On February 21st, Japanese visual kei musicians Kaya and Satsuki hit the stage of London’s Underworld. At first glance it didn’t seem like there was much of a turn out, with only a small amount of fans filling the floor next to the stage, but as the night went on, the crowd slowly grew and ended up filling a good chunk of the venue- impressive considering the how niche the market of these small shows tends to be.

First up was Kaya, who seemed to be the most sought after of the two, gracing his fans with his eccentric vocals and feminine attire. In total he sung an impressive variety of new and old singles, such as ‘Walkure’ from his first album ‘Glitter’, and his January 2012 single, ‘Vampire Requiem’. His music dabbles in elements of different genres, shifting from a sort of synth/goth/pop, to slower and more traditional orchestral sounds, and with both matching his vocals seamlessly, making for a fantastic set, with an array of catchy songs. Although, despite the fact he played a good range of songs, each varying in style, the performance felt flat in its entirety. Kaya’s operatic vocals seem to not suit the small stage, but instead thrive with the acoustics of a larger venue. Also with the stage to himself, it felt empty, lacking the energy you receive with a band. However, from the fans point of view, it was a perfect opportunity to get up close with their idol, without having any of the attention diverted to others on stage.

Next up was Satsuki. Straight away you could feel an increase in energy surge through the venue as the band entered the stage. He started with his December 2011 single, ‘Romance’ which served as a great opening, setting up the audience for a different sound entirely. Satsuki’s more rock take on the visual kei genre fitted well with the setting of the venue, also leaving room for other members of the band to perform freely around the stage, and most of all, interact with all sides of the crowd. This was the biggest improvement, the use of call and response, jokes and light humour, and surprisingly good English, really meant Satsuki could interact with the crowd much better than Kaya, who lacked the language skills, but that’s not to say he didn’t do well getting some good screams from the crowd during his set. Satsuki also performed a great selection of songs, picking the best of his previous singles from 2009-2011, and even playing two new songs from his next single, ‘Fate’ and ‘Inside’, which was released in Japan the day after the show.

Finally came the encore. Satsuki and the band took their places, and introduced Kaya back to the stage for the final send off to the hyped London crowd. They played two last songs, Satsuki’s ‘Romance’ with Kaya taking part in the vocals, and Kaya’s ‘Glitter Arch’. This was a fantastic end to the show, and to hear Kaya with the backing of a band really gave him that extra edge, plus the extra vitality added by the band members, really made for a truly memorable end to an all round entertaining concert. I went into the show not knowing much about either musicians, but after such an overall great concert, I came out as a new fan.

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