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Aural Vampire!

What is with this recent trend where I am using LJ to post things other than fanfiction?  Madness.  While I'm here, might as well talk about a cool J-rock gig that was on last night.

I don't normally go to gigs, as A. I am not that trendy and B. I have to take pretty good care of my hearing for work. But this gig has a story behind it.  I have something of a vendetta with this band. 

The band in question is Aural Vampire.  It's a Japanese duo, consisting a pretty female vocalist named EXOCHIKA and her crazy mask-wearing counterpart RAVEMAN.  They are pretty much the personification of Japanese industrial music.  Or at least, if someone were to draw a manga about the Japanese club music scene, characters exactly like them would inevtiably turn up in its pages.

This band first entered my life a little over a year ago, when my flatmate found their music on MySpace.  She was an instant, and more importantly, obsessive fan.  One particular song, Innsmouth, quickly became present in my every waking hour. Not because she played it almost constantly, but because it is dangerously catchy.

My All-Time List of 'Catchy songs that stay in my head for MONTHS' goes something like this:

1. Ted E. Bear Waltz 
2. Caramelldansen (Gundam 00 version, woo!)
3. Star Wars Cantina music
4. Persona 3 – Iwatodai Dorm bg track
5. Innsmouth by Aural Vampire (it’s an older, lower quality version, but the toxic catchiness is still there.)

Thus, when I went to Japan last year, I was willingly sent on a quest to find their CD.

Only I could not find this CD anywhere.


I lost count of how many stores I went into looking for this. The few storekeepers I braved asking didn’t know of the band, so I was stuck filtering through the titles myself. Nowhere had it. Not even Tower Records in Shibuya. Tower Records is seven stories of music! They had half a floor dedicated just to soundtracks, and they didn’t have Aural Vampire. I even braved all sorts of seedy underground music stores in Harajuku looking for it!  There were many, many strange looks directed my way.

By the end of it, I wasn’t sure they truly existed. My flatmate had found a PHANTOM BAND.  And yet, here they were, coming to Brisbane.  Phantoms couldn't go on tour, surely!  And especially not to Brisbane.  Nobody comes to Brisbane!  They just sometimes say they're coming, and then cancel at the last minute.

It was not a lie.  They really came.

There they are.  Please excuse my lousy photography.  Lighting in clubs is not good for my feature-poor camera.

In any case, Aural Vampire is as B-grade indie as you can get.  There was maybe about fifty people there, filling perhaps a third of the room, and probably less than half of those had heard of Aural Vampire before.  That said, it was a fantastic performance.  Exochika was pitch-perfect, graceful and stylish, and possessed a commanding stage presence.  And Raveman was just awesome, always doing something crazy in the background.  His mask kept changing.  And in the second last set, they had a cool skit as part of the song, where Exochika would twirl a gun, and Raveman would dive across the stage holding a balloon, and in time with the crack in the music she'd fire and the balloon would pop.  I do not know why I found this so incredibly awesome, but it was.  I swear I was not drunk.

Though it sort of amused me that the SUPPORT act was selling albums, yet Aural Vampire only gave away a home-made remix melody CD with a T-shirt.  Their stuff is pretty much only on iTunes or Myspace, save for one CD released in 2005.  I wish I had known this PRIOR to entering half of the CD stores in Tokyo. -___-

Anyhow, seeing them live left me with a great sense of accomplishment (yet still no official album, dammit).  But the thing about such an eclectic headliner, is that the support acts are a danger.  This was perfectly exemplified by the first supporting act, DJ Saizen. 

Sadly, not the Saizen of the epic pen-spinning variety.  That would have been cool.

Near as I can tell, DJ Saizen has acquired fans ENTIRELY based on weird spectacle and dancing.  Because I'm pretty sure that only masochists would come for the music.

Techno and Electronica are not my preferred genres of music, true.  But I think this was an affront to the genres.  I could have recreated most of those tracks using a bass beat loop and the L2 sound library's collection of tearing metal effects.  Not to sound like an old timer, but it's not music.  It's not even NOISE.  It's something you use to torture people, like nails on a blackboard.  I would feel biased, if I wasn't sure that most of the crowd was with me on that.  They got excited at the slightest change in beat or the barest hint of a melody.  The rest of the time they kind of shuffled, not really sure how to dance to the sound of a train derailment.  A lot of people left.

But hey, rainbow umbrella!


Fortunately the second supporting act, GPKISM, was awesome.

I can't be entirely sure that the music didn't just seem really good because it was such an exponential improvement over the previous act, but I did buy a CD and it still sounds good today, hooray!  Rather typical goth fare.  They were fantastic performers, able to rouse a crowd left disenchanted by the first act.  But the best part was that this band came with a twist.


...Ah, forget it, here's a picture I stole from the official site.

They're actually guys

I was not aware of this until they started singing.  I think every girl in the room experienced a sudden deflation of ego.  They were so pretty.  *__*  Srsly, if I were into celebrity rps, I don't think I could resist slashing them.  They're only about a year old, hopefully they become super-popular! 

Except that they make it difficult to be a wall flower.  They point you out and call you down SPECIFICALLY.  Guys, when this happens, you are a failure as a wallflower.  It's a double-fail.

That aside, it was fascinating.  Melbourne crowd, you still have a chance to see them - they'll be in town tomorrow night!  And Adelaide the night after.  Wear your best lolita/goth attire.  If you dress as a vampire, you may even win a free DVD!  :3  (But turn up late to avoid Saizen.)




( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 17th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
I am not that trendy
THIS IS A LIE. Just sayin'.

ALSO THEIR SONGS. I am immune to girly jrockers I have to say BUT AURAL VAMPIRE AKJSHG :| :| :|
Apr. 17th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
No, seriously, I cannot dance my way out of a wet paper bag. :3

Apr. 17th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
I have never heard of them before o_O
Apr. 17th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
Almost nobody has.

If they ever actually release a freaking album, I suspect this will change.
Apr. 17th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
kasjdfhasdj you saw Aural Vampire live, I am so jealous of you. *___*

Also, this is only half-related to this post, but it's kind of amazingly creepy how we end up hooked to the same things. ♥
Apr. 18th, 2009 01:37 am (UTC)
alsdfkjsfj YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE? *___* ♥

It is, just a little. ♥ But it's also AWESOME.

(eeee, Mitsuru icon~)
Apr. 18th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
asghfasg BUT OF COURSE I AM ALL-KNOWING! I discovered them a while ago, and like you I thought I must be the only person on Earth (apart from their mothers) to have ever heard of them, lol. ♥

(Mitsuru is so pretty, skhfsjdf, she brings out the perverted old man in me *___*)
Apr. 19th, 2009 11:43 am (UTC)
The Teddy E. Bear Waltz sounds fun and catchy. Though at first I was expecting a 3 beat since the title has 'waltz' in it =P

Aural Vampire sounds pretty good as well. I've never really got what industrial music is.
Apr. 19th, 2009 11:54 am (UTC)
Honestly, I don't think even industrial fans know exactly what it is.

Yes, Ted E. Bear Waltz is inappropriately named. It's from Sam and Max, the singing bear heads in Ted E. Bear's Mafia-free Playland and Casino. XD
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )