My First Story vs. Another Story @ Shibuya O-East (May 31st, 2015)

Honshu Final Face-off: Bands 0 – Floor 1
Live Report : “Honshu Final Face-off Results: Bands 0 – Floor 1″ @ Shibuya O-East 2015.05.31

The perfect coupling of two bands sharing a penchant for stories, bleach-blonde lead singers, and emo/screamo came together at Shibuya’s O-East on May 31st for the Honshu final of a tour which has seen melodic post-punk sensation My First Story take on their slightly harder-hitting brethren in Another Story. The night would be everything you’d expect from a sold-out show, but threw in a little more than everyone was bargaining for as well – after all, you know you’re doing a good job of this whole rock ‘n roll thing when the night finishes off in the ER.

Another Story took to the stage at a packed-out O-East, vocalist KeiGo yelling, “We’re back!” to the crowd as they surged forward and the show kicked off. KeiGo’s plunging from clean vocals to lunatic screams epitomizes the style so popular Japanese bands at the moment and Another Story certainly kicked some ass in proving they have made the form very much their own, especially with this show highlighting songs from their recently released mini-album “The Company” as well as earlier treats from their previous releases. Convulsive pig screams mixed up with melodic midsections impressively held down despite some whirligig on-stage antics of guitarists Hero and K-MASA made for an engaging stage presence that the audience fed off of in spades.

It was looking like Another Story were going to hit the ball into the back of the proverbial net with this show, but things were overshadowed by a little incident which proves that, despite their remarkable ability to the contrary, Japanese rockers do not bounce. On previous occasions, Another Story are known to take their show off the stage and out into the crowd, and KeiGo was on his way to doing this when an unfortunate lack of hands in the crowd led to him taking a tumble and being knocked unconscious. Fireman-lifted out of the crowd by security, there was a brief minute or so when it was unclear whether the show would go on. KeiGo rallied himself, however, scrambled back on stage to a rousing round of applause, made a brief comment about his head, and then kicked the song back off right where he had left it. He proceeded to belt out two more numbers, despite a pair of wobbly legs and a visibly addled-looking appearance, and was joined by Girugamesh vocalist Satoshi for the final number, who not only propped the song up with some added growling but also kept KeiGo on his feet. It was an unexpected ending to the set, and although the singer staggered off to ER with a little bit of shattered dignity, the band had proven their rock ‘n roll chops by overcoming adversity in admirable fashion.

My First Story need no introduction here. The young band have risen to high enough levels of familiarity that when I organized a pop vs. rock band face-off in a junior high school English class, My First Story were up among the most popular choices to kick Sexy Zone’s bony asses. Smashing Mag covered them back in 2013 and the difference between then and now is distinct. Perhaps inspired by their cohorts, My First Story battered away at O-East throughout their set, the breakdowns bringing out the circle-pits and a barrage of crowd-surfers who sat aloft the masses mouthing every word to every song before launching themselves towards the stage.

For this show, My First Story left in just enough of their lighter numbers to cater to everyone, distinguishing themselves with their high-flying melodies yet bringing in the hardcore elements enough to make the heavy-loving crowd happy. The show overall was rather hypnotic – entertaining enough that one got lost in the moment. Vocalist Hiro impressively commanded his audience, whilst bassist Nob managed to get the whole venue wailing along to the songs when they weren’t driving the temperature so high that certain pairs of spectacles steamed up in response.

Another Story will continue touring “The Company” until July, while My First Story will be continuing to impress at Summer Sonic this August. A special mention to Girugamesh, as well, who will be supporting Survive Said The Prophet at SSTP’s album tour final this coming July 2nd. Let’s all hope for a summer full of rocking out…and a lot less knocking out.

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Laura Cooper
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