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Live Report: Last Wish (envy, downy, HELLBENT, heaven in her arms)

Which of these bands do you want to see live?  

16 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these bands do you want to see live?

    • heaven in her arms
    • downy
    • envy
    • I've seen one or two of them already (list below)

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On April 1st, 2016 the news of Tetsuya's departure from the influential hardcore, screamo, and post-rock band envy brought great despair to many fans. He was the heart of the band that evoked intense feelings through his raw and emotive vocals. Fans lost hope in envy's future once Tetsuya left. Still, envy continued on without him and after being quiet for two years they finally announced a live performance with a new line-up for April 1st, 2018. Strangely enough, the live performance took place exactly two years after Tetsuya's departure. And even more strange is that both occurrences took place on April 1st which, as we all know, is the day of jokes and pranks. Back in 2016 we all hoped that Tetsuya's departure was an April Fools joke, but after not hearing anything we all accepted that it was the truth. So naturally, when envy announced a new line-up this year for April 1st as well, none of us speculated that it was a joke either. However, when the day arrived everything became clear.


The live show was titled 'Last Wish', after the name of envy's single released back in 2000, and took place at Daikanyama UNIT. I must thank @qotka for navigating to the live venue, which sits just south of Shibuya. Inside the live venue there is a floor level for lockers and merchandise, and once you go down another level you will find the live hall. The size of the hall was quite average with a capacity of 600 people. Given that most people were only here for envy not many people showed up at the beginning, but it gradually grew more packed after each band until we were shoulder to shoulder.


heaven in her arms was the first band to play, which I could already tell based on the white butterfly logo placed on the back of the stage. I had forgotten what the band looked like, but when the vocalist walked on stage with a black cap on I could clearly see the envy worship. I'm not well-versed in their discography so I couldn't recognize most of the songs they played but I do know that they played a few songs from their recent album 白暈 (White Halo). I'm certain they played "終焉の眩しさ" because I remember the opening with solemn crystal bells and pianos that later led to a burst of guitar riffs and drums. The live hall felt so still in that moment with the dark blue lighting, and feeling that transition from a stillness to a violent beat was a cool way to start the performance. The vocalist put a lot of emotion into his screams, but the spoken word sections were a little quiet and hard to hear from the blasting instruments. It was not as clear as it was on CD. Also, maybe it's because everything usually sounds louder during lives but I had trouble picking out the metal sound of heaven in her arms and I had the impression that they sounded a lot like envy, as I did when I first listened to them. In any case, they were amazing live and I would like to see them again. 


The next band that played was HELLBENT, which I thought was some band from the US when I quickly googled the name. Turns out that they're actually a really underground Japanese psychobilly band. I can't give a good review of them because I lost my spot during the intermission while taking a short bathroom break and did not have a good view of the stage when I came back. Their performance was quite intense though and the vocalist would pick up the mic stand every so often and swing it around on stage, at least from what I could see. They had a video playing in the background with mostly visuals of old vhs-looking forests, for some odd reason. For such a chaotic performance, I thought the visuals were not very fitting and it was just kind of strange.


I got my spot back closer to the stage once downy came on. It's unfortunate that I did not get to see them with Yutaka Aoki, who sadly recently passed away. It seems like they got a support guitarist for the remaining live shows that were scheduled this year, though I'm not sure who it is. I'm still fairly new to downy so I can't speak much for how much of an effect this has on their performance, but they were quite stellar nevertheless. Their performance felt much longer than the previous two bands as they played about 8 songs. Most of the songs they played were fast and maybe only one song was really slow. Robin Aoki sings just as good as he does on CD and the bass is super thick live! I didn't realize how killer the basslines were until I heard "曦ヲ見ヨ!" live. Such incredible skill and technique. During their whole performance they had abstract visuals playing in the background. A fiery red was used for intense and fast songs while tranquil blues or black and white were used for slower songs/sections. If you've seen any of their music videos, the live encapsulates the very same kind of mood, except that you're now physically standing in that dimension and taking in their dingy world. Outstanding performance.


At last, the curtain rose for envy. While standing in the darkness, I thought about their new line-up and kept on wondering what they would sound like without Tetsuya. Then, when the lights lit up and envy started playing, Tetsuya was standing right there on stage giving out his screams. The crowd instantly went wild and pushed everyone to the front. People were cheering all around and punching their fists to the air, you could feel the ecstasy and excitement everywhere. Out of all the non-VK lives I've seen this was the most energy I've seen from a crowd, but this is mostly speaking for the J-indie scene only as I'm sure some bigger Jrock bands have wild crowds as well, or maybe not I don't know. The pushing stopped after 2 minutes or so, but there were still a number of people cheering with their fists. When they performed "Footsteps in the Distance" Tetsuya cleverly declared his return during the spoken word section with the last few words being 'ただ一つ救えがあるなら僕はここに戻るよ' (If there is one way to be saved, I'll return here). At first I thought it was a message Tetsuya specifically had for the fans, but listening to the song again it's actually part of the song, therefore the cleverness in his return. Hearing him say that and knowing that he was really back was the highlight of the experience, and now as I listen to "Footsteps in the Distance" I will recall this memory every time. envy just isn't envy without Tetsuya after all. I couldn't get a view of all the members (including the new members) since the people who got pushed to the front blocked some of my view, but I did not feel that envy's sound changed much. Perhaps they'll bring in new ideas for the band in the future. I'd seen envy two times before, but I was absolutely stunned by the energy and emotion of this performance, even after I left the live venue.

Edited by plastic_rainbow

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*Still* jealous you went to this! What good timing for a trip to Japan.


Did people recognize Tetsuya immediately? Or was there a bit of a pause till everyone heard his unique vocals??


(Happy he didn't actually leave... but not sure this kind of elaborate joke(?) should be encouraged haha.)

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29 minutes ago, The Reverend said:

*Still* jealous you went to this! What good timing for a trip to Japan.


Did people recognize Tetsuya immediately? Or was there a bit of a pause till everyone heard his unique vocals??


(Happy he didn't actually leave... but not sure this kind of elaborate joke(?) should be encouraged haha.)

yeah, even tho i didn't get to see my fav vk bands i'm happy enough with just being able to see this one!


i didn't realize he was on stage until i heard his voice and the lights came on. i'm sure the people up front immediately recognized him tho. but anyway, everybody rushed to the front so fast there wasn't even a pause, the crowd started right away when they started playing.

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According to their official Facebook page, this is their new line-up:


envy Official

Thank you very much for tonite.

This is new line up of members.

_Tetsuya Fukagawa
_Nobukata Kawai
_Manabu Nakagawa
_yOshi (killie)
_Yoshimitsu Taki (9mm Parabellum Bullet)
_Hiroki Watanabe (Heaven In Her Arms)


I think it's a dream team, lol, I'm a big fan of yOshi, killie is my favorite screamo band.

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On 7/16/2018 at 9:33 AM, emmny said:

wonder what envys setlist was!

i just googled it and found it on setlist.fm. don't know how recent it was up cuz i'm pretty sure it wasn't online anywhere when i wrote this.



1. Zero

2. Farewell to Words

3. Lies, and Release From Silence

4. Left Hand

5. Footsteps in the Distance

6. Two Isolated Souls

7. Ticking Time and String

8. Go Mad and Mark

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