August 16 found us in the winding streets of Shibuya, Tokyo, joining the line outside Shibuya Rex in the sweltering mid-summer heat to enter the trio’s first live show which they appropriately titled “NUL. 1st EXPERIMENT -showcase-“.
Gradually, we filed downstairs to the live house itself. It was packed to capacity—barely enough room to breathe, definitely no room to move—at the instant sold-out show. Sweating from both temperature and anticipation, we waited with bated breath for some time before the lights dimmed and the intro music began. Before the members even appeared on stage, a nearby fan immediately burst into tears. The murmuring ceased.
Nobody really knew what to expect from the first performance but as MASATO, Kishi and finally, HIZUMI appeared onstage, the swell of sound from the audience made way for a blast of music with industrial and electronic elements.
HIZUMI gave no indication that he had spent so long away from the stage—his voice clear and powerful, his stage presence commanding, almost effortlessly working the audience. Kishi, responsible for programming, provided backup vocals from behind his set-up. Completing the trio, MASATO laid down riff after riff, showing us a side to his guitar playing we hadn’t seen before. All three mad scientists, finally revealing to this select crowd the fruits of their labor.
Despite having only having heard previews for two songs, the audience moved naturally with the rhythm of more uptempo songs such as Plastic Factory, and gladly answered calls to raise their voices and hands. A testament to the expert craftsmanship of songs they were hearing for the first time. The lurid lighting, lasers, and smoke truly added to the sense that we were in an underground research lab, taking part in this “experiment”. The trio blazed through the 12 track strong showcase, barely pausing between songs, and before we knew it the stage was empty.
After a deafening roar requesting an encore, and what seemed like an eternity, they reappeared. HIZUMI apologized that there was no additional new material to perform, as they had played the entirety of their as-yet-unreleased demo, but did surprise us with the announcement of four upcoming performances in Japan. We were treated to a second rendition of two of the most energetic tracks, POISON EATER, and Plastic Factory, and the crowd leaped straight into the action. Then, just as suddenly as it had begun, it was again over.
This is just the beginning for NUL., and I believe we have a lot to look forward to from this highly versatile unit of creative powerhouses. If your interest is piqued and you’re in Japan on the following dates—granted, if tickets are still available—seeing them at the start of this journey is an experience you shouldn’t pass up.
NUL. upcoming performances 2019/2020
- November 1, 2019, at TSUTAYA O-WEST
- January 11, 2020, at Shibuya WOMB
- January 12, 2020, at Shibuya WOMB
- January 26, 2020, at Osaka GABU
Tickets and additional information can be found at NUL.’s official website.
NUL. 1st EXPERIMENT -showcase-
- ANOTHER FACE
- Plastic Factory
- POISON EATER
- Grand 0
- Phantom Rain (tentative)
- I don’t seek, I find (tentative)
- BLACK SWAN
- POISON EATER
- Plastic Factory
Concert photos: Ueno Hiroyuki (上野宏幸) of nonfix creative