Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Darkness Over The Pacific - NECRONOMIDOL Gig Report! Seattle, WA 12/20/17



Nevermind The Damage

Studio Seven
Seattle, WA


In some ways it's hard to believe it's the end of the calendar year already. This time last year I only covered two shows all of December due to family issues. This year has been more steady coverage, which included seeing two bands from Japan on Wednesday night!

Before I delve into this review, let me start right off by saying I am not in any way an expert on the Japanese Idol scene. Far from it. I went through a K-Pop phase around 2004/2005. I saw X Japan in 2010. I covered Babymetal in 2016 at the overly sold out Showbox SoDo. But, outside of that, I know next to nothing about the Idol scene in Japan. There are hundreds if not thousands of sites dedicated to the phenomenon but Eclectic Arts is not one of them. So, please take my review as one from a guy that writes about music, television, movies, craft beer, and so on. Thanks!

I saw that Necronomidol and Zeroshiki were coming to Studio Seven by chance. If memory serves, I saw it through social media or possibly through Studio Seven's site. I knew nothing about either band. I did a little research, liked for the most part what I saw/heard, and decided to put this gig on the schedule.

After reaching out to management, an in person interview was scheduled for the day of the show. This would be my first time interviewing a non English-speaking artist - which I was curious and excited about.

After driving down through lovely Seattle traffic on I-5 (basically doubling my commute time), and running a few minutes late (which I pride myself on never being when it comes to interviews), I parked and communicated with management that I was outside of the venue. Once I met up with the tour manager (hi Derek!), I was brought upstairs to wait. Luckily in this case the band was running a bit behind as there were interviews before and after me. This allowed me to get myself together and to warm up as well.

After 10 minutes or so, I was brought back to meet the band. All four of them stood up as we exchanged names. They then sat down as I fumbled around to get my equipment ready. I then reached for the gift bags I had made them (yes, I filled each bag with items I selected) and handed them to the band. The band graciously thanked me for the gifts (they knew a little English) and then we started the interview, with Ricky translating.

The video interview is posted at the end of this review so I'll leave that for your viewing pleasure instead of me writing about the details here.


The gig report:

A local band opened the show called Nevermind The Damage. They had some family and friends there in support so they did their job - to bring in more people to the venue.

Next up was Zeroshiki!

The five piece from Japan played a highly melodic brand of rock, mixed with some metal parts at times. I was pleasantly surprised by Zeroshiki. Chocchi, one of their guitarists, spent seven years here in Seattle. He ripped on his 7 string Ibanez with the greatest of ease. Their singer also had something missing from many up and coming singers lately - presence. The guys raged through their 30-minute set and had a great time doing it. I think seeing this band in a full club would really make for a great experience!

After a short changeover, the hardcore Necronomidol fans finally came to the front of the stage (everyone had been a good ten feet back during the other two bands sets), the intro tape started and the members of Necronomidol walked onto the stage. Himari, then Rei, then Sari, and finally Risaki.

The first few numbers were performed to a backing tape of music while the girls sang live. Intense dance choreography throughout the entire set, the band was well rehearsed and the fans in the front were loving every bit of it.

I found myself enjoying the visual aspect of the band. It's not very often I get to see dancing of any type at the gigs I cover so this always adds a breath of fresh air dimension to the rare shows that do.

After the first few numbers, Zeroshiki were brought up to be the Necroma backing band for the rest of the set. Launching into, "End of Days" from "Dawnslayer", this is where the evening went up several notches for me.

It should be noted that there were moments in between some songs where Necronomidol spoke to the audience. It was nice to see their personalities come out and it seemed quite genuine and authentic. This was very endearing to the audience.

I actually didn't know if we were going to get live vocals at all before Wednesday night so I was glad to hear the girls actually sing with live mics. This review would have been vastly different had they stepped on stage and started lip-synching the whole night. So, kudos to them!

The songs that tended to work for me were the heavier but still melodic songs like "Skulls In The Stars" and "Ithaqua". Some of the others not as much but I still enjoyed watching the band dance and perform.

Random side note: Himari's hair is awesome - I don't know if it was due to the choreography as I've seen tons of bands with long haired musicians but her hair whipped into some cool shapes during their set. Or maybe it's because I'm bald *rubs head* Hair envy.

But back to the review. Necronomidol backed with Zeroshiki was a very smart way to go. Unfortunately, the SF show will only have Necronomidol. (Cue backing tapes). So, LA, Portland, and Seattle were lucky. I like hearing live bands, period. Being a musician myself, I will always prefer to hear a live musician versus a backing tape. Just my own preference.

The band was entertaining. Their 40-minute set (give or take) was over in a flash. I would of liked to have heard a few more songs. The girls performed well and had a good energy about them. They made the most of their set and I was very glad I went Wednesday night!

I hope Necronomidol return to Seattle. It's always so hard for bands to tour the US (i.e. expensive). I also think playing something like Sakura Con, Emerald City Comic Con, or even Crypticon would make sense. Bumbershoot - possibly - as they could play to a wide audience of curious music lovers.

I know there's a debate about whether Idol music can make it big in the West. Folks are looking at what Babymetal has accomplished thus far and are waging their bets. The issue always becomes how do you sell your product to the mainstream US audience. There will always be cult fans that love this style of music, will spend money to fly to cities to see their favorite Idol band (some such folks were at this show - flying in from the mid west I read/heard), etc. But that's not a large enough demographic to sustain a band that can play to thousands in Asia without ever venturing West.

I personally love the fact that a band like Necronomidol came to Seattle. I know how rare an opportunity it is and I'm grateful I got to meet/know the band a bit. They don't have the big corporate machine behind them (like a Babymetal) - yet they're making waves. By traveling to Europe and the US, they're already ahead of most of the Idol bands.

I hope that the music on "Dawnslayer" is an indication of what's coming in 2018. If it is - then Necronomidol has great things in store for us in the very near future!


Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Ricky for setting up the interview, translating, and for the credentials - I really appreciate it! Derek for the day of set up and getting me in to the show - much thanks! Both gentlemen are two of the nicest and most down to earth people I've met in this business. Again, thank you!

Special Thanks: Necronomidol for taking the time to speak with me. I was glad to see your personalities come out toward the end of the interview (and they definitely came out after the interview when Ricky left to get the next media member). I think that was the first time a touring band thanked me for covering/shooting their show before the show ever happened. Safe travels and hope to see you again in Seattle soon!

Special Random Side Note: Manowar sounded really good over the PA in-between sets. Members of Zeroshiki put their arms up in the sign of the hammer once, "Black Wind, Fire and Steel" started up. S7 also played, "Hail and Kill". Nice!

Other Side Note: I've been listening to "Dawnslayer" repeatedly since Wednesday. It has begun … ☺

Video Interview

Live Clip

Live Clip

Friday, December 15, 2017

Goodnight NICOLE ATKINS - Gig Review from Seattle, WA 12/12/17

Nicole Atkins

Lauren Ruth Wade


The Sunset
Seattle, WA


As we come closer to winding down 2017, I can't help but think about some of the incredible artists I've been fortunate enough to cover for Eclectic Arts. A good number of them have been at The Sunset in Ballard. Maggie Koerner, Pale Waves, Guitar Wolf, Muna, Steve N Seagulls, to name but a few.

Last night I can add Nicole Atkins to the list (Lauren Ruth Wade as well)!

Originally it was billed as three artists then recently it was changed to two (the original opener dropped off the tour due to illness). When I arrived at the Sunset I saw that it was back to three bands.

First up was Indianola. Performing as a two-piece (guitar/vocals and drums), the band played a few songs to get things going. I liked the upbeat tunes more than the ballads but the guys were skilled and it would make sense later on why they opened the show.

With nearly no changeover, Lauren Ruth Wade hit the stage with a partial band as well (guitars - rhythm section was not playing these shows). Being her first time in Seattle, Lauren performed with such a raw intensity; you couldn't help but be drawn into her aura on stage.

Her songs were as raw as her performance - and I mean that in the best possible way. I've said this before but I'll say it again - artists have to cross that line when they perform otherwise the audience won't cross it with them. Once everyone is on that other level, both artist and audience, magical things happen. That was the case with Lauren's performance. I might also add that this was especially amazing since she only had a short 30-minute set to boot.

Several in attendance knew her songs and were singing along to their favorite tunes. I was new to her music but definitely left a fan. If I had extra cash on me, I would of made a merch purchase for sure (next time).

After a short changeover, Nicole Atkins came out and hit the ground running. Backed by a three piece (two of which were from Indianola), Nicole wowed the audience with each and every tune. Her powerful yet nuanced vocals were something to hear. This being my first time seeing her live I enjoyed her set immensely.

With engaging and funny inbetween song banter (farts at the Crocodile on her first visit to Seattle, unknowingly meeting Carole King's daughter, etc), Nicole played songs from her newest album, "Goodnight Rhonda Lee" as well as older cuts, ending the night with arguably her best known track, "The Way It Is".

Her set lasted around 75 minutes or so, and clearly was not long enough for the crowd. Always leave them wanting more and on Tuesday night in Seattle, Nicole did just that.

An amazing night of music from all involved, it was truly a pleasure to cover this show. I can't wait to see all of the artists back in this area again. I left the Sunset inspired which I owe to the Nicole, Lauren, and Indianola. Much thanks!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Taylor for the credentials - I really appreciate it!