Recently formed power unit THE THIRTEEN (stylised as THE TH13TEEN), held their first show “INDEPENDENT13” at Akasaka BLITZ on June 24th. The unit made up of vocalist Mao and guitarist Mizuki from the band Sadie, showed off their spectacular dynamics as a duo with a show that sated old fans and definitely captured new ones.

The lights dimmed at the start of the show and all that could be seen was the wicked red glow of a number “13” at the back of the stage. Blue, then red lights began to flash rapidly as the frantic sound of a siren blared through the dark room. The support band entered and took their positions then Mizuki took the stage, sending the crowd into a frenzy. He was followed by Mao and the audience raised their fists into the air in anticipation.

The duo began with “cockroach” a heavy and aggressive song with an underlying catchy dubstep beat. Mao stood on the platform at the middle of the stage pressing the mic to his lips, growling and screaming. The entire room was bathed in deep red lights creating an intense atmosphere from the very beginning. Immediately continuing with “CHAINSAW”, the whole room became a mass of flying hair as the crowd began headbanging with abandon to the frantic pace set by the band. Mao immediately shed his impressive overcoat which gave him more room to move on the stage.
Vocalist Mao

A spotlight shone on Mizuki for the beginning of “Hankou Seimei” as he played the heavy intro. THE THIRTEEN kept the unforgiving pace, with Mizuki screaming at the crowd to get them even more riled up. The music ended and everyone threw their hands in the air, cheering and screaming.

There was a pause in the music and Mao introduced the band with a formal, “Nice to meet you, we are THE THIRTEEN”. The fans screamed their appreciation and Mao did a call and response which had everyone hyped up and ready for the next song, “Jesus Christ confession”.

The lights flashed a rapid-fire red and blue and the entire venue started jumping in time with the upbeat music. The guys kept demanding more and more from the audience, making the performance even more intense. Mao was practically vibrating with volatile energy on stage, banging the microphone against his cheek, tugging at his clothes in an attempt to move around better and flailing his head around violently to Mizuki’s riffs.

The song ended abruptly and was immediately followed with “PHANTOM PAIN”. This time, the room was darker, lit only by deep purple lights. The audience were still during the verses and let loose headbanging during the chorus. When the song was over, Mao succeeded in pulling off his jacket and grabbed a megaphone for “13’s BLOOD”.

Mao prowled along the length of the stage, singing and screaming into the megaphone which made his voice sound slightly metallic and distorted, giving it an almost sinister tone. Like most of THE THIRTEEN’s songs, this one was fast and heavy but with a beat that made you want to dance. Mizuki let loose gyrating around his microphone stand and then stepping along to the beat. They immediately followed with “KAMIKAZE”. The whole crowd was pumping their fists aggressively and everyone screamed “KAMIKAZE” in unison. They cut the song in the middle to rile up the crowd even more Mao was screaming his head off and the song built up to the end when everyone yelled the title one more time. The room went dark when the song was over and heavy dubstep played over the speakers while the band caught their breath.

Mao announced that they were going to play a new song for the audience and the excitement that ran through the room was palpable.

With a rousing scream “Let’s do this!”, the band played their newest song “LIAR LIAR”. Mizuki began playing the harsh riffs that were interlaced with catchy drumbeats in what could now be identified as THE THIRTEEN’s signature sound. Mao’s singing was especially clear and then he transitioned effortlessly from deep growls to high pitched screaming. The crowd responded in kind, dancing and headbanging. At one point in the song, Mao began to recite the children’s nursery rhyme that goes, “if you tell a lie, you have to swallow a thousand needles” and the crowd recited it along with him. The effect of the words and the harsh melody of the song was chilling to say the least.

Following with “FRIDAY NIGHTMARE”, the entire venue began dancing without a care to the jazz-infused beat.. Mao grabbed the mic stand and danced with it around the stage and the crowd all jumped from left to right with their hands in the air. Without letting the intensity of the energy die out, Mao began screaming, “Let’s become idiots!!” over and over leading into “STUPID”. In response, the crowd flailed their heads wildly which looked surreal together with the rapidly flashing lights of red, green and blue. THE THIRTEEN were not going to let their fans rest until they drained every last drop of every from them.

For “starry night”, Mao stood on the platform encouraging everyone to sing the hook as loudly as possible then he layered his voice over theirs. There was a break in the music and Mao screamed at the fans,

“You guys are awesome, you waited so long!!”

Guitarist Mizuki
The room was filled with cheers and screams of appreciation and support and with that, they resumed the chorus of “starry night” until the end. The final song was “Abnormal Bullets”, wrapping up the live with a performance that kept going and going until it seemed like everyone was going to break. They amped up the intense energy even further and all of the members were going all out on stage. Mao’s screams began to sound more and more like a wild animal's, whipping the room into a chaotic mass of flailing bodies.

When they finally ended the song, Mao dropped the mic and stalked off stage without a word. Mizuki and the rest of the support band kept the music going for a while longer before leaving as well.

The crowd had to take a moment to catch their breath before beginning to scream for an encore.

When the band all returned wearing tour t-shirts, Mao thanked everyone for supporting their new unit. He introduced the support members; drummer Byo, bassist Kazu (who he called Sadako as a joke because of his long hair). After the audience welcomed them, Mao looked around the stage and declared,

“Okay that’s all.”

Which earned an immediate and indignant, “Hey!” from Mizuki, causing the entire room to burst out laughing.

Mizuki took over the MC and thanked the crowd again, commenting on how long it had been since they had performed.

Mao sincerely thanked all the other bands, staff and friends who had worked to promote their unit and build excitement.

After bantering back and forth for a bit more, they sucked the crowd into another untamed performance. They performed “CHAINSAW” again and then “MR. BRAVEMAN”, one of their newer songs. The song had a heavy beat but a surprisingly cute melody that made it sound almost like a children’s song. Mao was actually skipping around the stage while singing and Mizuki continued to show off his fancy footwork.

The final song of the night was “KILLER MAY”, which was lively and upbeat and had the whole room in smiles. At the end of the song, the music lingered amidst the cheering crowd and at the final beat, Mao jumped off the platform, launching himself high into the air.

Everyone held hands for a final group jump, marking the end of a successful show and the beginning of an exciting new unit.

1. cockroach
3. Hankou Seimei (犯行声明)
4. Jesus Christ confession
6. 13’s BLOOD
8. LIAR LIAR (new song)
11. starry night
12. Abnormal Bullets
14. MR. BRAVEMAN (new song)

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Many thanks to THE THIRTEEN and staff for this opportunity!

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