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Mar 23

[live report] HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR @ Shibuya Club Quattro

Written by Sarah Dworken

Meet HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR. Or rather, meet the new HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR.

I’m well aware that this band has some decent exposure in the English-speaking world. From their relatively frequent appearances at anime conventions to their involvement in popular anime soundtracks, at the very least, the overseas anime fans seem to be pretty familiar with their set. The band is even scheduled to play at Sakura-Con in Seattle, Washington, on April 3. That in itself is not terribly unfamiliar to most Japanese music lovers. A smooth, pop-rock vocalist is superimposed over metal guitar shredding, walking bass, and even a bat-out-of-hell screaming vocal harmony.

For most bands of this nature, they seem like a mere formula to serve an anime fandom that loves to easily digest music while ogling the flashy colors on their TV screens. Throw in a cute girl as the lead vocalist and you have a perfectly designed band for legions of specifically male otaku.

But that’s not H&MC. Granted, they have the formula down, and could even arguably be cited as the band that popularized the sub genre of pop-metal. However, H&MC has become something more than the predictable, especially with the addition of vocalist HALCA after Maakii officially departed from the band in late 2008.

HALCA was introduced in May 2009 after an audition process that weeded out other rock hopefuls for the coveted spot in H&MC’s lineup. Obviously, the band was searching for someone who could maintain that adorable cuteness that seems to only be possible in Japan while at the same time provide vocals that could knock your socks off. Gone was the safe, strictly pop sound of Maakii’s voice. It was time for the band to take a risk with someone who is not all coy smiles and deceptive hip wiggles.

When the band performed with HALCA on March 13 with Night Light Parade Vol. 1.1: One of the new beginning, the audience could easily read that the atmosphere was completely different. The stage at Shibuya Club Quattro in Tokyo was simple: a few colored back-lights and amps piled up served as the set. The band came out without much flare or theatrics, looking more like a group of metal-head kids going to an impromptu jam session after school. Even HALCA and Yuusuke (self-proclaimed machine gun vocals) looked completely and utterly regular in hoodies. If you saw them strolling down the street in any part of Tokyo, you wouldn’t think they were top-selling rock artists.

The predominantly male fans hooted and hollered, welcoming HALCA with seemingly open arms. HALCA stood meekly at first, nervously brushing her waist-length hair out of her face or adjusting her hoodie a bit too noticeably. She was green at her worst, but entirely endearing in her newness. When she opened her mouth, it was immediately apparent that HALCA was not just another timid little thing they thrust onto the stage to appease the legions of fan boys.

HALCA had the power very few female vocalists in Japan can boast. Smooth and raw all at once, she belted out notes with a natural clarity that just cannot be taught. She felt entirely comfortable with the more metal numbers, allowing a welcome contrast between her voice and Yuusuke’s nu-metal screaming and occasional rapping. While her voice disappeared under MEG’s shredding guitar when she was supposed to hit the lower notes, HALCA managed to pull off more vocally than her tiny frame and demeanor would suggest.

This was just one of the many welcome changes to HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR. Surrendering nearly all pre-recorded synthesizers or pop-rock sensibilities, they let their metal demons out of their cages like vengeful, deranged zookeepers. H&MC brought forth songs that required excessive amounts of headbanging. The crowd swirled in a mess of hair and raised fists. Even a lone elderly woman in the back put her hand in the air and gave the devil horns.

It’s not just their rediscovered metal sound that will gain them respect and a relatively more hardcore audience. With the addition of HALCA, they have more range to grow and develop into a band that appeals to anyone from the metal to the J-pop camps. HALCA will eventually grow out of her slightly demure stage presence to become a powerhouse who commands that stage. Anime fans will enjoy H&MC’s performance at Sakura-Con, but the band will certainly be performing there for a more eclectic audience.

Let your long, flowing ,Metallica pre-1996 hair down, bring out your devil horns, and prepare to meet the new HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR.

Official HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR Website – http://www.HandMC.jp
HMC at JapanFiles – http://www.JapanFiles.com/highandmightycolor

1 comment

  1. joseryuk

    wow son geniales las fotos que pusieron se ven super !!!;yo soy de Perú y super fanatika de HandMC ^o^.

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