GACKT Fries More European Chickens In 2011

Last year’s big, exciting Jrock moment, as many of you probably still remember, was the “international”- aka European- debut of GACKT Sanders’ YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz project. The tour, a short, experimental stint with a few scattered dates in a select few countries, sold out in a record 4 minutes of tickets being released. After this information reached the Colonel, he expressed a sense of regret that so many fans had wanted to see him perform, but were unable to because of the limited number of dates, locations, and the haste with which tickets sold.

It seems like he was sincere in that regret, as his second round through Europe is much more extensive, and rumor has it, booked in larger venues to accommodate the masses of European fans lining up to show GACKT that, yes, they are fried chickenz. I just hope that he has taken some time to actually rest and prepare himself for this venture…The last thing we (collective worldwide “we”, not Japanese version of ‘worldwide’ “we”) need is a replay of Munich ’10.


July 20(Wed)  LA BATACLAN( France/Paris)

July 21(Thu)  LA BATACLAN(France/Paris)

July 23(Sat)  E-Werk(Germany/Cologne)

July 26(Tue)  Melkweg(Netherlands/Amsterdam)

July 27(Wed)  Forum(UK/London)

July 29(Fri)  Bikini(France/Toulouse)

July 30(Sat)  RAZZMATAZZ 1(Spain/Barcelona)

August 1(Mon)    Backstage Werk(Germany/Munich)

August 3(Wed)    Huxleys(Germany/Berlin)

August 4(Thu)    Syma B(Hungary/Budapest)

August 6(Sat)    Stodola(Poland/Warsaw)

August 7(Sun)    Haus Auensee(Germany/Leipzig)

August 9(Tue)    Arenan(Sweden/Stockholm)

August 11(Thu)  Arena Moscow Club(Russia/Moscow)

Ticket information to be announced soon.

Details available from

Source: GACKT official Facebook

Put BBS On Repeat With Best-Of OVER AND OVER

Is it just me, or does it seem like this has been a fruitful summer of Jrock in the US? Well, don’t let it stop now. Following a slew of events and band appearances at anime conventions across the country, as well as several major tours (MIYAVI and D’espairsRay), there’s a whole ‘nother rush about to come through. Starting off with Dir En Grey‘s nationwide gorefest beginning at the end of this month, sailing right into VAMPS, XJapan, and now– can I really say this?– be ready to bop and rock to some BOOM BOOM SATELLITES.

Not only will BBS unleash some improved and updated classic sounds with up-and-coming, US-released best-of album OVER AND OVER, but they will also be celebrating with a nationwide tour….This time, not in Japan. You heard me right – following a successful, summer-long Japan tour and a stint through September, the US will go galactic nationwide when BBS takes their new best-of collection international this October.

Oct. 6th – Philadelphia
Oct. 8th – Albany
Oct. 12th – Delaware
Oct. 13 – DC
Oct. 14th Baltimore
Oct. 16th Connecticut
Oct. 17th – Boston
Oct. 19th – New England (ok, that’s not vague at all)
Oct. 21st – NY/CMJ
Oct. 25th – LA
Oct. 27th – San Francisco
Oct. 29th – Portland
Oct. 30th – Seattle
…and apparently more dates to be announced. This almost seems too good to be true. Since when have Jrock tours in the US ever hit up enough venues to actually have a TBA status? Unnatural. And also, knock on wood, awesome for me, as I percieve about 5 potential opportunities to see them racked up in that list. This electronic-slash-rock, bass and guitar project backed by some badass girl-drums is one of those acts that has to be pretty wicked live. So, any other takers?

BBS official website

Source: Purple Sky

UROBOROS- with the proof in the name of…UROBOROS.

In 2008 they released UROBOROS. In 2009 they toured for UROBOROS. In 2010…they finally stopped touring for UROBOROS. On June 22…they released a CD and DVD set of…UROBOROS. In this excerpt from their official MySpace, it says “While many trends come and go, Dir En Grey’s music….” is cryogenically frozen in…UROBOROS.

In summer, 2010….legendary screamo hardcore band Dir En Grey….will tour North America for…UROBOROS.

Dir En Grey will be touring alongside band Apocalyptica. Internet Fan Commity pre-sale will begin @here this Friday (July 16), and general ticket sales will start next week, on Friday the 23rd. It’s a good thing you have had 2 years of…UROBOROS to prepare you for this.

Dir En Grey and Apocalyptica dates:

08/23 – Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy

08/24 – New York, NY @ Nokia Theatre

08/26 – Boston, MA @ Royale

08/27 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory

08/28 – Baltimore, MD @ Ram’s Head Live

08/30 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage

08/31 – St. Louis, MO@ Pageant

09/01 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues

09/02 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave.

09/04 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre

09/05 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theatre

09/07 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues

09/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern

09/10 – San Francisco, CA @ Regency

09/12 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo

By the way, I just had to add this as a side note: it was serendipity. The image I just so happened to choose to represent this post was, without my conscious effort, from none other than… UROBOROS. But then…I’d have had to go on an archaeological dig in order to find anything else, right?

Source: Shattered Tranquility

Official Announcement: MySpace

The Return of the King

It was foretold centuries ago by the great philosophers and learned men. The astronomers looked to the heavens and said “the world as we know it will reach its end. The apocalypse will be feared. And that constellation there (no, a little to the left) will appear on earth to save the people, and all will be made right again.” Well, my friends, he is here.

That’s right. Yoshiki’s plans to conquer the United States have been put in action at last, 18 years after they were first conceived. Along with XJapan, Yoshiki held the first press conference in New York City to pitch plans for a North American tour in 1992. Probably most of you weren’t even born yet. The plans fell through, however, and the band split up in ’97. A proper campaign and future presidency seemed out of his reach until last year when Yoshiki brought his band-members together for what was supposed to be a “final performance” for vocalist Toshi, at the Hollywood music-video filming concert. However, during that time, the band was able to rally together and, although I’m sure it took more than a few shirtless and heartfelt ‘ganbare!’s from the determined Yoshiki, they reunited for a total comeback.

Now that Yoshiki is based out of Los Angeles, his campaign is able to go much more smoothly. With the intention of “starting over” in the US, he has already founded a charity organization THE YOSHIKI FOUNDATION OF AMERICA, and hosted the opening event on July 1st in L.A.. The band is scheduled for Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festival in August, and Yoshiki and other members will be making appearances at select conventions in the country throughout the summer…. Did you think that would satisfy him?

In the fall, the band will be totally reborn– this time in the American music-industry, not the Japanese market. They will release a brand new full-length album which, as quoted by Yoshiki, is currently “90% complete”. But that’s not all, they have also announced a 10-city North American tour that will begin sometime in October, including a (projected) run through Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Vancouver, New York, Boston, etc. They will perform in 2,000-6,000 capacity venues– so if you were expecting an intimate, rock-band comeback…

XJapan is Back

I know it seems like I mock, but actually this is one of the most exciting things happening in the Jrock scene these days. As evidenced by his persistence in trying to get over here for a tour, and with past efforts such as S.K.I.N., Yoshiki is one of the pioneers of Visual Kei overseas activity. It’s pretty cool that he’s finally making this all happen, but also in many ways I’m not remotely surprised. There was never any doubt in my mind that Yoshiki would come to conquer– it was just a matter of time.

XJapan is an interesting phenomenon, though.

For example, if you look at abingdon boys school, MIYAVI, and GACKT, these guys can all sell out the Tokyo Dome in minutes over in Japan. I honestly doubt MIYAVI could sell out a 2,000 capacity venue here. But the point isn’t necessarily whether it’s possible or not. The point is that when an artist like abingdon boys school or GACKT, perform overseas, they perform in miniscule venues. In many ways, the way I look at it, it’s preferable to see them perform overseas because you can get close enough to touch them. In Japan, they perform at huge venues, so that’s not really possible. It creates a different experience of the band overseas. Because it felt like such a powerful experience seeing a.b.s and MIYAVI in tiny venues, I feel like the live impacted me so much more than it otherwise would have, and as a result, I’m a much more devoted fan.

However, when XJapan performed in Hollywood last year, the amount of people who showed up to be a part of that moment was staggering. When their appearance at Lollapalooza was announced, however, it got a mixed response. I think a lot of people wanted Yoshiki to plan his North American activity more like GACKT has planned his European debut. Small, intimate, personal venues that sell out, but for the people who get to go, it’s an unbelievable experience.

But somehow if you look at what happened with the Hollywood filming event, you wonder if that sort of thing is even possible for this band. Does it seem incredible that they can perform before 20-60,000 people in North America? Does this mean that everyone knows a closet-XJapan-fan? There you were, living your Visualist life, thinking you were isolated and alone in your fandom…and now you know that with those kinds of numbers projected for this tour, we should practically all know at least one XJapan fan?

I think the ambition and trust Yoshiki shows by knowing they’ll sell out 6,000 seats is terrific, because these artists should believe they have this kind of fanbase– they need to have that belief in us, because generally they seem to underestimate our numbers. And I hope that by showing this kind of confidence, he can inspire more Jrock artists to perform overseas. But not in 6,000 capacity venues, please and thank you.

MIYAVI Live in Boston 6/25: 2/2

The tension kept building as the lights kept dimming in a tantalizing way, and the black-shirted crew members bopped on and off stage. Finally the lights flickered low in a seductive promise, and the group of teenage girls standing behind me squealed “Yay! A white guy!”, another countered simply with “ew.” The audience was shifting, the background noise was starting to grate, and it was as easy to ignore the little black door at the back of the stage as it is to ignore a tarantula crawling up the back of your neck. Every second seemed to whisper he’s coming…he’s coming… And then the music cut out and the black door opened, emitting a slightly white glow, and the shorts-and-t-shirt wearing, pony-tailed figure wielding a promising pair of drumsticks emerged, acknowledging the audience with a glowing smile. Everyone flipped out. Hands were up in the air, people were screaming, I’m surprised no one fainted right then and there as a silhouette appeared, a shadow against the door, cast in the white light, a tipped trucker hat and angular shoulders. The screams reached a crescendo, calling out in a rhythm-less chant, MIYAVIMIYAVIMIYAVI. And then he strode out.

The badass-ness of that moment can’t be described in words, and I’m not even going to try. Bedecked in skinny leggings, a tight punkish tank-top, and a black waist-coat paneled with swatches of kimono fabric, back-combed brown and green hair sticking out from a Volcom trucker hat, MIYAVI pulled darkness and light into his orbit like a magnet, cutting a stark image of perfection and punk. The low lighting glanced off of the milk-white angles of his face as he strode up to the microphone, black guitar swung across his chest. Casting a sultry glance over his waiting fans, spidery white fingers strummed several heavy, ringing chords, and, lips brushing the mic, he rasped, “Hello…Boston!”

Accompanied only by the unbelievable drumming talents of Bobo and some off-and-on keyboards, it was unbelievable how much noise MIYAVI could make. His heavy slap/pop style percussive blues playing, skat/rap/spoken-word/screamed/English/Japanese lyrics and shouted cues such as “Jump up!” and “Make some noise!” filled the entire club, creating as much volume as a full on band– definitely as much, if not more, music. After the first song or two, he stopped for a brief introduction, saying “I am MIYAVI, Japanese from Tokyo…”, and expressing his gratitude for everyone’s attendance. He admitted that this was the third consecutive show in as many days (Boston followed Chicago and Toronto), and that he was really tired. However there was no sign of him taking it easy on us, and he didn’t forget any details. Before continuing, he checked with the audience to make sure everyone could see and hear, before launching into another series of full-bodied, incredible tunes that rocked down the house. He drew on our vocal power as well, calling out “What’s my name?” and when we responded, “What’s my fuckin’ name?!”

Rockin’ across the stage, this guy covered some miles, darting from one mic to the next, launching his charisma and sultry, mischievous glances out over each angle of the audience. Every time he moved to a new mic, all the club’s energy surged in to that spot. Shredding his guitar mercilessly, crouching in a near-split to pull the full capacity of sound from his guitar strings, MIYAVI was a terrific tease, starting to throw his weight over the waiting, grasping hands, only to pull back at the last moment, smiling sneakily. At points, he would flip aside the folds of his jacket to reveal a flash of red-satin lining and several inches of bared midriff, only to hide it again as the fangirl’s screams reached a crescendo. Despite his overall reserved attitude around fan-service, MIYAVI created an incredibly sensual performance, filling out each moment with complex facial expressions, smoky glances, and a darting, serpentine tongue. He teased with words, too, challenging us to be a raging audience, “Are you guys gonna be crazy? Are you? Maybe…Maybe…”

Instead of doing one or two longer MCs, MIYAVI broke it up with small, almost conversational breaks. He would stop for water and to wipe off his face, turning to say “it’s really fricken hot in here. I’ve got water in my eyes…” At one point he stood there fixing the tousled ponytail sticking out of the back of his hat, only to pull out a long extension. Dangling the piece of hair, he deadpanned, “Yeah it’s all fake now. I’m bald…” before sticking it awkwardly on the keyboard. With each MC, it was impossible not to hang on his every word and follow his every move, each expression. It was amazing and inspiring to see such an incredible musician up there who, for the past hour had been rocking out and screaming his throat raw, only to stop now and talk about his daughter, apologizing about canceling the previously planned tour due to his move to J-Glam Inc., and then a heartfelt message about how he believes we can be united by music, and how “as long as you call my name, I will keep coming back.” His attitude was reserved and cool, but the energy he sent out to the audience was truly sincere, warm, and all-encompassing. There were a lot of humorous moments as well, such as when he spoke Japanese to us and got a response in Japanese, to which he responded “you’re Japanese? You too? You too?…Whatever.” And when he apologized for his English, saying “I’m sorry my English is not good, even though I am a genius.”

The set-list flowed flawlessly. He played some songs off the “new album”, and a song that he “just wrote a few days ago” (which was one of my favorites of the evening), as well as older pieces such as Super Hero, Please Please Please, and the highly interactive and fun tracks Are You Ready to Rock which gave our vocal chords a run for their money, and Boom Hah Boom Hah Hah which challenged the audience’s clapping coordination.

Toward the end of the live, we had been able to move closer to the front in time for the Jrock Ablutions. MIYAVI pulled out the water-bottle and took a drink, before squirting us down with it. He took another big swig, turned around, bent over backwards and spat the water over the first few lines. It was like Visual Kei baptism. I’ll be able to live my life in pride being able to say “MIYAVI spat water on me.” Yes, it’s like that.

Finally, after disappearing off stage, MIYAVI made us scream  a lot before reappearing for an encore. He played around with the other musicians, mashing keys on the keyboard and pushing the keyboard-player away from the keyboard with his butt while still shredding chords. He teased the keyboard player, calling him a “fuckin geeky no girlfriend cherry boy looks like Chinese from Tokyo!” At the end of the song he put down his guitar and walked along the edge of the stage touching and shaking the audience’s hands. Roukun was able to shake his hand, and reported that it was very soft. For me, having arranged this experience for my pal as a birthday gift, I feel that standing just a few people back from the stage, getting showered in MIYAVI’s spit, and being able to touch his hand, I think I succeeded in my mission.

Finally, MIYAVI disappeared backstage and the little black door swung shut, swallowing him back into the universe from which he emerged like a blazing star only 2.5 hours earlier. The audience slowly, hesitantly began to disperse. After standing for a moment in an afterglow of sound and visualism, we left the flickering purple and red lights, and the earlier-celebrated crew members packing up drums and guitars, amps and chords, and stepped out onto the street, into the hazy summer midnight, Are you ready to rock? Are you ready to rock? Are you ready to rock? echoing in our ears; what’s my name? what’s my fuckin’ name? coursing through our veins.

What’s my name? What’s my fuckin’ name?! MIYAVI. MIYAVI. MIYAVI.

MIYAVI  image (top): TraciGrant