On this occasion we had the pleasure of covering the start of the tour “Haretara ii na tour” As we can see on the poster it is a 2MAN tour (two bands in the same event) being Xaa-Xaa the hosts and gulugulu the guest group.
NIPPONGAKU readers will already be well acquainted with the OSAKA MUSE venue so this urban music cult spot in Osaka needs no further introduction.
This event had a special magic aura due to the circumstances, even the very name of the tour “Haretara ii na tour” (“I hope the weather is good”) was a nod to what happened that day. It was a real coincidence that that day was especially rainy…
Crowds of fans attending the show gathered around OSAKA MUSE umbrellas in hand as it was raining cats and dogs shortly before they had let us access the venue and the show began.
Xaa-Xaa, the hosts of the event, were lucky because the name of this band, formed non less than 8 years ago, makes reference to the noise of the rain falling intensely. Nothing better to “get down to business” on the way to the concert.
For that same reason the logos that the band usually uses refer to this meteorological phenomenon as well as many of their best-known songs such as: “Ame ni korosareru” (“Killed by the rain”) or “Shizuku” (“Rains Drops”).
As we can see here the songs of Xaa-Xaa move within the framework of metal with deep voices, costumes influenced by visual kei and lyrics talking about unresolved problems and situations in which sometimes the solution is not within our reach. A clear example of this is the aforementioned rain: it ruins plans, announces misfortunes and is hated by many, which is why a lot of groups within visual kei use it symbolically.
The band that made the opening of the event was gulu gulu.
They have one of the most particular styles within contemporary visual kei, both visually and musically.
Influenced by the menhera culture and rock with deep touches, the presence of gutturals and delirious melodies, gulu gulu has carved out a niche for themselves in the Japanese music scene.
In addition their lyrics, full of criticism towards society with utopian as well as sinister stories, have made them be one of the emerging bands with the most international presence.
Returning to OSAKA MUSE, all this was not an impediment for dozens of “addicts” (“Chūdoku-sha” the name of XaaXaa’s fandom), many with shirts that read “Kazuki’s Otaku”, to fill the room.
The style chosen by the fans that day was the color black although we could also see many fans with merchandising from both bands, a guarantee that the 2MAN tours work to make themselves known to new audiences and that everyone is satisfied.
It was already 5:00 p.m. when we could hear a tune like the one you usually hear in movies when a circus comes to town. In addition you could hear nervous breathing in the background and an emergency alarm, all of it raising the anticipation of what was to come.
Finally the curtain of OSAKA MUSE was removed to start the event. The first thing that caught our attention was I with a megaphone in hand.
Just the presence of gulu gulu on stage already gave off an energy that few bands can achieve; their interpretation was so immersive that it took you out of this world to transport you to the story they want to convey in their shows…The song they chose to open the show was the famous “Henna Merry go round”, a strong bet right from the start.
Immediately all the fans (including Xaa-Xaa’s ones) couldn’t resist the urge to headbang and bow at the tremendous power emanating from the stage. The members of gulu gulu were also moving almost more than the public itself!
When there was little left to finish the song I (Vo.) placed the microphone falling towards his head, like a gallows, a scene so theatrical that it stole all the eyes of the audience that afternoon.
The atmosphere became intense in “Masshiro” (まっしろ, “completely white”). I invited the public to spin around uncontrolled, alluding to the name of the band.
I surprised us by removing a hood from his outfit, when he put it on he looked like one of the many creepypasta versions of Little Red Riding Hood.
The pace became frantic and everyone in OSAKA MUSE danced from one end of the room to the other. (the editor had to settle for a bit of headbanging as he took notes…laughs)
During one part of the song, the melody seemed to be taken from a story and I acted as a puppeteer directing the audience and forcing them to headbang as if they were his puppets.After this I stabbed himself with the microphone at the beginning of “Gōon to nīdoru”.
Lanju had a creepy look, he kept smiling what made him resemble the Joker.
The performance took on a more purely Japanese tone when I began to shout the typical of Japanese matsuris “souya souya” while the public jumped following his orders.
During the MC gulu gulu thanked the fans for attending this 2MAN event being it the first one they have done in the last couple of years.
I became delirious trying to explain that they had been receiving requests to work together for some time and they had received emails inviting them over and over again to play together and that finally they had no choice but to accept.
The small I’s theatrical performance was sublime, the public laughed at the same time that he made the gestures of typing on the computer, he seemed like a true madman.
At the end of the MC he announced the group’s new single, «Chuuzuri Shoujo», which came out on May 25th (and is the next song on the setlist).
Hotaru-chan’s drum was so intense on «Chuuzuri Shoujo»that it literally touched our hearts.
From behind it gave the image of following a circus march, everyone seemed to be guided towards the circus while following a melody that bewitched them.Following the same line in “Yogoreta Buta”, I takes out the megaphone again.
If before he seemed to be recruiting personnel for the circus, now he seemed to have arrived at the entrance where he was taking roll to see how many he had managed to recruit.
Lanju led the rhythm with the bass in “Hidarite wa snuff film” while Rito seduced the audience with suggestive guitar riffs.With this rhythm we already felt part of gulu gulu’s circus.
I, with the red hood placed back on his head, took a seat to sing “Rubra“. He really seemed like a minstrel telling us a tale about something murky.
At this event we had the privilege of hearing live some songs from the upcoming single, which at that time had not yet been released. “Happy birthday” was the one responsible for the room going dark, except for the spotlight that illuminated I.
Lanju’s bass notes echoing in the background along with I’s voice at the end of the song transported us to a birthday celebration from a horror story.
Shy lights bounced off the Osaka MUSE’s disco ball while we could hear a music box turning up the volume… We all knew it was the beginning of the song “Kubiwa Kyouiku no susume“
Without a doubt his was the climax of the concert. Thanks to gulu gulu’s brilliant interpretation and the fans dancing like crazy, the atmosphere felt refreshed and there was a feeling of group catharsis provoked by releasing our tensions.
In the final sprint I, with the charisma of a lider, pointed his fist to the sky asking for more and everyone obeyed in ecstasy. No words were needed to convey the feeling.
I used the megaphone again in “Kyūkaku shōgai” as if trying to hypnotize us, while Lanju and Rito switched places.
Hotaru-chan was in his ecstasy as while playing the drums he was able to support I’s death growls quite easily. With a deep voice, I shouted LAST (last song) and announced with the emergency sound of his megaphone, like when a tragedy occurs, that we were going to enter the last act of this trip towards madness. “Henna Merry Go Round” started and OSAKA MUSE became a full matsuri.
As I asked the audience to give their energy one last time, the recruitment we talked about earlier seemed to have taken its shape: we all felt part of the show and, therefore, of gulu gulu.
The end of the show did not let up either. As the members left the stage, enka music with a little boy’s voice was played in the background.
Hotaru-chan was the last to say goodbye while the same emergency alarm that started the show was still going off.After the tremendous gulugulu’s show we had a few minutes to assimilate the great concert we had just witnessed and fully focus on Xaa-Xaa.
It was around 18:15 when we were surprised by a BGM (Background music) with electronic music that was fading until an alarm began to sound again as the curtain rose.
The members were already in position between red lights: An (Dr.) sitting at the drums, which were wrapped in security tape with the word CAUTION next to the amplifiers. Reiya (Bj.) at stage left, Haru (Gt) at stage right and Kazuki (Vo.) at center.
With a playful melody and the whispers of Kazuki the concert started with “Dokuchoco“. At the end of the chorus we could hear a melody with ska touches, something quite unusual in Japanese compositions, and the fans accompanied this rhythm by jumping in unison which did not take long to become a group headbanging.
“Tabako wo kudasai” turned OSAKA MUSE 180º. The aggressive and heavy rhythm did not give the public respite for a single moment.
Kazuki noticed this and yelled Let’s go Osaka! (かかって来い大阪！) and immediately after he lied down on the ground and screamed at the top of his lungs. Kazuki’s gutturals mixed with Reiya’s in the choruses gave some harmony that prepared us for the “next assault”.
Kuroinekochan (Black Kitten) was probably the climax of this concert.
The beat was heading to a crescendo thanks to Reiya’s slap on the bass and An’s drums, adding to it the applauding audience.
Kazuki, on the other hand, seemed like he has gone mental while singing in high pitches combined with cat sounds, in “Kuroinekochan” (Black Kitten). Kazuki’s presence on the platform seemed immovable although at the same time the rhythm became more and more frantic and even we as the staff had a hard time trying not to dance in order to take notes.
The next on the list was “Watashi = etcetera” an oldie within the group’s discography, being able to listen to it live was an incredible experience.The lighting was more nocturnal in line with the lyrics of the song, although the tone itself conveyed a certain positivity.
The stage went dark and the members of Xaa-Xaa turned around for a few seconds.
During the MC they reminded us of the three dates of this tour with gulugulu. They expressed gratitude to everyone present there, for having been able to go so far through and thanks to the music. His voice conveyed a lot of serenity to the audience with a calm tone that inspired confidence as he spoke.
One of the details in which we noticed how careful is Xaa-Xaa when choosing their setlists was in “Gogatsubyo” (“May Sickness – or Disease -” in English) as in Japan we were on April 30th, just at the beginning of the Golden Week (a week-long spring holiday).
The state of anguish and laziness that comes from returning to one’s routine and work after having been on vacation during Golden Week is known as “May disease”.
Reiya and Haru exchanged positions on stage while Kazuki announced that May’s disease was approaching yet for another year… An answered this announcement by hitting the drums with all his strength.
These feelings were also reflected in the order of the setlist since there was only one song left to finish the concert and return to real life.
With “Last Dance” the dance was guaranteed. To give the final touch Kazuki and Haru fed the fantasies of the attendees by getting very close to each other to which the fans did not lose a single detail.
The party came to stay that day in OSAKA MUSE with the disco ball sparkling and the entire crowd vibrating in unison.
After this high-energy finale the curtain fell down and as we stepped outside we saw that the rain had stopped. “We hope the weather continues to be good” we thought internally.
Thanks to this concert we are sure that this year the May disease will not have been so hard for the attendees.
Next week, we will have the chance to sit down for an interview with the members of gulugulu.
Do you have any questions for them? Leave them in the comment section below!
- (Translator: Ania M. AKA Niobe)
- (Cameraman (gulugulu): Rami)
- (Assistant staff: Manuel P.F)