DIR EN GREY
The Mayan November 5, 2015
Live Report by Nhu Nguyen
DIR EN GREY can be a quiet group of men off stage, but on stage, they are restless. Likewise are the fans as exemplified by the crowd at the sold out Thursday night, November 5th show at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles. The band opened up with the atmospheric instrumental “and zero” from the limited edition version of their latest album ARCHE. The circle pit that opened up during the fourth song “Obscure” was brutal. No one was going to leave the venue emotionally or physically unscathed.
DIR EN GREY immerses themselves equally into their shows as in their music. In “Tousei”, Kyo had to hold himself back at times from perhaps becoming too emotional. His singing was especially raw. The imagery of death and tragedy (drowning and ambulances) in the background added to the intensity. Before the song had completely ended, the music stopped. He held out a long note that no one could hear because the audience was already yelling, already releasing out how they felt about the performance before the song was even over.
Watching the diverse group of people passionately cheer them on– a fan base that has grown through the many years, evolving into a mix of people who love Visual Kei, goth, industrial, and rock– is impressive. In Japan, somber songs have the crowd respectfully standing still and clapping at the end, but here in America, every song is a reason to celebrate.
It had been two years since their last L.A. show, and the band had been eager to party as well. Bassist Toshiya was quite hyped, as he bounced from side to side in “Vinushka” and, as usual, got violent with the mic stand during “The IIID Empire”. Years ago at the Wiltern, he threw the stand over his head. At the Mayan, he opted for simply kicking it down. Guitarists Kaoru and Die head banged ferociously during “Saku”. Shinya pounded away at his massive drum sets, with the same force from beginning to end.
English translations on the screen behind the band during “The Final” and “Un deux” were a welcomed and appreciated sight. “The Final” was a perfect band and fan moment. When it came to the part of, “So I can’t live” everyone in the room sang along confidently. With each person repeating “So I can’t live” the voices got stronger and stronger each time. As Kyo sang, “Moji ni dekinai hidarite desu (I can’t write characters with my left hand)”, he raised his left hand and the crowd automatically raised their left hand together with him. This was appropriately the final song of the main set. This is a group that doesn’t talk much–if ever– on their US stages, their music speaks for itself.
1. and Zero
2. Behind a vacant image
3. Sustain the untruth
5. HAGESHISA TO, KONO MUNE NO NAKA DE KARAMITSUITA SHAKUNETSU NO YAMI
6. Merciless Cult
10. Cause of fickleness
11. Revelation of mankind
13. THE FINAL
14. THE IIID EMPIRE
16. Un deux