Tokyo metalcore band HANABIE. brought a high-energy show to the small midwestern city of Des Moines, Iowa. Inside Lefty’s Live Music, an intimate college town venue, HANABIE. melted the faces of concertgoers on a Friday night as part of its very first US tour.
As the two opening bands Fox Lake and Dropout Kings played their set, the members of HANABIE. supported the bands as they looked on and danced along to the songs, capturing snippets on their phones here and there.
When it was time for HANABIE. to take the stage, excitement was at an all-time high. Phones and hands were in the air. As they arrived on stage, vocalist Yukina hyped up the crowd, yelling, “How are you Des Moines! We are HANABIE. from Japan!” before going right into the opening song Choujigen Galaxy.
Despite the noticeably compact venue, fans still found a way to open up a pit as well as crowd-surf. As the band played further and further into the set, the energy only shot up the temperature inside. Breaking in between the songs, Yukina exclaimed to the attendees, “It’s so hot: Hontou ni atsui ne!” before eventually announcing to everyone that the night was the hottest show of the tour so far.
During the banter, bassist Hettsu took out one of the band’s merch items: a traditional Japanese uchiwa fan, which she used to cool Yukina off. The band was always thoughtful in interacting with the local concertgoers in between songs, even cracking open some local Des Moines beer.
The energy HANABIE. put forth was infectious. Although some attendees came for the opening bands and stayed to experience HANABIE. for the first time, the band always had everyone in the palm of its hand, with cheering, headbanging, and moshing. Drummer Chika, who joined just this year as the band’s newest official member, displayed great chemistry with the other three and contributed tremendously to the intensity of the ensemble.
The contrast in HANABIE.’s music made it easy to see why the whole catalog is so accessible and addicting. Yukina’s brutal vocal fries contrast the cutesy aesthetic of the band. Guitarist Matsuri’s clean, almost Jpop-esque singing intertwined with the heavy, crunchy guitar riffs created an intriguing mix of styles that give the band an unbelievably unique identity. The culmination of all this wrapped into a nice package came to be dubbed “Harajuku-core”.
As the show neared its end and the girls walked off the stage, fans pleaded for one more song. One of the band’s staff members hopped onstage to encourage and hype up the crowd to cheer even louder. It was only a matter of time before the band reappeared to perform the encore.
The encore had some of the most memorable moments of the night. Before restarting, all the members from the opening bands got onstage with HANABIE. and took selfies with one another, panned across the audience with their phones, and shared shots of tequila. The camaraderie between the three bands was truly wholesome to see.
Barely a minute into the encore song L.C.G., Matsuri’s guitar experienced a technical difficulty. With a big smile and laughter, she shouted, “Oops! Accident!” and the band quickly fixed the small hiccup like the pros they were. From that moment, the encore felt as if everyone had a second chance to bring even more energy for the band to give the song one more go, which went flawlessly this time.
It was a Friday night to remember. Hopefully with time, HANABIE. will decide to hit the US again and continue to leave its mark in the metal scene here. They sure made a hell of an impression to their fans in Des Moines, old and new.
HANABIE. at Lefty’s Live Music, Des Moines, Friday, September 29, 2023
- Choujigen Galaxy
- NEET GAME
- Genkai Numa Life
- Kotoshi Koso Gal ~Shoka ver.~
- Reiwa Matching-sedai
- Ware Amatou
- LOVE Ranbu
- Tales of Villain
- Osaki ni Shitsurei Shimasu.
- Today’s Good Day & So Epic