exist†trace - Just Like a Virgin - Shibuya O-WEST 2012/06/23 - ONE MAN - LIVE REPORT

On that Saturday we arrived in Shibuya to meet a friend and her colleague from my crazy goth/industrial clubbing days back in SA. Our intent was to see Artema at Shibuya Aube. Due to delays, when we finally made it, Artema had played and the venue was sold out. Dejected, we decided to walk around Shibuya a bit, giving the tourists a taste of my favorite part of Tokyo. We strolled up the club row in Dougenzaka to see that exist†trace was having their Just Like a Virgin One Man. I had completely forgotten that they were playing or we would have rushed there sooner. As they say, better late than pregnant.

We paid our yens and entered a rather packed O-West in time to catch the last 9 songs or so. It was money very well spent. exist†trace have always been an awesome band. I have been a fan of theirs from back in the Annunciation - The Heretic Elegy days and my support has not wavered. I have however not seen them live in a long ass time. I had forgotten just how good they were. Especially live. The show must have been great value for money as we arrived just before halfway and that was still a full show by many live's standards. They had a level of stamina that many hardcore bands would be jealous of.

This is the first time I ever heard any of their new stuff. They have matured and so has their sound. You can see that they are exploring the new musical ideas as one would expect of independent musicians. It would seem that at least sound wise, they have given themselves more room to grow. The fact that their label lets them do this shows that they are valued quite a bit above the growing number of all girl VK bands. To be fair, the only reason all girl VK is growing so fast is because bands like exist†trace laid the groundwork. It took long enough for them to break through the closed mindedness of many VK fans and allowed a slew of other bands to blossom in their wake. That said. For a band of their calibre it surprises me that they are still only playing venues the size of O-West. Quality wise they are easily O-East material.

In all it was a pleasant surprise. I had wanted to see them again and I got my chance. I could also enjoy the live with my lady. I could introduce Japanese Rock and a side of Japan most tourists (who aren't already fans) never see to my friend and her colleague with one of the better acts out there.

For photos and a Japanese report check here.