Ryosuke Oonari at Otsuka Hearts+ November 28

Live Report

by Kate Havas, Laura Cooper, posted December 21, 2013

Up and coming visu-pop artist Ryosuke Oonari headlined a sold out show at Otsuka Hearts+ on November 28. As the show opened, a video screen dropped and began to play but it wasn’t anything the fans wanted or were expecting—instead, it was a seemingly endless YouTube video of a man playing “My Heart Will Go On” on a recorder. “This is taking forever!” the crowd screamed as the video went on (and on, and on). Finally, the curtain drew back to reveal support bassist you+ in the iconic “Titanic” pose.

Ryosuke took the stage wearing dark sunglasses and holding a guitar. The band launched immediately into his most recent release “Can you hear me?” in which the steady rock rhythm was brought out by Sonic’s strong drums. “Can you do it? Come on!” Ryosuke riled the crowd, and they continued with “Kizuato~One night kiss~.” The song was more aggressive than the previous number and Ryosuke’s voice soared in the chorus, aided by Ken’s intricate guitar lines. The vocalist even took a guitar solo himself—really bending over the instrument to play with feeling. The fans pumped their fists throughout and the song maintained a nice balance of heaviness and melody that ended in a flurry of headbanging.

“Thank you!” Ryosuke called. He discarded his guitar as Sonic picked up a steady beat that got the crowd to clap along for the intro to “New World!!!” “Jump!” Ryosuke commanded. The fans and band responded and You was especially entertaining as he bounded around with a bright smile, never missing a note. Now free of his instrument, Ryosuke stalked the stage; reaching out to the fans and waving cutely to those in the back. Cymbal crashes and slap bass gave the pop sound a bit of an edge while the guitar maintained a playful lightness.

“Nice to meet you!” Ryosuke greeted the crowd. “I just got over a cold. I had to spend the whole day in bed. I tried to go jogging before the show today but I was all out of breath like an old man! I’m getting better now, though.”

His poor condition wasn’t apparent in the next song—the supremely silly “Watashi no Namae ha Kyukanchou.” A few fans slung towels around their heads and Ryosuke danced and squawked like the bird of the title while fans cheered back along with the song’s call-and-response pattern. He tossed out a few Japanese snacks while making puns, and then held out the microphone for the fans to sing freely. “You guys are funny!” He laughed as they awkwardly headbanged to the final beats.

“I have a surprisingly short set tonight. I want to do more but I’ve got no energy. I’m going to have to get in shape and exercise so I could even handle ‘Memeshikute!’” he said, referencing his producer, Golden Bomber’s Utahiroba Jun. “This is my one year anniversary since starting solo—just singing on the street in front of stations. There were times when that was really hard and I wanted to quit but now my fans are increasing and I’m glad I continued.”

He put his feelings of gratitude into “Akari,” using simple acoustic guitar and a gentle voice to create a warm atmosphere in the livehouse. The rest of the band then joined in with a flourish as the disco ball above began to gently turn in time with the melody of the ballad. “This is the last song. Please come see me again!”

They finished with the heavier “10 Nengo,” the song’s strong driving rhythm sparking the crowd’s enthusiasm. Ken and you+ twisted and rocked as they played, clearly enjoying themselves and the insistent drum strikes balanced with Ryosuke’s smooth voice. The band finished by exchanging high-fives and a big, final jump before exiting. Though the crowd tried to lure them back with an encore call, the show was finished as advertised. For those interested in checking out this promising newcomer, however, he will be participating in a few events after the new year and has plans for a oneman in March to celebrate his birthday. If you like to see new and refreshing talent or just like host-like boys who sing, it would be worth dropping by.

Set List

  1. Can you hear me?
  2. Kizuato〜One night kiss〜
  3. New world!!
  4. Watashi no Namae ha KyukanchouMC
  5. Akari
  6. 10 Nengo

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!

Laura Cooper started photographing rock and jazz bands at university. While completing a degree in English Literature, she was literary co-editor of the York University arts magazine and held poetry soirees with comedy jazz bands. Laura wrote for the now defunct UK Goth magazine Meltdown, as well as edited for an occult/spiritual website while she lived in York and London. She disappeared into the mountainous depths of Japan in 2006 and is now based in Tokyo, capturing rock bands in action.

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