[MU:]’s Anniversary Double Header

Live Report

by Kate Havas, Yuliya Libkina, posted June 19, 2013

[MU:] celebrated their first anniversary with not one but two oneman shows, one acoustic, one electric.

The open floor of Takadanobaba Phase was filled with chairs for the first part of [MU:]’s anniversary event, a short acoustic live entitled “Acoustic Universe vol. 1.” The set was simple and the band performed in an understated, coffee-house fashion that allowed their music to take center stage.

Drummer Ushi was on the cajon for “Esperanto,” smooth vocals and rhythmic drum and bass creating a soothing atmosphere. JET’s bass line picked up for the dark jazz “CARNAVAL” and the band hit a cool groove that finished with smiles all around.

“Welcome to the acoustic universe!” Aika greeted. “We’ve finally come to one year. Today we’re doing our rock songs in an acoustic style; look forward to the new arrangement! And we’re all going to talk today.”

“I don’t need to,” JET interjected—but Aika continued anyway: “At weddings they often do video letters, right? So we’ll do it like that; give a message to ourselves in the future. Then we can check it next year!” To demonstrate, Aika went first, addressing himself.

“Aika, it’s been one year. You’ve challenged yourself to do new things; you really worked hard through the tears and laughter. I want to praise you from my heart. To the me next year, you’ve had more experiences, but you grew as a vocalist. Keep looking forward and do your best! Love, Aika. Cut!” He finished his speech with a cute cutting gesture as Daishi chimed in with guitar for background music.

Souseki” then featured intense tribal drum as USHI played with snappy movements and JET exhibited kicky slap bass. The strong rhythm was balanced by Daishi’s light strumming and Aika sang expressively; all the action of the song in the music as the band continued to sit.

After the number, it was USHI’s turn to talk. “You caught me! It’s all turning around in my head. This year we had so many new experiences, new people and places. Moving into next year, I want to watch this video again. Now I know the things I learned over the last year and next year, even if we’re not here, I’ll be a new me. You’ll be a new you, too! So I want to leave you with these words ‘Rather than “sometime,” live in the now!’”

“You’re so rock,” Aika complimented him. “Everyone, remember that.”

Shiawase no Daishou” had a poppy arrangement and Aika showed his emotion with breathy falsetto. “That’s a good song,” he said as he finished, and JET pointedly looked away, realizing it was his time to talk. The band, however, wouldn’t let him out of it.

“I think I’m the stiffest up her. I’m so nervous,” the bassist admitted. “It’s not our first acoustic live but we don’t do many of them. I think we really managed to absorb [MU:]’s world view this year and I want to tell myself that I did my best through both the hard and fun parts. There were difficult times, but more fun moments.”

Subaru” had the vocalist on a recorder and USHI on bongos and there was a somber feeling to the music. For a moment, all sound stopped and the audience sat in rapt silence before it picked back up for the drums to lead out.

“Thanks for coming,” DAISHI said, taking his shot at the ‘video message.’ “I remember, a year ago I got the call from Aika saying he wanted to try something new. We were impatient to get JET on board. I remember going to that cheap izakaya in Shibuya to talk about it.”

“Is it okay if I’m in your video?” Aika asked, continuing the story himself. “Yeah, we were wondering if he would join. And then we had to find a drummer…”

USHI flexed his arms as DAISHI continued.

“We found an interesting drummer! At the start, [MU:] had nothing but I’ve used a lot of new guitar phrases and sounds, the drums, too. We’ve managed a lot of new rhythm patterns. We have songs we want to write. Up to now we’ve done heavy songs for lives but I want to do bright, fantasy-inspired music.”

“In two years, our set list will have grown,” Aika said. “Our fantasy scene will spread.”

ALMA” had a funky western feel and a pleasant groove, JET rocking along as he played. USHI stroked the chimes in front of him to highlight the song and Aika’s voice had a calming tone. The band then picked up an African-inspired rhythm. “This is the last song, we have to get ready for part two! Clap for us!” The crowd obliged as DAISHI played the heavy guitar that gave “[Rama:yana]” an underground club air.  Each member took a moment to solo and accept the crowd’s cheers before they finished with a flourish.

“Please look forward to part two!” Aika called as they exited. USHI struck the chimes once more to add a twinkling and fantasy-like note to their exit and set the tone for the band’s impending return.

Set List

  1. Esperanto
  3. Souseki
  4. Shiawase no Daishou
  5. Subaru
  6. ALMA
  7. [Rama:yana]

VK Exclusive

There are 9 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!

@YuliyaPhoTop (Twitter) Yuliya is originally a fashion and portrait photographer with a BA from the London College of Fashion. Being a Japanophile with a passion for the Japanese rock scene and especially for old school visual kei, she moved to Japan where she found a chance to combine photography and music with ROKKYUU's help. Now she is based in Tokyo, where she keeps on rocking and shooting, enjoying every bit of it.

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