VAMPS live 20161107 – Bloodsuckers on Wilshire Blvd

One of the most consistently appearing Japanese acts in Los Angeles, VAMPS rolled into the City of Angels on November 7, 2016. Since 2009, I count this as the seventh time Hyde and K.A.Z. visited my hometown. Even with all those appearances, this appearance at the EL Rey Theatre marked the first time I saw the group.

Of course you know the group comprising of Hyde (L’Arc-en-Ciel) and K.A.Z (Oblivion Dust) formed in 2008 after the two began working together in 2003 on Hyde’s solo output. The group seems committed to bringing hard rock from a Japanese perspective to the world. VAMPS tour worldwide regularly, and last appeared in Los Angeles in 2005.

Having seen the group’s live performances through several media outlets, I was excited to see the group for the first time. Realy, 8 years into the collaboration the group lived up to my expectations. VAMPS play ahead of a great rhythm section that holds down the groove with the precision of a sports car. With the foundation on solid bedrock, Hyde and K.A.Z. are able to let their spontaneity and creativity fly high. K.A.Z.’s guitar work floats over the mix with a ‘verbed out lyrical quality when he solos, and a mean metal town when burning in the groove. Hyde as a front man is a world class performer. Ranging freely on the El Rey stage, Hyde captures your attention with his intensity and crowd interaction. Aiding his show stealing demeanor, Hyde’s versatile voice starts with an emotional flair, builds with a strong crescendo, and finishes with a menacing growl- his reputation is well-deserved.

Starting with their latest single “Inside of Me”, the five piece ripped through a 17 song set-list punctuated with the group’s singles and a few surprises. Hyde began the show with a black hoodie pulled over his head which he later dramatically lowered to reveal his blonded hair, and eventually unzipped. For a live cover, the group ran through a performance of Rihanna’s “Diamonds”. VAMPS drew the audience into the performance with crowd-participatory claps as chants on songs like “Bloodsuckers”, “Revolution”, and the night-ending “Sex Blood Rock n’ Roll”.

I don’t know what exactly took me so long to finally see VAMPS, but I’m glad I made the effort to get out on this Monday night. Afterall, Hyde and K.A.Z. crossed an ocean to get here, and I only needed to get over the Sepulveda Pass and across Beverley Hills. With such a strong stage presence and a gifted musical performance, VAMPS are added to a list of “Must See” live acts for this reviewer. See you in the pit.

VAMPS live 20161107 at the El Rey Theatre Los Angeles

Buy VAMPS’s “HISTORY-The Complete Video Collection 2008-2014”!

Limited Edition Type A - Blu Ray

Limited Edition Type A – Blu Ray | CDJapan | YesAsia

Limited Edition Type B DVD

Limited Edition Type B DVD | CDJapan | YesAsia

VAMPS at the El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles November 7, 2016

02. LIPS
04. EVIL
09. DIAMONDS (Cover of Rihanna)

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Sekai no Owari at the Roxy Theatre Los Angeles 20170817


Sekai no Owari, the popular Japanese music act with its eye on the world market, took a big step forward on August 17, 2016. Nakajin (guitar), Fukase (vocal and guitar), Saori (piano), and DJ LOVE (DJ) reached out toward their aspirations with their debut performance in America. Sekai no Owari’s sold-out set at the historic Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood featured nine songs sung exclusively in English. Their performance marks a rebirth for the group under their international moniker End of the World. As a fan of Sekai no Owari’s Japanese discography, I was lucky enough to attend the event and lend my voice to the chorus of cheer.

Sekai no Owari’s origin story is one of the sweetest Continue reading

J-Pop Summit Report – Suiyoubi no Campanella 20160723

suiyoubi no campanella

I remember the first time I saw or heard of Suiyoubi no Campanella. It was way past midnight, and the Suiyoubi no Campanella PV appeared on my YouTube recommendations. I felt bewitched by the electronic style that bridges EDM, hip hop, and trance. Mind you, I’m not an authority or even a particular fan of any of those genres. However, Suiyoubi no Campanella seemed so blatantly artistic with its music and promotional videos that I was drawn to the group immediately (lesson: don’t underestimate the lure of interesting promotional videos). But, the group also seemed so offbeat that I didn’t think I would have an opportunity to see the group perform. Imagine my surprise when Suiyoubi no Campanella was announced as a musical performer for 2016’s J-Pop Summit in San Francisco!

Suiyoubi no Campanella, who now use the English moniker “Wednesday Campanella” consists of Continue reading

J-Pop Summit Report – Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at the Regency Ballroom 20160722

KPP concert report 20160722

Five years is a long time. Maybe that should read “5ive Years”, because Kyary Pamyu Pamyu brought her “5ive Years Monster World Tour 2016” to San Francisco on July 22. Like the tour name implies, Kyary celebrated her five year career with inimitable style, fashion, and music on a worldwide scale.

One her third trip to the States, Kyary brought a stage setting more elaborate than anything she had brought before. Fluorescent prop pieces decorated the stage, transforming the Regency Ballroom into a psychedelic forest right out of the pages of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures. Oversized flower petals opened into a DJ setup upstage, while flowers and stone arrangements adorned the wings.

Although I arrived a bit later than comfortable, I found myself just in time for the main show. The lights dimmed suddenly and Continue reading