August Burns Red + Her Name in Blood + Roach @ Shibuya Club Quattro (Apr. 11th, 2012)

Tokyo Talent Triumphs Foreign Favorites
Live Report @ Shibuya Club Quattro 2012.04.11

August Burns Red

Midweek live shows, whether a big name is appearing or not, sometimes feel like they can end up being a hit-or-miss kind of thing. For potential audiences there’s always the risk of missing last trains, or the worry of an early start the next morning. The added factor of a cold and rainy Tokyo night would be even more off-putting to potential show-goers.

RoachYet, like a refreshing summer breeze drifting in from the southern isles, Okinawan quartet Roach swept in and invited the moderately sized crowd in for some hard, melodic rock straight from Kintown. They opened the show with the title track from their latest album, “No Reason in the Pit”, an ode to the bonds people make in the mosh pit. Their newest release has less of the distinctive Okinawan melody present in their previous “Breed of the Sun”, but the references are still there, particularly in the lyrics.

RoachAlthough a little bit out of place genre-wise – vocalist Taama introduced the band, saying “We’re just a rock band from Okinawa. We’re not hardcore, but we like hardcore.” This band has an uncanny way of bringing the best out of any audience, regardless of genre or size. Despite their misleading song titles, “Make Here Hell”, “Be hardcore in Kintown” and all the other songs in their set for that matter, they are heavy on the guitar and two-step, but warm in melody and words – signature points of their performances.

Their set was short but sweet, and ended with vocalist Taama flinging himself into the pit for a celebratory crowd surf, proving you can be first up for a show, but that it doesn’t make it less your own.

Her Name in Blood

While Roach may not have been hardcore by definition, Her Name in Blood are a textbook example of it. Incredibly heavy and with a bone-chilling guttural screamo courtesy of vocalist Ikepy, HNIB led a powerful and violent mosh pit for the second set of the night. Her Name in Blood Although heavier than I normally like, HNIB were my best pick of the night. Their immaculate stage performance coupled with sharp rhythm changes and tight beats kept the audience in a frenzy for their entire set. Japanese hardcore bands are often experts at crowd control and HNIB are no exception. They’re creators of chaos, but a balanced one. Having said that, it’s still a mosh pit, as the guy sporting an ice pack on his eye afterward would likely have testified.

August Burns Red

Sooner than expected, it was time for the headliners August Burns Red. Bop-bop— bop-bop— Beeeeeeeep. Their entrance cue: a heart beats, then flatlines – a glimpse into what was to come. By this point, the audience had grown and there were a great deal who had come just to see ABR. They started well, with a lot of energy and some interesting genre crossovers to create something novel and entertaining. However by their fifth song, the only track from their “Thrillseeker” record, the innovation waned, and in its place, grew a constant mundane familiarity. Each song transitioned into the next with no discernible break, which dulled the overall performance. As my attention left the stage, it was drawn to the pit.August Burns Red
Despite the lack of stage presence, the band did a good job playing around with the audience. Admittedly the pit didn’t need much encouragement to rampage, but the ABR tried some different tactics to spice up the night. Asking everyone to find a partner to dance with was an interesting and appreciated addition. They also formed an alternative to the usual wall of death. The audience split in two and lined up against the opposite sides of the venue. They then ran towards each other at full speed, but, instead of crashing into each other and forming a mosh pit, they jumped up and gave high fives as they met in the middle. This was a special thing they had done only in Japan and was a tribute to the country’s positive energy, the vocalist said. Thumbs up for the thought, but down for originality –I’ve seen this done at shows by Japanese bands before.

August Burns Red

Live Photos–> Roach / Her Name in Blood / August Burns Red

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Julen Esteban-Pretel
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