On July 4, 2015, Wagakki Band performed at Club Nokia. This was the first time for the band to play in the United States; fans had been anticipating for this day to come.

Photos: Emi


The members walked onto stage one by one. Kaminaga Daisuke (shakuhachi) had the kanji characters of “Los Angeles” painted on his face, and Wasabi (drums) had the characters of “America” on his back.

The first number was “Senbonzakura,” the song that brought the band to great popularity. The venue instantly contained a Japanesque atmosphere. Suzuhana Yuko (vocal)’s beautiful voice echoed through the entire venue. Following were “Iroha Uta” and “Yoshiwara Lamento,” songs from their album “Vocalo Zanmai.”

In between songs, Suzuhana Yuko stated her happiness and appreciation for being able to perform in Los Angeles. “Hey guys! How are you doing? We are Wagakki Band! It is our first time as a band to come to L.A. and we are very excited today! Thank you for having us. We hope you enjoy our show.”

“Kagerou Days” began with its rock-styled guitar riff. The tempo seemed even faster than usual. Machiya (guitar) sang the chorus part in great joy. The 5th song was “Tengaku.” The spotlight shined on Kaminaga Daisuke, then on Ibukuro Kiyoshi (koto). The intro sounded as if a war were about to start. The band and audience both head-banged in sync. One can see how precise Kurona (taiko) is listening to this song. During the solo, Machiya and Kaminaga Daisuke played in the center with their backs against each other, while Asa (bass) stirred the crowd.

All the members except Wasabi and Kurona left the stage. It was time for a dual solo between the drums and taiko. The audience clapped along to the call-and-response parts. After their solo, Machiya appeared and played “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Following was Asa’s bass solo. His technique was wonderful, hitting both the lowest and highest notes. Ninagawa Beni (Tsugaru Shamisen) also performed a extravagant solo.

Following was a guitar solo, and the remaining members walked back onto stage. The band performed “Homura,” “Akatsuki no Ito,” and “Children Record.” Kaminaga Daisuke constantly jumped around the stage; it amazed me how he never runs out of breath. “Children Record” was a song filled with strong distortion, pulling out Machiya’s greatest charms. At the end, he spoke, “Thank you so much.”

“Are you having fun?” Suzuhana Yuko asked the fans, and they responded with large cheers. “You guys are awesome! I’m happy to be here!” She then joked, “Ah! Sorry my English is not good! I speak slowly.” Suzuhana Yuko also touched on the prior day’s fan meeting and closed off by stating, “I hope you feel Japan through our music.” 

Next was “Ikusa,” released this past February. The sense of unity felt from a 8-piece band was absolutely appealing. The 11th song was “Hana Furu Mai,” consisting of a mysterious feeling created by the koto. Who would’ve ever imagined that traditional Western and Eastern sounds would mix so beautifully together?

A peaceful intro began; it was “Setsuna Trip.” Kaminaga Daisuke and Kurona stir up the crowd together. The colorful lights along with the beautiful sounds… Wagakki Band’s concerts are surely enjoyable even for those who have never heard their music. The audience held up their lights and mocked the movements of Kurona and his bachi sticks.

After the song, Suzuhana Yuko shouted her love for America. “I love L.A.! I love America!” She also asked the audience whether they would come watch if the band were to hold a U.S. tour. The crowd responded with loud cheering and applauses.

The soft intro of the koto surrounded the venue. The audience applauded as “Rokuchounen to Ichiya Monogatari” began. Asa pretended to conduct while he was not playing. The shamisen solo was fast, and yet, extremely accurate. There were fans screaming “Thank you!” in Japanese; the members bowed and went backstage. 

During the encore, the band played “Senbonzakura” once again. Both the members and the audience seemed to be having a great time. The concert ended as the band thanked their fans one last time.

I already cannot wait for the day Wagakki Band comes back to America.

2015.07.04 SETLIST

01. 千本桜 (Senbonzakura)
02. いろは唄 (Iroha Uta)
03. 吉原ラメント (Yoshiwara Lamento)
04. カゲロウデイズ (Kagerou Days)
05. 天樂 (Tengaku)
06. 焔 (Homura)
07. 暁ノ糸 (Akatsuki no Ito)
08. チルドレンレコード (Children Record)
09. 戦 (Ikusa)
10. 華振舞 (Hana Furu Mai)
11. セツナトリップ (Setsuna Trip)
12. 六兆年と一夜物語 (Rokuchounen to Ichiya Monogatari)
EN. 千本桜 (Senbonzakura)

More WagakkiBand Official Live Photos (photo credit: Keiko Tanabe)

Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi conducted an interview with Wagakki Band prior to the concert. We asked them about their everyday outfits and fashion ideas, as well as what they think is the most cute, cool, and amazing thing! Check it out here.

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