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“Good evening, this is Schwarz Stein. We’ve returned.” Kaya ended the last statement with a giggle, grin increasing in size as the crowd warmly welcomed the duo back. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Ten years in fact.”

chi.yow

The atmosphere was light. The music addressed the sweltering heat outside and the peace of a Summer evening while bursts of light accentuated the happiness and nostalgia of the music. It was incredibly uplifting, leaving the audience swaying gently, clutching their chests.

Leela McMullen

Colorful, dancing lights—that would become characteristic for the whole show that night—flashed overhead as heidi. launched into the first song. Recognizable through Kiri’s drums and the first catchy and melodic riff from Nao, “Bright” was as good an opening number live as on the new album, instantly setting an upbeat and cheerful mood.

Leela McMullen

Constantly keeping busy, DaizyStripper took over Nagoya Electric Lady Land (E.L.L.) on July 21 for their album release tour, TRAGUS TOUR, that included various stops before concluding in Tokyo’s Akasaka BLITZ on August 30. Daizy are certainly not strangers to demanding live schedules, or to Nagoya.

chi.yow

NoGoD’s First Overseas Live at Japan Expo

For a first performance on European soil, NoGoD’s was an effort to be celebrated. It felt like a proper showcase of the band and, while only a brief time was spent onstage, NoGoD showed Paris why they are considered one of the more exciting and fun acts in the visual kei scene.

Sarah Jones

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.

Chika Yoshizawa

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Otakon 2014 and YOSHIKI Classical

From a VK perspective, the highlight of the weekend was the YOSHIKI Classical concert. Each song was followed by a roar of applause and then a silent anticipation of wanting more.

Leela McMullen

Otakon 2014 and YOSHIKI Classical

From a VK perspective, the highlight of the weekend was the YOSHIKI Classical concert. Each song was followed by a roar of applause and then a silent anticipation of wanting more.

Leela McMullen

Kra, JOKER’S KINGDOM 2014 at Kinema Club

“Alas, it is time to part,” lamented Joker. “How lonely. I won’t be able to hear your voices anymore. Almost like a deep sleep. Born into this world, far off memories (of another) came to my mind. Maybe there was no one to love me there..”

Leela McMullen

SRASH NOTES GARDEN held their second oneman on June 14 at Ikebukuro EDGE, revealing two different costumes from their two-month consecutive releases ACHRO and CHROM.

Maya Kawaguchi

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Anime Matsuri 2014 Summed Up

Anime Matsuri 2014 was a hotspot for Japanese fashion, culture and Music. In addition to numerous designers, popular visual kei band NIGHTMARE attended, marking their first time to perform in the USA.

Leela McMullen

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For their fourth anniversary, umbrella arranged quite the unique affair in Kyoto’s live house TogaToga on June 23. The crowd was kept to a limited number as tables and chairs were set about the floor space to invoke a more intimate, jazz club atmosphere as the band performed a number of their songs in special arrangements to celebrate the occasion.

chi.yow

THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S have an image of heavy and danceable rhythms yet in the release of their second single of 2014, PARASITIC EMOTION, they present three different types of songs displaying three different aspects of this growing band; melodious, enthusiastic, and sweet.

Chika Yoshizawa

LOST ASH PRESENTS SUMMER PARTY Photo Report

Having been busy touring with event lives throughout Japan during 2014, LOST ASH put on a very special event on August 3 at Shibuya REX, almost six months since their last solo performance. The theme: everyone comes dressed in yukata! As usual, this year’s [SUMMER PARTY] was not your average live performance.

Leela McMullen

In celebration of their third anniversary together, BIOSPHIA assembled fans at OSAKA MUSE on May 10 with Kyoubi -kyoujitsu- Osaka. The invited bands were A&D, AUBE, Belmosaic, MoNoLith, and NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST and when the headlining band took the stage, the floor was still filled with fans eager to receive the barrage of energy BIOSPHIA put out.

chi.yow

Velbet’s most frenzied day in the world

The air inside TSUTAYA O-WEST on May 31 seemed almost to vibrate, heavy as it was with conflicting sentiment. Anticipation and reluctance, sadness and joy, all were mixed together in the spacious hall.

Leela McMullen

Five-month consecutive oneman lives by THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S were held at TSUTAYA O-WEST from January to May in 2014. The members prepared various concepts for each show and the third of these coincided with TSUKASA’s birthday.

Chika Yoshizawa

On the last day of Golden Week, Acryl Closet held a fashion Show and mini live at Shinjuku New Japan. The venue was the perfect setting for a dramatic fashion show, complete with plush couches for the guests to admire the clothing from and a brightly lit, mirrored catwalk to deliver the view.

Leela McMullen

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NoGoD Rocked the Gates of Shibuya Ax

NoGoD graced the stage of Shibuya AX for the first and last time on May 28, 2014 with their tour final, Gate of Seven. The venue was transformed for the occasion with a huge, wrought-iron gate raised above a dais of steps filling the center of the stage in honor of the show’s title.

Leela McMullen

Visual Kei across the globe

Will there ever be a real demand for foreign visual kei artists to make their mark in Japan? Only time will tell. In the meantime, here are some non-Japanese visual kei artists we think you need to know about.

Leela McMullen

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FEST VAINQUEUR’s Passionate LIONHEART

FEST VAINQUEUR released their first full album LIONHEART in May, kickstarting the summer with a blazing hot album that presents in full the range of elements this band incorporate into their style. The mixture of heavy rock, jazzy tunes, and lighthearted melodies results in a delightful release that fans are sure to find enjoyment in.

chi.yow

Ayano Nishimura interviews R-Shitei regarding their motto “I am Menhera,” their desire to get even with those who criticize them, the deepening of their bonds, and their fighting stance and Summer mentality…

Leela McMullen

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The 4th anniversary live of defspiral was held at Shibuya WWW on May 23. Over four years, defspiral have released a suitable variety of songs and their choice for the occasion was to play all of those songs in the one night, taking the challenge with a three-hour show spanning three sections.

Chika Yoshizawa

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For the summer of 2014, SRASH NOTES GARDEN presented their second and third mini-albums Achro and Chrom, released consecutively in May and June. The two works represent the range of SRASH NOTES GARDEN’s continued growth and development which features a more progressive and alternative rock style than many of the bands more prominently known in the scene today.

chi.yow

h.NAOTO Steam, The Initial Fashion Show

On Sunday May 25, h.NAOTO Steam held a fashion show featuring the many ways to create steampunk-inspired outfits from their Steam line. Pulling suitable items from different sub-brands to combine with the official Steam wear, the show made creating different looks with the new items seem easy and fun.

Leela McMullen

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For their first tour after coming back from hiatus, SuG ambitiously hit venues across the country as well as heading overseas to Asia before returning to Tokyo for a oneman show titled B.A.B.Y. on May 6 at Hibiya Yagai Ongakudo. The day was unexpectedly chilly but that didn’t put a damper on spirits as the band heated up the outdoor venue with their non-stop energy.

chi.yow

Having decided that it is time to move on from his first big success, IBI put Sixh. to rest with a party that incorporated a fashion show with some fun collaborations from other Kincs designers, a final concert for the Sixh. band, and a shocking surprise for fans.

Leela McMullen

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Ecthelion First Anniversary at AREA

Nothing could match up to the outgoing colors of the members of Ecthelion on March 25—although the stage lights in AREA gave it their best shot as the venue played host to the band’s first anniversary live. It was a bright affair, to say the least.

Leela McMullen

PLUG RECORDS are starting a new project together with 11 other Osaka bands called the NANIWA V kei Rengougun (Allies).

Sarah Jones

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Femme Fatale Enchant with FREYA

Among a slew of projects planned for 2014, Kaya is fronting a new band, fittingly named Femme Fatale. First single FREYA gives listeners an enticing preview into another obscure and glamorous world spun by Kaya.

chi.yow

During the spring, XENON organized a five-stop event live tour across Japan titled Panorama Kyokou XENON Presents 6th Single ‘SHIKIBU’ Release Kinen Shusai Tour. It was tied in with the late April release of their newest single ‘SHIKIBU’ and ROKKYUU gathered a variety of photos to share.

chi.yow

Marking the 16th year since hide had passed away, the legend lives on in the hearts of his followers. The film live, hide FILM ALIVE!!, which was held in Club Citta’ on May 3 was not just any other day for hide fans but a day to celebrate the legend’s existence which—no doubt—is strongly embedded in the hearts of the fans.

Chika Yoshizawa

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heidi. hit Europe running in Russia and began spreading their wings, taking off around Prague and catching an updraft in Munich. By the time they reached Paris, the band was soaring.

Leela McMullen

Following two consecutive days of oneman lives in Osaka in March, amber gris held a further two days at Takadanobaba AREA in Tokyo. The title of the event was “Taigan ni Kimi ha Kiyu” with the subtitles “Geshi to Hakuchuumu” on May 6, and “Hakujitsu no Rinkaku ” on May 7.

Chika Yoshizawa

Following two consecutive days of oneman lives in Osaka in March, amber gris held a further two days at Takadanobaba AREA in Tokyo. The title of the event was “Taigan ni Kimi ha Kiyu” with the subtitles “Geshi to Hakuchuumu” on May 6, and “Hakujitsu no Rinkaku ” on May 7.

Chika Yoshizawa

Mail Interview with KAMIJO

On July 4, KAMIJO will bring his grand first solo show ‘ZEROTH’ to Paris. In advance of the live, ROKKYUU‘s local staff had a brief chat with the elegant musician over email.

Sarah Jones

A(Ace) Bid an Epic Farewell at Shibuya WWW

After four years of voyaging the high-seas of visual rock, musical magpies A(Ace) hoisted their sail for an epic final show at Shibuya’s WWW on April 29. With 23 songs in the set, A(Ace) offered a journey taking in every part of their ouvre.

Laura Cooper

On April 20, none other than Akasaka BLITZ played host to SCREW’s 8th anniversary live NEVERENDING BREATH AT AKASAKA BLITZ. Starting off was their upcoming single “FUGLY,” a retro dance number which had the crowd jumping from the start with neon glowsticks in hand to transform the venue floor into a giant club.

chi.yow

Pre-Europe Double Review: Born & Lycaon

With the announcement of a European twoman tour by BORN and Lycaon this September, what better time to take a look back at their latest releases? Both were released in April this year and offer much to anticipate.

Leela McMullen

ROKKYUU Day, 2014

Monday, June 9th, 2014; ROKKYUU Day, 2014! Every so often, events seem to line up with our little motif. 6/9 (as the date is written in Japanese) happens every year. As such, we have an annual tradition of re-capping some of the articles over the past year that tickled the personal or professional interests of our staff. | 今年もやってまいりました6月9日!「ROKKYUUの日」ということで、昨年同様この1年間のお勧め記事のご紹介です!僭越ながら翻訳代表として日本語のある記事の中から いただきます。

Leela McMullen

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sukekiyo’s debut album, IMMORTALIS

sukeikiyo’s debut album IMMORTALIS, released on April 30, is a beautiful  album that explores some musical directions that Kyo may not been able to attempt with DIR EN GREY. That’s not to say that fans of DIR EN GREY will be disappointed though, as Kyo satisfactorily shows off his  ever-impressive vocal range through this project.

Leela McMullen

An update of the tours coming to Europe soon re: girugamesh, KAMIJO, NoGoD, DEAD END, SuG, Sadie, BORN, Lycaon.

Sarah Jones

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On March 30, many Taiwanese visual kei fans gathered at THE WALL livehouse in Taipei for the first installment ViSULOG’s HYSTERiC CIRCUS -ASIA CIRCUIT vol.1-. The first overseas show for the ViSULOG series brought DIV, BORN, and Daizustripper to Taiwan.

chi.yow

While the booming opening sequence shook the floor, images from WING WORKS’ latest video flashed across the front of the stage, announcing the night’s spectacle: The Resurrection of FENNIX. The four musicians stood frozen until a final figure joined their midst. Sporting a long, wavy cape atop his silver outfit, RYO:SUKE took a stance as the others took up their instruments and gathered around him again for a simultaneous start…

Laura Cooper

With April signaling the return of students to school, FEST VAINQUEUR decided to hold their own “youth festival.” Dressed in school uniforms, FEST VAINQUEUR entertained the crowd with many live favorites. See the results for yourself in this fun photo report!

chi.yow

During BatAAR’s trip to Japan in January, ROKKYUU caught up with the Swedish visual-rock band for a chat about the music scene in their homeland; their impressions of Japan and Visual Kei; and about their forthcoming mini-album and single, RISKBREAKER.

Laura Cooper

MU have re-vamped their name, teamed up with KAMIJO, and have made their first official release with the mini-album Discovery of the AVALON. While the earlier tracks keep more to a formula, the more recent tracks meld the mixture of time and progression together to create a musical experience which is a worthy addition to any CD collection.

Laura Cooper

MSI’s YUKI Says Goodbye at BLITZ

Mix Speakers Inc, ended an era on April 19 as they said goodbye to vocalist YUKI at Akasaka Blitz. The crowd of fans decked in cosplay made the audience almost as visually interesting as the stage, which had a raised platform decorated with the gates of heaven.

Chika Yoshizawa

ZIN’s Spring Love Story, Sakura no Koi

Osaka-based ZIN continue to leave their mark on the visual kei world as their fourth single Sakura no Koi presents a range of the band’s talents and styles. The diversity of the four songs split between two editions certainly leaves an impression for the curious.

chi.yow

If you were to imagine the music that we create as an apple then it is the “apple” which is a bundle of humanity that we non-conformists brought into this world. 僕らが生み出す音楽を「林檎」というものに例えて、不適合者の僕らが生み出す人間らしい塊という「林檎」の意味です。

Chika Yoshizawa

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