Review – Dir En Grey perform @ Wacken Open Air, Germany

On August 6th Dir En Grey kicked off their ‘Paradox Of Retaliation’ European tour with a performance at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany.

With their latest album ‘Dum Spiro Spero’ being released just a few days earlier it was a chance to catch the bands new material while still fresh to the senses. This performance at Wacken was also streamed online and viewable to millions of fans around the globe. I watched this performance on that very stream.

Having seen Dir En Grey during their last European tour twice, at Sonisphere in Knebworth and at the Koko in London, I had seen two very different experiences of a Dir En Grey show. One to a relatively unknown crowd and the other to passionate fans of the Japanese outfit. On this occasion it was likely to be a performance to the former but interestingly despite it appearing to be a lot of people unfamiliar to the band they got into the music and were very respectful to what they were hearing. (With the festival being a heavy metal festival, Dir En grey fit right in when it came to how heavy they could be.)

The band themselves were on good form. With this being the first date of the tour everyone looked fresh and ready to go. Kicking off with a few recent songs including their last single ‘Lotus’, the band launched into what would be a predominantly heavy set of numbers from their back catalogue. Playing ‘Red Soil’ and ‘HAGESHISA TO, KONO MUNE NO NAKA DE KARAMITSUITA SHAKUNETSU NO YAMI’ (the single prior to ‘Lotus’) it came across to me there was an issue of some kind on stage. Be it a technical fault or not, Kyo (vocalist)looked to be distracted by something so much so it caused him to miss certain lyrics of ‘HAGESHISA…’. From what I could tell, which keep in mind wasn’t a lot as I watching a time delayed internet stream, it appeared to be a foldback problem. (Foldback is the speaker at the front of the stage facing the various band members so they can hear what’s being played by each other.) He was beginning to sing off key at some points during this early portion of the set and it looked be annoying him as he glared back to his road crew while singing as best he could. No doubt trying to motion there was a problem that needed to be attended to.

After a minute or two to have some water and the crew to attend to whatever the issue was the problem appeared to be sorted. Kyo was getting into his singing a lot more and band felt more cohesive because of it. The energy level picked up tenfold and they roared through such songs as ‘Different Sense’ & ‘RASETSUKOKU’ from the new album along with favourites ‘Dozing Green’ & ‘Obscure’. This proved why you should catch them live if at all possible. The ferocity of their music is something special and I can vouch from personal experience it’s a whole different kettle of fish when you are there in person.

For those interested the songlist as according to a post on Setlist.fm was:

  • (Intro music) KYOUKOTSU NO NARI
  • TSUMI TO KISEI
  • LOTUS
  • RED SOIL
  • HAGESHISA TO, KONO MUNE NO NAKA DE KARAMITSUITA SHAKUNETSU NO YAMI
  • OBSCURE
  • DIFFERENT SENSE
  • CONCEIVED SORROW
  • DOZING GREEN
  • BUGABOO
  • REIKETSU NARISEBA
  • Merciless Cult
  • Agitated Screams of Maggots
  • RASETSUKOKU

Dir En Grey are returning to the Camden Koko next Friday (12th August) in London following their monumental performance in same building last year. If you can get to Camden, I strongly suggest you experience this live! [Photos in this review captured from Live stream by the ndr.de website]

Jeremy Graves

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