LIVE REPORTGREEN STAGE8/22 SUN
Just like the Japanese Pet Shop Boys - The Denki Groove Party Never Seems to Stop
Like a Japanese Pet Shop Boys, Denki Groove dropped 70 minutes of non-stop solid dance music on the masses, with the trio all decked out in white, and the frontman even sporting a white top hat
The immense screen at the back of the stage displayed state-of-the-art digital imagery of multicolored cubes sporting sound wave signatures and other digital staples like MIDI maps and peak meters. Also, as in a Pet Shop Boys show, the music basically never stopped; with one hit blending into the next, encouraging the adoring crowd to never stop dancing. And, in truth they never seemed to. The black metal cage in front of the stage was jammed to the gills with dancers, and possibly tens of thousands of other fans danced along in the valley beyond the cage. If those in attendance didn’t account for everyone who had purchased a ticket for Fuji Rock that day, the difference was impossible to notice.
And, as the lead singer encouraged the masses to jump or wave their hands in the air, it truly seemed like an End Times event. The twenty-four floodlights over the stage blinked and flashed as brightly as an alien spaceship taking off or landing, as the lead singer seemed to sing, “Shuppatsu Ikko” (let’s go to the departure). The throbbing sounds seemed both as mad as our times, as well as being the perfect catharsis for the tens of thousands who danced like the world was about to end.
Thirty-three minutes into their set, images of bulls running appeared on the cubes projected onto the screen at the back of the stage, and the thousands in the black metal cage in front of the Green Stage jumped like the masses in the rave scene from the third Matrix movie. At this point, white and green lasers started striking out into the audience from the stage, and the music started resembling a 21st-century version of the KLF’s greatest hits. As the track came to an end the letters “B.B.E.” flashed on the screen, and the beat evolved into yet another song.
The keyboardist up on his riser to the back of center stage addressed the crowd by shouting some phrases which felt motivational, but were unfortunately incomprehensible. He then took over the main vocal duties for this song, pointing at the sky and making various movements with his free hand which wasn’t holding a mic.
As the tune once again morphed into another, the adoring crowd in the tens of thousands clapped enthusiastically and then kept dancing as if this group were the best one in the known universe. Then, as if in an oddly ironic coincidence, at this point in Denki Groove’s set, images of robots and DNA floated through outer space on the screen behind the band’s heads. The plethora of dancers in attendance then raised their hands as they gyrated, as if they were agreeing about being ready to leave this planet anyway. At one point, the keyboardist called out for everyone to put their hands in the air, and, once again, the masses did so.
Forty minutes into Denki Groove’s set, we heard the first few seconds of silence, and then the group were off again in manic trance-like track with colorful x-rays scrolling across the cubes on the screen at the back of the stage. For this track, the top-hatted lead singer mostly stood in center stage, with the stage-side screens focusing on his face like a combination of Max Headroom and Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. He then started to gesticulate upwards with both of his arms, and the massive crowd jumped up and down with furiously wild abandon.
Then, suddenly, both the keyboardist and the frontman were up prancing across the front of the stage, singing rhythmic phrases in unison. The crowd responded by dancing even more energetically, as if it were the best party of their lives so far. And, who could blame them after the past seventeen months of their lives. More lasers appeared in rainbow colors scanning over the crowd, and hundreds of arms pointed at the sky, peppering the crowd of unknown thousands.
Seventy minutes into their set, the group cut into in a track that seemed to be called “Reaction” as the crowd lost their minds like the biggest rave this planet has seen. Green Matrix-like cubes shifted on the screen at the back of the stage, and green lasers shot out from the stage, then green radars spun on the giant screen. The keyboardist then called out, “We are Denki Groove! We had a lot of fun, didn’t we?” before diving back into another driving trance-like beat to which the massive audience danced with all their might, and as catharsis for everything they had kept inside during the pandemic so far. The beat kicked in even harder again as white light flooded over the audience, and the lead singer screamed “Reaction” over and over again.
The group then delivered one final tune – seemingly called “Fuji-san” – as images of the said mountain graced the large screen at center stage, and the keyboardist ran around the stage with a wireless MIDI controller; that he alternately controlled with his mouth, and then with his hands as he knelt on the stage, as if engaging in a heavy-metal solo. As Mount Fuji started to erupt on the screen behind the stage, the final song finally came to an end, and the immearsuably massive crowd clapped in a loving homage to this group that kept them dancing for eighty minutes. The crowd then kept clapping for a whole three mintues, demanding an encore, but there would be none. In its stead, an MC came out to address the crowd, thanking them for coming out, and saying he really hoped he’d see them all back here next year!
[Photo: 10 All photo]