Right around this time, the cherry blossom season in Japan is coming to an end. The flowers, a traditional symbol of beauty and impermanence, bloom for just one or two weeks before falling in showers on the ground until another year passes. This is the analogy that Ataru Nakamura, vocal and guitar in DECAYS, made when describing the band’s PINK=FLORID tour that came to an end on April 9th at Shinjuku ReNY.
Upon entry to the venue, fans received a wristband light that was programmed to change colors throughout the set. The room was filled with yellow, blue, red, and green lights at the beginning of the show. The lights in the venue—including the wristbands—went down and a glowing blue shone on the audience from the stage. Each member was greeted with cheers: Chidony on keyboard and DJ (though his official position in the band is a ☆ symbol); Kei Kashiyama (MOON CHILD) on drums; G. Terrence on bass; Ayasa on violin; Ataru Nakamura on vocal and guitar; and of course, Die (DIR EN GREY)—who received the loudest cheers—on vocal and guitar. Everyone wore almost entirely black, whether it was G. Terrence’s simple t-shirt or Chidony’s pointed bird mask.
They opened their set with the serious and intense Aesthetics of the transgression. Ataru and Die switched off on the vocals, Ataru’s strong and expressive voice a perfect harmony to Die’s deeper one. The song was entirely in English and included a high and melodic solo from Die. Even when the spotlight wasn’t on him, he made his presence known. Ataru briefly thanked the audience before moving into Zero Paradise, a distinctively pop rock song. Violinist Ayasa graced us with her first violin solo of the night with fluttering and trilling notes.
Next were NOVA SPIRAL and Dry, both tracks included on DECAYS’ first mini-album Red or Maryam. The next song, Kirei na Yubi (綺麗な指), was a bit more melancholy, but also the first song of the night where Die took the lead on singing lyrics, entirely in Japanese. Ayasa’s violin struck the perfect balance between standing out beautifully and blending in seamlessly with the sound of Ataru and Die’s practiced guitar technique.
For the first MC of the night, Die introduced the band and its new members; or as Die himself put it, “2 beauties and 3 old guys.” First he introduced Ayasa, who will be having her major debut soon. Then he introduced the “sexy voice” of Ataru Nakamura. He said she made rehearsals particularly interesting because when they discussed what to play and sing, Ataru would often suggest changing it instead of simply agreeing with it. In the end, that gave him more a sense of ease than of worry, according to Die.
Here is where Ataru made the analogy between the impermanence of cherry blossoms in comparison to the short amount of time that DECAYS has been together with its current members. Besides the 3 shows they played during the PINK=FLORID tour, they only rehearsed together 4 times. Though their time together has been short, it has been a fulfilling one, she said. The cherry blossom analogy made the perfect segue into Veludo no Tori (ビロードの島), the venue-limited single that was full of traditional Japanese elements despite the English lyrics. Die proved his prowess on both vocals and guitar, Ataru backing him up.
The soothing ballad beautiful came next, followed by the raw and instrumental after beautiful. Chidony took the spotlight briefly for a disc-scratching DJ set, after which the members joined in one by one on their appropriate instruments for Boon Companion. Everyone’s lighted wristbands flashed between different colors for the dance-inducing track. It was Die who got the audience jumping up and down the most, though. DECAYS closed out their set with D・D, a pop rock track that had the disco ball dancing and the wristbands blinking purple.
The band returned shortly after for the encore, most of the members wearing the official PINK=FLORID t-shirts. Die asked Ataru to tell the story of how this tour has been going for her but she said, “I’ve already answered that, though…” Instead, she asked Die how he thought the tour went. He said it was fun and he enjoyed playing with the members this time.
Ataru added her own thoughts eloquently, explaining how in a world where cellphones and SNS can do amazing things like connect us to people, it’s music that can connect us without words. During their short time together, she said, they hardly ever needed to use words to figure out what they wanted to do as a band. “That’s what I was going to say,” Die added, to the amusement of the audience.
Ataru and Die wielded acoustic guitars for the stand-out song of the night: an acoustic version of Red tide. It was almost tear-inducing between the melody and vocals of the two practiced guitarists—one of whom has proven his skill for nearly 20 years in world-renowned DIR EN GREY—the steady percussion of Kei and G. Terrence, and the crooning violin.
DECAYS ended PINK=FLORID on a high note with Lana~From Future Boy~. Each member took the time to say a few words (except for Chidony, who doesn’t speak) to the audience before leaving the stage, saying they really enjoyed their time together on this tour. G. Terrence hinted that DECAYS may have an announcement soon, so look forward to it!
1. Aesthetics of the transgression
2. Zero Paradise
3. NOVA SPIRAL
5. 綺麗な指 (Kirei na Yubi)
6. Emotion in Motion
7. Imprisonment Leaving
8. ビロードの島 (Veludo no Tori)
10. after beautiful
11. Boon Companion
12. ケセラセラ (Que Sera, Sera)
13. Secret mode
14. 愛と哀を遺さず… (Ai to Aware wo Nokosazu…)
16. Red tide
17. Where are you going?
18. ラナ ～from Future Boy～ (Lana ~from Future Boy~)