On Saturday February 25th I took a quick visit to Tokyo to go and watch the Bancho Boys 1st Live. I bought the tickets spontaneously after I fell head-over-heels in love with Yasui Kazuma. I didn’t even hesitate on buying the tickets and the ride to Tokyo, because I knew I wouldn’t regret it. I was particularly drawn to his group Dress_No. being special guests, because I knew it would mean more focus on him. If not only for him, there was also Akira (my second favourite from the Ensemble Stars stage), Nozaki Yutaka (also from Ensemble Stars), and my current favourites from Tenimyu, Futaba Kaname and Yashiro Takuya. With all of that, how could I resist? I apologise that this report is a little Kazuma-biased but obviously I was watching him most of the time.
The venue was all-standing and my place was about three rows back. Getting everyone into the venue took so long (due to bad planning, since they managed to sort it out for the second one) that the live started 20 minutes late. I felt bad that the boys felt the need to apologise for that, since it wasn’t their fault. Before the live started, one of the boys did an announcement about the rules for the live. What I liked was that they ended it with “the most important thing is that we all have fun together.” Not many rule announcements do that, even though it’s true.
The opening song was done by a newly formed unit comprising of the four current Bancho Boys trainees, along with Yashiro Takuya. They announced that their unit had been given a name and that they were going to reveal it. The name is Gingadan (銀河団) which is “Galaxy Cluster” in English. It was obvious that they have a little way to go with their performing (there was a little confusion and almost crashing into each other during their routines) but they seem to be working hard and they’re all really cute. There’s two of them in particular (aside from Takuya) that I’d like to keep an eye on.
The MCs for the live were then introduced as Chiwata Yuhei and Nishihara Kenta. They got off to a bad start because Yuhei couldn’t find his microphone, and everyone groaned when Kenta joined him on stage (I quickly learned that this is because he is the super annoying one of the group). After introducing the live and a few explanations, they introduced the first act, which was Dress_No. I was really excited that I’d be able to see Kazuma so soon, and I really have gotten to like their music so I was also excited to see that live too.
The two lives blur into each other, but the songs I remember them singing (that I knew) were Black&White, REJECTION, So High So Bright, and still in. There was a really nice ballad they did in the second live that I didn’t know. And one other song that I talked about a little further down. Their dancing was so on point and perfect I was kind of amazed, and their voices were just as good live as they are recorded. They worked really well together as a group and even Yuta, their new member, looked like he’d been there forever. I really grew to appreciate the other members I didn’t know before. For example, I’d always had a bit of a problem with Yapp’s face in pictures, but he looked good in person (sorry kid).
During their MC part in the first live, Kazuma said that as a part of both Bancho Boys and Dress_No. (along with Yutaka) it had been his wish to have Dress_No. at a Bancho Boys event, and so he was happy that wish had been able to come true. He also commented on how well the members of Dress No. had gotten on backstage with the other Bancho Boys. Yuta mentioned he was a trainee with them before, but he isn’t any longer so I guess he left Bancho Boys and joined Dress No. instead?
The final song of the second live was something a little special for two reasons. Firstly, it was my favourite of their songs, Mirai e no Tegami. Secondly, because of Kazuma’s special surprise. It was his birthday earlier in the month, and before the show a couple of fans had handed us all a flag wishing him Happy Birthday, as well as a glowstick in his colour (purple). They told us to wave the flags and glowsticks during that song. Kazuma was so genuinely surprised and happy that he forgot the words during his rap part. The other members looked so happy for him and they decided to freestyle their rap parts to wish him a Happy Birthday too. By the end of the song they were all surrounding and hugging him. As his fan, it was an amazing thing to be able to watch, and worth the trip just for those few minutes.
With the Dress No. live over, the next segment was a game corner. I never know what the game is called but it’s the janken game with the helmet and hammer (except instead of a helmet they had a rather big bowl). There were two teams, with Kaname the leader of one team and Yu the leader of the other. The “twist” (if you can call it a twist) was that they all came on stage topless with random things written on their chests.
Yu pointed out that Kaname had meant to write something completely different but had gotten the kanji wrong, and Kaname got really defensive and embarrassed. All of the audience were laughing, but suddenly Kenta said, “look, even the foreigner in the middle is laughing.” …. I was spotted. Then Kaname looked over at me and pointed at the words on his chest and said, “JAPANESE KANJI.” Thanks Kaname for that piece of information. Somehow it’s always embarrassing to be spotted like that (I stand out so much) but it’s nice when it gets me attention from my favourites.
I don’t exactly remember how the actual game went, except that Kaname’s team won both times. The second time round it wasn’t even necessary to have the twins go up against each other because Kaname’s teammates both won, but they decided we should see it anyway and Kaname won that too. Yu didn’t even seem to be sure which way round the game worked in the beginning so that wasn’t surprising. It was especially nice to see the twins face up against each other because they were clearly so competitive against each other and neither of them wanted to lose. During one match, Kaname accidentally dropped the hammer and decided to just punch Yu in the head instead. There was also an occasion where Yu grabbed the bowl and put it on his head but for some reason he put it on upside down which was a far more difficult move.
Because Yu’s team lost, they were all forced to drink an apparently spicy drink. Two of the group managed to survive pretty well (although they commented later that they all ran backstage and had all the drinks they could get hold of) but one of the guys was so horrified that his face actually looked like it might explode.
Next, there were two acoustic sessions.
The first with Domoto Shohei (on guitar) and Matsumoto Taishi. Taishi was so nervous the first time round when he saw all the people. He said his hands were shaking so much and all he could say was “yabai yabai yabai”. On the other hand Shohei was just looking at him hoping he would shut up soon so they could get on with it. He was also really surprised when he got given a mike stand for some reason. “Wow, we get a set-up this cool?” But then when they tried to give it to him for the second live, he told the staff that he didn’t need it because he had held the mike the whole time before and it had also blocked his view of the audience. Not so cool after all, I guess. Anyway, their performance was nice! Shohei was mainly there for guitar but he also harmonised with Taishi during the song as well. They were a nice combination.
The second performance was a solo by Itokawa Yojiro with Sunehara Kensuke on guitar. Yojiro also seemed very nervous but he did not need to be. His voice was amazing and everyone was so transfixed by watching him sing that no one even moved their penlights or anything. Usually even during ballads people move them a little, but they were stuck firmly against everyone’s chests because we all wanted to focus on just listening. At the end the second time round, rather than ending when he should, Kensuke just kept doing his thing with his guitar and there was this moment where Yojiro was a little confused, and Kensuke looked up at him, and Yojiro just smiled and they just looked into each other’s eyes until he’d done. It was nice that Yojiro seemed to give him his blessing to just go for it, but they were both really embarrassed when it was finally over.
Next, the group of members who had performed in Bancho Boys stage Love Ballad took to the stage to sing the theme song from the stage. Of course I had never heard the song before but people in the audience seemed really excited to be able to hear it live again, which I can understand if it was a song only performed at a specific stage. It was a fun song, and all of the cast also seemed really happy to be able to sing it again.
The second game corner was an arm wrestling contest, but the point wasn’t to find the strongest member, but the weakest. To get their opponent, eight members picked a random letter from A-D. Kazuma and Yutaka were pretty amazed that they managed to pick each other for the first show. I don’t remember the other pairs. Kazuma 100% sucked at arm wrestling and managed to lose to everyone in the first live, despite always being confident that he was going to win. In the end he even tried to distract his opponents or just glare at them in the hope they would get scared. When he lost, he pretended he had a cold and that was why he was lost, but no one believed him.
In the second show, he finally managed to win and only came second last (he was so happy when he finally managed to win against someone). Unfortunately no one had forgotten his previous failure and Akira would not let him into the winner’s side of the stage. Every time he tried to go over there, Akira would push him back over to the loser’s side, and he eventually gave up and accepted his fate as a loser. Even though he didn’t come last this time, because of his poor performance throughout he was made to do the batsu game anyway. The drink was so painful for him this time that apparently it made the back of his neck hurt.
The final unit performance was done by Twin Paradox. I am totally in love with their unit and all of their songs are so nice. And as expected, they work perfectly and sound really good together. They sang all three of their songs, Koi no Hana, Love Dynamite and Shiawase no Uta. Their routines were very simple and similar to the way they move in their PVs, but the last song had some cute choreography that they wanted us to join in with. During one of the songs they were waving their arms but Kaname was doing it in the opposite direction to Yu. Kaname realised we were all confused which way we were supposed to move our arms and that’s when he noticed, so he switched. I’m not sure who was actually going the wrong way, but one of them had to change.
Shiawase no Uta was a song that was written by the two of them. Previously on Twitter, and at the first show, Yu made a big show about how “he” had written it, but in the second live he finally decided to admit that both of them had written it together. They’re new as a unit together and they were really thankful to have been given the chance to work together. Yu went to thank important people but he mentioned their mother twice and Kaname laughed and said “we have two mothers?!”
With the last unit section done, all of the boys squeezed onto the stage (I’m not even kidding, the ones at the back were basically pressed against the wall) to perform their theme song. They had a few announcements to make, including announcing their second live which will be at the end of April. And then it was over. Actually the second time round we all called for an encore but apparently we had to be out of the venue by a certain time so it wasn’t possible.