An Unsatisfying Goodbye: Review of Kagrra,’s “LAST LIVE” DVD

Kagrra, was a visual kei band known for their “Neo Japanese” style, combining a Western rock sensibility with traditional Japanese visual and musical elements such as kimono, koto, sensu, and magatama (the “comma” at the end of the band name). They were a unique thread in the tapestry of Japanese music for 11 years, then in 2010 they announced their plans to disband, releasing their final album in February 2011 and holding their final performance at Shibuya C.C. Lemon in March 2011. Unfortuantely, the “LAST LIVE” DVD lacks the spark that one would expect from a final live performance, has poor technical quality, and even cuts out elements that fans expect from any live DVD, leaving the viewer unsatisfied with the overall experience and uncertain about the DVD’s value as a collection piece.


The DVD opens as the band takes to the stage. The stage itself is simply set: other than a projector screen behind the band, there’s nothing to take attention away from the band itself. Isshi (vocals) comes to the stage last and the band gets right into “Kotodama.” It’s energetic and fun, a great way to open a concert and get everyone into the mood. The band then moves into “Afurase Tanmaina” with its striking combination of heavy sound and delicate acoustic guitar. “Gen’ei no Katachi” gives us a great solo and some fun crowd interaction from Nao (bass), then the band goes into the more nostalgic-sounding “Shiroi Mashu,” and finally “Rin” begins to take the tempo down a bit.

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Acid Black Cherry 2009 tour Q.E.D. DVD Review

Written by Erin Grace

Acid Black Cherry is the brainchild and solo project of yasu, vocalist from Janne de Arc.  Although yasu has recruited several different j-rock artists for A.B.C. albums and singles, playing with him for the “Q.E.D.” tour are Akihide from BREAKERZ (guitar), Yuki from DUSTAR-3 (guitar), Shuse from La’cryma Christi (bass), and Junji from Siam Shade (drums).  The DVD features the final live of the tour, at the Nihon Budoukan. 

The concert opens with the quietly energetic strings from “Mother” and a shot of the stage covered by a huge curtain shaped like what appears to be the Virgin Mary.  Although watching the Q.E.D. concept video on disc 2 makes it obvious that the curtain-statue is actually the Black Maria, watching it ascend at the beginning of the concert to reveal the band is so full of Japa-cheezy religious non-significance that I can hardly stomach it.  

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