DaizyStripper Awakened from the Dream at Zepp Tokyo

Live Report

by Kate Havas, Mio Nagasaki, posted April 14, 2013

DaizyStripper hit another milestone, playing their biggest one-man venue yet on December 28 at Zepp Tokyo. The band entered solemnly as an English voiceover thanked the crowd and the fans screamed as Yugiri appeared at the end of the darkened catwalk protruding from the runway. He sang the soulful opening of “35.6” acapella, creating an emotional bridge between band and audience before turning up the volume and the rock.

Tokyo Horizon: Night and Day” kicked off with thrashing heat, Yugiri whipping his new braids around with glee as he headbanged. Kazami’s drums were relentless, keeping a heavy pace as the band was framed by white lights for the opening. The fans pumped their fists and jumped with the barking shouts of “Hey!” then rolled right into “Kanojo wa Emerald,” the floor becoming a sea of hair as the fans whipped their heads around in hard-core headbanging. Rei looked smashing, rocking the bass in his black suit while Nao started the violence by kicking at the speakers.

“This is our last one-man of 2012! Can you handle it?” came the cry from Yugiri. Nao hit the ground as they began the upbeat “TRUTH” and Mayu grinned as his heavy guitar dragged the song into a strong breakdown with synthesizer overlay. Even Kazami headbanged behind his drum kit as the song turned wild. When they played “Jiiteki Showtime,” Yugiri danced down the catwalk, dumping water on the sweating fans and earning heart gestures in return. The song finished with more chaotic headbanging and a high-pitched scream from the vocalist.

Zero Crysis” opened with grinding guitar, the lights flicking with the beats. Yugiri sang with choppy rock inflection, his voice rising ever-higher as Nao spun, kicked and pranced, entirely in his own world for the number. He continued to release his boundless energy by running laps around the speakers for “Paradise Lost” while fans swung their towels rhythmically for the softer number. “Love you, baby-” Yugiri crooned the lyrics, shimmying and pointing to the crowd.

The drum kit was lit with dramatic white lights as they began the sweeping opening to “Tsuki ni Jyusei.” Fans pumped their fists to Mayu’s hard and squealing guitar line, Yugiri’s soft vocals a nice contrast. Meanwhile, Kazami drummed violently, showing his power before showcasing his other talents in “Akanezora ni saku.” The other members left the stage for the piano and vocal duet, Kazami playing the soothingly sweet intro.

“We’re sending this song out to someone who was very special to us,” Yugiri announced. Together, he and Kazami proved the adage “simple is best,” delivering a delicate performance that held the audience rapt through the song’s tender melody and swelling chorus. Yugiri’s breathy voice had an emotional catch in it by the end and he took a deep bow to the crowd’s applause.

The rest of the group returned to the sound of bell chimes and wind as they began “Wind of Venus.” The band was uncharacteristically restrained for the song which had a military drum beat that held the ballad together solidly.

“Everyone good?” Yugiri whispered—the crowd responded by yelling the members’ names. “I guess you are! We’re finally here at Zepp. Welcome! Do you have spirit? We do! I want to introduce my dear friends.  First, Kazami!”

The drummer pounded his drums in greeting. “Zepp! This is the happiest I’ve ever been! It’s awesome!” He held up a signed drum face. “I’m going throw this out at the end—don’t fight over it. This tour was ‘The End of Dream.’ We’ve finished our dream. Now, we’re going to seize reality. I love you!”
Next was Rei: “I’m having too much fun here! I want you to take our music with you even when you go home. Music is rehabilitation for the heart, so I want you to carry it with you.”

“Hey Nao, do you even know what ‘rehabilitation’ means?” Yugiri teased, segueing nicely into the theme of Nao’s emcee: things the other members do that piss him off.
“I usually apologize for the tricks I pull but today I want to talk about what makes me angry!” the guitarist asserted.
Incongruously romantic music began to play. “It doesn’t sound like you’re angry,” Yugiri remarked.
“Well, I won’t forgive you! First, Kazami. You posted in your blog that I was vain… But have you seen you with your cheki? You’re not even cute, you just pretend to be!” And Rei, making fun of my clothes in Taiwan when I was wearing all black. You were wearing all black that day, too! Mayu,” he turned to the leader, “Thank you for everything.”
Then came the source of most of Nao’s anger: Yugiri. Nao began to talk about a time many years ago, when they were handing out flyers. Nao was chided for being distracted from his duties by talking with the fans, only to have Yugiri reflect the next day about the difficulties of entertaining fans while trying to flyer. He also had complaints about the vocalist’s “cooking” ability. “Like when you made instant ramen for me and you put the water in but didn’t wait the three minutes!” Nao fumed about the undercooked noodles while Yugiri wisely decided to move on.

“Mayu, do you have energy?”
“Yeah,” the band leader replied, though his tone was unenthused. He perked up as he addressed the fans. “Today we’re cramming in a lot of songs for you. Sometimes it’s hard to smile but today, please laugh a lot enjoy yourselves!”

Yugiri then returned to center stage. “We’ve done five years together, and we’ve gone through bad times and good. I feel this wasn’t a mistake. We’re going to keep on going to the horizon!”

The band punctuated that promise with “Tokyo Horizon: Day and Day,” spinning white flower lights brightening the hall as Yugiri sang, strutted, and rapped.
The stage lights glowed and fanned over the crowd like sunrise as Yugiri hit wispy highs, then the stage turned purple as the band rocked out for “Zetsubou no Freesia.” Mayu leaned out to rile up the crowd before facing off with Nao for dueling guitars. The number was exuberant, the members pointing at and sending love to the fans, who reflected it right back at them. The smiles didn’t stop for “Sunday Driver” with its ebullient chorus and optimistic tone. Mayu worked the catwalk as Yugiri played with his band, snuggling with and getting a peck on the cheek from Rei then using Nao as a convenient post to brace his manic jumping.

For the song that got them started, “Dandelion,” the fans were still as Yugiri sang the opening then they exploded into a frenzy of jumping, headbanging, and singing along to the song that all Daizy fans know by heart. “I love you!” Yugiri called to the crowd. “We’re going to go bravely into 2013. Give us your strength so we can finish this! Everybody get down!”

The fans grabbed hands and moshed together for the rough and heavy “Little Ballerina.” The band stepped together for a fun reggae break and made a pretty picture posing together on the platform before a hard, bass-driven run sent everyone into a wild headbanging melee. Yugiri leaned out from the runway to pull fans into a tangled crush as they finished the main set heavily with “BLACK DROPPer.” Nao spun and posed, showing off his guitar skills as he stalked down the runway and Yugiri hit his knees to put his all into growling out the death voice. The heat rose further as Rei took center stage, his long legs nearly straddling the platform as he hit the heavy notes. Mayu took a turn at the end of the runway, playing on his knees and showing rock-star style while Nao outdid himself onstage with a performance any metal rocker would appreciate. The guitarist removed his instrument, lay on his back and kicked it for a while before hurling it violently into the wings. It was no surprise when he ran offstage a second later and returned with a new guitar. The previous antics weren’t enough, however. He continued to twist and kick at the mic stand until he knocked it over, then kicked whatever other equipment he could find with feral abandon. “Give it to me!” Yugiri screamed, half-panting the final lyrics.

Nearly spent, the band left the stage, Nao half-crawling and Kazami with a triumphant fist in the air. Stage hands began to set up chairs in a circle facing inward at the end of the runway: the encore would be an acoustic live. “Nice to meet you, we’re Acoustic Stripper. Sorry, all you’re going to be looking at is our asses,” Yugiri apologized, patting his own. “2012 is almost over. We’re sending this song with our love into 2013.”
Shikisai no Hanataba wo.” The band was smiling through the easy-listening number, though Nao wasn’t letting the acoustic style stop him from wiggling, swaying, and fist pumping. Kazami clapped his drumsticks over his head, encouraging fans to clap along and the crowd picked up the chorus of la-la-las.

“Isn’t Acoustic Stripper great?” Yugiri asked, before trying out the English adjectives he could think of. “Wonderful? Beautiful? Dangerous? This is kind of how we are in the studio.”

The acoustic “Namonaki michi” had a romantic feeling, cymbal chimes accenting smooth guitar. The band put emotion into every line, the sounds blending harmoniously and making the venue feel much more intimate than a hall of 2000 people.

“How was the acoustic? Really good?” The fans applauded and cheered. “Really bad?” One brave fan agreed, causing Yugiri to momentarily scowl. “Anyway, DaizyStripper is cool, yeah? We have lots of songs: sad songs… all kinds. So if people ask what kind of band we are, it’s hard. Maybe pop? We have melodies that are pop, but at shows we’re surprisingly heavy. We get told that a lot. Thank you for always supporting us. We’ll support you, too. If you need strength, listen to our music. Next year, we promise to become cooler, more charming, and have more power to give to you. Let’s do it together. You are our treasures.”

Returning to the main stage, the band expressed their pop and rock with “Treasure,” fans pumping their fists at the band’s encouragement. Yugiri gave Mayu a friendly pat on the head before the guitarist tore off for a rollicking solo and synthesized piano jazzed up the back track. The band then followed through with the live’s brief opening: “36.5°C.” Kazami returned to the piano and Yugiri again sang the sweet opening, the other instruments joining in as the melody swept over the live house. The soulful song held the audience rapt until the band left the stage again.

They returned for the second encore in tour t-shirts, Yugiri running out with a big jump. “Can you give us some more? We have to make this the most energetic live of our whole five years, got it?”

The fans got it, as evidenced by their no-holds-barred scrambled moshing in “decade.” Rei slipped a pick between his lips and passed it to Yugiri in a long kiss and the vocalist then threw it to a lucky fan. Kazami wasn’t left out, as the bassist then ran up behind him and managed to steal a quick mid-drumming smooch. Yugiri took his blinding smile down the catwalk and Mayu jumped up to play on top of the piano, all clearly having a blast.

The final number was Daizy’s signature closer, “STAY GOLD.” Spotlights shone for the catchy guitar line and Yugiri poked Mayu’s cheek and mimed wiping away tears. The guitarist shook his head and made a power fist, showing he was going to stay strong. “Thank you! We love you!” Yugiri promised.

Live complete, Mayu fell over, letting his legs hang offstage as he jammed out a few last notes and Nao almost killed a fan with a water bottle by spiking it straight down into the crowd. Kazami threw out the drum face he had promised while Mayu recovered, he and Yugiri pouncing at each other with hugs. The five members then joined hands and raised them together. “This is the End of Dream! Thank you!” The band then jumped together, Rei and Yugiri falling down together and using each other’s legs as pillows for a time. Nao, though, couldn’t resist impishly pushing over another mic stand as he walked offstage. Kazami was the last to leave, throwing out another drum face that sailed across the hall.

“Please support us next year!” He bowed to applause. With Zepp now under their belts, Daizy are heading into a bright 6th year and on to new horizons as they continue to win more fans and play ever-larger halls.

Set list

  1. 36.5°C
  2. Tokyo Horizon Night&Day
  3. Kanojo wa Emerald
  4. TRUTH
  5. Jiiteki Showtime
  6. Zero Crysis
  7. Paradise Lost
  8. Tsuki ni Jyusei
  9. Akanezora ni saku
  10. Wind of Venus
  11. Tokyo Horizon Day&Day
  12. Zetsubou no Freesia
  13. Sunday Driver
  14. Dandelion
  15. Little Ballerina

Encore 1

  1. Shikisai no hanataba wo
  2. Namonaki michi
  3. Torezoa
  4. 36.5°C

Encore 2

  1. Decade

VK Exclusive

There are 29 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Kate Havas first became interested in Japanese fashion and culture in college when manga, anime, and visual kei were just beginning to make their way to America. An art and English major with a love of clothes, Kate signed onto ROKKYUU in order cover fashion and report on Tokyo trends, but was quickly also recruited to the music side of things and has been having an adventure expanding her knowledge of all things VK since. Follow her on twitter at keito_kate!

Mio Nagasaki is a freelance photographer lending her time, skills, and love for the genre to ROKKYUU Magazine.

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