On May 22, the great Japanese girls band SCANDAL held a concert at House of Blues Sunset Strip.
08:00PM. The SCANDAL members walked onto stage with the jazz standard “Take the ‘A’ Train” playing in the background. After bowing, the members took their spots. In the audience, there were teenagers and fans in their 20s, but also people that came with their families.
The 1st song was “love in action” from their latest album “HELLO WORLD.” The song began with RINA’s powerful drums. Bass TOMOMI’s adorable voice and vocal HARUNA’s clear voice create a wonderful harmony. SCANDAL concerts are fun to watch not just because of their music, but because of their fashion styles as well. Their rough-styled outfits seemed simple, and yet very fashionable.
Following was “サティスファクション (Satisfaction).” Both the members and fans clapped together on the beat. The heavy rock vibe of the guitar solo was memorable, having contrast to the more “pop” verses.
HARUNA shouted “Are you ready? Everybody scream!” The 3rd song was their major debut single “DOLL.” Back then, SCANDAL performed in schoolgirl uniforms; seven years have passed since then, and all of the members are now in their mid-20s. The green and purple lights shined the entire venue as fans spun their towels around during the chorus. The sense of unity between the band and the fans was splendid.
HARUNA stirred the crowd once again, shouting “What’s up LA?! Let’s have fun!” The following song was “瞬間センチメンタル (Shunkan Sentimental).” This song was used as the ending theme for “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST.” I’m sure many fans learned about SCANDAL through this anime. The harmony of the chorus reminded me of the Japanese girls band boom of the late 1980s~1990s. During MAMI’s guitar solo, HARUNA and TOMOMI walked towards RINA.
The members faced their backs to the audience as the intro of the next song began. The 5th song was “SCANDAL BABY” from their 1st album “BEST★SCANDAL.” MAMI and TOMOMI went towards the center, surrounding HARUNA. RINA kept her smile as she played the drums; the smiles they show while playing are priceless.
Following was “下弦の月(Kagen no Tsuki).” RINA used mallets to begin the song with cymbal rolls; MAMI’s familiar guitar riff followed. The colorful glow sticks illuminated the venue.
Once the 6th song ended, HARUNA began to speak. “We just got to LA yesterday. It’s been four years! We went to Venice Beach! Shopping! We had a good time!” The fans showed even more excitement after hearing her speak in English. She continued to introduce each band member. SCANDAL members are tremendously cool when they are playing music, but the cuteness when they speak is overwhelming as well.
The following song was “お願いナビゲーション (Onegai Navigation)” from the latest album. HARUNA showed an ear-to-ear grin as she went closer to the audience. “本を読む (Hon wo Yomu)” followed. It’s a song that makes you want to skip around on a Sunday afternoon. Under hectic lights, “缶ビール (Canned Beer)” began. Like the title, there was a fan having a good time while holding a beer in his hand. SCANDAL has many songs that have a reminiscent feel; MAMI’s guitar sound especially reminds me of the Japanese bands in the 1990s.
The following song was a complete opposite of the previous three songs. It was “おやすみ (Oyasumi),” a song RINA composed. Fans called out for RINA as she picked up a guitar and stood with the other members. It’s truly surprising how all SCANDAL members have splendid singing voices. The shoe-gazer atmosphere of this song makes it a perfect number to listen to before going to sleep.
The sound of a music box surrounded the venue. The 11th song was “Departure,” a song that must mean a lot to fans who have watched the band grow through the years. HARUNA quietly thanked the fans at the end.
The 12th song “太陽と君が描く STORY (Taiyo to Kimi ga Egaku STORY)” changed the mood of the venue entirely. There was a fan who screamed, “I love you!” in the height of excitement. SCANDAL lives are great because even those who are not familiar with the band can still have a fun time; the local staff moving along with the rhythm seemed to prove this point.
“夜明けの流星群 (Yoake no Ryuseigun)” followed. This song was used for “Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction,” so the young children showed delight upon hearing the intro. The song portrays a gentle atmosphere that only girl bands can express.
The next song was the B-side of the previous single: “Your song.” The fast tempo of this song is perfect for the coming summer season. HARUNA and MAMI face each other to play the guitar. When HARUNA shouted, “It’s your turn!” fans sang “Wow!” in unity. RINA stands as well, and TOMOMI opens her arms towards the fans.
The 15th song was SCANDAL’s 20th single “Image.” TOMOMI jumped around the stage while carrying the heavy bass. HARUNA thanked the fans, and each member went backstage.
Soon, the audience began to call SCANDAL’s name, anticipating an encore. As the members came back on stage, the fans sang “Happy Birthday.” MAMI had turned 25 the day before this show. MAMI joked happily that it was her “happy birthday week,” so the next day and the following day would also be her birthday. HARUNA promised that the band will come back to Los Angeles, and ended by stating, “The next song is a very precious song for us.”
This precious song was the song released in 2013, “会わないつもりの元気でね (Awanai tsumori no, genki dene).” The members were filled with energy; it was impossible to think that they had already performed 15 songs. A club-music intro began: the final song was a fan-favorite “EVERYBODY SAY YEAH!” Both the members and the fans seemed to be having a great time, dancing along to the music.
At the end, HARUNA held up an American flag that fans had signed before the concert. All the members had huge smiles on their faces as they head backstage. With that, the 16-song show ended. I cannot wait until SCANDAL comes back to Los Angeles with even more energy than ever before.
★★★Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi sat down to SCANDAL for an interview on May 22nd before their show @House of Blues Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, make sure to check out this interview video below! ★★★
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