On September 19, Metronome fans gathered at Zepp Tokyo for a long awaited treat- the band’s first show in 7 years, appropriately titled “Please Push Play” as they came off of the “pause” of hiatus. A digital clock on a screen behind the stage showed the audience the time they still had to wait down to the second, and when it hit 1730 exactly, Sharaku (Voicecoder-vocals), Fukusuke (TALBO-1, guitar), RIU (TALBO-2, bass) and support drummer Yuichiro appeared in a flash.
Laser lights and heavy sounds accented as they kicked off the set with “Zannen Boku no Jinsei,” the yellow band logo on the expansive video screen in the background. The band seemed excited to be there, dancing and moving with energy. “We’re home!” Sharaku shouted, leaning over the equally enthusiastic crowd. Jets of dry ice shot up to cool the front of the venue for “Puchi Tenpenchii,” with red, black, and yellow crosses zipping across the video screen. As everyone got warmed up, the crowd moved with the band in robotic coreography that matched the tight rhythm of “Sekai no Minna Boku no Teki.” The vocoded rap added extra Metronome atmosphere to the number.
The group then took a break for Sharaku to talk to the crowd and remind the fans that yes, they were alive. And just because it was the first show in a while, that didn’t mean they were holding back. “This isn’t an excuse for our performance or anything,” the vocalist said, “but this set list is hell.” The feelings were especially shared by Yuiichiro who claimed to be bearing the brunt of the difficulty.
“Boku no Unou Saru no Sanou” kicked the next part of the set off with a cheerful back and forth dance. The dark makeup made the members expressions stand out when they called out to the crowd. “Aquarium” was appropriately named as the whole number filled the venue with swells of music like waves, kept in time with steady drum and bass.
There was a cry of recognition from the crowd as the band picked up with “Planet,” red lights matching the intensity of the gritty sound and scrambled backtrack vocals, with added voice from bassist RIU. The song was well-appreciated by the crowd, and the atmosphere only became more intense with “Fukigenna Android” as a fast electro intro led into a heavy jumping beat. The garbled radio clips mixed with the music complimented Fukusuke, who put down his customary guitar to create sounds on the theremin.
The member introduction was an appropriate Metronome style- 8 bit display in classic colors, with the members names and parts scrolling across the screen along with a pixilated car and street scene that looked plucked from an old NES game. They kept this part of the show short and sweet, mixing it into the music.
“Hello” got a big cheer from the crowd, and the party atmosphere was echoed in the virtual disco ball spinning brilliantly. Fans doubled over for the heavy chorus, and the members played with energy.
“I don’t even know what we are anymore,” Sharaku laughed as he addressed the crowd again, leading the fans in a cheerful and intricate call and response pattern.Then it was time for the big announcement- Metronome’s major debut single with King Records. “We’re going to play the song with the video now,” he told the crowd. “But remember, we’re still here playing in front of you!”
“Kairisei Douitsujinbutsu” was heavier than anything that had come before it, with plenty of the instrument sound mixed in with the digital tracks. It was easy for the audience to get swept up in the music and the cleverly shot video, and the band finished to loud, appreciative applause. The active music continued with “Mittsu Kazoero,” with Sharaku teasing the crowd “In this song you’ll remember why you have a head- for headbanging!” Fukuske and RIU added aggressive shouts to the sound, and the lights over the crowd came up to give the members a good look at the hair flying from the nearly non-stop headbanging.
Then Fukusuke took the microphone to greet the crowd against the background rhythm of Japanese drums. “Are you enjoying yourselves?” He asked. “I’m happy there are so many people here. And what do Japanese people do when we’re happy? Have a matsuri (festival)!” The subsequent call-and-response inspired by traditional festival theatrics led neatly into “MATSURI,” a Japanese-fusion synth number. Even the hall seemed to be transformed into a summer festival, with “Metronome” lanterns waving on the screen behind the band and a finish of big (digital) fireworks. RIU led the next number, “PSYCHO-ENEMY,” with strong bass, balancing the upbeat high pitched tones of the backing track, and Sharaku sat out as the bassist and guitarist took a moment to face off and show their skills, with Yuuichiro accenting their notes with a cool groove and well-timed cymbal hits. The set finished with the perhaps appropriate “Zetsubo-san” (Mr. Depressed), as fans would no doubt be depressed if that was all there was.
Fortunately, there was still more to come. After a short break, Fukusuke bounded back on stage. “Since I’m in the band, I can say this…there are so many people here for this band?” he teased in a faux-incredulous voice. “Our first gig was at Ikebukuro Cyber,” he reminded everyone, mentioning the tiny live house where the band had gotten their start and going through a few other notable memories and poses until finally realizing that he should let the other members take the stage too (though he lovingly mocked each one before letting them return). The fans called the names of their favorites loudly as they prepared for the encore.
Sharaku taught the crowd the choreography from a different song off the new single, “Metariano? Picoriano!” “For this you guys are ninja,” he told the fans, demonstrating the twisting and jabbing motions. The fans did their best to keep up with the dizzyingly fast song, doing an admirable job of remembering the new dance.
“Long live Metronome!” Came the cry as streamers exploded over the crowd. “We’re getting older,” Sharaku said as the lucky fans waved streamers. “But we’re all getting older together. You can laugh at us if you want, we’re doing good!”
The floor shook with jumps for the rock of “Boku Ijinden,” the Talbos leaning over the crowd to draw them further in. They finished on a big note, but it wasn’t the end- after another break, the band returned for a final encore.
“We did everything we wanted. Thanks for sticking with us.” Sharaku told the crowd as the drums rolled for the last number “Arigato.” The band finished just as strongly as they had begun, the hall filled with enthusiasm and a positive atmosphere.
Fans had to wait seven years to see Metronome in action again, but fortunately they won’t have to wait long to see them again. In addition to their new single, the band has planned a four-stop one man tour over the winter, meaning four more chances to experience their unique blend of chip-tune, electronic, and visual kei.
1.残念僕の人生 Zannen Boku no Jinsei
2.プチ天変地異 Puchi Tenpenchii
4.世界はみんな僕の敵 Sekai no Minna Boku no Teki
5.僕の右脳 猿の左脳 Boku no Unou Saru no Sanou
8.不機嫌なアンドロイド Fukigenna Android
9.thank you for my everyday
12.解離性同一人物 Kairisei Douitsujinbutsu
13.三つ数えろ Mittsu Kazoero
20.ボク偉人伝 Boku Ijinden
TEXT: Kate Havas
Photo: Hidemi Otsuka
Metronome Official Website: http://meto21.com/