FACT @ Rock City

Rock City
28th May 2010
Written by Keita-Eiri Uesugi
Photography by Lorna Ransome

Turning up at the queue in the early afternoon is sometimes a strange feat for the hardcore Jrock fans, however, this is no usual gig. That much is certain. And it is made purely clear by the gathering of fans and non-fans alike, considering FACT are one of two support acts for the show tonight, with headliners being Breathe Carolina.

You can tell the blatant Jrock fans in the queue however, what with the back-combed, styled hair, the gig t-shirts, (although not supporting FACT, Dir en grey making many appearances on peoples upper torsos),as well as bondage trousers, Lolita-esque skirts, writing on bodies... typical things you’d see at the larger of gigs. Not forgetting also, the phones and iPods out, playing the occasional headlining track by FACT, with a bit of a random mix of Rentrer en Soi and Dir en grey to add to the concoction. Indeed, a strange mix, but the pack has to find their fellows after all.

With doors opening and the small gathering proceeding to make their way into the venue, the small stage is the landing place of choice tonight, a small bar in the corner, merch inconveniently placed right next to the only doors for the exit for a nicotine break and the floor is full. (And may I say, the merchandise for FACT is absolutely stunning, there has never been such a mass choice of tees to chose from, and cheap!!!)

The first band doesn’t seem to greet much reception, with nought but a few hands in the air, some occasional jumping. As a live reporter, this does make you worry for the band that you are waiting to write about. As the first band leaves the stage, and you make your way to the right hand side, between the speakers, you can clearly make out the mass group of FACT fans situated on the left hand side of the stage, screaming as normal as the band set up their own instruments. Not forgetting a conveniently placed box, well, instrument case, for vocalist Hiro to stand upon. All seems to run smoothly however, the changeover quick and clean, but this leaves you thinking, will half an hour really be enough?

The lights go down and the band members exit the stage... well, nearly all the band members, as they happen to leave drummer Eiji on the stage. Of course, everyone noticed seen as usually, back stage, they have their circle before coming on.

However, the band would thus return, taking their places and instruments and the crowd proceeds to cheer and clap. Not much enthusiasm it must be noted, however, this phases the band not as they begin with their first song. Alas, as brilliant as they sound (although Hiro’s vocals seem to be a little difficult to hear over the prominence of the instruments) the un-masked band certainly does know how to perform, but as to how the crowd take them, it is difficult to tell. It is clear that FACT’s music is heavy enough to be heavily moshed too and yet, albeit one side of the crowd going a little more mental than the rest, you get the occasional group jumping with hands in the air, and that’s about it.

That was disappointing to see, but, as soon as the second song begins its fast-paced, heavy-laden beat, the FACT fans seem to go insane, and those who may have recently listened seem to go incredibly ape-shit also, what with the whole crowd finally joining together to head-bang and jump together in time to the band, and also, the lyrics being screamed out was a pleasure to hear also, as it’s been mentioned before, it’s not often that that occurs in gigs. And from here on out, the crowd, well, definitely half of them anyway, will react in this way to FACT’s music.

Oh... did we forget this little fact... THEY GOT A MOSH PIT ! One of a few actually... now, every band wants an insane crowd at a show, right? What more could be asked for?!!

Both guitarist Takahiro and bassist Tomohiro would properly seem to enjoy the crowds wandering hands and more. As soon as the second song and the rest that followed was played for our enjoyment, on more than several, YES SEVERAL times they would jump from stage to the front of the barrier, although it would appear that Tomohiro had the perfect side to jump too, as he was touched and grabbed by the fans whilst the people before Takahiro would seem a little more timid. But…this did not stop him in the slightest.

And of course, we cannot forget Eiji on drums, persuading us all to buy their self-titled album... much to the annoyance of Hiro whom looked as if he wanted his fellow band mate to shut up so he could perform!

But the time would seem to slip by quickly, which was such a shame. Hence the question at the start: was half an hour really long enough for these guys to perform? It would only seem to be that once they were getting in their zone, with the crowd joining in and more, that soon enough, “Last song!” would be heard to the dismay of us all.

But of course, that last song is always truly, the most epic of the bunch. Well, scratch that, the final two songs and again, the small stage would have a wonderful mosh pit in it’s centre, the crowd throwing themselves around whether to the beat of the music or not, no-one seemed to care. Kazuki, the guitarist besides the bassist, would finally take his way off the stage and lean with his lower body against the barrier, STILL playing and doing backing vocals as he leans over the barrier, his back pressed against the heads of the people behind him as they hold him in place: of course, his single raised leg and foot wedged against the barrier would too, keep him from falling straight into the crowd. And we cannot forget Takahiro here either, upon his knee’s, guitar in his lap as his hands balled into fists, smack upon it in some strange obscene fashion, which of course, is mesmerising to watch.

All in all, FACT are definitely entertainers and crowd pleasers. Many who had come to see them specifically, had dragged friends to see them also. Even people whom mainly listened to bands such as Cradle of Filth and Slipknot, enjoyed them, commenting on the fact the vocalist was impressive, and that band seemed to exude a lot of energy on stage as well as their distinct ability to be able to get the crowd going, as was proven to us in the second song.

So, what’s next for these guys? As band ‘converties’ and of course fans would proceed to hang around at the back or at the bar for drinks as the headline act would come on, many left the venue with FACT t-shirts and CD’s. It would seem the band know what they are good at, so let us pray they get a headline show to themselves one day. At least then, half an hour could finally last so much longer. And they can truly show us more of what they are made of.