Title / Artist
J-rock Explosion 2014 Battle Of The Brave - Dead East at Meguro Rockmaykan
Date: 2015.02.15
Artist:   Ecthelion   Avanchick   Chronogear   Jojou Shijuusou "KANON"  
Date of Concert: 2014.11.21
Image © 2014 Danger Crue
Jrock Explosion is by now a tradition in the Japanese Visual Kei scene. Promoted by Danger Crue (home of bands such as girugamesh, MUCC, DIV and many others), the months-long battle among Visual kei acts gives the winning bands the chance to be promoted by the label and play in front of a big audience of potential fans.

Last year victory went to SRASH NOTES GARDEN (as we reported here) on the Tokyo side. This year, the final show of the Tokyo leg, titled "DEAD EAST", took place at the cozy Meguro Rockmaykan, a small livehouse with a long tradition of Visual Kei lives.

The four bands playing had been selected through an Internet vote. Fans packed the venue for this free show, ready to support and vote their favorite act; the official mascot of the initiative, Gekiko, delivered a short speech on the voting system, and then the venue was plunged in the dark, ready for the live.
The four bands created a very interesting show, with each one carrying on stage its own personal style.

We unfortunately couldn't get a hold of the setlist, but the top batter opened the live with a dark style, leather and screams. Vocalist NOAH revealed a surprising deep voice, his small figure notwithstanding. The band formed only in July 2014, but counts quite a few fans for such a young band, thanks to its members being known from previous acts (some readers might remember guitarist Otake, previously in CindyKate).
As usual in Jrock Explosion, all bands have to perform a cover by a Danger Crue artist; the cover this band chose was [Mousou Nikki] by SID, a jazzy piece that was transformed for the occasion in a much more rawer song.

Chronogear brought on stage darkness and weirdness and loud, screamo-influenced Visual Kei. The band entered the stage over an electronic SE, while fans in the first rows called the band members in death voice. The blindfolded vocalist Tsukumo incited the crowd with a "Everybody, clap your hands!" in English, and their set-list started with the ultra-fast [BELVA]; the band thus revealed a dry, futuristic, mechanic sound that carried on to the following [BLACK OUT], with its coordinated headbanging between vocalist and audience.
"Thank you for all your votes! - said Tsukumo - But before fighting, let's have fun!"; the announcement was followed by a new song, [Cocytus]. Chronogear is most likely a band that proves its true talent in a live setting, with songs that are loud, mean and perfect to get wild, as in a true rock party. With the words "It's the last song! Thank you so much!", Chronogear concluded the set with the mandatory cover: they were the only one to choose girugamesh, with [Owari to Mirai]. The already quite heavy song got an even angrier make-over, where all the spaces were filled with tight drums and bass beats by Suzuya and Yukito.

Jojou Shijuusou "KANON" -叙情四重奏「カノン」 (OHP)
This band with a rather long name (the first part of which can be translated as "lyricism quartet") formed in May 2014, and sports a fashionable image enhanced by the neat, clean style of the handsome members.
The four of them opened the set with the usual cover; with the curtain still closed, the venue was filled by the notes of [Milk], an older guitar-based ballad by SID, perfectly suiting the band's pure image and vocalist You's sweet voice.
"Clap your hands! Let's have fun!" he yelled taking a megaphone, and fists were raised in the air for the half distorted, half airy [Gunjou]; while the energy level was undoubtedly high, compared to the previous two acts KANON retained a more melodic style, mixed with rock influences. "Tokyo! We are Jojou Shiijuusou KANON! Thank you all for coming. We are having a lot of fun! -said the vocalist, greeting also the online viewers on the NicoNico Douga livestream - There are a lot of people who don't know us, but we hope you will enjoy yourselves!". The band then played their first single, the piano-opened [Ame no Shuuressha]; a pleasant and refreshing song with a melancholic undertone, built on Mikage's fast-paced drumming, it perfectly exemplified the nature of KANON. "We were really happy to be here today! Last song!" said You, and the band concluded the set with [Muchi to shitto to akai ito], a faster and slightly heavier piece with an Eastern mood, framed by bass and guitar.

Ecthelion formed in 2013, making it the longest running band of the evening, and it is slowing climbing the numbers in the Visual Kei scene, with a 2015 oneman planned at the recently opened Shinjuku ReNY.
This power unit of six members opened the setlist with the mandatory cover, choosing the slow [Binetsu] by SID, a sweet ballad dotted with mellow guitar lines. The atmosphere changed with the start of the real set; Ecthelion plays a bright, poppish rock influenced by electronica and vocaloid flavors. The liveliness and energy of the songs is reflected in the furitsuke, that engaged the fans in a mix of jumps, headbanging and flowery hand movements. Their typical style was perfectly reflected in their first original track, their most recent single [Tensei Rave], which saw guitarist Kizashi getting playfully closer to manipulator Seba, perfectly fitting the windy and lighthearted mood of the song.
"We are Ecthelion. Thank you for all the votes!" said vocalist miu, updating the crowd on the band's following live activities. Then it was time for the usual funny sketch by guitarist Asakurapton, who always performs entertaining imitations related to Japanese pop culture (often with the help of bassist LiO) or makes fun of the other members.
The musical part of the show went on with [Ray] and its sunny, electronic refrain that sent the crowd jumping, leaving space to a twin guitar solo. [PSG-1] mixed dance elements and rock guitars, with fans running from one side of the venue to the other in a well rehearsed choreography, encouraged by the members on stage. "Let's go! Last song!" announced the vocalist, and the youthful, dazzling ["Hello World] proved to be the perfect conclusion for the live.

At the end of the show, after a short pause needed to count the votes, the winner of the Tokyo side of J-rock Explosion was announced.
The result included both online and offline votes; the victory went to Jojou Shijuusou KANON, with 15600 points. Ecthelion came very close with 14500 points, while the last two bands showed a slightly larger voting gap, with Avanchick at 12600 points and Chronogear at 11800 points.

The winning band had the chance to battle the Osaka side winner, umbrella, at Esaka Muse in December, with umbrella eventually winning Jrock Explosion at large.

Once again, J-rock Explosion proved to be an interesting and fun event, giving the chance to both fans and musicians alike to share new bands and sounds with other Visual Kei lovers, while winking back at tradition with the cover rule. Everyone is surely looking forward to the 2015 edition, wondering what new bands it will help us discover! Don't forget to follow the J-rock Explosion officil Twitter account if you don't want to miss the updates!


Avanchick (アヴァンチック)
no selist available

Chronogear (クロノギア)
1) ベルヴァ (BELVA)
3) コキュートス (Cocytus)
4) 終わりと未来(Owari to Mirai, girugamesh cover)

Jojou Shijuusou "KANON" (叙情四重奏「カノン」)
1) ミルク(Milk, SID Cover)
2) 群青 (Gunjou)
3) 雨の終列車 (Ame no Shuuressha)
4) 鞭と嫉妬と赤い絲 (Muchi to shitto to akai ito)

【Ecthelion 】-エクセリオン -
1) 微熱 (Binetsu, SID Cover)
2) 天帝レイヴ (Tensei Rave)
3) Ray
4) PSG-1
5) “Hello World”
Author: Diletta F.
last update: 2015-04-02