Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pacific Media Expo 2015 ~ Crimson Nail

Hello everyone!

As promised, here is my post about the Femme Fatale concert at PMX this year, the main reason I ended up going this year!

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so deeply hooked on a “traditional” vkei band. And by traditional, I mean with a powerful metal sound and standard number of 5 members. XD I think the last band I was really into was Versailles. Either way, Femme Fatale is the first band that has caught and kept my attention in a long time and not just for Kaya. I had previously been aware of Tana and Iori from past bands they were a part of and Toshi in particular was the bassist of another of my favorite jrock bands, A (ACE). Sadly they disbanded/went on hiatus some time ago.

Since Femme Fatale only formed last year, I did not expect to see them stateside so soon. Their announcement at PMX came as a very happy surprise to me and I must say, they are really awesome and fun to see live! Kaya’s amazing vocals and graceful stage presence mixed with everyone else’s equally incredible instrumental skills and lively personalities made for a show that was so wonderful, I’m taking a whole post on this blog to write about it! XD


Right before the concert! Jin and I had the same Femme Fatale bracelets that were included if you bought the limited edition of their first album last winter.

I sat with Kassandra for a little bit before lining up while Jin and Crystal walked around trying to get more fan signatures for the big US flag Crystal would present to the band after the show. Soon enough the doors opened and we were let in; first press then VIPs and then other attendees. While waiting for the show to start, I decided to chat with some of the people standing around me; imagine my surprise when one of the people standing next to me was actually another follower of my blog through my instagram! It’s still surprising to me that other people outside those close to me read my ramblings here but it makes me happy none the less. XD

 In any case the air of excitement in the room was strong long before Femme Fatale took the stage and when the lights dimmed announcing the start of the concert, it jumped sky high! The members entered the stage one by one first was Fumiya the support drummer, and then Toshi, from the moment Toshi appeared I could feel his enthusiasm and it was rather exhilarating to say the least. Iori was next, followed by Tana. When Tana took his spot on the stage I closed my eyes for a second but they bolted open when I collective of intense shrieks from the audience announced Kaya’s appearance, my heart jumped. He was dressed in his “Freya” dress, a gorgeous black strapless gown trimmed with black feathers along the neckline and black and gold lace down the full skirt. In many ways he reminded me a lot of the goddess Freya in his appearance so I guess it makes sense that that was the first song performed. XD Kaya commanded the stage with his signature mix of grace and flamboyance, when it came time for the Freya chant mid song; he replaced it with some amazing operatic vocals that seemed to echo throughout the room. After “Freya” was “Jester”, an awesomely fun track. Kaya’s voice was absolutely on point and the bassline of this song in particular is awesome and really showed off Toshi’s skills.

I can not put into words how much I enjoyed the concert! I loved watching each and every member but I must say, Toshi stood out to me the most! He had a lot of energy as I said before and seemed to be really enjoying himself, his smile was very infectious! Many times he would look in the direction of my friends and me making faces as if to pump us up with more excitement, it’s hard to describe but it was really awesome and helped me from surrendering to fatigue all throughout the show. It was so intense. And it goes without saying that Toshi had my attention a lot of the time because I have a thing for bassists’ and he is just so damn sexy he was already a part of a band I really liked. LMAO!

 Iori was also awesome, he and Toshi were the members closest to us and I spent a lot of the concert watching him as well. At one point Kaya left the stage for a moment and Iori treated us to a rock version of the “Star Spangled Banner” on his guitar! It was beautifully done and drove everyone wild!  He told us that how much he loved the US and it made my heart very warm. Such a sweet guy! >w<

During one of the MC’s Kaya thanked us all for coming to Femme Fatale’s debut show in the US. He talked about his solo project for a bit, and how Femme Fatale is very different from that, a lot more rock! XD It’s true and in a lot of ways Femme Fatale is also very different from Schwarz Stein too. Another one of the reasons I really like Kaya and respect him as an artist, the versatility of his voice knows no limits. ^.^ There was a certain song I was really, really REALLY hoping to hear that night though I worried I probably would not hear it since it’s a very intense song and probably too intense for a convention concert. But I held onto the hope of hearing it throughout the show.

Even though I was waiting/hoping for a certain song to be performed, I still enjoyed every song of the concert and all of my favorites were included.  During another MC, Kaya mentioned a certain song called “Kodou”, it’s technically a new song even though the single was only released for a limited time at lives in Japan this summer. I was quite surprised to see it on sale at PMX and of course I bought it. Kaya explained that the CD cover of the single is rather “sexy” to say the least, and it is, it really REALLY is! It makes me blush just to think of it! XD In any case, Kaya announced that they would be performing that song next and said for all of us to think about someone we really love while listening. At once a bunch of people called out Kaya’s name and he giggled in his cute distinct way, hugging himself and pretending to act shy/embarrassed. I personally WAS embarrassed by this, but for another reason and in a good way though. XD

“Kodou” is indeed a very sexy song and Kaya moved in a way that was quite provocative. I later learned from one of my roommates that Kodou I another word for “lovers” in Japanese. After “Kodou” was another one of my favorite songs, a lovely and bittersweet song about parting called “Voyage”. Another of my favorite songs performed was “Stardust”, it’s also my favorite track off of their first album Arcana. Upbeat and fun, Crystal mentioned that she liked this song because the sound reminded her a lot of Kaya’s solo work and honestly I am inclined to agree with her. <3 Toward the end of the song we sang along with Kaya in what was a very wonderful moment. And then, the moment I was hoping for finally happened. The room when near completely dark for a moment and Kaya performed what I thought was maybe a poem or monologue; either way I could not understand it but I didn’t have to, I knew it was the beginning of the song “Crimson Nail”!!!

Based on his posts on twitter, I know whenever Kaya comes overseas he is concerned about playing the more overtly dark songs (he was also when Schwarz Stein came to AUSA) and before PMX he posted about the possibility of doing this particular song. I’m very glad that he did. Thoroughly dark and intense, hearing the recorded track is NOTHING compared to seeing this song performed live. For the first time during the whole show, I turned my attention completely toward Kaya and was in awe at the amount of power and rawness he put into his performance. Screaming out and pleading in a way that could make me feel the agony in his voice. I thought maybe he would hold back only a bit since this was a convention but absolutely not, Kaya held back nothing! After his lament he collapsed fully onto the stage, his skirt of his beautiful costume pooled around him as the rest of the band continued playing. When the song was over and Kaya finished off with another pained shriek that bounced off the walls of the room, I could actually feel entire body shaking. As everyone clapped and screamed in applause, I actually blurted out “Holy shit!” It was a magnificent performance and, in my opinion the highlight of the show. The shaking in my body remained with me until the end of the concert.

After “Crimson Nail” the remaining songs were all the very dark and intense songs; “BABEL”, “Medeia”, “SALOME” and “JUDGEMENT –the die has been cast-“. During the middle of “BABEL”, at one point I was too focused on watching Iori that at the very last minute I noticed Kaya’s glance was RIGHT on me! It was as though his eyes were making a piercing straight into my heart! >___< “Medeia” was one of the few songs in which Tana came over to our side and actually stayed there for longer than half a minute. So I took in as much of him as I possibly could. I’m not sure if it was “Medeia” or “SALOME” but at one point Kaya went over to Iori in a teasingly seductive manner, putting his arm around the guitarist and at the very last second, kissing him! Needless to say when I saw that, my fangirly instincts went in to overdrive! It was soooooooo cute!!!!! XD Of course, I absolutely enjoyed “SALOME”! I still want to do a Kaya cosplay based around his Salome costume. This has become one of my favorite Kaya songs of all time. Toward the end of the song, Tana Iori and Toshi all went toward the back by the Fumiya, waving their heads in unison while Kaya enchanted us all with his fabulous dancing.

“JUDGEMENT –the die has been cast-“ was the last song of the main set. A gorgeous song about fate, it was the perfect song to wrap up the main set of the show! Kaya, Tana, Iori and Toshi all came very close to the stage, standing together and seeming to never stop smiling. It was wonderful. Kaya thanked us wholeheartedly, waving and smiling widely as the rest of the band reached out to all. I reached out for Tana’s hand since he was closest to me at the moment but instead grabbed Toshi’s with success. XD I did manage to grab Tana’s hand for a second, and then Iori’s before the whole band left the stage.

It didn’t take too long before everyone was calling for an encore; and it didn’t take much longer after than for Femme Fatale to return to the stage, greeted with thunderous applause from the audience. Kaya teasingly responded that they “had” planned to end the concert at the last concert but because we all seemed to still have a lot of energy they would continue! XD The band members all introduced themselves and spoke a little, and honestly and sadly, I cannot remember what any of them said because of what Toshi had to say. He took the mic from Kaya and began to say in English “My room number is…” and at once Kaya snatched the mic from him while manager san rushed to shush him up. It’s sad how much I was rolling at that. XD ANYWAY! The last song of the night was announced: “Grim Reaper”!

If anyone had lost any energy by this point, it was fully recovered for this powerful encore! The headbanging seemed to never end and the band treated us all to a good dose of fan service and exposure. At one point Tana, Iori and Toshi were all together on our side of the stage, bending down at times and allowing the fans to touch them. I held back though because I was trying to catch Kaya’s attention; he was grabbing the hands of fans, kissing/biting them and at one point touching one lucky fan’s lips! It was so thrilling but it had only just begun. At one point Kaya actually leaped OFF the stage into the audience! I was expecting to at most have him grab or kiss my hand BUT NO! Kaya threw himself into right MY general direction and I got to hug him! OMG! Talk about amazing, even if it was for only a moment! XD

Such an incredible concert!!! When the band left the stage for the final time, I immediately collapsed into the first chair I could find. I had to take a few minutes to compose myself and take in all of the amazingness of what I had just experienced. My body was still shaking too. Kassandra had been beside me the entire time and soon I met up with my roommates. We all mused about how great the show had been and soon there would be an autograph session with the band! I watched as people began to line up but I was still quite overwhelmed and remained sitting as I watched all my friends get things signed. Soon enough though I got in line, I decided to get my Voyage poster and Arcana photobook signed. I bookmarked each page of the book I wanted signed with the little gift boxes I had prepared for Femme Fatale: pieces of handmade jewelry using colors and stones I felt suited each member’s respective personality. Finally it was my turn, my heart was racing but I managed to stay calm and collected through the experience. I first met Fumiya, he was very nice but I felt somewhat guilty that I had not bought a gift for him as well. I do believe that in time he will become an official member of the band.

Toshi was next; next to Kaya and Tana I was most nervous about meeting him! I could feel my hands shaking as I handed him his gift after he had signed my photobook. He accepted my gift with great enthusiasm, thanking me and shaking my hand heartily. XD

My shyness fully disappeared by the time I got to meet Iori. He is so sweet and has a very warm essence about him. I think the drawing he made is supposed to be a seal, he likes seals! <3

I was quite nervous about meeting Tana though! He’s so very gorgeous and my second favorite member of the band. This going to sound very odd, but something about him reminded me a lot of Kyoya from Ouran Host Club, does that even make any sense?! >o<

And of course, I was most excited/nervous about meeting Kaya. However, I don’t know if it’s because I’ve met him many times, or because by this point I had met the entire band without any moments of embarrassment or fail; but when I first went up to him and he said hello to me with a very sweet smile on his face, my heart felt strangely calm with a sense of warmth. He really is such a lovely, beautiful person and seems to really care deeply for his fans and music. At the right moment I presented my gift for Kaya with both my hands, all the while thanking him for coming back to the US again and telling him how much I enjoyed the concert as best as I could; I could hear the high pitch in my voice but I still kept it together. He took it with both of his hands and thanked me graciously, shaking my hand afterward. Only then did my heart become fluttery again and I nodded my head quickly and went back to my friends. I was so, so happy. *___*

Afterward everyone had to leave the room, I left with Jin and Emily but I watched through a crack in the door when Crystal presented Femme Fatale with the US flag covered with all of the many signatures of fans that had come out for this wonderful show. The band looked very happy and took pictures together with the flag that can be found now on Kaya’s blog and Iori’s twitter. It makes my heart so warm thinking about how much effort all of the fans put into the flag project and seeing the band appreciate it. I can only imagine how happy Crystal felt too!

After the concert! Can you see the exhaustion on our faces?? XD

Despite still being overwhelmed from the show none of us were sleepy just yet. So we decided to go out and eat and muse and fangirl even more. So much fun we had, so many inside jokes made! The last thing of note to mention was that as we were waiting for Crystal in another part of the host hotel, we saw the band, sans Kaya, pass by us to get to the elevators. That was slightly thrilling! LOL!

Yours Jasmine

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