Feb 15

[live report] the GazettE–A Live for the GazettE Virgins

I may remember January 14, 2012 as the day I discovered the soft, gooey, gross affection I have for the GazettE. That’s right folks, a live performance made me like a band I had never really heard before. All signs pointed to disliking this band simply for the fact that they’re a new school, post-Dir en grey scream fest. But damn it, they’re a good new school, post-Dir en grey scream fest. Intentionally or not, the band proved that certain J-rock aficionadas (me) need to stop reading fansites that shun bands for being heavily influenced by certain, more seasoned groups, and start embracing them for who they are.

The Live Tour 11-12 Venomous Cell – Final – Omega’s set started out strong, with songs from their latest album, Toxic, heralding in the grimy theme of the show. Songs like “VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB” are quick in tempo, but the texture of the guitar riffs and synth give the melody a slightly sticky feeling, as if your mind is caught on a giant, musical sheet of fly paper. The autotune in “VORTEX,” despite the fact that it’s the dreaded autotune, adds to this to make it sound like Ruki’s voice is being filtered through poisonous tree sap.

From the nasally barks to the dueling guitars, these songs speak to that angst-ridden demonic filth that lurks deep within all of our souls, whether we admit it exists or not. I don’t think I’m the only one who hears a variation of the drums from Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People” when Kai starts thumping away on “MY DEVIL IN THE BED.” And that was not the only thing that harkens back to the late-90s’ king of cybergoth’s disturbing sexuality; the chorus of pre-recorded female voices proudly taunted, “Let’s have sex in the darkness!” amongst less PG-13 musings from Ruki.

These numbers that fluctuated between dirty to pervy to downright nasty were obviously well put together in the composition and production phases, and equally well done in the performance that evening. But every once in a while, a song would sneak in that sounded out of place in terms of sincere grossness factor. The band decided to toss in tunes like “CLEVER MONKEY” that lacked the texture and attitude they had originally sold me on. Upon post-concert research (read: talking to a the GazettE fan), I discovered these were their older tunes. While they were performed with the same approach as the newer ones, it’s quite obvious these were from a time when the band had not yet found their footing on the mountain of musical goo they were trying to scale.

And this is why I was glad I heard the band’s music in this stage of their career and not before. Approaching this show as a the GazettE virgin, I was prepared to have my ears violated maliciously, but was surprised to find I liked having my preconceived notions violated like that. A few of the tunes may be thinly veiled homages to a couple older artists who have been doing the grime and slime for years, but hey, I like those acts too.The diehards can cherish the older tracks on their own while I keep my pervy eyes and ears peeled for newer material.

Official the GazettE website – http://www.sonymusic.co.jp/Music/Arch/SR/gazette/