Dir en grey @ 02 Islington Academy 2015

O2 Islington Academy
24th May 2015
Written by Rachel Yarwood

Chain repulsion 
Sustain the untruth 
Un deux 
Behind a vacant image 
Cause of fickleness 
The inferno 
Revelation of mankind


For those not at the opening gig on the Saturday, just hearing about it gives you that tight knot of anticipation in your stomach and as Dir en Grey haven't played a show in London since 2011 there is a palpable sense of excitement among the chatter as we wait to be let inside the venue.
Surprisingly as the doors open the usual rush to get inside and as close to the front as you possibly can get falls short in comparison to many of Dir en Grey's previous shows. 
Even more surprisingly there was not the usual surge as the band came out onstage, the crowd remained for the most part fairly relaxed with more or less no amount of shoving or that annoying person who tries to barge their way through a non existent space!

Really the crowd participation was controlled, perhaps more than a lot of us were prepared for. Maybe the stunning visuals, which is something the band have never before brought to stage here in the UK, was part to blame. Covering the back of the set and almost drowning Shinya out entirely, the illuminations and at times grotesque imagery was mesmerising. Combine this with the energetic force of the band and the powerful vocal and emotional outpouring from Kyo's performances that we were expecting, plus the fact that many haven't seen a live from this band in this close proximity for a few years, it is no wonder a lot of us were in a trance to begin with.
However, when "UROKU" opens it is almost like a switch has been flicked and the audience simply go crazy. The mosh pit opens in a wild circle of bodies crashing together whilst those on the outside immersed in full headbang mode and screamed along to the lyrics. So any fears of a "mild" Dir en Grey gig have been fully, totally and gratefully forgotten. 
"Phenomenon" whisks us into another dark reverie as the opening seductive bass line reverberates throughout the room, people swaying to the rhythm and watching the bodies of the band members shadow against the dim glow from the background lights, but again it is "Cause of Fickleness" that pulls us out of the daydream and the room erupts once more in an unforgiving frenzy.

As we wait for the band to return to the stage for their encore set, we all are quite aware that up until now the songs performed have been practically everything from their newest album "ARCHE". 
Recommendations of "The Final" are called out from a few in the audience, most if not all of us are always keen to hear something of the oldies when we come to a show and this one would definitely be a highlight of the night. 

Indeed, as Dir en Grey return, our wishful thinking is granted as the opening notes of "The Final" resonate through the room and the crowd become uncontrollable in their enthusiasm once more. The show has been nothing short of intense but this moment, this song, tops the night. It is almost like the entire audience has united together, in voice and movement, to enjoy this performance of a classic.