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Days of Future Past? BILLIE IDLE® Rock Harajuku With Radical Retro Sounds!

BILLIE IDLE®が原宿をレトロ・ロックチューンで踊らせた一夜!
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Days of Future Past? BILLIE IDLE® Rock Harajuku With Radical Retro Sounds!

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There was a slight chill in the air outside but, things heated up as BILLIE IDLE® returned to La Foret Museum Harajuku on October 10, 2015 for their solo concert “BILLIE IDLE® presents ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IDLE”. Opening with a radio program-styled shadow MC by First Summer Uika, Nozomi Hirano, Momo Momose, and Yuuhi Yasui, they talked about their excitement for the concert as the audience began to stir in anticipation.

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Taking the stage in cuffed jeans and Scout-styled shirts, the members of BILLIE IDLE® hit the stage running, Nozomi Hirano and Yuuhi Yasui waving blue and yellow pompoms to the upbeat overture. Opening up with “Darlin’ ni wa Naranai”, they got idle hands clapping and pumping to the full throttle guitar rock sounds. Yasui rested her arm on the shoulder of the shorter Hirano, much to her chagrin.


BILLIE IDLE® chased the endless summer as they displayed their lovely hula hands and swayed their hips while rocking back and forth like waves crashing on the beach to “LOCO☆MOCO”. Uika called out for the audience to discard their inhibitions and sing along during the bridge before Nozomi stepped in with her delicate solo lines to bring the song back to the hook. Introducing themselves like sentai heroes, the members of BILLIE IDLE® were in high spirits. Uika explained that the live was in celebration of their second album “ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IDLE” (release date: September 16) and thanked the audience for coming to see them.


Setting plastic stools at the front of the stage, BILLIE IDLE® switched up the mood with “idle fellas”, a futuristic tune anchored by its angular guitar melody, swerving synth parts, and slithery bass lines. The trip into an alternate past continued with the technopop of “Kimi ni Tele portion” as the members danced like robots and slashed at the air. Uika blasted the others back several times with her aura, similar to a scene from Dragon Ball before leading them around the stage like a locomotive.


The stage was bathed in red lights as BILLIE IDLE® bobbed and weaved like boxers to the aggressive distorted punk guitar of “my case”. The music faded out as they sparred with each other, which brought them to the second MC of the evening. Uika was surprised to see that quite a number of people had come despite it being their first time and never hearing the album previously and urged them to purchase it on the way home. Nozomi announced that they had begun broadcasting an Internet radio show “IDLE TALK”.

The always energetic Yuuhi rattled through the benefits of joining their fan club Idle Fellas at a pace that was almost beyond the range of human comprehension. However, the biggest announcement came when Uika revealed that their next live on December 12th at La Foret Museum Harajuku, “Brand-new Idle Society” would have them joined by Lui FRONTiC Akabane JAPAN, Maison book girl, POP, and Tentenko!


Moving on after dropping a bombshell of an announcement, BILLIE IDLE® rotated like clockwork automatons on the stage to the etherial synth intro of “somewhere”, Momo Momose and Uika’s voices sliced through the air like laser beams before the song switched tempo to an Iggy Pop-like punk shuffle. Shifting to a more electronic beat, Yuuhi and Nozomi’s voices filled the lower end of the mix as Uika and Momo’s voices soared in the upper end of the spectrum in a song as varied as the title would suggest.


Taking an abrupt turn, the next song was a cover of Shojo-tai’s 1984 debut single “Forever – Gingham Check Story –”, immersing the venue in the cheerful playfulness of “bubble era” Japan. The members of BILLIE IDLE® strutted across the stage and ran through the gauntlet of old school dance moves while refreshing a classic song from the golden age of idols. If there was ever a song in need of having its MV remade (with or without the use of VHS or Betamax era video technology), this might be the one.


Staying with the sounds of the 1980’s BILLIE IDLE® took their places behind microphone stands and raised their fists skywards to the Andy Summers-esque guitar riffing of “Toki no Tabibito”, a song that could have easily been on the soundtrack of any of the Rocky films. The smoky rockabilly sounds of “Konnin Tokode wa Tomaranai” were next, Momo’s icy vocals sending chills throughout the venue. Yuuhi attempted to hand Nozomi an imaginary marriage registration only to have it crumpled and stomped. At the end of the song, Uika uttered an Elvis-like “Thank you very much”.


Launching into “anarchy in the music scene”, Uika glared out into the audience as Momo and Yuuhi danced behind her before joining them for the catchy hook of the song and fully cutting loose during the keyboard solo dance break. For the eerie swing number “Kigurui Pierrot”, she put on a pumpkin mask and attempted to toss marshmallows into the mouths of the other 3 members, with Momo being the only successful one.


Next was the frantic rockabilly of “Heisei Rock Star” with Yuuhi and Nozomi bumping to each other like two thugs looking for a fight. Red lights covered the stage for “be-bop tu-tu” as the members of BILLIE IDLE® glided through their formations, Nozomi breathy vocals intertwining with Momo’s steely voice. “Kanata ni…”, which was the final song of the main performance, had Uika leading the others behind her as she jogged around the stage and Yuuhi being spun around like a revolving door by Momo and Nozomi. Bowing deeply, BILLIE IDLE® left the stage and the encore clap began as the audience waited eagerly in the dark.


Nozomi returned to the stage followed by Uika who was holding a cake to celebrate the birthdays of Momo Momose (September 20) and Yuuhi Yasui (June 29). Before calling the two birthday girls out onto the stage, Uika explained that their outfits were the ones they wore on the inside jacket of their first album “Idle Gossip” and were designed by UNDERCOVER. As the audience sang “Happy Birthday” along with them, Momo and Yuuhi were greeted by the sight of 2 giant banners and several hundred small flags with their names and comic-style illustrations of them waving.


The fans also brought presents, giving Momo and Yuuhi the choice between either a big box and a small bag. Momo picked the smaller bag and squealed with delight as she revealed several presents related to outer space, including a book about aliens and UFOs. Yuuhi picked the big box and was overjoyed to have gotten several gifts related to Mt. Fuji, including a coin bank shaped like the tallest mountain in Japan.


An audible “ooh!” was heard as Nozomi announced “HUMANOID”, standing off by herself and singing softly before the others danced across the stage and lead her around by her wrists. The shivering synth melodies pulsed as the members of BILLIE IDLE® danced in a circle and held out their hands to Yuuhi as she sang her solo lines. Bowing deeply, they left the stage but, the live was not over yet.


Returning to the stage for a second encore, this time wearing the T-shirts with their 2nd album’s cover art on it, Yuuhi took her position at the corner of the stage and exclaimed “Hasshin” (dispatch) while pointing diagonally up at the ceiling to begin “Furare Kibun de Rock ‘n’ Roll”, a cover of the 1984 hit single by TOM★CAT. Momo wandered off to the opposite side of the stage to sing by herself before the two groups switched sides. Uika stomped her feet for emphasis as she belted out “It’s only Rock ‘n’ Roll!” (Taka ga Rock ‘n’ Roll!) to kick things into high gear. Yuuhi spun Momo around and grabbed her hand before leading the others in a human train off the stage.


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Yuuhi hilariously tried to entertain the audience by saying something to the effect of, “There’s a lot of people wearing glasses! You guys sure must like glasses, huh?”, before Uika cut in and thanked the audience for coming once again. She took a moment to express her gratitude for being able to have been involved with music since she was young but, expressed her wish to do more. Reminiscing about her and Nozomi’s final BiS concert at Yokohama Arena (July 8, 2014), Uika shared how she longed to stand on that stage again while bringing Yuuhi and Momo along to experience what they had.

Receiving a loud shout from the audience when she asked if they would help make her wish come true, Uika announced the final song of the evening, the fan favorite “be my boy”. The audience bristled with excitement once again, pumping their fists and singing along.

BILLIE IDLE® proclaim to be “not idol” and “not kawaii”; the phrases are printed on many of their goods and adorn the titles of their performances. They even consciously used the other spelling of the word to differentiate themselves. In that sense, they are not wrong.

With so many female groups active in the current music scene, what do the words “idol” and “artist” even mean anymore? Whatever you want to classify them as, BILLIE IDLE® is a group that is experimenting with many different sounds and having written the lyrics for all of the songs on their 2 albums, they are more than mere performers. Don’t miss out on their next live on December 12th when Uika and Nozomi are joined by the other former members of BiS because it promises to be an event sure to go down in “BiS-tory”!

Photos by Mime Soga
Japanese Translation by Satsuki


Set List

01 Darlin’ ni wa Naranai
02 LOCO☆MOCO
03 idle fellas
04 Kimi ni Tele portion
05 my case
06 somewhere
07 Forever – Gingham Check Story –
08 Toki no Tabibito
09 Konnin Tokode wa Tomaranai
10 anarchy in the music scene
11 Kigurui Pierrot
12 Heisei Rock Star
13 be-bop tu-tu
14 Kanata ni…

E1 HUMANOID

W1 Furare Kibun de Rock ‘n’ Roll
W2 be my boy


BILLIE IDLE® presents “Brand-new Idle Society”
Performers:BILLIE IDLE®, Lui FRONTiC Akabane JAPAN, Maison book girl, POP, and Tentenko
Date:December 12, 2015 (Saturday)
Open: 4:00pm Start: 4:30pm
Place: La Foret Museum Harajuku
Ticket: Advance:¥4000


Related Links

BILLIE IDLE® Official site: http://www.billieidle.com/

BILLIE IDLE® Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/b_idle_official

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Author
Kai Okudara
Kai Okudara

Writer, researcher, photographer, foodie, KSDD

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