Live Review: Veltpunch @ Shindaita FEVER (2011.12.03)
A while back my friend Vish wrote up a live review for an in-store live by thai kick murph. This past Saturday, he and Ryotaro (Kulu Kulu Garden) caught Veltpunch's one-man show at Shindaita FEVER. Here's his live report:
Dec 3, 2011 - I discovered Veltpunch on the internet and they became one of my favourite bands in the Tokyo indie scene. Last weekend, I finally got the chance to see them live. Ryotaro (of Kulu Kulu Garden, and editor of NMFT Vol.3's promo) was kind enough to accompany me to Shindaita Fever to see this long awaited performance. The venue, which used to be a supermarket, was packed and I managed to get the both of us in for free! I have a friend who personally knows Veltpunch's manager and he was able to get us onto the (super) guest list. XD
The band emerged from the storeroom and started off by playing Killer Smile, a song booming with energy and agreat way to start a gig.
They have a strong presence on stage and they really get the audience involved. At one point, the guitarist, Seiji, held out bristol boards with the lyrics, 'I wannabe your sex friend' and 'I gave up rock star' so everyone could chant along. He then walked into the crowd with the mic and got members of the audience to sing along until he brought one shy fan onto the stage with him to continue chanting and improvise some goofy dancing. Afterwards the singer, Hidenori, dove into the crowd as he was playing a guitar solo and continued to do so while riding the waves and later passed out his guitar out for another round.
They ended up playing two encores and the first one started with Seiji unexpectedly coming out into the crowd, from behind the bar, with an acoustic guitar and harmonica. He then went on to perform 'Free Falling' and encouraged all to join in. When they all got back onto the stage, they set the energy level to 11 and kicked ass for the rest of the night. The old drummer joined the band to perform their short piece 'Kill the Club DJ,'which was nice to see and they ended off by throwing confetti into the audience. There was a really good sense of community at the gig and I was so absorbed that looking at the time afterwards, I couldn't believe that three hours went by so quickly.
Veltpunch often mixes soothing vocals with screaming and it works really well as they don't overdo the screaming. The structures of many of their songs have a lot of variety and don't follow the verse -> chorus -> verse -> chorus formula. The songs often change drastically without really sounding jarring or disorienting. All members of the band also make a contribution with their vocals and style and they really send off a sense of unity. In their track 'Toriton' there's a few measures of Ode to Joy towards the end which is really cute. Their music can be compared to an alchemical concoction on the verge of explosion but with all the right ingredients and just the right amounts to make their compositions just barely and outrageously stable.
Ryotaro was a bit skeptical of Veltpunch's level of awesomeness before the show. He watched a few videos on youtube and told me that many of his peers aren't fans so he didn't have much of an impression on them. After the show, he walked out an avid fan. Videos and CDs don't always do a band justice. You have to see them up close and personal, in an intimate venue such as Fever, in order to feel the raw energy and take in their real personalities. And one thing Veltpunch does well is radiate uninhibited feelings. If you're in Tokyo or plan on coming here in the near future, I would highly recommend watching Veltpunch live. You won't regret it.
killer smile Dance Dance Dance Don't Dance your pink clothes Cheap Disco“13 steps” 酷い悪臭を放つ黒のダウンコートとコーデュロイのパンツを身につけ、お前はただただ自己嫌悪の無駄遣いをしているだけの事だ トリトン The sweetest CRAWL Fighting Pose クライマーズ ハイ KAION 止 光景 irony HINOIRIのテーマ 百人町 Mouse Of The Pain The panty makes me crazys (ex-VELTPUNCH) Your Corolla FREE FALLING(A dolphin, is there?) ※姫野アンプラグド Kill the CLUB DJ ※ゲストVo.遠藤 Sports Cyndi...come back DIC954 CRASH CRASH CRASH
Thanks Vish! Veltpunch kill live and are definitely worth going out of your way to watch in concert. The trouble is they seem to play shows so infrequently nowadays. I've only seen them once back in 2009 when they were touring for the release of "Paint Your Life Gray." They never seem to play when I'm in Japan or I end up missing their shows by just a couple of days. I can see how Ryotaro and his friends might dismiss Veltpunch as major-label wannabes playing radio-friendly arena-rock fluff. But what I love about Veltpunch is that they're a melodic hardcore band at heart and no matter how polished their releases have become over the years the raw, aggressive and emotive side to them remains unfaltered. And this aspect of the band is definitely more evident during their fierce live performances. It's too bad Endo quit the band b/c he did 90% of the gitteral screaming. Has Seiji taken over yelling duties? I don't think the older songs will ever sound the same without Endo's signature freakouts. But at least the new drummer has incredibly badass technique/skills.
Thanks again for the review!
I'm back in Japan Dec 16-Jan 2. On Dec 18, I was trying to decide between watching Charan-Po-Rantan w/ はこモーフ @ Shimokita Garage or スカートの中 @ Shinjuku Red Cloth. But after reading your review I might make the trek to Kyoto since Veltpunch are playing a 2-man show with OUTATBERO @ club Metro.