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MONORAL hosted <HALLOWEEN PARTY> at Shibuya O-WEST on October 31. The group had gone to hiatus after the last tour <This Tour Has Not Begun> back in 2010. Breaking the long silence after 3 years, the stage stood as much more memorable as it was also a celebration of their return.

MONORAL Large Photo

Gigantic spider web, lots of skulls and pumpkins lined up on stage and between drum sets and amplifiers like a pumpkin field. The video kicked in announcing, “The group had been kept in captivity, tonight’s the night of their release”. MONORAL finally appeared. Anis (vocal) had a red riding hood costume on showing off his legs during <HALLOWEEN PARTY 2013> presented by VAMPS. Fans were curious to see what Anis was going to wear this time.

The heavy drums started as Ali (bass), support member Akira (guitar), Mikio Hirama (guitar) and Jun Matsumoto (drums) came to stage. The first song was ‘Everybody’s way’, in which Anis performed melodic lines and pleasant strokes on acoustic guitar, creating a perfect ensemble. With starting from slower yet exalting numbers, ‘You’ and ‘Perfect Gold’ continued to throw powerful beats to paint a beautiful music scenery.

“We are back. Thank you for waiting for 3 years. We’ve been doing this <HALLOWEEN PARTY> for decades, but since tonight’s the first in a long time, we will rock a little longer, especially with the original songs alone”

As Anis said, the setlist of the day included all time popular old and newer songs. They also performed some of the rare choices for a live performance, knowing they had made their fans wait too long – ‘Nothing more Nothing less’, ‘I like it’ and ‘D.U.I’ which is seldom heard by even core fans. MONORAL played all songs fresh and new, including older songs. In ‘Let me in’, Ali’s bass made a harmonious chord and Akira’s E-bow guitar added more dramatic elements to the song. Their arrangement skill was proved to have improved.

The audience threw them a question about what costume they were wearing. “We tried looking like a bunch of vampires”, answered Anis. Ali had silver haired wig and sharp teeth and drank down a glass of red liquid, just like fresh blood. As mentioned earlier, Anis dressed himself as a girl in red at VAMPS presented <HALLOWEEN PARTY 2013>, he was in black tuxedo this time. Much more like a real gentleman with nice clean cut and hair style, he said he just imitated a band called KISHIDAN for hair style after hanging out at <HALLOWEEN PARTY 2013>. MONORAL’s charm is not just heard, it is also spoken out through some sense of humor.

The main act last half started. Hirama and Akira’s completely under control performance with guitars created double groove feel of the night, Ali’s bass added more dashy twisty feel on top of it. Matsumoto’s drum didn’t get left behind either as he’d been supporting them since MONORAL’s very first live performance. When their latest single ‘Origin’ started, the audience area suddenly became a dance floor, and ‘Like you’ added more heat to the venue. An intro of ‘Weird kind of swings’ made fans scream out of joy, and Anis used a voice projector to fuel the fans wildly. MONORAL dashed through the stage and through all songs with erotic, sensitive, bold, elegant and deep touches till the very end song, ‘Tangled’.

Anis took the time to thank fans deeply during encore session, “Thank you very much for waiting for us. We are really grateful to everyone watching over us, we are back fully charged. One person who wasn’t as patient as you all, HYDE said to us ‘When it it?’, thanks for the pressure (lol)! But we needed it though”.

During the encore session, the group played 6 fuller length songs in total as a sign of their appreciation. ‘Sparta’ with its strummy rhythm, ‘Casbah’ with heavy roaring sound, ‘Wash’ from the 1st mini album creating a big chorus with everyone in the audience – all these songs sounded powerful. The very last song ‘Session 9’ brought tears to some fans on site. The long awaited return was proven with a success of over 2 hour live performance.

There is no announcement made regarding MONORAL’s upcoming schedule as of today. As we could see after listening to all 21 songs, we know something will come just like Anis said during live, “Felt possibility. We now feel something can change. Music can keep us connected and we need the circle to expand more.” <HALLOWEEN PARTY> after the long 3 years of silence is not only a sign of their complete return, but also a celebration of their potential for their music and the future to come.

Interview・Text◎BARKS Editorial Dept. Yasuo Kajiwara
Photo◎Toshikazu Oguruma

Oct. 31 @ Shibuya O-WEST Setlist
01.Everybody's way
03.Perfect Gold
05.Nothing more Nothing less
06.I like it
09.Let me in
10.So Long
13.Like you
14.Weird kind of swings
16.Monkey Cage
17.70 Hours
21.Session 9

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