Sharing the large stage at “Live Royal Fes 2020” on October 10 is five male-fronted bands from the line-up of “ARGONAVIS from BanG Dream!”, a franchise active within anime, games, music, and more. With each act putting on a show themed to each unit’s concept, there’s something for everyone, ranging from pop, rock, to visual kei, and even ska.
The show which took place at Tokyo Garden Theater had an in-person audience but was simultaneously streamed to viewers within Japan and thankfully also outside, but limited to the U.S., Australia, Canada, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan. I watched the show streamed over the internet, and as such, the report is expressed from this perspective.
Let’s dig in and see what exciting stuff these relatively new bands have to offer!
The first to step on was the main act Argonavis. The impressive trait of this band is that each musician here is also the voice actor for the respective fictional character they are playing in the anime—which isn’t the case for every band.
Argonavis didn’t plan on reserving any energy and went full power from the get-go with its cheerful song Goal Line. Full devotion and passionate stage performance got the fans active immediately but further brought about due to the members’ infectious and charming smiles that were constantly on display.
The five-piece unit kept the same energy for the remaining songs but one that stood out particularly was the album title-track, Starry Line. The wistful emotions expressed through vocalist Masahiro Ito’s eyes created a genuine atmosphere that was well-suited for such heartfelt yet lighthearted tunes. It was made more captivating thanks to the light effects that created an animated starry night, together with fans’ glowsticks which produced a colorful shimmering ocean.
Out of the five, the fictional ska band “Fujin RIZING!” definitely has the most unique setup with some members playing saxophone and trombone. Unfortunately, the real-world performance is kept to solely vocals.
Even though only Yoshiki Nakajima, and Kodai Sakai joined in, their presence was almost strong enough to fill up the entire stage thanks to their comedic chemistry and big moves that engaged the crowd. Even without a backing band, it turned out great as the two counterbalanced it with charismatic acting instead, a good fit considering the merry and lively music Fujin RIZING! generally performs; a perfect example being the last song of the set, Banzai RIZING!!!
Fantôme Iris – Vampire visual kei band
Fictionally, Fantôme Iris is a visual kei band based in Nagoya, so already by the sound of it, you might suspect them of having a dark concept, and that is indeed the case. They lean towards tanbi kei, similar to the band Versailles who are dressed like French aristocrats.
Black from top to bottom, on-point makeup, and hair perfectly shaped, the stage presence was nothing like the other acts we’ve come to experience so far.
The air was heavy and the venue dimly lit, but surprisingly, the song that opened the set was histoire, a rather balladic piece with a very reminiscing visual kei sound and melodies you would typically find in the early 2000s. The frontman and vocalist Arthur Conant Lounsbery (yes, that’s his actual name) covered all the delicate hand gestures you’ve come to expect from a visual kei ballad performance.
Things quickly turned rowdy and red as the song Zakuro, and later Gin no Yuri showed just how aggressive they could be. Again, these songs offered a classic visual kei sound—a murderous one. While it didn’t go as far as constant headbanging, their moves were a lot hectic and threatening, however, still keeping intact the elegance of an aristocrat.
Perhaps the most interesting part of Fantôme Iris is in fact that the fictional band has turned real thanks to the recruited professional support members. What’s more interesting is that all of them have previously taken part in visual kei bands. I’m pretty sure the following names below will ring a bell or two?
It should however be noted that the support members at the live shows are not participating as voice actors. Vocalist Arthur is the sole member who partakes in live shows and does voice acting.
In case you weren’t already impressed, every song performed by Fantôme Iris is written by no other than SID!
εpsilonΦ (Epsilon Phi) is also just a fictional band, so by and of itself, we only have the voice actor and vocalist Yuki Sakakihara appearing. He plays the character Shu Ujigawa, a sadist that has the appearance of an angel. Yuki did a great job keeping in character at all times. With cutesy moves and hand gestures, he kept the audience engaged and guided them throughout the entire set.
The band itself generally takes a pop, synthesizer-type of sound combined with the vocalist’s high-pitched voice as the key trait. It’s not really at the high level of vocalist TK from Ling tosite sigure for example, but it’s no coincidence that TK himself composed a song for Epsilon Phi, the amazing and chaotic track Hikari no Akuma. This was probably one of the songs that got the fans moving the most, as not only is it a fast song, it also delivers an emotional, violent, and provoking sound.
GYROAXIA is both a fictional and a real band with corresponding members playing their respective instruments live.
Right at the beginning of the first song MANIFESTO, the band literally opened with a bang as explosives were lit up! Their rebelliousness quickly took over the audience as MANIFESTO offered both the rock sound that gets you moving and the catchiness of rap vocals that hooks you in.
It really didn’t take long until the fans had submitted themselves to the devilish band, the energy was way over the roof while GYROAXIA was still performing its first song.
Their set only got more heated with high-energy songs like Getting High, a track that definitely was made to pump up the crowd—which it unmistakably did.
After several other aggressive songs, we eventually landed on the final track IGNITION, a warm rock ballad. However, vocalist Jin Ogasawara didn’t turn soft because of that, he was still radiating strong energy and moving confidently, the same time as he was singing passionately too.
When the song ended, just like any other fierce rockstar, he quickly left the stage without saying a word or showing hesitation.
All the voice actors were brought onto the stage again to get a genuine time with the fans, ‘cause now, they were no longer in character and were introducing their real selves.
This little talk session had the performers discussing the concert experience and generally just sharing their thoughts and feelings. Argonavis’ drummer Shohei Hashimoto even explicitly thanked everyone who was watching the livestream from abroad, saying “Thank you” in Japanese, Chinese, German, Korean, French, and English. Funnily enough, when speaking French, he accidentally said “Bonsoir (good evening)” instead.
This was actually quite wholesome and as a fan, you definitely appreciate the music and performance all the more when being able to hear the artists’ true feelings—rather than just their characters.
As a final goodbye, the cast joined in for one last song, AAside. A true spectacle to behold where a total of 14 people were performing together for a delightful conclusive act.
As this being my first concert (livestream) I’ve experienced with “ARGONAVIS from BanG Dream!”, I sure was impressed by their professionalism, being able to stay perfectly in character and giving a splendid performance at the same time.
With each band having their own identity and concept, the concert was able to offer a varied show and brought out different moods and emotions.
Without a doubt, I’m a bigger fan now than I was yesterday and really come to appreciate their music even more!
- Goal Line (ゴールライン)
- Starry Line
- Ameagari no Sakamichi (雨上がりの坂道)
- Hoshi ga Hajimaru (星がはじまる)
- Run Gun Run (ランガンラン)
- Daichi Friend (ダチフレンド)
- Banzai RIZING!!! (バンザイRIZING!!!)
- Zakuro (ザクロ)
- Gin no Yuri (銀の百合)
- Sake it LOVE! (Sake it L⓪VE！)
- Play With You
- Hikari no Akuma (光の悪魔)
- GETTING HIGH
Photo: Nishimaki Taichi (西槇太一)