“Gyu-No Fes Road to Tochigi!!! Tochigi-ken he no Michi Dai Kick-Off〜Mankai! Haru no Gyu-No Idol Matsuri〜!”, the largest idol event in the history of extreme entertainer/farmer/idol event promoter Gyuzo hosting events to promote his home prefecture of Tochigi, was an explosion of excitement when it took over Shin-Kiba Studio Coast on April 10, 2016.
Because there were 37 artists/groups performing on 2 stages, and because we foolishly thought it would be a good idea to try and write something about all of them due to the overwhelming amount of great pictures by photographers Kenichi Inagaki, mametaro, and nochipun, this report has taken much longer than usual. As a result, several of the groups mentioned have undergone some changes in the months that followed. Despite numerous delays, we thought it would be a waste for this report to go unpublished, especially with Gyu-No Fes in Utsunomiya taking place on October 29-30, 2016.
Lesson learned: Do not try to write about everyone at a music festival.
Taking the stage in a grey suit and sunglasses, Gyuzo welcomed the audience to the event and thanked them for supporting Tochigi. Known for his laissez-faire attitude in regards to idol events, he simply informed them that whatever is usually allowed at the lives of whoever was on stage would be allowed during their performances. He jokingly asked, “Would you guys crowd surf during lyrical school (the first performer)?”, before moving to the smaller Utsunomiya Gyoza stage in the lobby.
lyrical school – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Just as they had done during the previous Gyu-No Fes at nearby 1st Ring, lyrical school were up first. They got heads nodding and hands waving right away with “FRESH!!!” and “Ribbon wo Kyutto”.
Riling up the “heads” (fans) into a “lyrical school” chant as they ran around on the spacious stage, lyrical school seemed to be even more dynamic and energetic than usual, perhaps reflected with a slightly speeded up rendition of 2015’s summer song “Wonderground”. Splashing through their recently released major label debut single “RUN and RUN”, the first since the addition of former Rhymeberry member hime, lyrical school had the main hall of Shin-Kiba Studio Coast jumping as they closed out their set with a throwback to their days as tengal6 with “photograph”.
02 Ribbon wo Kyutto
05 RUN and RUN
Koi Suru BEAT – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
One of the many impressive groups returning from February’s Gyu-No Fes at nearby Shin-Kiba 1st Ring, Koi Suru BEAT were the “top batter” for the Utsunomiya Gyoza sub stage. While it was a relief to see that Mamiko Kido had not yet left the group, unfortunate news came on June 16th when it was announced that she, Amu Hojo, and Ayumi Shiba had all withdrawn under undisclosed circumstances effective immediately. With the assurance that new members were being sought, hopefully Koi Suru BEAT will be coming back soon.
01 Mystic days
02 Vanilla Sky
04 Donuts no Ana no Toko
Let’s PocoPoco – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Yurumerumo!’s kouhai group Let’s PocoPoco drew quite a crowd with their conventional idol sounds and fresh-faced looks. While they still have quite a ways to go in their journey on the “road of idol”, isn’t part of the excitement of loving idols in being there to watch them develop and grow? It should be interesting to see what effect the addition of Chibo, who graduated from Yurumerumo! on July 10th (and changed her name to Chino Chitose) and new member Rio Kotomi will have as they move forward the release of their first mini album on August 10th.
02 Seisei Magomago
03 Kimi to Sora-toberarirurero
04 Tomoyo Pocopoco
Death Rabbits – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Death Rabbits, another repeat performer at Gyu-No Fes, having rocked Shin-Kiba 1st Ring and Studio Alta, brought their high energy antics to the sub stage, buoyed by the zealous support of their faithful flock of fans. With the summery “Usagi Stream 2” and “Omatsuri JAPAN!! Kokuhaku Night” bookending fan favorites “Nande?” and “Koi Suru Kisetsu”, it was just a small sample of the heat that they would bring during their 2-day live at Shinjuku ReNY on June 4th and 5th.
01 Usagi Stream 2
03 Koi Suru Kisetsu
04 Omatsuri JAPAN!! Kokuhaku Night
Petit PASSPO☆ – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Supporters (fans) came running when Petit PASSPO☆ took ascended to the main stage, jumping along to the infectiously catchy “Samurai Girl” and rocking from side to side with arms linked to the soccer-themed “Yamato Nadeshiko JAPAN”.
Rounding the bases with “Yamato Nadeshiko JAPAN”, Petit PASSPO☆ finally came up for air after splashing through “Zenryoku Swimmer”, checking off another accomplishment as they made their way to their first one-man live at Harajuku Astro Hall on May 28th.
01 Samurai Girl
02 Yamato Nadeshiko JAPAN
03 Nekketsu Positive Revolution
04 Zenryoku Swimmer
Maneki Kecha – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
As one of the big breakthrough groups of 2016 with their major label debut double A-side single “Kimiwazurai/Mosozakura” on April 26th and their ties to Tochigi via members Mayuka Fujisaki and Rin Miyauchi, Maneki Kecha was an obvious pick for the main stage of the biggest Gyu-No Fes to date.
While Maneki Kecha and their senpai group drop have a reputation for their cute looks, unique fashion sense, and penchant for attracting wild otaku, there was a definite sense of them having matured immensely in a short period of time and that’s not a joke.
Girls q/b – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Girls q/b made their way to Tokyo all the way from their home base of Nasushiobara, Tochigi, the northernmost city in the entire Kanto region and displayed a variety of sounds and styles with their miko sleeves fluttering as they danced. From the retro rock of “JUMP!!” and Shibuya-kei of “Night Express” and electro pop of “Suki to Ienakute”, they were a pleasant surprise that proves that quality idols are everywhere in Japan if you just take the time to seek them out.
02 Night Express
03 Suki to Ienakute
04 Fly High
sora tob sakana – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
The fresh-faced sora tob sakana has been catching the attention of idol fans and music fans alike with their angelic looks, eclectic sound, and extensive performance schedule since their debut in 2014. Best of all, their music is available for preview on their SoundCloud!
01 Yozora no Zenbu
02 Mahou no Kotoba
04 Koukoku no Machi
05 Crouching Start
Hacchake-tai from PASSPO☆ – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Hacchake-tai from PASSPO☆ kept the party going at the main stage with their playful and wild mix of antics and cardboard art. Leading the audience through a series of “Hacchake exercises”, the atmosphere of a sports festival swept in briefly before turning into a raucous celebration.
Faint⋆Star – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
One of the groups with the most international experience in the lineup and ties to Tochigi via former Tomato n’Pine member HINA, Faint⋆Star shined brightly as they got the crowd at the sub stage dancing to their cool blend of electronic dance music.
04 Ms. Question
05 Never Ever
Tochiotome 25 – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Tochiotome 25 made the most of their time on the main stage by packing 8 songs into their setlist, giving their fans and newcomers alike a smorgasbord of sound overflowing with the merits of Tochigi.
01 Tochiotome 25 no Theme
02 Yu (short)
03 Ichigo Hakase (short)
04 Ichigo Kinenbi (short)
05 Kyun Kyun Love (short)
06 Ichigo Parfait (short)
07 Wagyu Fire! (short)
08 GYO-ZA Party (short)
Maison book girl – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Welcomed by loud clapping, Maison book girl floated into “bathroom”. Suppose if I were to pick up just one of their characteristics, it would be the change of rhythm. This song is not an exception. The frequent use of it may sound complicated but it is actually easy to listen to. Kenta Sakurai, the producer of them, maintains an exquisite balance.
Followed by “bathroom”, they rushed into “snow irony” and ”remove” in succession. During “snow irony”, the audience waved hands in front and back of heads in a rhythmical manner, which looked very beautiful with a sense of supreme unity. They closed the curtain with two new songs “blue light” and “lost AGE”.
During the MC, Megumi Koshoji complained to Gyuzo (even though he was not present) about Maison book girl being assigned them to the sub stage. Her discontent was justified by the huge number of people that had assembled to see them.
01 bath room
02 snow irony
04 blue light
05 lost AGE
words by ykmk
Stereo Tokyo – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Stereo Tokyo has recently been one of the most controversial idol groups in Japan. The manager announced that the group will disband only if the next single were to sell over 10,000 copies. The strange announcement confused not only their fans but also the members. The concert hall was packed with Party People (fans of Stereo Tokyo) and balloons were flying over the audience. Now the party begins.
Drawing many people’s attention, DJ Nanako Miura played the record that most of idol fans have heard at least once. As soon as the introduction of “nerve” filled the hall, the audience suddenly heated up. The scene reminded me of the last concert of BiS at Yokohama Arena. The audience seemed that they have already reached the highest point. Yet, “Endless Dokidoki mode” brought the audience to a huge shout of “Party People”. It was the moment that Shin-Kiba STUDIO COAST became a club.
After having come this far, nothing could calm the Party People down. During the hook in “anthem”, the people danced as if they were at Ultra Music Festival and threw balloons, national flags, soft cyalumes, and even frisbees. What the agency aims for is not clear but it was proved that Stereo Tokyo is worth continuing its party.
words by ykmk
Iketeru Hearts – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
One of the breakthrough idol groups of the past year, Iketeru Hearts had the sub stage packed to overflowing. Tochigi-born member Nijika was beside herself with excitement at the opportunity to represent her home prefecture.
01 Triangle Wave
02 Happy End
03 Sorairo Days
04 Soukoku no Spica
05 Let’s stand up!
Aoyama☆Saint Hachamecha High School – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Watarasebashi 43 – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Watarasebashi 43, the group from Ashikaga, Tochigi that takes their name from Chisato Moritaka’s famous song, got things going with an extended skit by two of their tiniest members before lighting up the audience at the Utsunomiya Gyoza Stage with a mix of spunky and upbeat songs. With the older members joining in after the first song, the excitement kept growing as they provided a balanced attack of idol power from the north.
Watarasebashi 43 Official site: http://watarasebashi.com/
Avandoned – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
callme – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Armed with their slick self-produced dance tunes, callme got Shin-Kiba Studio Coast dancing and even had the VIPs toasting them with champagne from the balcony as they closed out their set with “step by step”.
01 To Shine (Remix)
02 Real love
03 Can not change nothing
04 Oh yeah!
05 My affection
06 step by step
Asuka Satomoto (Pastel Pants) – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Former member of Electric Ribbon, Asuka Satomoto also known as Pastel Pants, initially had some technical issues due to her being one of the few performers using live instruments but, once things got settled, she got down to the business of rocking out as only she could.
POP – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
As the champions of February’s Gyu-No Fes at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring, POP not only drew one of the largest crowds of the entire event but, they also put on a performance that had Gyuzo himself declaring them to be the MVPs of the day.
With Ao Shigusawa walking out onto the stage alone, she pointed to the balcony as the rest of the group (gang) paraded their way through the crowd. Blasting through “Happy Lucky Kirakira Lucky”, the main stage became wide awake pumping their fists and doing a wave to “Alarm”. After a heated performance of “QUEEN OF POP”, POP took a brief pause to greet the masses that had assembled for them. Saki Kamiya was practically glowing with determination.
The music and singing was almost drowned out during “Pretty pretty good” as the audience shouted out a thunderous mix and bodies bumped into each other as they did the ebizori dance. Picking up their pink shin shouga penlights, POP kept the pace going with “Hashiru!!” and jumped their way through “Daydream”. Closing out with the song that everyone has been waiting for, “Plastic 2 mercy”, the crowd erupted into a mass of spontaneous energy release.
00 GALACTIC CITY (SE)
01 Happy Lucky Kirakira Lucky
03 QUEEN OF POP
04 Pretty pretty good
07 Plastic 2 mercy
P.O.P & Kuroneko no Yuutsuu – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
At the same time that POP was on the main stage, P.O.P and Kuroneko no Yuutsuu were heating up the sub stage, with the help of a little “liquid excitement” coming in the form of drinks being passed out to those pressed up against the guardrail at the front of the stage. While we were obviously watching the other POP on the main stage, seeing the pictures from P.O.P on the sub stage makes us with they had not been scheduled at the same time. Such is the dilemma with music festivals.
Idol Renaissance – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Taking the stage right after their T-Palette label mates POP, Idol Renaissance delivered the second in a 1-2 punch of unforgettable performances of Gyu-No Fes. As the group on stage swung their way through androp’s “Yeah Yeah Yeah” and Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra’s “Miracle wo Kimi to Okoshitaindesu”, the audience was unable to pull themselves away. As usual Noa Arai was beside herself with excitement.
Befitting the aggressive tone of the event, the set list was packed with harder songs like “7COLORS -Over The Rainbow-“, “Galileo no Showcase”, and “Silhouette” but also had it’s lighter moments with “Shangri La” and “Taiyou to Shinzo”. As one of the groups added at the last minute, Idol Renaissance is always a welcome addition to the lineup of an event for those who love music.
01 Yeah Yeah Yeah
02 Miracle wo Kimi to Okoshitaindesu
03 7COLORS -Over The Rainbow-
04 Shangri La
05 Taiyou to Shinzo
06 Galileo no Showcase
Electric Ribbon – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Electric Ribbon kept the party going as they hit the sub stage, Erica with a cold drink in her hand as she and the other members performed and got the audience whipped into a frenzy. It used to be that idols maintained an image where they didn’t drink alcohol or even go to the toilet but, Electric Ribbon is no traditional idol group for sure!
01 Namioto Tuning
02 STEEL ME
03 Secret Song
04 Blade Runner
05 Hoshikuzu Highland
Tochigi Idol Corner – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Opening with a series of video messages by Tochigi-raised athletes and idols such as Chisaki Morito (Country Girls), the Tochigi Idol Corner began, hosted by Gyuzo and Nao Fukushi (SKE48). Several yurukyara took the stage as the rest of the Tochigi-born idols made their way onto the stage. Singing “Watarasebashi” which was arranged by Asuka Satomoto, it was a reminder that a surprising number of idols come from Tochigi and it should not be overlooked for sure.
Zekkyo Suru 60-do – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
While we were unable to see Zekkyo Suru 60-do’s entire set due to them being scheduled at the same time as the Tochigi Idol Corner was happening on the main stage, based on every other time we have seen them, they are not to be missed for sure! They are one of the hardest working groups in the independent/underground idol scene and always rock to the best of their abilities regardless of time or place.
Oyasumi Hologram – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
As Hachigatsu-chan explained that Oyasumi Hologram sets no rule, their stage opened with the new song “underwater”. The song sounded a little bit calm for them but the beautiful chorus by the two members surrounded through the hall.
Soon after “underwater”, Hachigatsu-chan shouted “Come on COAST!” in “note”. The audience jumped and lifted each other as they were in their element. They in succession performed “strawberry” and “Dareka no Niwa”.
Again Hachigatsu-chan spouted the audience that Oyasumi Hologram cannot finish yet and swung the official flag of Gyu-No Fes. The audience had been already heated up with “Neuromancer” but their stage was nothing but the introduction of wild idol time. They left the stage with “Plan”.
04 Dareka no Niwa
words by ykmk
Guso Drop – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
notall – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Trailblazers of the “social idol” genre notall delivered a tight performance worth tweeting about at the sub stage, starting off strong with the hard-rocking “Boku no Kakera” and upbeat “Filter”. Finishing up with their ode to all things meaty “O-Niku de Night☆Sensation”, notall left the fans hungry for more.
01 Boku no Kakera
03 Usagi Cinderella
04 O-Niku de Night☆Sensation
BELLRING GIRLS’ HEART – – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
It is not an exaggeration to state that BELLRING GIRLS’ HEART is one of the most important idol groups for Gyu-No Fes. In previous events, the group was often assigned to be the last performer of the day. The audience could not help but have high expectations for how they would perform on a big stage like Shin-Kiba STUDIO COAST. A large number of people rushed to the stage to see a group that has been referred to as “the strongest group in Tokyo”.
Soon after they started off “low tide”, I noticed myself being pulled into their performance with full strength. It does not mean that the other groups did not devote all their energy but in fact it seemed really difficult to show one’s seriousness in performance. They were just capable of it, which is their strongest advantage.
Followed by “the Edge of Goodbye” with the thunderous roar, they tuned up the heat with “asthma”. In the latter part of the song, the audience put their arms around each other’s shoulders and sang together in chorus regardless of their oshi group. The scene slightly looked like the precision dancing in “Attouteki na Style” by Negicco. Suppose that Negicco were to be compared to angels, then BELLRING GIRLS’ HEART would be fallen angels? Their performance clearly proved that they deserve the reputation of the strongest idol group in Tokyo.
03 Circus & Ren’ai Soudan
04 low tide
05 Yuutsu no Gloria
06 Hornet ’98
07 the Edge of Goodbye
09 Testsu no Machi
10 rainy dance
words by ykmk
POP – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
One of the only groups performing twice POP proved that the size of the stage did not matter to them. Once again running through the audience to begin their set, POP mashed 6 songs into their second set of the day.
00 GALACTIC CITY
01 Happy Lucky Kirakira Lucky
02 Who am I?
03 QUEEN OF POP
06 Plastic 2 mercy
PassCode – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Putting PassCode right after BELLRING GIRLS’ HEART and right before BiSH in the lineup was either a brilliant or a foolish move by Gyuzo. However, the gamble seemed to pay off as the crowd went wild as they always do and the electronicore quartet from Osaka did what they do best with a crushing 8-song set of their most popular songs.
00 Never Sleep Again
01 Gekidou Progressive
02 Kiss no Hanataba
04 Shake it up tonight
06 Club Kids Never Die
08 Seize the day!!
Koutei Camera Girl – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Koutei Camera Girl Zwei – Utsunomiya Gyoza (Sub) Stage
Koutei Camera Girl Zwei is currently one of the idol group which achieves high reputation for their quality of music. Their songs are mixture of club music and rap. Based on the style, it contains a wide range of genre like anime song. The number of the fans now increases at an incredible rate. With no exception, a large number of people gathered at sub stage.
They started off the stage with dub step like “TOKYO Terror”. It seemed that the audience enjoyed the song as if they were in a club. “Where the Wild Things” cooled down the audience already all of a sweat.
Followed by “Star flat Wonder List”, they in succession performed the favorite songs “Dance eith Mr. loneliness” and “Last Glasgow”. The voice of Nonorule Remmell sounded like an anime character which worked effectively with the sophisticated songs.
01 TOKYO Terror
02 Where the Wild Things
03 Star flat Wonder List
04 Dance with Mr.loneliness
05 Post Office Crusher
06 Last Glasgow
words by ykmk
BiSH – Shin Shoga (Main) Stage
Even though BiSH were the second to last group on the main stage, right before Afilia Saga, they they were the most anticipated group of the festival. Gyuzo had sold 30,000 yen “Damasareta Kibun wa Dou dai? Super VIP Room” tickets at the moment BiSH was announced as the first group to appear at the event. Waiting for the day of their major debut on May 4th, the floor was filled with “seisouin” (BiSH fans) wearing black “IDOL” T-shirts.