Armed With Kechas and Kawaii! Gyu-No Fes vol. 9 Year-End Live Report!
As usual, Gyuzo only had a few things that he would not allow during the event: don’t come on the stage and don’t light fireworks inside the venue.
Visual-kei idol group Phantom Voice got things rocking as the audience continued to file in as they arrived on their way back from work. With their striking black and red outfits, mixture of rock, metal, and electropop, and of course, haunting vocals, the second chapter of Phantom Voice proved to be a formidable choice for the first group of the evening. Whether it was walls of thick synths and sharp choreography or grinding guitars and cool fist-pumping rock, their fans followed along throwing out kechas and rushing into each other in several “walls of death”.
Rie mused about how Phantom Voice had just held a 2-day concert at moefarre -AKIHABARA- a few weeks earlier (November 27-28, 2015) before returning to the present and reminding the audience about their upcoming events. Ending on two cool songs “Girls Bravo” and “Kakusei no Hana”, Phantom Voice had the crowd riled up to the point where the air conditioners had to be switched on to prevent overheating. Emphasizing the visual aspect of their idol meets visual kei concept, Miss iD 2015 finalist Ryoko struck several sexy poses and asked for everyone’s support for her gravure career as she and the other 6 members left the early comers at Shinjuku Nine Spices hot under their collars.
The “little sister” group of Japan Twintail Association’s drop, Maneki Kecha seemed to have brought their fair share of supporters as the mood inside the venue clicked up several notches from the instant they took the stage. Kicking things off with “Joudan Janai”, the sounds of “URYA OI” resounded through the venue in waves. Next was the bone-chilling “Monster to Kecha” and the members’ intricate self-introductions (just like drop).
The slow piano intro for “Kokuhaku no Susume” was just the calm before the storm as a loud MIX was called out and the members confessions of “suki” were met with resounding “ore mo” responses. The theme of imaginary situations that drive otaku wild continued with “Mousou Nikki”, a mid-tempo chiptune song about daydreams and delusions. The journey into Maneki Kecha’s fantasy world ended with “Ai Kotoba”, an intoxicating mix of wotagei-inspired choreography, music boxes, accordions, and heart-pounding displays of cuteness.
With a Tochigi connection in the form of members Mayuka Fujisaki and Rin Miyauchi, Maneki Kecha not only had an extended discussion with Gyuzo about some of its charms, they also received presents from the recently opened New Ginger Museum in Iwashita city. Thankfully, he didn’t give them the special ginger-shaped penlights? Gyuzo seemed extremely pleased to have found idols willing to claim their homeland, mentioning that Kechon from Yurumerumo! had hidden her origins until only recently.
Having spent their early years wearing all black, as most rock/metal idols do, Tsubasa Fly were literally sparkling in their color-coded outfits as they kicked things off with “Song for you”. Raising their hands high above their heads, they banged their heads as their fans sang along to the anthemic “Life is Beautiful”. The pace slowed down momentarily with the midtempo “Nagareboshi” before shifting back into overdrive as a moshpit erupted during the 90 seconds of “Sing a Song”, Yuki Fujii urging the fans go get crazy.
Tsubasa Fly alternated between baring their claws and reaching out to the crowd during “Take My Hand” before moving further down the rabbit hole of emotional despair with “Loneliness”. The cathartic live approached it’s climactic conclusion as another mosh pit broke out and fans lifted each other up at the start of the last song “Unforgettable Days”, Kaori Shikaki exploding with a heart-stopping scream as the drums shifted into high gear and the music ground to a halt.
When the members of Tsubasa Fly petitioned Gyuzo to let them perform in a wrestling ring as several groups had during Gyu-no Fes vol. 7 at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring, he was quick to reply with, “Please go play at Natsu no Mamono!” with a smile.
Maison book girl
Starting with the distinctive series of hand claps that begin “bath room”, Maison book girl took the stage and quickly got the audience rocking back and forth with them. Continuing with “snow irony”, the four members shuffled around on the stage waving their hands over their eyes; Aoi Yagawa raising her voice to stir up the crowd. Following up with the spiraling melodies and metallic beats of “mbg8” and “mbg9”, Maison book girl threw their hands skyward and placed them on Rin Wada’s shoulders as she sang her solo lines.
Megumi Koshoji recalled that their last time performing at a Gyu-no Fes (Nakano New Directors Film Festival 2015), it was really cold because they were outdoors and marveled at how hot it was despite it being early December. Rin reminded the audience that they were one of the support acts for American alternative rock band Ringo Deathstarr during their Japan tour.
Next was another new song titled “bed”, which featured thick percussive acoustic guitars and drums as well as playful choreography. Maison book girl closed out their set with fan favorite “my cut”, the fans shouting out a loud MIX as the music started. Despite being the shortest member, Aoi managed to hit one of the stage lights as she was dancing, causing her to pause momentarily to make sure she didn’t hurt it before she rejoined the others in swimming through the complex emotions of idols suffering.
Gyuzo returned to close out the event, commenting how he felt like Maison book girl is a group for people who don’t necessarily like idols but appreciate sophisticated music. With their unique outfits, book readings during lives, and music by Kenta Sakurai, it was an apropos assessment of the group. Explaining how the event is his way of supporting his home prefecture of Tochigi, Gyuzo asked if any of the members were from there, causing Aoi to nervously volunteer that she “might” be from there, ending things on a humorously awkward note.
“Gyu-No Fest vol. 9 〜Ishu Kakuto Bonenkai〜” was a relatively calm end to 2015, but whatever Gyuzo has planned for events in 2016 should be something to look forward to! Happy New Year and please continue to support idols and Tochigi prefecture!
Photos by Yuuki Sugiyama
Gyu-No Fest Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/gyuno_fes
Gyu-No Fest Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gyuzofarmfes
Maison book girl Official site: http://www.maisonbookgirl.com/
Maneki Kecha Official site: http://www.maneki-kecak.com/
Phantom Voice Official site: http://phantom-voice.com/
Tsubasa Fly Official site: http://www.tsubasafly.com/
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