BUCK-TICK Streams Their Film Concert Online To The World
2 May 2021
photo by Seitaro Tanaka
text by Yuka Okubo
In September 2020, BUCK-TICK released their album ABRACADABRA. The release was followed by their national tour, TOUR2020 ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN which began in October and ran for 3 months in the form of a film concert. I’ve actually gone down to the venue numerous times and marvelled at the impressive way the film makes me feel as if I’m at a live performance and the immersive acoustics which accompanies it, but I was once again able to enjoy the world of ABRACADABRA to the fullest through the band’s determination to “show” with their performance and camerawork in this long-awaited web stream.
To the music of the SE -PEACE-, sparks approach the stage with the occasional explosion like a dragon with a life of its own. The use of AR in this film concert’s production is another one of its highlights. The tour title emerges from a big magic lamp and when the cosmos unfolds to twinkling stars, the band appears on stage.
The first song to grace the stage was Tsuki no Sabaku. Imagery of a vast desert and the palace built in it, Sakurai Atsushi (vo) wrapped in a black cloak with his face hidden behind a veil, the intro’s tribal rhythm from Yagami Toll (D), the forlorn sounding chorus sung by Hoshino Hidehiko (G). Visually and aurally, this was a number befitting of the exotic image associated with the title ABRACADABRA.
Following it, they pumped up the energy with the uptempo Que Sera Sera Elegy delivered with a duet by Sakurai and Imai Hisashi (G), and the dancey Kemonotachi no Yoru YOW-ROW ver.. SOPHIA DREAM, which unfolded into a psychedelic universe with Higuchi Yutaka’s (B) characteristic bassline could very well be considered as a new frontier for BUCK-TICK.
In this TOUR2020 ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN, clips like close-ups of Yagami’s feet working the bassdrum, fingers moving on the guitars and bass guitar, and band members looking straight into the camera were included, giving the audience a chance to enjoy the show from angles that you wouldn’t normally see in a normal concert. I was especially floored by the way they filmed Sakurai singing as he lay on the floor of the stage doused in red lighting from overhead in the heavy digital rock number, URAHARA-JUKU.
Chilling the gurgling and boiling frustration of URAHARA-JUKU all at once was Kogoeru which followed next. I was held fast by Sakurai’s performance; the cold, distant emotion with which he sang and the way he gestured cradling a child as he sang a lullaby. Imai’s solo guitar came after so as to preserve the lingering notes of the song and as it fades away, they head into the song with the story of a game between a man and a woman, Maimu Mime. Sakurai’s vocals as he sings and acts out both parts, the ensemble filled with nostalgia reminiscent of the Showa era, and imagery of a bar district lined with signages named after the titles of past BUCK-TICK songs were all a joy to watch and see.
The thrumming, solid-sounding, heavy, industrial rock track, Villain came next, followed by the electro dance song Datenshi YOW-ROW ver., and the captivating retro-chic disco number Dance Tengoku, before leading into MOONLIGHT ESCAPE. To free ourselves from the guilt of running away; the message of this song that is also Sakurai’s wish was channelled with his blithe vocals to an airy tune. Then, the words “LOVE” and “PEACE” which appeared with the band’s singing and images of outer space brought a pop of colour to the catchiest song of the album Eureka. Afterwhich, a memorable impression was left by the sight of Sakurai singing the album’s final song, Boukyaku bathed in a single spotlight in the middle of a pitch-black stage.
The main set thus far had been entirely made up of songs from the ABRACADABRA album, but closing off this segment as the last song was the euphoric Luna Park. Coupled with Datenshi in BUCK-TICK’s previous single release, Luna Park carries the hope of the possibility of seeing each other again tomorrow. And so, the main set ends with the warm, comforting sound of hope that even in such a world, we can still close our eyes and dream good dreams.
For the encore, they lined up songs from their discography which showcased BUCK-TICK at their best which also carried the messages that they had for this world now in chaos. Hoshino waved his right hand to the audience (on the other side of the screen) and Yagami went straight to his drum set, while Higuchi and Imai took photos of the venue with their phones. Scenes that are no different from a regular concert’s encore made me wonder if it was being held live, a feeling that I also got when I watched it in the halls last year.
The first song played was FUTURE SONG – Mirai ga Tooru –. Sakurai and Imai sing “Onward Its the future (進め 未来だ)” together backed by a powerful rhythm before singing “Laugh at all that is darkness (闇の全てを笑え)”. In Madman Blues -Minashigo no Yuu’utsu-, a song about a world devoured by an ever-growing amount of monsters which seems to have foretold our present, the duet of a brutal onslaught by Imai’s high-pitched vocals and the eerie quivering of Sakurai’s low tones comes together, bringing a chilling sense of unease.
Just as I thought they were turning things around with the warm glow of the soft, melting ensemble of GIRL, lit candles appeared all over the stage and ROMANCE played, showing off the true essence of BUCK-TICK’s gothic world. Then, my heart was filled with Hoshino’s electric acoustic guitar and the piano music of Sekai wa Yami de Michiteiru where Sakurai’s voice, too, reverberated gently to the familiar rhythms of Yagami and Higuchi. The most emotional moment came at the end of the song when Imai knelt down and strummed his guitar. Then, they proceeded into their last number, New World. To the clean, illuminating sound and strong, powerful vocals, their message to “Cut through the infinite darkness (無限の闇 切り裂いてゆけ)” pierced deep into my heart.
In the light, it becomes darkness, yet in the darkness, it becomes light. That is what BUCK-TICK’s music has always been. It becomes a place of refuge when things get so glaringly bright that it feels as if everything would disappear, and at the same time, it can be the hope that shines in the darkness of despair. As of now, the world is still filled with darkness, but I believe that eventually, the day will come when a new light will shine.
BUCK-TICK TOUR2020 ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN will be archived until Friday, 7 May, 23:59. In addition, precious past live concert footage will be streamed on their official YouTube channel and on NicoNico Live during this Golden Week to bring a nightly buzz of joy on social media.
Until the day a new world unfolds, BUCK-TICK will be the light which stays by the sides of those who seek it. And I believe that when it comes, they will present us with a new world of BUCK-TICK to be someone’s light and shadow. Until then, I can hardly wait.
- Tsuki no Sabaku (月の砂漠)
- Que Sera Sera Elegy (ケセラセラ エレジー)
- Kemonotachi no Yoru YOW-ROW ver. (獣たちの夜 YOW-ROW ver.)
- SOPHIA DREAM
- Kogoeru (凍える)
- Maimu Mime (舞夢マイム)
- Datenshi YOW-ROW ver. (堕天使 YOW-ROW ver.)
- Dance Tengoku (ダンス天国)
- MOONLIGHT ESCAPE
- Eureka (ユリイカ)
- Boukyaku (忘却)
- Luna Park
- FUTURE SONG -Mirai ga Tooru- (FUTURE SONG – 未来が通る –)
- MISTY ZONE
- Madman Blues -Minashigo no Yuu’utsu- (Madman Blues -ミナシ児ノ憂鬱-)
- Sekai wa Yami de Michiteiru (世界は闇で満ちている)
- New World
『BUCK-TICK TOUR2020 ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN』Trailer