The Tokyo and Yokohama area was greeted to downpour rain and storm level winds on June 21st, the last day of the MUCC 20th Anniversary Live. However, the unpleasant weather did not stop MUCC fans from packing themselves into the Budokan venue. The venue was large, but the circular shape of it and the leveled seating gave the feeling of closeness and intimacy. The area designated on the ground floor for the mosh pit further increased this feeling, as the fans gathered around each other in excitement.

As the fans continued to come into the venue, light rock music played in the background, and all eyes fell onto the stage. It was decorated simply, but effectively. There was a light pink lotus with black outlines that stood behind the drums. Neither its color nor its height was substantial or overwhelming. The black background behind it and the outlined roots that were sprawled over helped to emphasis the flower structure. Topping off the stage decorations was a white lotus with black outlines on the stage floor. None of the stage decorations were overly elaborate, but the simplicity of them worked in the end. The lights used throughout the live and the combination of lights and stage decorations really helped to bring each and every song to life on stage.

A look down at the fans revealed a sea of black band T-shirts, and while most of the fans were in their 20s and 30s, there was a large mix of men and women. There were also a sizable number of foreign fans in attendance. Those with seats sat down in them and relaxed, while those with standing spots in the mosh pit sat on the ground. There were animated murmurings, but overall the gathering crowd kept the energy levels low. Everyone was conserving their energy. The reason why became obvious when the lights went out and plunged the venue into complete darkness.

Two blue circular lights lit up the stage; they flashed over the black outlined roots, as white lights joined them and moved all around the stage and crowd. All the while calm guitar music, mixed with a traditional flute sound, played in the background. MUCC, which consists of four members: Tatsuro (vocalist), Satochi (drums), YUKKE (contra bass), and Miya (guitar) took to the stage. Tatsuro thanked the fans for being there and then the show started with a bang.

Flashing lights of various colors moved all around the stage, while straight lined lights of red and green lit up the sides of the wall and stage floor. Meanwhile abstract lights and images played along the background screen. As the heavy metal began to play and the flashing of the lights synched up with the fast pace flow of the song, it made for an intense musical experience that got the blood pumping. The fans in the mosh pit began to jump around and headbang, while those seated stood up and began to do the same. The force of their jumping shook the ground and travelled up through the body; the whipping of their hair was like a sharp gust of wind, while the fierce combination of bass, guitar, and drums reverberated through the air.

The pounding beat of the first song was fast, hard, and rough. The lights flashed nonstop over the stage as YUKKE, Miya, and Satochi passionately played their instruments. The only reprieve came from the vocalist and his voice. It was deep, beautiful, and soothing as it weaved up and down through the hard rock music. The electronic echo effect that was layered over the vocals gave a detached nature to both Tatsuro, who stood in the center of the stage, and his voice. Until his voice reached its crescendo and then Tatsuro reached deep inside and screamed. That scream shattered the echo like vocals and detachedness of before as his voice became deep, dark, and gravelly. It was then that Tatsuro moved away from the center of the stage and began to scream out the lyrics of the song, headbanging along with the fans.

Tatsuro’s hair was long and swept to the left side of his face, while on the right side a few strands of his hair were wrapped in a red braid. When he swung his head around, his hair whipped about like a blade. The rest of the band had short hair and were wearing black and red outfits, while Tatsuro stood out in his white and black ensemble. The black strips of fabric that ran down the back of his jacket were placed in such a way as to give the appearance of a large, black cross. Not much time was spent on costume alterations or changes. The only costume change that took place during the live was for the encore segment, when all the band members came out with band shirts on.

During the live MUCC focused on the music first and foremost. The MC moments were kept short and sweet during the main part of the live, with the band placing all of their energy into keeping the pace captivating and moving. The band achieved this by spacing out the high energy songs that contained a lot of movement not only for the band members, who often moved all around the stage, but also for the fans. Most of the fast paced songs included fans jumping, headbanging, running around in large circles, and rushing at each other and then moshing.

The heavy metal songs contained multitudes of white strobe lights, flashing lights, psychedelic kaleidoscope images on the background screen, and even real fire lighting up the stage during the last few songs. Meanwhile a few ballad songs were mixed in. They helped calm things down with their slower, smoother pace and dimmed lighting. Usually during the ballads lyrics or images such as rain droplets or grey clouds played on the background screen. One such example was during the ballad Japanese. The lights were red and as the white colored lyrics “I am Japanese” played across the black screen, a red dot appeared in the center. It grew in size and gave the image of the Japanese flag. In between the heavy metal and ballads there were also fun dance songs that got the fans up and jumping with rainbow light displays and silver confetti that the fans could wave around as they danced.

The songs MUCC performed also helped to keep the live enthralling. While every song placed plenty of focus on bass, guitar, and drum solos and jam sessions, there were also many songs that included dashes of other genres. Some of the songs had moments were Tatsuro would whip out a string of lyrics in a fast rap-like beat. Others included moments of dubstep, funk rock, the brief inclusion of a piano or flute in the background. Two songs even incorporated the sound of the harmonica, which was played by Tatsuro himself.

Each song transitioned well into the other, though they were all unique in sound and composition. The lack of any true MC moments outside of the very beginning of the live and in the encore allowed the band to concentrate solely on their music playing. There were a few moments here and there when Tatsuro would shout “Are you ready!?” give the middle finger during a song to amp up the crowd, or have the words “MOSH MORE!” flash across the screens on either side of the stage. Everything fit together nicely and smoothly, which made the live move along like it was a well-oiled machine.

True fan interaction and connection happened during the break period between the end of the main live and the encore section. MUCC played a video of the band members fooling around with each other, and then the screen showed a moon in the background and a counter that started counting up from 1997 to 2017. It stopped briefly at 2017 and then started counting up again, fading away at 2022. In its place was the message “Thank you!” and then the announcement of a This is NOT Greatest Hits album and tour. There was also video footage of a new MV that will be coming out in October and the announcement of a Tribute album in November. They announced another tour in November and December, along with a Tribute Tour. And, finally, there was the announcement of the 20th Anniversary MUCC Matsuri live at the Budokan on December 27th, 2017. As the video played there were exclamations, in-takes of breath, and sounds of disbelief. When the video came to an end, there was loud, enthusiastic clapping, and the fans really started to cheer for an encore.

Upon returning to the stage for the encore, Satochi started to caress the white lotus on the floor and was pulled away by the other band members. It got a laugh out of the fans and made for an easy shift into a nice and long MC moment.

The first order of business that the band talked about was the weather. June marks the rainy season in Japan and June 21st was especially rainy. The 20th had been incredibly sunny and as YUKKE pointed out during his time to speak, “[Today’s] rain balanced out [yesterday’s] sun.” YUKKE’s mind was so stuck on the rainy weather that he even said kasa (the Japanese word for umbrella) instead of kara (a Japanese participle that means “because”) at one point. The fans noticed it right away and it caused amused laughter through the crowd. It also resulted in some light hearted teasing. YUKKE let out a sigh (“fuu”) at it all and that marked the end of his talking section. From there Tatsuro talked briefly about the fans cheering and got the crowd to do the famous “stomp, stomp, clap” beat from Queen’s We Will Rock You. Miya, the guitarist, teased YUKKE about his sigh. The teasing continued as the band members bantered with each other and the crowd. The fans laughed and enjoyed the interactions between the band members.

Just before going into the first song of the encore, the band took a picture, using a professional photographer, with the fans all behind them. Tatsuro then mentioned how, at one point during the next song he wanted everyone to take out their smartphones and use their screens as a light. The crowd waited phones poised and ready for the signal to be given.

As Tatsuro asked “Do you want to sing?”, the crowd cheered loudly. It was at this point that nearly everyone in the crowd brought out their smart phones and started waving then around like light. The crowd did not sing any actual song lyrics; they just sang “La, la, la.” But just seeing the whole venue lit up in white and hearing everyone’s voice in unison truly moved Tatsuro and the other band members. It caused them to say thing like: “It’s beautiful!” “It’s amazing!” “I wish we could take another picture.”

After such a calm and relaxing moment, the band and fans jumped and headbanged their way through three more high energy songs. Then the final song was performed and there was a loud “POP!” as white confetti was shot up into the air and sprinkled down onto the fans below. As the band exited the stage, Satochi threw his drumsticks into the crowd and YUKKE and Miya tossed their picks.

The lights came back on and the The Smashing Pumpkins’ Tonight, Tonight began to play through the venue as fans grabbed their umbrellas and headed out into the night. The rain had long since stopped and the breeze had calmed to comforting and cool, perfect to help wipe away the sweat of an energetic and dynamic live by MUCC.

 

SET LIST:

  1. 脈拍 (Myakuhaku)
  2. 塗り潰すなら臙脂 (Nuritsubusunara Enji)
  3. KILLEЯ
  4. 極彩 (Gokusai)
  5. ファズ (Fuzz)
  6. JOKER
  7. JAPANESE
  8. 空と糸 (Sora to Ito)
  9. G.G.
  10. 秘密 (Himitsu)
  11. ピュアブラック(Pure Black)
  12. メディアの銃声 (Media no Jyuusei)
  13. 流星 (Ryuusei)
  14. 暁 (Akatsuki)
  15. ニルヴァーナ (Nirvana)
  16. 咆哮 (Howling)
  17. ENDER ENDER
  18. Mr. Liar
  19. TONIGHT
  20. シャングリラ (Shangri-La)

ENCORE:

  1. 優しい歌 (Yasashii Uta)
  2. MAD YACK
  3. フライト (Flight)
  4. 孵化 (Fuka)
  5. ハイデ (Heide)

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