FEST VAINQUEUR Celebrate at SHIBUYA-REX
FEST VAINQUEUR kicked off the Tokyo leg of their third anniversary tour, TRILOGY, at SHIBUYA REX with a night full of Kansai-style fun on October 5. The venue was packed with excited fans who enthusiastically jumped, danced, and sang along with the band who put all of their energy into expressing their gratitude with a vigorous performance.
As the lights went down and the crowd began to cheer, a digitized intro filtered through the speakers before merging into a growl of “FEST VAINQUEUR!” The band emerged to start the night with “Kiseki no Tsubasa” from their GENERATION album, a song of pursuing one’s dreams. It served as a fitting beginning to a promising show that already had the crowd jumping to shake the livehouse. “I love you all!” HAL shouted before growling as HIRO opened “Atsuki Juusei no You ni” with a heavy bass line. This fast-paced song had the crowd moshing and singing along when prompted by the lyrics, at which point HAL held out his mic to the audience. FEST VAINQUEUR kept the space charged with energy through “Σ-sigma-” next and I’LL came forward to the podium to casually lean against HAL as he played. KAZI was all smiles, pounding out the beat on his drums, while HIRO kept pulling a variety of faces at the crowd between bouts of headbanging and fist pumping.
“I can’t hear you, Shibuya REX! I love you Tokyo!” HAL proclaimed before asking how everyone was. He repeated himself until he felt that he had received sufficient responses. “Shake your heads and yell some more! Welcome to our 3rd anniversary oneman show. Thank you for the sold out show. Please have fun today and give it your all!” HAL seemed to feel that the initial cheers weren’t the crowd’s best as he shouted again, “I can’t hear you!” before GAKU and I’LL ripped into the guitar-heavy intro of “RAVE.”
True to its name, this aggressive song that was punctuated by HIRO’s bass and KAZI’s furious drumming. The stage was then washed with blue lights and lasers as the guitars for “SCARLET” blared through the speakers. At times, HAL’s voice sounded close to a wail of passion and GAKU expressed his own ardor by dancing to the music at will. The audience waved their arms in sync to the rhythm until I’LL was spotlighted for his guitar solo. “Can you read my heart?” HAL growled one more time before a flurry of drumbeats transitioned into “Butterfly.” “More! Give us more!” HAL called, the banding continuing the relentless onslaught of fast-paced, high energy songs.
KAZI cheekily asked the crowd, “Who loves me the most?” receiving a fair response before HAL regained the focus to thank everyone once again for the impressive gift of their feelings and to formally wish FEST VAINQUEUR a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY.” This came complete with a mini birthday cake that was presented with three candles, one for each year. HIRO then requested that everyone call out as HAL held the cake forward so that the candles could be blown out by the fans’ “feelings.” With promises that they would never change, HAL requested, “Please listen to ‘GIFT.’” The lights faded to leave the stage only dimly lit as KAZI played out the drum roll intro while HAL began to sing with a solemn expression. The gentle melodies created a peaceful atmosphere as the members smiled softly, their appreciation for their fans evident.
As the last notes of “GIFT” faded, HAL left the stage so that Gaku, I’LL, HIRO, and KAZI could treat the audience to a brief instrumental period. Each member was given a turn to shine, starting with GAKU as he took HAL’s normal place on the front podium to play a series of impressive riffs and set the founding pace of the session. KAZI drummed his heart out, briefly showing off that he could perform just as well one-handed before passing the spotlight on to HIRO for his bass solo. Finally, I’LL’s fingers flew across his guitar strings as he stood in the center spotlight, bringing the jam session came to a smashing, unified finish.
HAL re-emerged then, so that the party could continue with the latest single “NANIWA SAMBA,” shouting, “Rex, let’s bring this place down!” The vocalist signaled for everyone to break out their towels and shake them like maracas while jumping and dancing from side-to-side to the saucy beat. HIRO met the fans’ high spirits by running around the stage, hardly keeping to one place for the duration of the song. The members also extended the fun of “NANIWA SAMBA” by adding interludes of exchanging “gun shots” with their fans and taking turns at falling backwards, HIRO being particularly gleeful and dramatic for his. “Everyone’s rather spirited still, aren’t they? Let’s make this next jump the biggest!” This request was happily granted, the floor turning into a flurry of action for the last chorus.
Next up was “CORE BURST,” a return to the fast and heavy songs that make up the bulk of FEST VAINQUEUR’S repertoire which followed with cheers that met the barrage of fists and flying hair of “Addiction-Chudoku seiai izon kuse-.” As “Genkidaiteki Giwaku Toshi ‘DOUBT!!’,” maintained the heat, FEST VAINQUEUR showed no signs of tiring. HAL’s powerful vocals still resounded brightly while GAKU and I’LL traded off in performing the various guitar lines.
“Evil Disco~somnambulism~” had everyone—band included—dancing and bouncing along. GAKU’s guitar solo ended with a kiss to his guitar before the song moved into the interactive back-and-forth calls of “Everybody dancing, yeah!” and “Everybody come on, yeah!” “Natsuzora hanabi” then served as a cool-down from the aggression—much fitting the song’s theme of the transition between summer and autumn and the accompanying memories. It finished the main set on a cheerfully pleasant note. “Thank you, everyone! This is the best show yet!” HAL exclaimed before leaving the stage.
What fun would it be to end an anniversary show without at least hearing emcees from all the members of the band? For the first emcee of the encore, HIRO took up the mic to thank everyone for their cheers before turning his attention to the band’s goods—designed by the “product sales manager” GAKU. HIRO praised the designs as being the best they had yet had. I’LL then showcased their new bag by turning his back to the crowd and casually throwing it over his shoulder model-style. “And one more item!” Regarding the PUTUMAYO collaborative T-shirt, he said, “Please pose with it for iPhone selfies! You can even wear it to other events!” Called out at last, HAL was clearly still in high spirits as he sprinted out with a signboard depicting the famous Glico Man in the Dotonburi district of Osaka, from which he read a list of general rules of conduct in Osaka to the amusement of the audience.
“Is it okay if I talk now?” KAZI requested, practically vibrating with excitement at being able to address the fans. “I am the grasshopper drummer, KAZI!” He shouted proudly before looking around in confusion at the lack of dramatic echo effect he had been hoping for. “Once more, I am the grasshopper drummer, KAZI!” Alas, there was still no echo. The band quickly swept KAZI’s attempted theatrics under the rug and, changing the topic, I’LL pointed out that GAKU was looking especially good in the collaboration T-shirt. GAKU was proud at first but soon responded to the crowds shouts of agreement with, “Perverts, all of you.”
Called back to the mic, HIRO once more thanked everyone for the sold out show, saying that they were truly happy to be able to receive so much support, especially in Tokyo. “And for one last thing, we are going to be releasing an album in the spring! Please look forward to it and keep checking the home page for more information!” This announcement was met with screams and cheers of joy which HAL drank in for a few moments before gesturing for the crowd to calm down. “Once again, thank you, everyone! Please keep treating us well!”
“Keep on bringing your energy, too!” HAL riled. “Let’s go!” This was the only warning before GAKU and I’LL set a furious pace for “Gouka Rouen.” HAL was especially pleased to see the crowd sing along when they weren’t twirling their towels. After a pause of yelling between band and crowd, HAL playfully commented with a wink, “This crowd’s a little scary.” This was especially true as “BLAZE” demanded more head banging and battering fists whether the crowd had the energy left or not. The guitarists tore through the forceful song with KAZI constantly smiling as he kept the pace, standing at the end for a more dramatic finishing flourish.
HAL’s final ramble expressed how thankful he was to be playing with those he considered the best guitarists, bassist, and even drummer and insisted upon the importance of every show they had played together, big or small. Tangents strayed off to items forgotten in taxis and other such inane chatter that clearly indicated he did not want the night to be over. Yet, all good things must come to an end and eventually, he asked, “Please everyone, listen and sing together,” for the final emotional number, ‘COLORS.’
It was a fitting end to the night; a song that fully expressed all the members’ gratitude and their hopes for the continued support of all their fans. As the beautiful melody filled the venue, HAL held his microphone out for the crowd to sing along to the chorus. “Thank you once again! This is the best show yet!”
The night ended with a collective clap and a commemorative photo before FEST VAINQUEUR exited the stage, leaving behind satisfied fans who were already looking forward to what the young Kansai band have planned for the future. With their second album slated for spring, 2014, the band are heading into a promising 4th year.
- Kiseki no tsubasa
- Atsuki Juusei no You ni
- NANIWA SAMBA
- CORE BURST
- Addiction-Chudoku seiai izon kuse-
- Genkidaiteki Giwaku Toshi “DOUBT!!”
- Evil Disco~somnambulism~
- Natsuzora hanabi
- Gouka Rouen
There are 45 photos in this visual kei exclusive.