BAND-MAID (バンド-メイド) celebrated its 10th Anniversary Tour concert to a sold-out show at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA last month!
The bustling venue was jam-packed with fans nestled shoulder-to-shoulder and filling in every nook and cranny, from the front barricade to the bar at the back of the house. The merch line near the entrance snaked around, briefly absorbing into a mob, before straightening out and filing back outside. No doubt, fans had been waiting patiently since the doors opened hours earlier. Both men and women came dressed in their best! That is… their best maid dress, lace headband, stockings, and heels. The loud chitter chatter of excitement and anticipation enveloped the air, as fans openly made small talk with other fans, photographers, and even security. It was clear that this was a very friendly and passionate community of music lovers, and this welcoming ambiance translated to the bandmates and their performance, as well. Surprisingly, a warm welcome, just like at a maid café!
Formed in 2013, the 5-member female Japanese heavy metal/rock band consists of Miku Kobato (ミク, singer/guitarist), Saiki Atsumi (彩姫, singer), Kanami Tono (歌波, lead guitarist), Akane Hirose (茜, drummer), and Misa (bassist). Brainchild of Miku-san, who was a former employee at maid café, BAND-MAID is exactly as the name suggests. A band of maids who are ready to rock the town!
Playing into that sentiment, not only do they wear maid attires, each member dons a trope-esque persona. Their concerts are considered as a “serving” (okyuji, お給仕) and they address their fans as “masters” (goshujin-sama, ご主人様) or “princesses” (ojou-sama, お嬢さま).
In what could have been their last album, it was the music video “Thrill” (スリル), released in 2014, that’s been credited as the viral spark that propelled them into the spotlight.
A lot has happened since then. Songs featured in anime including “Glory” from Yu Gi Oh: Vrans, “Different” from Log Horizon: Entaku Houkai, and “Sense” from Platinum End have continued to contribute to their success and popularity, particularly overseas.
Compared to Western rock and metal groups, there are few all-female bands within the past decade that have found the same sort of appeal as BAND-MAID. The members play their own instruments, and especially in recent years, have had more control and freedom in their music, composing, and lyrical writing. Peel away their signature visuals and the one-of-kind maid experience, and you’ll still find a very skillfully proficient and charismatic rock band at the heart.
As the house lights gradually dimmed to a fluorescent violet blue, the intro music began and a sea of hands and camera phones flew up into the air. Cheers erupted as the members strutted up on stage, waving and bowing to the fans. There was a brief silence as the music faded out. And, not even a moment to take it all, Kanami-san abruptly strummed the first chord of “DOMINATION,” releasing a wave of energy and screams among the crowd. Lead singer, Saiki-san, gestured to the sea of fans, and in perfect synchronization, the audience started fist pumping and yelling to the beat of Akane-san’s drums. The ever-cool Misa-san would occasionally move forward towards the passionate crowd, showcasing her bass skills. And bubbly leader and guitarist, Miku-san bounced back and forth across the stage, while providing backup vocals. The high energy, powerful vocals, and tenacious sound was consistent throughout the two hour performance.
Audience interaction and “Omajinai-Time” has always been one of the highlights of their shows, and this time was no different. “Omajinai-Time is the most important time during okyuji,” and is typically a short intermission during the concert, often led by Miku-san, where they play a game or engage with the audience. “You are trapped with me,” Miku-san playfully scolds the audience, advising that they must all participate and emulate her, else she won’t let them leave. After being abruptly interrupted mid-speech by bandmates to take some silly photos in fun souvenir sunglasses, she yells to her bandmates, “Finished. FINISHED!,” waving them to go away. “This is Omajinai-Time!…My Omajinai-Time!”
With Misa-san on the drums and Miku-san on the mic (with the help of the audience), they were ready to do “battle!” After some instructions, Miku-san goaded the crowd into shouting “Moe, moe!” and “Kyun, kyun!” Moe moe kyun (萌え萌えきゅん) is an onomatopoeia often referred to as an otaku meme or maid-lingo, roughly translated as a cute, happy, or an excited feeling, making your heart skip a beat. At maid cafés it is often uttered while serving customers and has the same meaning as “abracadabra,” sprinkling a little magic onto the meal to make it taste better. The “Moe, moe, kyun, kyun!” grew progressively louder and louder and more frantic with Miku-san screaming at the top of her lungs (almost losing her headband) and Misa-san drumming to the same beat, both headbanging combatively in synchronization. This quintessential dichotomy of a very cute image contrasting with a very aggressive musical style was the essence of BAND-MAID. After winning the decisive “battle,” Miku-san riled up the fans again to shout the famous catchphrase one last time. As they repeated after her, the venue reverberated with “MOE, MOE!” and “KYUN, KYUN!,” leading to the last set of the night. It was undoubtedly a memorable experience for the fans.
Earlier this year, BAND-MAID was on tour with the iconic The Last Rockstars in the US and also performed at Lollapalooza in Chicago, IL. Their 10th Anniversary headlining tour in the US/Mexico included 18 shows, several of which sold out. The final show overseas concluded in Mexico City, Mexico in August 2023, and the band has now returned to Japan to kick of the off the rest of their anniversary tour for the remainder of the year.
Give them a listen at: https://bandmaid.tokyo/
- Don’t you tell ME
- Choose me
- Rock in me
- from now on
- endless Story
- NO GOD