Tuesday, January 19, 2010


[2009.11.03] Trees in Dallas, TX
featuring: Dir en grey

I’ve been fortunate enough to see Dir en grey perform three times: once in Dallas and twice in Houston. So, I was really looking forward to seeing them again. I originally planned on seeing them in the Warehouse in Houston, but I wanted to see another Japanese rock performer that was going to be in Dallas the same date. So, my friends and I decided to try to see both, but only ended up seeing Dir en grey since the other artist postponed his show due to sickness and injury in a previous live in Europe. Anyway, I was trying to make the best out of the situation, despite my negative feelings toward the city of Dallas.

This year, the band wanted to perform in more intimate venues and their schedule was shorter than usual. Normally, they reach out to several cities across the country and Canada, but this time they only covered a couple cities in Texas, Chicago, two cities in California, and New York City, which was a bit disappointing for a few of my friends outside of Texas.

Entering the Trees night club, I checked out the setting of it and it was definitely intimate like the band wanted. Although, I wish the nightclub wasn’t so literal with its name and had trees in random places. It was a little inconvenient for the concert, but I’m sure it’s fine for what usually happenings there. There was a good turn out, which wasn’t surprising, but it was disappointing that the guys were an hour late getting to the stage to perform for us.

Last year was an amazing performance. I felt like the band kept getting better and better on stage and there was this true, passionate connection between them and the fans. Everyone helped each other, aside from a couple rude people who wanted to bring people in the mosh that didn’t want to participate, and they followed directions well by singing when Kyo pointed the microphone out to the audience or chanting in the right areas in a song like “Hydra -666-“ and “Lied Buried with a Vengeance”. They were already my favorite jrock band and their performance then and previous years put them on a higher pedal stool in my mind. This year…was nothing like that at all. Before I comment any further, here’s an unofficial set list I’ve put together after the show in no particular order:
Merciless Cult
HYDRA -666-
Ryoujoku no ame
Lied Buried With a Vengeance
Repetition of Hatred
The Deeper Vileness

Despite the lack of room on stage, the band still had strong energy and Toshiya played up the crowd most of the time. Die usually displays the same movements, but I didn’t notice him being extremely wild like he normally is. Kaoru felt a little more closed off than usual and I felt disconnected to him. Even though Kyo had his usual little stand to deliver his lyrics, I also felt a disconnection from him as well. All the songs slowly meshed together in my head after the show, which made it difficult to put together the set list. I normally don’t have those sorts of problems so soon, but the crowd and setting didn’t help me remember such an important thing. Normally, I remember special moments that happen like the band performing an older song or interacting with the audience in a rare way, but there was none of that. The only moment close to that was when Kyo decided to sing the bridge of “Conceived Sorrow” without the music or his microphone, letting his voice echo in the small venue.

Along with the show being an hour late, which is very unusual for them, the set list seemed shorter than their previous shows. It wasn’t as diverse either. On their later shows in New York and California, they played some of their older songs from Kisou and even a song from their first full-length album GAUZE. I was so upset about the show that I couldn’t listen to Dir en grey for a few weeks. I felt completely unsatisfied and ripped off. I felt no emotional connection, no overwhelming energy taking over the crowd, and no common sense from the Dallas fans.

A few good things about the concert was being able to see them for the fourth, the crowd being excited to see them, Toshiya’s interaction and natural energy surrounding him throughout the show, and the fact they played “Vinushka”, “Toguro”, “Glass Skin,” and “Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemura Koro”. They did make an effort to mix up heavy and somewhat light songs and we spotted Die outside of a bar, which really isn’t part of their performance. The negatives are the fans, the short set list, and the location. The live wasn’t too traumatizing that I never want to see Dir en grey live again like the German pop/rock band Tokio Hotel, but I never want to see them again in Dallas. I hope that I never feel that disappointing feeling from them again when they return.

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