Dir en grey 2011

KOKO Camden
12th August 201
Written by Kitty Linton
Photography by Lorna Ransome

Kyoukotsu no Nari

Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami





Agitated Screams of Maggots

"Yokusou ni DREAMBOX" Aruiwa Seijuku no Rinen to Tsumetai Ame







HYDRA -666-





ain't afraid to die




VANITAS (New Instrumental Mix)

Before Dir en grey had even arrived there was a sense of anticipation in the air around Mornington Crescent on Friday morning (12/08). Throngs of fans were already grouped around Koko’s grand visage eagerly awaiting the night’s concert and the band’s return to London that almost seemed uncertain briefly due to earlier disturbances in the city. However there wasn’t a riot in sight, as similar to last year ,and with no surprise the queue stretched long and around the venue by the time afternoon came and went.

Koko is a venue that is well suited to Dir en grey, standing out in it’s bland surroundings as something more,  it’s unusual old theatre interior doesn’t disappoint, offering a striking juxtaposition when filled with over a thousand fans from all over the UK and abroad who’ve flocked to these outskirts of Camden not normally visited. It’s no wonder why the band decided to return here. Although not a sold out show as last year’s was, you wouldn’t have been able to tell as every nook and cranny appeared full to the brim with excited faces within an atmosphere that was one of more a relaxed expectation.

However all tranquillity disappeared as time ticked on, united groups of fans beginning to chant ‘Dir en grey’ as loud as they could and when the first keys of ‘Kyokotsu No Nari’s’ eerie piano intro resonated, the crowd erupted into screams and activity. The band coming on to the stage not long after with matching enthusiasm to the almost deafening welcome, arms raised to coax those cheers even louder and before the last sounds of the intro have fully ended the concert begins instantaneously as they open with ‘Hageshisa to Kono mune no naka de...’

As each song powered into the next, the more united feel to the concert, in comparison to last years show, becomes even more evident, the crowd’s head-banging and fist pumping in perfect sync, Kyo’s majestic vocals echoed with the voices of the fans throughout as they sang and screamed along making that language barrier non-existent and the change in the band can also be noticed. Dir en grey are more animated in their performance this year, exuding a vigorous energy on stage that is mimicked by the crowd they interacted with and outpouring everything into each note, riff and beat as if it could be the last, turning Koko into a hub of chaos which only escalated with every song, reaching an intense peak with the revamped ‘Hydra 666’.

Dir en grey’s music has a reputation for needing to be heard live, given vitality during their concerts and subtle changes in the notes and the way the members play presents different qualities that are only experienced out of the studio. The anticipation and high hopes of hearing more of the new album live than just the singles was sated, with "Yokusou Ni DREAMBOX" and ‘Decayed Crow’, proving to be particularly outstanding but characteristically it’s the ‘classics’ that are most memorable. The band returning after a fierce, resounding demand for an encore, finally changing the pace of the live to something more mellow after the first notes of ‘Ain’t afraid to die’ were met with surprised gasps and passionate cheers that respectively quietened and turned to singing along as an emotional performance of the classic ensued. Becoming the highlight of the concert and setting a softer tone but Dir en grey never remain so, picking the pace up once more with ‘Reiketsu Nariseba’ and ending on the same high as last year with a more elated performance of ‘Rasetsukoku’ that leaves the crowd still wanting more.

Overall the live surpassed Dir en grey’s usual quality, proving that the band is striving to push themselves further and are aiming even higher with such an intense performance earning a 5 in top rating.

Fervent, passionate and moving in all the right places with an amazing setlist as if the concert itself had been constructed like one of their songs. Tonight’s show feels like a prelude, leaving us with the implication that this new side and sound of Dir en grey is only the beginning.