PES Next Generation Live @ Japan Expo

May'n, Aso Natsuko, Urbangarde, Una & Nightmare

Villepinte Exhibition Centre
Paris, France
6th July 2013
Written by Rachel Yarwood

The first live performance of the "showcase" afternoon saw May’n walking centre stage to gracious cheers from the audience as she began her set. With an air of confidence she moved with grace, but as she began to sing there was a slight falter in her voice, sounding less confident than she does on her records. 

It would be understandable to say that this was a little disappointing as she was the first act onstage and to simply watch her she was the embodiment of confidence. However it just was not there in vocals as she sounded at times too strained and high pitched. Arguably, as she was the first act and lacking her backing dancers on such a large stage, it was possible she was feeling a little nervous in front of the eager audience. On the other hand if this was even noticeable at all to the gathered crowd this did not seem to bother them as many were obviously excited to see her in person, joining in with the songs, clapping in time and responding to her French enthusiastically. 

May' did seem to loosen up as the show continued, still smiling and working the choreography very well considering she had such a large space to contend with on her own, bringing the first part of the afternoon to a high closure with "Run Real Run". This caused a wave of cheers and clapping hands around the hall as many knew the singer's newest single of the same title. It proved to be a good choice to finish her set off with, leaving both the audience and herself in seemingly good spirits, as the hosts and co-host Natsuko Aso returned to announce the next part of the show. 

Natsuko Aso, who had last year performed at Hyper Japan's Spring event in London, is becoming quite the regular face of the live house as she has been invited back to Japan Expo on a number of occasions. With her bubbly, natural, presenting skills and her talent for singing and dancing alone makes her a clear favourite for the 'pop' line up today.  

Opening her showcase, Natsuko Aso is much more confident in her performance than May'n seemed previously, bathed in blue and white lighting whilst also adorning a very cute but simple white dress she took to stage as if it was second nature. She appeared very smiley and happy-go-lucky as she paraded up and down the stage for her admiring fans, who gave just as much encouragement back as she gave to them, as she beckoned and called out for us to participate with her routine which was very well thought out and put together.
If the overly cute pop sweetened your day just a little too much, then Una's beautiful solo song would be enough to bring you back down to earth and leave you in a state of enchantment. 

Time definitely seemed to be being stretched at this point as things started to feel a little rushed. This was probably due to all the time spent between musicians, which included a multiple choice quiz between two members of Urbangarde and Natsuko.Finally Una was now being introduced via the video screens and it turns out she would only be performing one song called "Lonely Flower".After the short introduction she stood nearly stock still as the song began but instantly you were drawn in by the resonance of her voice alone. By far she sounded the best vocally in the hall today, reaching out above the gorgeous musical arrangements, and complimented by her music video that played out for us on the two screens. Una did not have to move to impress, her vocal ability today impressed all on its own, and left you with the sense that perhaps she should have been given a little longer. However with no other songs to compete with, the beautiful song "Lonely Flower" will certainly stick in peoples' memory. 

It was obvious in the room today that the majority of the people here were waiting for the headlining act “Nightmare“. Evidence shown through the chants before the overall show had even begun and a handful of eager fans waiting by the barriers as soon as the Live House has opened earlier in the day.

As the television screens started to play the introduction to the band, the crowd screamed wildly in anticipation, which was short lived as moments later, Yomi, Sakito, Histugi, Ni~Ya and Ruka took up their positions on stage and opened their live with "the WORLD".

As this convention is largely attended by fans of Anime, the choice of opening song seemed just a little too predictable. Although fans of both the band and of Death Note, seemed to appreciate it all the same. Showing their enthusiasm by jumping around and singing along.

"Alumina" and "Raison D'etre", two more theme songs, followed. This was supposed to a showcase of music from Japan at a Japan Expo, not a showcase of Anime soundtracks at an Anime and Manga Convention. So the choice of set list was a little bit questionable.

Yomi's vocals rang out brilliantly today just as you would hear on any of their live DVDs. Their on-stage energy was unrivalled by the previous acts, both he and Hitsugi seemed to dominate the stage the most, easily the best at motivating the crowd, coming forward to entice the front few rows with cheeky smiles and moves. 

Nightmare ended their short show with "Dirty", another high paced song that left the day in the live house on a high note for many who had persevered through the heat of this Summer’s day in Paris. 
Expo goers who were to attend the Sunday would be treated to a full set from Nightmare and also from May’n.