22nd November 2010
Written by Keita-Eiri Uesugi
Photography by Lorna Ransome

When leaving Kings Cross underground station and seeing the amount of people lined up outside the nearby venue, you wouldn't think the doors were due to open any moment...Seventy people, maybe a few more littered the side street with the same enthusiasm that could match a crowd of over two hundred, the slightly chilly weather not seeming to affect their moods as they all chatted amoungst themselves about the upcoming show, the air thick with excitement 

As far as venues go, SCALA is a site to behold. The stage was bigger then most but lower down, and with the lack of barrier and very few security, it was going to be interesting to see how the fans reacted. The crowds came piling in each claiming their places and creating 3 to 4 tightly packed rows, not a good sight in such a large room, but seemed perfect in the atmosphere that everyone was giving off.

The lights dim, smoke spilling onto the stage and it was astounding just how much noise just a small crowd could make! As the instrumental “ZERO” from their newest album “GUILTY” increased in volume, fans from the raised floored sections paid no heed to keeping their sanity and ran to join the brawl of the crowd. It was like a sense of unity in a way, watching as a bare minimum friends and foes alike, join together to make the most noise that can possibly be roared from their lungs as both Shou and Madoka enter the stage, followed by guitarist Tetsu and bassist Jin and after a moments silence, Yuki with his extreme height strolling on, the whole band clad in their black militaryesque garb, roaring “FUCK YOU!!” and that’s it, the gig tempo is well and truly set as “-9-“ begins to play.

When the first few songs ended, the band were in their element with Yuki riling the crowd even further and even reaching over to drag fans closer from the back. Each song brought forth the same energy, both from fans and the band themselves with moshing and jumping around, scrambling for front centre stage and so forth. One song that did stick out would have had to have been “GUILTY”, what with its slower pace and tone, the crowd followed suit with hands in the air swaying from side to side.

As far as encores go however, this was the longest one to date and one of the most memorable. The band surpassed all expectations and pushed beyond their earlier enthusiasm at that point, Madoka dragging fans on stage to encourage them to stage dive, as well as Yuki attempting to crowd surf at several point throughout the gig only to sink slightly and need fans assistance in return to the stage. A lot of water was spilled across the crowd as well through the ending of “Warai oni” that seemed to traverse on and on, leaving everyone to look as if they had just stepped out of the shower.

UnsraW excelled with their choice of songs for the setlist which offered a good range between genres and exemplified their diverse discography with the collection of their more heavier songs and ballads. Playing classics such as "Gate off death" and "Maria" with the addition of "-509-" the first track of their new single. There can be very little to fault with the band's selection, except possibly the absence of "Karma". The combination of Madoka coming off stage guitar in hand to join the fun of the circle pit their vocalist had demanded, surprising those involved especially when bumping into them and Jin enjoying his moment upon the centre box, Shou's never faltering bright smile combined with Tetsu energetically dashing from both ends of the stage, turned SCALA into a hive of crazed fun. And one thing that is definitely more apparent than ever, do not judge a band by how they sound on CD, because this performance just proves that seeing the music live before you is far greater than any speaker could produce.

Thus, Yuki left the stage first followed by Madoka after throwing several picks for the fans, the rest of the band lingering before Jin threw himself into the crowd one last time and they also walked off waving goodbye. The gig had been about an hour and a half long but just enough to make each person look as disheveled as ever and yet it would seem not one person had a bad thing to say about the show. Its small shows like this which prove that although ticket sales are great for the band, small crowds certainly pack the most energy as people waited in line for merchandise and the meet and greet. Let us hope that regardless of small ticket sales UnsraW will return to the UK again, persuaded by the dedication of their small but no less loyal fans base and word of mouth will share of the brilliance of the night.