In recent times, Japan has been amazing everyone the world over with its ability to produce a seemingly endless supply of high-quality music acts. From J-Pop acts with catchy tunes to unique punk and rock bands who get crowds jumping, Japanese music is seen as innovative, daring, and versatile.
Now we have the wonderful rock band ‘Band Maid’ and their first full-length studio album “Just Bring It”. They will perform in Shibuya, Tokyo on November 28th, 2017, so definitely try and see them if you can! It is sure to be a very fun evening!
For those of you who are not aware, Band Maid is a five-piece all-female rock band based in Tokyo. Since their formation in 2013 and the release of their Youtube video for the song “Thrill”, they have been continually attracting a worldwide following.
This is quite an incredible achievement for a band hailing from Japan and whose main lyrical compositions are written in Japanese, so what is it that makes Band Maid so unique? Founder Miku Kobato has the answer. She worked in one of the many maid cafes in Tokyo where she was trained in the kawaii or cute maid culture in a place where customers pay for various activities such as having the maids sing songs to them or draw hearts with ketchup in their food among other things.
On her way home from the café, she would then listen to metal bands such as Maximum the Hormone. Band Maid was born out of this contrast between submissive and cute girls dressed as maids whilst at the same time performing powerful rock songs with catchy melodies and dirty metal riffs.
— @JRock_USARock (@Jrock_USArock) October 22, 2016
I had the pleasure of watching Band Maid last year when they embarked on their world tour for promoting their album “Brand New MAID”. The fans in this several hundred capacity venue gathered in anticipation for an intimate concert.
As soon as I went in, I flew past everyone milling around the pub and bought a Band Maid t-shirt. Wearing this proudly, I headed for the performance area. With a crowd of metal heads, punk teenagers and young women in cute outfits, this was not a crowd of only comic con or idol fans. Suddenly without notice, the members of the band, dressed in their maid outfits appeared on the stage and this was met with a roar of excitement from the crowd below. “Hello Masters and Princesses” said Miku to all her devoted fans. “WE ARE BAND MAID” she shouted to further jubilation!
Bursting with confidence and energy, these girls have a strong stage persona. They play their own instruments too. As they got into popular songs “Thrill” and “Real Existence”, the crowd started surging forward and created mosh pits and head banging. Saiki’s incredible vocals hypnotized the crowds and many people were singing along to the Japanese lyrics which showed that good music has no language barriers.
Also, “Order” got the crowd charged up because part the chorus is in English and this was then combined with another one of Kanami’s high speed solos which she played right up in front of the crowd and made the whole place a sea of lights as everyone whipped out their phones to photograph this epic moment.
During the middle of the performance, Miku addressed the crowd by saying “Moi moi kyun kyun”(no literal translation but it has a nuance of feeling cute) to the crowd which has become part of Band Maid’s signature. When all the band members introduced themselves towards the end, the crowd seemed already to know their names and were familiar with all of them. I find this proof that the fabric of Band Maid is very much the entire quintet.
The new album lived up to my expectations. “Just Bring It” was released in January, 2017. The girls do not waste time with any cheesy ballads and get right into the gritty hard rock sound. Several of the songs such as “Don’t You Tell Me”, “So, What?” and “YOLO” maintain the hard rock genre of their music with metal riffs and Misa’s intricate bass lines.
I like that they have chosen to continue with the sound from previous albums. That does not mean that the album is entirely homogenous. Listen to “OOPARTS” for a song that has pop rock feel but with a catchy melody without losing any creative ability or “Puzzle” with its electronic beginning. My personal favourite from the new album is “Take Me Higher!!” with Akane’s intense drum breakdown and Kanami’s guitar solo at the start plus other tempo changes to surprise the listener.
Check out their website and social media (links at the end of the article). Slowly but surely, Band Maid are fulfilling their stated aim of “world domination”!
If you are in Tokyo this winter, you are in for a treat! Band Maid will be performing at the popular venue Shibuya Cyclone as part of its 20th Anniversary celebrations. This concert will take place on Tuesday 28th November, 2017.
Doors will open at 18.30 pm and the concert will begin at 19.00 pm! It is likely to be a popular concert so make sure you book tickets! For more information on tickets and prices, check out the Shibuya Cyclone schedule here.
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