Nekocon attendees were treated to three full days of visual rock when Kouki (D=OUT) and HIZAKI (Versailles, Jupiter) appeared as special guests. The anime convention took place from November 4-6 in Hampton, Virginia. Throughout the weekend, the duo played two invigorating concerts and an exclusive acoustic session.
Kouki, both a solo musician and vocalist of D=OUT sings with a throaty pop-tone voice. His vocals are influenced by traditional Japanese music, such as enka and Showa-era pop songs. This accomplished singer has a broad range, extending from a higher register, reaching to bottomless death growls.
Renowned guitarist HIZAKI also has a signature style—leaning more towards power metal, the musician picks rapidly and heavily with keen precision, and highly technical compositions. His clarity of sound gives the guitar its own voice; so much so, when he was active with his past solo act, “HIZAKI grace project”, he would play two-hour concerts instrumentally.
Pair these two together and you get a lively, expertly-crafted concert experience. The upbeat melodies entertained die-hard fans, metalheads, and the uninitiated alike.
D=OUT rocks Nekocon’s main stage
The sets for Friday and Saturday’s concerts were the same. The pair played songs by D=OUT, Kouki’s visual kei band that celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. HIZAKI learned to play D=OUT songs specifically for this event, lending fresh air to otherwise familiar tracks.
Aside from D=OUT songs, they also surprised concertgoers with a cover of Gurenge, the opening theme song for the popular anime Demon Slayer. By the time they reached that track, they had the audience in the palm of their hand; cosplayers jumped so hard we witnessed wigs flying off in all directions.
Both musicians interacted with the crowd, touching hands, and traveling to the far ends of the stage to greet the audience. Between songs, Kouki addressed the crowd, pointing out cosplays he recognized. The singer has a friendly charisma that draws people to him, bridging cultural and language gaps effortlessly.
Kouki demonstrated his skills in the traditional arts, performing traditional Japanese dance using a folding fan. He also performed using a Tsugaru Jamisen, a three-stringed Japanese guitar played with a large, flat pick. While not performing elegantly with paper fans and parasols, Kouki showed off his rock and roll edge—head banging, leaping into the air, and spewing water onto the audience.
An intimate acoustic experience
On Sunday, Kouki and HIZAKI hosted an exclusive VIP event with Chaotic Harmony Imports. The morning included an intimate acoustic session, in which the pair covered well-known songs like X Japan’s Endless Rain, A Cruel Angel’s Thesis from the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, and D=OUT’s own song Hanasaka Beauty.
Kouki and HIZAKI wore opulent hakama sets to the Sunday event. Kouki shone in light purple, magenta, and gold, while HIZAKI wore a crisp white kimono with gradient blue hakama. Both sets were sold to lucky congoers!
That’s not all—stay tuned for our exclusive interview with Kouki and HIZAKI, coming up soon!
D=OUT featuring HIZAKI at Nekocon, Friday November 5, and Saturday November 6, 2022
- Kanden 18 gou (感電18号)
- Fuyajou (不夜城)
- MUSIC NIPPON
- Gurenge (紅蓮草)
- Senkou Hanabi (閃光花火)
- Manji (卍)
- Kigan (鬼願)
- Hanasaka Beauty (花咲ビューティー)