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  • The -JUST LIKE A VIRGIN- DVD by exist†trace was r...


    The -JUST LIKE A VIRGIN- DVD by exist†trace was recorded at their ”one man show” on the tour for their 2012 album, VIRGIN (so named because it was their first album on a major label). For this show, exist†trace played three sets and an encore for a total of 113 minutes of music, including every song from VIRGIN. In between sets, the band took breaks and changed outfits. Fortunately, those breaks are cut from the DVD, so we’re left with a quick fade out and back in. The sets presented upbeat rockers (Set 1), downbeat and hauntingly emotional numbers (Set 2), and more rockers (Set 3). The encore was both rocking and beautiful as the band closed out the show with a heartfelt thank you to the audience. Watching the entire show in one sitting, I was amazed at their versatility and diversity. Their songs range from outright hard rockers bordering on metal to quirky jazz-infused numbers to heart-rending emotional stories. They can be bright and upbeat, ethereal and beautiful, or dark and haunting. The band moves from one to the next with ease and despite the mash up of styles, they always have a sound that is distinctly theirs. (So much so that I found myself thinking a song on the most recent Mardelas album had an ”exist†trace sound” to it.) Jyou is the consummate frontwoman, constantly on the move. She prowls, she slinks, she jumps, she dances, she rages. When it is time for the music to take over, though, she steps back and lets the instruments have their say. It is impossible to not be amazed at how she commands the crowd in one moment and the in the next virtually disappears while letting the music speak for itself. She pours everything she has into her performance, and evokes joy and sorrow in equal measure, depending on the song. I found myself laughing in delight at her antics on one song and then fighting back tears in another. The guitarists, Miko and Omi, trade back and forth with riffs and leads and solos in an amazing display of synchronicity, each one seemingly capable of virtuostic performance but always using their talents to further the song instead of bringing attention to themselves. Miko also shares co-lead vocals on some songs and sings harmony. Where Jyou’s voice is powerful, Miko’s more bell-like, providing a crystal clear contrast to the often raw emotion in Jyou’s performance. Omi occasionally adds background growls. Naoto on bass is the most unassuming. She stands in the back, often in shadow, and seems very shy. During the band introductions, she simply bows when her name is mentioned and that’s it. Like she’s saying, ”Don’t look at me. Just listen.” Which is good advice, because her bass playing is fantastic. She plays a 5-string bass and has a nice, thick tone. Depending on the song, she can thump, she can rumble, she can chug. She can also play some flat-out beautiful progressive runs (I don’t know if that’s what they’re actually called, but that’s what it sounds like to me, as she nimbly moves from note to note in an ever-ascending scale). Mally on drums is a machine. She and Naoto are lifelong friends and their familiarity with each other shows in how they lock in to form a tight rhythm section. Mally never stops. Whether it’s double bass, cymbal work, or fills, she’s always moving and doing something. I loved watching her play, as she would often break into a huge grin from the sheer joy of doing what she loves. Together as a band, the five of them demonstrated incredible timing. As I mentioned about Miko and Omi using their skills to serve the song instead of their egos, the band as a whole does that, too. While their songs might sound simple, that simplicity is deceiving. Watching them perform and seeing how locked-in they are, it’s obvious they have the chops to be progrock virtuosos, but they use that talent to create songs that are both catchy and intricate. So much going on, it’s amazing. On July 28, the band is doing a live broadcast of the one man show for their latest release, THIS IS NOW. I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch it live due to the time difference, but maybe they’ll record it and release it on DVD like they did with this show (which was also originally broadcast live internationally). They are just a fantastic band and put on an excellent show.

    bhg70 さん |40代