Article by Ku.
Photography courtesy & copyright Midi:Nette.
Not for republication.
Saturday, April 7th, 2012 –
Kanon Wakeshima had just left the stage and cries for her encore began to taper off as it settled in that the next band was already preparing to take the stage. Sakura-Con’s most prominent visual kei guest so far came to perform this year; though it wouldn’t be Moi dix Mois’s first performance in the United States, it would still be something to write home about. Attendees could feel it. Despite the stage clearing of Kanon’s equipment, the crowd in the pit actually thickened in anticipation while ominous warnings of a strict no-photography policy echoed through the hall. This didn’t seem to deter anyone from crowding in to see the main event.
Tension rose and at 9 p.m., nearly on the dot, the lights dimmed. Moi dix Mois’s logo appeared on all three giant screens – stage right, left, and center – as SE “The Pact of Silence” cued in the background. The moment the first member, Hayato (drums), entered, a thunder of cheers could be heard erupting over the background track. Devil horns were thrown in the air. Contrary to what might have been expected, Mana (guitar) did not enter last even though he received arguably the loudest reception; vocalist Seth was the final member to appear beneath the bright blue custom lighting.
With a brief few words of welcome, the band jumped into their first song.
The entire performance could only have come across as powerful to attendees unfamiliar with the band, and a rare, moving experience for seasoned fans, many of whom might have been following the work of the blue-haired guitarist since his days in MALICE MIZER. Unlike the comparably softer performance by Kanon just a short while before, it soon became clear that Moi dix Mois would not be drowned out by the shouts of the audience, even as they were frequently spurred on by the members of the band. Demonic red and vivid cerulean lights manipulated the mood of the show as it progressed in ways undoubtedly suited to the selected music.
After the first song, “The Seventh Veil,” Seth addressed the crowd in Japanese without hesitation: “We are Moi dix Mois! Come, enjoy the night together with us until the end!”
Though Seth easily stole most of the show with his commanding presence and voice, it was hard to miss out on the other members. Oftentimes the big screens projected Mana gracefully strumming his signature guitar without once breaking his perfect stoic expression. Together with K, the two guitarists managed to steal the spotlight on several occasions with seemingly effortless, synchronized movements. The members did not interact directly with one another or move around quite as much on stage as many modern visual bands do, but they certainly didn’t need to in order to pull off their own captivating performance.
Many songs in the set for the evening, such as “Divine Place,” could easily induce goose bumps with their striking instrumentals and skillful mixture of rough and strong, melodic vocal tones. The guitar riffs throughout the set list remained powerful and insistent, layering neatly atop Hayato’s rhythmic drumming to create impeccable tunes that were everything gothic metal should be.
Just before the fifth song of the evening, K took a moment to address the audience in English and explain furi to the crowd, which participated with eager energy. “Sanctum Regnum” thus became quite an interactive song for everyone in the hall.
Shortly thereafter attendees were in for a treat as K announced the next song would be a new song written for the band’s recent tenth anniversary. The as-of-yet untitled piece began with an uncharacteristically beautiful violin section behind Seth flexing his melodious voice – before shredding guitar riffs kicked in and brought the show right into one of the most technical songs so far. The track, peppered with wicked double bass drumming and Mana’s nimble picking, led the mood into an eerie mix of sweet melancholy and pounding rhythm sections. Seth closed out the song a cappella with apparent ease, his voice resonating throughout the hall until the audience’s shouts closed in over the echoes.
By now the show was in full swing and so was the crowd. Another engaging song came before long, “Immortal madness,” the ninth in the set. Once again K took to the microphone in English to teach the crowd to gesture and shout “dix sight” along with him. Seth further encouraged participation by offering his microphone out to the audience but the move was hardly necessary to garner active participation from the thoroughly-riled crowd.
Two more intense songs followed, ending the set with “Ange ~D side holy wings~”, a track which began with a little front-and-center act from Sugiya and then descended into absolute chaos by the end. It would be no exaggeration to say the performance drove the audience wild, because after the band was finished and had left the stage, calls for an encore began even before the amplified background music had died out.
In less than a minute the band reappeared for one final song, K dashing across the stage to his post on the left to speak to the hall one last time. Before he could even get the final word of the title, “Deus ex Machina” out, the audience went mad with noise. Perhaps one of the band’s most well-known songs, it was quite a treat for attendees, especially as the band seemed to pour more energy into its performance than ever. Virtually all hands in the crowd were in the air offering their fists in return.
But all good things must come to an end, and before long the song wrapped up to the sounds applause, cheers, and so much other noise that it all seemed to melt into a single roar. Moi dix Mois took their bows and made their final exits on an awed and energized audience.
SE. The Pact of Silence
1. The Seventh Veil
4. Divine Place
5. Sanctum Regnum
6. The SECT
7. New Song
9. Immortal madness
10. Dead Scape2010
11. Ange ~D side holy wings
EN1. Deus ex Machina