made hearts at the stage and swayed along to Yuya’s direction, enjoying the band’s cute side.
“It’s our show so we can do songs that we don’t usually get a chance to do at event lives,” Val explained before going on to introduce the goods. They even had a special treat for one lucky winner: Everyone who bought a polaroid picture would be eligible to win the boat banner from Natsuki’s birthday cruise. Yuya and Natsuki spread out the massive banner which had been designed to span the front of the boat. “You can hang it from your balcony!” Val explained as Natsuki and Yuya rolled and folded with help from Shun. “Yes mom,” Yuya whined as the crowd scolded them not to wrinkle it.
Hayato and Guy happily returned when called. “You know, when we first started, Guy said he didn’t want to talk in the show but he talked a lot! He’s suddenly become good at Japanese!” Hayato praised the Korean artist’s efforts. “When I recover, I want to play in Korea. Culture travels across the sea. We’re really grateful, thank you.”
“Hayato helped me out a lot.” Guy was equally complimentary. “They showed me various Japanese foods and how to order two beers at once.” He demonstrated some of the pronunciation problems between the two languages and how he worked to clear them up while the band tried to deny ever ordering two beers at a time.
“Yeah, but now Yuya has picked up a Korean accent and he orders three beers!” Hayato laughed.
For the encore, Guy put his own spin on “Azure” with a hip-hop influenced opening and light tone. Everyone jumped around, including Natsuki who hopped up to play facing Val and making him laugh. “will~andante~” matched the party atmosphere with disco lights and an airy tone. Natsuki continued the clowning around, starting off a series of high kicks and getting Yuya to follow along, then prodding the guitarist into a jumping contest.
When it came time for the members to speak, Yuya had a surprisingly serious message. “It’s kind of weird that we’ve even been able to get used to playing with just the four of us. Fans have mailed us, saying, ‘With Hayato gone, we’re going to protect you’ by supporting us no matter what. It’s hard to perform without Hayato but without this project, I think we could have continued but maybe we wouldn’t have grown as musicians. Hayato has a chance to grow, too. We couldn’t do any of it without you. Crap, I’m crying.”
Natsuki was next. “I’m not good at talking, even to Japanese and I’d never really spoken with Koreans before but by creating sound together, we can communicate through music.”
Shun admitted it had been hard but “We’re so happy to see all the smiles for EVE and DuelJewel. This event was made by the six of us. We promise to become cooler musicians.”
Val thanked the crowd. “DuelJewel have a lot of overseas connections; performing in America, supporting Yohio and now Guy. Yohio is like our little brother and Guy is like our older brother! We like being able to go to other places. If you only listen to Japanese visual kei, you wouldn’t discover EVE. Or like the cruising party, we want to give our fans different kinds of experiences. People tell us we’re good, but our fans are the best.” That got a big laugh and Val feigned offense. “People do tell us we’re good! We’re not going to give up as musicians. We want you to continue with us.”
They began to start the next song but each of the members seemed to be doing something different as Val laughingly yelled at them to straighten up and play properly. They eventually got it together and led into “Partytime!” with fans waving towels in the air. Natsuki swung his, letting go and throwing it over Val’s drums for another laugh. He regretted that a moment later as Yuya grabbed him and enthusiastically began kissing his neck and after a shocked moment the bassist was forced to run and find Yuya’s towel to wipe off the spit.
“Otsukare Summer” was Yuya’s time to shine as he took the center to act out his member-themed lyrics and the fans cheerfully performed the choreography. He forced Natsuki to stand next to him again and the bassist looked pained as Yuya alternated between screaming in his ear and kissing his hand. Shun hopped up next and he and Yuya weaved around each other. When Yuya tried to force the mic on the other guitarist, Shun kicked him in the rear and hopped down. “Why are you trying to make me say it?” he complained. Val then ran down to show off his speed-eating ability as Yuya produced a box of donuts that included Ponde Ring and a Halloween themed cookie and Val chowed down as Yuya continued chanting on repeat. Hayato and Guy then shared the center, Hayato holding a cardboard cutout of himself in proper stage costume in case the fans had forgotten what he looked like. The crowd finished the song for the band with a big cheer.
There was a quick break but Duel Jewel’s instrumentalists took the stage again for a second encore with the pre-recorded “Trust.” The crowd still had plenty of energy to headbang and hurl themselves forward for the heavy number and Natsuki leaned out on their reaching hands as Yuya threw himself around, swinging his guitar. Strobes flashed with the electronic beats and each member took a turn at the center, playing with passion and encouraging the fans to push even closer. Val looked like he was going to break a drumstick, playing hard until the very end.
“Thank you!” the members called, exiting as the fans waved and cheered. Though having to perform without their vocalist is one of the biggest challenges a band can face, it is a testament to DuelJewel’s years of experience and musical skill that they can use the hardship as an opportunity to challenge themselves and become even better musicians and more charismatic performers. Though Hayato was certainly missed, there was nothing lacking in the performance and the collaboration with Guy provided a fresh take on the band’s sound and introduced the crowd to some great Korean rock, making the experiment in “fusion” a resounding success.
- Konsuixkexke Doll
- Never Blue
- Day After
- Devil’s Calling
- Psycho Love
- Reincarnation Flow
- Moon Struck
- Sweet Engage
- Otsukare Summer
There are 24 photos in this visual kei exclusive.