At A-kon 22′s Q&A session for the visual kei band D on June 11, vocalist Asagi revealed that they chose their name based on the feeling the letter evoked, which was akin to an echo. But from their previous night’s performance—their first U.S. performance, D might as well have stood for drama.
Clad in black corseted outfits, the band strutted on-stage to a techno beat, posing before taking up their instruments. They opened with the gothic metal “Der König der Dunkelheit” from their latest album Vampire Saga.“ Stone-faced band members swayed while Asagi twirled his cape and gestured fervently. He appeared to be their vampire king, commanding them to march through and invade Dallas, Texas. During “Yami no Kuni no Alice,” he sang, “I wanna take you away,” inviting the audience into D’s mysterious world. Those accepting Asagi’s invitation would find D’s wonderland to be equally majestic and sinister.
Hiroki hammered a frenetic beat on “Guardian” as Asagi raced along with growls, screeches and his soaring tenor. Ruiza jumped to center stage, struck a pose, and delivered a wailing guitar solo that rose above the drums. For “Night-ship D,” Asagi commanded the audience to “wave [your] flag or your beautiful hands.” A visual kei tradition, many bands choose a song and add choreography involving flags or other props that fans purchase before the show. D’s American fans didn’t disappoint as they filled the air with circling flags.
“Yoru no Me to Ginyushijin” featured Ruiza and Hide-zou on acoustic guitars; the pacing, pauses and intertwining melodies reminiscent of medieval balladry. If “Yoru no Me to Ginyushijin” represented the gentle beauty of a rose—a symbol D said they loved to use for its duality, then “Hana Madoi” would be the painful thorns, ripping with fast energy.
Throughout the evening, Asagi seamlessly switched between a wide range of vocals: lower-pitch singing, primal growls and screams, and operatic falsetto. He even howled like a wolf in “Toki no Koe” and screamed for the audience to do the same.
For the encore, D transported everyone to the Far East with “Ouka Saki Some ni Keri.” Asagi, who changed into a red kimono, fanned fake sakura petals that seemed to fall in time with the rapid notes of the koto accompaniment. Ruiza played his solo with a huge grin, savoring every note he played while keeping tempo. The chugging guitar riffs blended with the koto, bringing together western and eastern sounds. This merging reflected A-kon’s mission of bringing Japanese culture to Dallas, and it was the perfect finale to D’s unforgettable first U.S. performance.
1. Der König der Dunkelheit
2. Yami no Kuni no Alice
4. 7th Rose
6. Night-ship “D”
7. Yoru no Me to Ginyuushijin
8. Hana Madoi
9. In the Name of Justice
10. Toki no Koe
11. Yami Yori Kurai Doukoku no Acapella to Bara Yori Akai Jounetsu no Aria
Encore: Ouka Saki Some ni Keri
Nina Chin of Babel Entertainment