Live Report

by Chika Yoshizawa, Mio Nagasaki, posted August 25, 2014

THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S marked their 3rd anniversary with the start of their summer tour at Takadanobaba AREA on ZERO’s birthday, July 31. There, the band showed a new aspect of themselves, including in the set not only their popular songs but also new songs, as well as a rare ballad.

The deep sound of the opening music gradually changed to rhythm beating under the red light. The crowd started clapping their hands to the beat in preparation for welcoming the members to the stage. Drummer TSUKASA, guitarists kazuya and SHUN., and bassist ZERO streamed in with vocalist Ricky entering last, opening his arms as he hit the scene. A short countdown to the first song inspired a big cheer when the crowd heard the word “ZERO,” breaking a smile out on the bassist’s lips.

The live began right away with THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S’ new single, “PARASITIC EMOTION.” The song transitioned from a notably rhythmic sound to its melodious chorus as Ricky sang powerfully, gesturing and looking forward firmly as the other members played tightly to make sure the audience focused on their sound. The voltage of the crowd was boosted in one stroke with “EARNEST GAME” which left an indelible impression as the tune changed from appealing rap to beating chorus. “The summer has come! Get hot! Get sweaty! Are you ready?” A session of call and response broke out after Ricky’s yell and “GLORIOUS BLZAE” began. TSUKASA skillfully created various beats as Ricky sang vigorously, removing his sunglasses. He took one big jumped before the last chorus to heighten the momentum for the finale.

The crowd dove forward, bending at the waist for the intense intro of “I’m like a bird in a cage & U too.” Ricky sang wildly while SHUN. created a taut sound, playing the notes quickly. “PRISONER” then saw TSUKASA beating out a rhythmic pattern as kazuya inflamed the audience, raising his hand before both members and fans began jumping to the beat. The song was easy to listen to but kept up good doses of intensity and energy in true Maifo style.

TSUKASA shot into the limelight in his solo, adding a dark sound to his serious expression. When he raised one stick over his head, it triggered the next song, “UN-CONTROLLED.” The crowd responded to Ricky’s riling, already swaying naturally to the music. After an introduction by the vocalist, SHUN. played his solo skillfully at the center position, his glaring gaze piercing the crowd. On the other hand, ZERO looked quite hyper, headbanging at the front with more frequency than usual.

“Maifo!” Ricky called, and the fans responded time and again. “Welcome to PARASITIC EMOTION! Finally, the tour has begun. We moved up to the next level with our Earnest Games shows! Today is a celebration day!” Calls for ZERO rose after Ricky’s words, the audience catching on quickly. ZERO put his hands to his ears to hear them all the better and a sense of celebration truly filled the air. “I want him to be thrilled enough to cry, if possible,” Ricky teased. “However, I don’t think he cries so easily.” Obviously feeling obliging, ZERO very cutely pretended to be crying, putting his hand to his eyes to aid the sham. Ricky wasted no time, though, already set to introduce the next song, “We will play a song which was made by ZERO!” he asserted, paving the way for the nostalgic sense of “THE WINGS OF WIND.” The song released a different view of the world from the band’s usual music and ZERO looked very happy with it as the deep bass stood out, his minute and delicate changes to the rhythm altering the mood of the music.

Chimes echoed in the mysterious intro of “Seimei no Tou.” The atmosphere turned cool as purple lights washed out the stage and Ricky gently sang the English lyrics. Soon, though, heaviness chased away the chill and the house glowed red, the lighting adding a physical element to the contrast of gentleness and heaviness the piece produced. Sounds of a storm made the transition into “Raimei,” which began with Ricky’s echoing vocals into the quiet. The music gained power after SHUN.’s guitar overlapped with kazuya’s, the crowd pumping their fists robustly to the bold chorus. That storm blew over in a breath, and Ricky left the stage for SHUN.’s DJ song, “I’m SPIDER.” SHUN. abandoned his guitar on the stage floor and put his headphone around his neck. He inflamed the crowd with shouts, manipulating the music at will. The other members displayed their skill at creating various rhythms to go along with the tunes, playing like crazy to keep the audience hot under a shower of colorful lights.

Then, during a long intro of “HELLO MY CLONE,” the band left the stage. They all came back a few minutes later wearing their first costume—black parkas. It was as if they were telling the crowd that they would never forget the feeling of their beginning even though three years had passed since their formation. kazuya’s guitar echoed to the deep sounds of bass and drumming, and the song turned forceful after SHUN. joined in. Even so, it was TSUKASA’s busy and technical drumming that seemed misleadingly easy which stood out throughout the piece.

REVEBERATIONS” began with Ricky’s cry of “Let’s get crazy!” It was a hearty song just for the sake of getting crazy; repeated shouting, headbanging, and fevered riling from the members all added up to a wild ride. The headbanging continued until the members were completely satisfied and Ricky’s voice changed to a cry symbolizing the intensity held in the meat of the song. The members and fans were united at that time and the heat carried over into “BREAKING & SHOUT OUT!!!!!” Ricky groaned a strange tone in a dark voice that revealed emotion. Meanwhile, in the bridge, there was a short solo section in which TSUKASA exhibited powerful drumming, ZERO put on a grooving slap, SHUN. raised his guitar to the back of his neck to play, and kazuya strummed on his horizontally held guitar; all pleasingly showy. “Show me the best scenery ever!” Ricky yelled. The next song made a strong statement and the moment it began, fans instantly began to wave their hands to the music. A “Photograph” would have been ideal as the fans raised their fingers and peace signs filled in the floor to the sound of “Peace!” in the chorus.

“I feel great! Thank you! Today is only the first day of the tour. This is awesome considering it’s just the first day! We released a second single yesterday. We’re relieved that we could release it but we will work even harder. Let’s enjoy the tour. You never know for sure if the next show will happen but I think it’s a miracle that we can have a show like this,” Ricky expressed, airing his feelings before the last song of the main set, “Koe Naki Smile.” For this number, Ricky played acoustic guitar, controlling the strength of his vocals from gentle tones to powerful and emotional ones accompanied by the sweet music. All of the members played each note as if it were precious, their emotions tied to the lyrics which seemed to be packed with valued words for all of them. The main set finished with a sweet mood encompassing the house.

A birthday song for ZERO substituted for the encore call and ZERO came to the stage alone, putting his hands shyly to his mouth. “Thank you very much, everyone. Although it’s not probable, I am standing on this stage alone. Everybody was surprised. I decided for myself when I said ‘I want to play at AREA on my birthday,’ as this is the leading stage for me. I think I will be forced into something next year—something like Manzai…” Although ZERO revealed his spirit for challenge, he was getting impatient because the other members didn’t come back to stage at all. The fans pleaded desperately for ZERO to come to the front instead of holding his usual position and at last, he took up his bass all of a sudden and stepped up to the front. “I can’t stand proudly without this,” he stated. At those coo words, TSUKASA returned to the stage holding a birthday cake. He sang his own unique a capella rendition of the birthday song as the other members re-appeared. ZERO blew out the candles on the cake and received congratulations from each member; sharing memories before the crowd.

“I will devote this song to ZERO so that THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S will continue and we can stay with ZERO forever,” Ricky announced. Once more, he held an acoustic guitar for Kono saki Zutto…Ballad version.” ZERO created a soft, deep sound; plucking the strings as if to put his gratitude into the lovely ballad. Ricky’s clear tones echoed and the celebratory atmosphere turned sentimental. The floor burst into applause with the words “Happy birthday, ZERO!” at the number’s end and then the venue became a dance floor for “I surrender” as the members rampaged madly about the stage. Finally, “Curtain Call” was chosen for the last song and the melody of the chorus had an image of something spreading out from the heaviness that resounded. At last, called of “Maifo” were repeated again and again, and the show finally ended. “We are THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S!” Ricky cried, his final words strongly encompassing the very presence of the band.

THE MICRO HEAD 4N’s have released two singles in a row, in keeping with their declaration to release many songs in 2014. As their repertoire increases, their performances are certainly evolving in turn. With new and old sounds found in their sweet tunes, heavy hitters, dance numbers, and DJ stylings, the band prove their skill piece by piece, note by note.

Set list

  4. I’m like a bird in a cage & U too
  8. Seimei no Tou
  9. Raimei
  10. I’m SPIDER
  14. Photograph
  15. Koe Naki Smile


  1. Kono saki Zutto…Ballad version
  2. I surrender
  3. Curtain Call

VK Exclusive

There are 38 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Chika has been interested in visual kei music since VK bands first began holding free lives the Hokoten area in Harajuku. She was too young to go watch them back then in the early 90s, but the scenes on TV caught her eye. Since then, she has loved the passion of VK music and, of course, music in general. She majored in English literature in Japan and learned to speak English in the UK. After graduating from university, she has worked for both American and Japanese companies in IT and as a translator and continues various translations today.

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

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