With a performing style just as dynamic and eclectic as their music, BRADIO grooved and rocked Akasaka BLITZ with a fun throwback-style tour final on July 17th.
Swirling purple and green lights marked the start of the show as the thumping background beat prompted the crowd to clap along. The venue was packed with excited fans and the stage was decked out in glittering gold and deep purples. A huge disco ball hovered in the air, that took you back to the carefree eras of disco and funk.
Guitarist Ohyama Soichi, bassist Sakai Ryosuke and drummer Tanabe Yuki took the stage first and immediately began jamming on their respective instruments. Shingyoji Takaaki danced out to the beat and hopped onto the platform, getting the crowd even more hyped up. They were yet to play a single song but the energy was already happy and infectious.
They kicked off the setlist with “FUNKASISTA” which had the entire room dancing and waving during the chorus. BRADIO took their time with the music, adding in extra solos and making sure that everyone was fully absorbed with the music. All the members were grooving to the beat with Shingyoji Takaaki swaggering across the stage, feet full of life. “Abracadabra” kept the vibe alive and it was impossible to find someone who wasn’t at least swaying to the rhythm. In the middle of the song, the music paused for Shingyoji Takaaki to deliver a powerful acapella solo that had the fans going wild. They followed with “Kanjou Literacy” with Sakai Ryosuke adding the vocal harmony to the more mellow but no less groovy performance.
The lights dimmed at the end of the song, giving the band a couple seconds to catch their breath before they faced their enthusiastic fans. Shingyoji Takaaki officially welcomed everyone to the final and got the room fired up with calls of, “Are you funky?!” and “Are you happy?!”, which got incredibly avid responses. He also pointed out the lush set design which made their performances even more vibrant.
“Golden Liar” was up next and the crowd was stepping from left to the right as the slick bass riffs thrummed through the room. It became one of the most fun performances of the night when Shingyoji Takaaki stepped down from the stage and made his way right to the center of the astonished crowd (some of whom couldn’t resist the chance to pat his impressive afro). Standing on a platform so he could see everyone clearly, he led the room in a call and response then gave the people clustered around him the chance to sing along into the microphone. It was clear that the crowd was having a fantastic time. Both Ohyama Soichi and Sakai Ryosuke stood back to back on the platform at the center of the stage and the band kept the music going with their vocalist remaining in the heat of the crowd until the end of the performance.
Before the band could start the next song, there was sudden darkness then the venue was doused in red lights and a tiny cackling voice sounded over the speakers. Old-school villain music began to play and out of nowhere, a Korilakkuma bear on a string dropped down from the roof and began to hover over the stage. It referred to itself as the god of Akasaka BLITZ and angrily told the band,
“You guys aren’t excited enough!”
After bantering back and forth with the tiny, malevolent bear, BRADIO had no choice but to appease it through song. With that, they went all out with “HOTEL ALIEN”. The crowd who watched the entire exchange with amusement, helped the band by singing the bridge of the song at the top of their lungs. At the end of it, it appeared that the angry god was satisfied and so he was lowered and thrown into the throng of fans as a souvenir.
They thanked the fans again for their amazing participation and for allowing them to sell out the venue and then Tanabe Yuki began a slow beat which was joined by a groovy bassline. Deep purple lights spilled onto the stage and then a wailing guitar solo amped up the energy. They jammed for a while then stopped. In the resulting silence, Shingyoji Takaaki began to sing the beginning of “Chocolate Flavor” in a high but impressively strong acapella. The rest of the instruments joined in again and the entire performance was smooth and perfect for easy listening.
“Take Me Higher” began in a burst of swirling colorful lights accompanied by the audience waving along to the beat. It was a charismatic performance made even better by Shingyoji Takaaki’s fancy footwork as he shuffled easily across the stage. The beauty of the band was their strength both in their vocals and instrumentals. Pausing in the middle of the song and starting with their newly added keyboardist, each member of the band would show off their skills on their respective instrument. First by playing back and forth with another member, then by stealing the spotlight for a jazzed up solo. The crowd loved nothing better and kept screaming and cheering them on.
As befitting the name, “Makka na Car Chase” doused the room in rich, red lights and although it was a much more laid-back performance, the crowd still had fun singing along.
After a quick check in with the audience to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves to the fullest, BRADIO put out their genuine feelings towards their fans and supporters with one of their latest releases, “Gift”. The mood in the room was calm and mellow and the lights switched to a golden glow reminiscent of candlelight. The vocals were soft and gentle but no less expressive and it was the first time for the night that the audience stood still. Their full attention was fixed on the stage as they appreciated the music.
“Playback” kept the mood relaxed and gave BRADIO room for more improvisation and fun. Shingyoji Takaaki experimented with his performance, working an MC segment into his vocals. While vocalizing, he continued to get the room hyped up and sang “Thank you” in gratitude to the amazingly responsive crowd.
“Overnight Superstar” brought Friday night at the disco back in full swing with glittering lights bouncing off the shimmering disco ball. All the members used their vibrant personalities to keep the crowd in high spirits with a succession of amusing call and responses, gearing them up for the last two songs of the set.
The band returned soon after, beginning the first song of the encore, “Bring It On” which had a mellow beat that was flavored with a hint of sensuality.
At the pause, Shingyoji Takaaki told the crowd, “We heard your voices so we came!” and thanked everyone once again. It was easy to feel the love and support that radiated within that space and they surprised their fans with the announcement that they were going to do one more tour for the year. The cheers and screams that followed almost assured that this one was going to be just as much of a success.
Finally, BRADIO brought their fantastic night to a close with “Ride on Time”. Gold streamers exploded into the air and everyone grabbed a handful to wave along to the song. They ended with an “afro jump” (holding your hands over your head in the shape of an afro and jumping) and a group photo full of smiles.
3. Kanjou Literacy (感情リテラシー)
4. Golden Liar
5. HOTEL ALIEN (HOTELエイリアン)
6. Chocolate Flavor
7. Take Me Higher
8. Makka na Car Chase (真っ赤なカーチェイス)
9. Gift (ギフト)
11. Overnight Superstar
13. Spicy Madonna (スパイシーマドンナ)
EN1. Bring It On
EN2. Ride On Time
Photo credit: Kiba Yoshihito
Many thanks to BRADIO, Marinovich PR, and staff for this opportunity!