A-Kon, June 1, 2013
Live report by Jen Wang
NSDP is as unapologetically raw as the string of words that make up the acronym: night, spit, death, pain. They’re teeming with in-your-face energy, and they operate with no frills or pomp. To the sound of the cheering A-kon crowd mixed with their own instrumental intro, they calmly walked to their places ready to bust loose.
When the intro faded, SHUE started to pound away at the drums while YUI churned out the heavy riffs of “painkiller”. Vocalist Atsushi, also known as “Ash”, alternated between rapping and screaming. Before the next song, everyone except SHUE crouched down. Ash had the audience follow suit and jump on command with the band.
“Calling” initially continued the trend of rock and hip-hop hybrids. There was a funky bassline and more rapping, but the chorus brought an unexpected shift to more lighter vocals with KEIJI and YUI providing back-up. “Flag of REvolution” featured an electronic twist with KEIJI’s programming coming into the foreground and more singing from YUI. Her sweet and shy sound were an interesting contrast to Ash’s rougher, more aggressive style.
NSDP plowed through their set, only slowing down to address the crowd and to play the softer “Can U hear?”. During “blind”, Ash could no longer keep his energy just on the stage. He jumped off and climbed on the chairs that were serving as a barrier. Audience members fed off that intensity, waving their fists in the air. SHUE kicked up the tempo for “don’t let me down” while Ryo-Hey’s bass rumbled like thunder. It was cool to see adorable little YUI hop up on the amps and just shred into her solo.
The momentum faltered a little when Ash made a speech about the state of music and never giving up on your dreams. Although his passion and sincerity was admirable, the language barrier was a source of frustration for audience members who didn’t know any Japanese. However, his message became clear in the next song—a new one, “Seimei no relay”. The melody created an uplifting mood, and both Ash and KEIJI sang their hearts out.
The band made the most of their closing number, “TRIBALAREA”. While Ash dived into the audience, Ryo-Hey hopped off stage to remove the barriers and invite fans on-stage. Such brashness was unexpected at an show with rules against moshing, but it fit with NSDP’s desire to create doorways out of the barriers between people. At A-kon, they busted that door wide open.
1. subete no kabe wo tobira ni
5. Flag of REvolution
7. based on a true story
8. Can U hear?
11. don’t let me down
12. Seimei no Relay
NSDP appeared at A-Kon by arrangement with Babel Entertainment.