Luna Sea show Bangkok fans another side to gothic rock at their debut show
Japanese rockers Luna Sea may have sold less than half the tickets for their debut Bangkok concert at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani on Tuesday night that those by their peers X Japan and L’Arc en Ciel, but that didn’t stop them knocking out the crowd with a stunning and vibrant set that left fans hungry for more.
“When you play live, you have the power to create amazing feelings in a matter of seconds,” commented vocalist Ryuichi Kawamura during a chat with reporters the day before the show at W Hotel Bangkok. “Luna Sea can break the boundaries of music and connect several countries together with its music.”
“I believe in the power of music,” affirmed lead guitarist Yasuhiro Sugihara, aka Sugizo. “Everywhere we play, whether in Japan or elsewhere and despite the differences in nationalities, religions and culture, we can cross boundaries.”
Luna Sea’s original members, who include rhythm guitarist Inoran, bassist J and drummer Shinya, reunited last year for their “2012-2013 The End of The Dream” tour after a hiatus of 13 years. They came out with what they terms the “physical” single, “The One – crash to create”, which runs for more than 22 minutes, and a double A-side single, “The End of The Dream/Rouge”.
“We blend our new musical experiences and colours with the Luna Sea identity. In other words, we are aiming to refresh our rock sound. Luna Sea’s music is deep, energetic, speedy, progressive and very dark. It encompasses several genres. ‘The One’ is the combination of all our powers with rock and roll undertones.”
Sugizo showed off his rock and roll chords while playing the two new singles on stage. The lead guitarist seemed to be the most flamboyant and dynamic of the group, embodying almost flamboyant grace as he rocked along with his guitar.
“We ended our previous dream and started making our new dream greater. We are stepping toward a better thing,” said the vocalist, when asked for a definition of “The End of The Dream”.
In the early 1990s, Luna Sea's musical style was best described as punk rock with gothic rock and hardcore punk tendencies while their image was pure visual rock. The members have now undergone radical changes, evolving from dark and demonic to a natural look. There is no clear leader to the band, with all five equally important to the mystical melodies, powerful rhythms and ingenious riffs.
The concert kicked off with all members playing the opening track, “Loveless”, while fans stood up, sang along and rhythmically waved their arms forwards in Japanese concert style. Sugizo played his three-neck guitar and Inoran picked up his classic guitar, playing a prolonged chord before segueing into punk track, “Dejavu”.
“Hello, Thailand!” Ryuichi shouted in English before switching back to Japanese.
The vocalist greeted Thai fans again with “sawasdee khrub”, after ending the heavy rock song, “G”, during which Sugizo performed his rock and roll solo and Inoran repeatedly hit metal chords.
The audience screamed when the band presented “Gravity”, with Inoran’s guitar sounding soft and sweet, while Sugizo’s wailed on the high notes. Sugizo returned with violin in “Providence” and Inoran took over his classic guitar. That was followed by the gothic rock number “Moon”, it’s beats enhanced by split beams from a disco ball.
Separate bass and drum solos were the highlights of “The End of The Dream” and “Storm” consecutively, though these tracks drew less screams from the audience.
The band closed out the concert with “Rosier”, a showcase for Ryuichi’s powerful vocals then returned to the stage for encores “I for You” and “Wish”. “I for You” proved particularly popular with fans, not least because the lyrics are a tribute to the late guitarist Hide of X Japan.