J-ROCK A GO! GO! Volume 5: DuelJewel & Kra

Live Report

by Kate Havas, Mio Nagasaki, posted March 20, 2014

The J-ROCK A GO! GO! live and web program series continued at Shinjuku Loft on October 18 with DuelJewel and Kra. The two bands are well known for being natural comedians and good friends outside of being musicians who play together often, and the result was an emphasis on the talk portions that left emcee CUTT in the dust. As always, the bands had prepared specialty food and drinks with DuelJewel offering “It’s Just Love” and “Gensachi Curry” and Kra offering “Black Kitty” and “Meruhen…”

DuelJewel were first up to chat, talking about their new single, health regimens, and love of soccer. Then they took the stage, kicking off their set with the heavy “against.” The crowd moshed back and forth as they held up their hands with their “Polaris” rings glittering. Though vocalist Hayato wasn’t in great condition, the other members backed him up with barking and aggressive death voice that got the fans’ fists pumping and created a hot atmosphere. Fan favorite “62” was next, Natsuki teasing the crowd with flirty smiles between big bass notes. Yuya screamed into the microphone as the crowd went crazy with whipping headbanging—band and fans trying to outdo each other with energy.

There was a lot of emotion in the performance of the band’s latest release “It’s just love,” brought out by the melodic guitar lines and strong drum beats. The fans made heart gestures at Hayato as he sang the song which had a nice balance of measured verses and a soaring chorus. “Today is the first show we’ve had with Kra in a long time, so we were really looking forward to it!” Hayato told the crowd. “Please look forward to the program broadcast, too!”

The gentle melody of “azure had the crowd swaying and Hayato handled the higher range of the song better than the growling of the previous numbers. Shun and Natsuki used the song to jam together while Hayato lead the crowd in doubling over to the song’s heavier beats. The crowd then went all out for the crazy and complicated choreography of “Dice;” twirling, clapping, and waving their hands in turn to the song’s electro scratches and chaotic beats. Everyone both onstage and off worked up a sweat in the dizzy number and the energy didn’t flag in the hard-hitting “ASHTAROTH,” Shun backing up the number with animalistic growls. The crowd then became a sea of flying hair for “trust.” Hayato and Natsuki reached out to pull fans closer to the stage as they piled on top of each other and the bassist tried to cool them down by spitting water on the front rows. They finished just as the tension hit its peak, Hayato giving a big kick to close the set.

Set list

  1. against
  2. 62
  3. It’s just love
  4. azure
  5. DICE
  7. Trust

Kra were up next to talk with CUTT about how the fans were the “subjects” of their “kingdom” and a bit about Taizo’s current obsession with buying things in online auction. The band then set to perform, entering to funhouse music and clapping, flag-waving “subjects.” “Resistance” kicked off with a catchy drum line—Yuhra’s bass matching Keiyuh’s gritty voice. The song was punctuated with creepy laughter from Joker Keiyuh and the fans threw their arms up in salute. “Masquerade” got the crowd moving with a bouncy rhythm and that turned into a crazed mosh with red lights flashing and creating a heated atmosphere. Yasuno grinned as he hit popping drum beats and the crowd all threw their arms in the air. “We’re Kra! Today, we’re playing with DuelJewel. We were really looking forward to seeing them. Not even performing with them, just hanging out!” Keiyuh announced with a laugh.

Clown’s Crown” had a funky beat and Keiyuh leaped from foot to foot as Taizo strummed his guitar. Keiyuh’s crazily inflected voice gave him a huge amount of presence in the small hall and Yuhra jumped in time with the fans, helping them keep the pace. Yuhra then played some hot slap bass to kick off “Samayoedo Yoru,” the sound met by cooler guitar lines and blue lights. The instrumentalists really shone in the number and Yasuno let his hair fly, headbanging behind the drum kit. “artman” had a softer intro but quickly picked up as Keiyuh showed off his rap skills and the fans sang back to the band in the chorus. Taizo crouched and headbanged with abandon and Yasuno pointed out the members with a drumstick, giving them kudos.

Keiyuh got the crowd wound up and wild for the schizophrenic “Showtime,” Yasuno’s dynamic drumming adding emphasis to every mad note. “Kra fans! DuelJewel fans! Put your power together and let’s go!” the vocalist yelled before growling and directing the crowd with frantic gestures. Taizo and Yuhra each took a moment in the center to soak up the crowd’s energy and the band finished with a round of enthusiastic headbanging that had the fans putting the last of their power in to end the show on a high note.

Set list

  1. Resistance
  2. Masquerade
  3. Clown’s Crown
  4. Samayoedo Yoru
  5. artman
  6. Showtime

Both bands then came out for the cross-talk; praising each other, making up songs, and confusing CUTT to no end as they joked around without restraint. A few lucky fans who had bought the special food and drink of the day were then selected by drawing to win signed items. With the prizes given out, the fifth and final J-ROCK A GO! GO! was concluded but the series will continue in 2014 with more interesting band pairings and lively performances. Don’t forget to check out the broadcasts!

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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