PENICILLIN held their final live concert for their “Atarashii Yado 2021”-tour at Shinjuku ReNY on May 22, 2021. Due to social distancing measures, the live performance was limited to 200 attendees and was also archived to watch online via the platform eplus.
The lineup featured three of the foundational members, vocalist HAKUEI, guitarist Chisato, drummer O-JIRO, and support bassist Chiyu. Chiyu, who was formerly the bassist for SuG, stood in as bassist for all three of PENICILLIN’S performances on this tour.
PENICILLIN wastes no time blasting onto center stage and seizing the audience in their grasp. From their opening sequence which samples Kowloon Head, they come for your throat and feed you an IV of adrenaline. Their sound incorporates elements of hardcore rock, alternative, and industrial, painting a rugged worldview in heavy strokes of black.
At times their songs hit you with a fighting spirit, with an unbounded barrage of pulsing drums and vibrating guitar riffs. Other times they are delicate and vulnerable, with a soft coupling of piano and wooden-sound instruments such as their opening song Na mo naki mirai.
Vocalist HAKUEI’s vocals both contrast and support the melody. Since the framing is so rough, his passionate, higher octave voice shines through. It creates a whisper of gothic rock, which also couples emotional vocals with grittier instrumentals.
The contrast is further highlighted in the band’s clothing choices. While guitarist Chisato looks like he can stand toe-to-toe with rockers like Mötley Crüe, HAKUEI appears surprisingly comfortable in a simple black trench coat and oversized brown scarf. As opposed to his recent live with The Brow Beat, he appears more casual and loose. Drummer O-JIRO on the other hand sports an eye-catching white button-down with black polka dots, beneath a black poncho-like garment with flowing sleeves. It made us wonder how he can perform such a radical burst of drums in such a voluminous outfit, but that’s just a small part of the awe.
The looks aren’t for nothing, though. Guitarist Chisato delivers a consistent volley of harsh metallic melodies, clad in red leather with Flying V guitar. From start to end, it’s an emotional rush.
Since this concert was held with preemptive measures against the spread of COVID-19, there were certain restrictions. For example, the audience was not allowed to cheer, and headbanging was strictly prohibited. Instead, the audience was allowed to clap in response to band member’s MC talks. It was fun hearing a full force of claps to the rhythm of the traditional “En-co-re” call at the end of the original set. Humanity’s creativity and pursuit of happiness know no bounds.
As O-JIRO stated on his blog, each venue has its own personality and limits on what the band can do. At ReNY, they provided two drummer cameras, providing a rare up-close look at what goes on behind the drumset. Normally drummers are forced into the background, especially in a world of online concerts. In this case, we felt as if we were truly interacting with O-JIRO, especially during his engaging MC comments.
Before the encore, guitarist Chisato announced that PENICILLIN will hold a “PENICILLIN Matsuri” at Veats Shibuya on August 14, 2021. More details are on the way.
Originally this concert series was slated to occur last year but was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All members seemed pleased to finally hold the performance, and fans were overwhelmingly grateful for the experience. Though we have no way of knowing how things will be this coming August, this final live performance left us feeling invigorated and optimistic.
PENICILLIN Atarashii Yado 2021 Final at ReNY Shinjuku
- Opening sequence: Kowloon Head
- Na mo naki mirai
- Just a kiss on your 3rd eye
- Wakaki Werther no nayami
- Toumei ningen pulsar ~Youkai keiji series Part II~
- Black Hole
- Sei Marian Hurricane
- Samurai Boy
- Death Dance
- Ippatsu Atero