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Saturday, October 13, 2012

October Feature - heidi.

heidi_at_awa__by_jeong_choi-5

 
[tab:heidi. at AWA]

heidi. is a Japanese visual kei band made up of Yoshihiko (vo.), Nao (g.), Kohsuke (ba.), and Kiri (dr.) which formed 2006 in Tokyo. It’s hard to pick one word that describes their music. Their fusion of different musical styles, rhythms and tones fill their albums and singles, especially their latest album, Alpha which was released on September 19th this year.


You can purchase your copy of Alpha at CDJapan and you can hear the album in its entirety on the band's official YouTube!


On September 28th -30th, 2012 Anime Weekend Atlanta saw its 18th year. The announcement that heidi. would make their triumphant return to the US at the largest anime convention in the southeast had visual kei fans teeming with excitement.


It had been over a year since heidi.’s first US performance, which was held at AM2 July 1-3, 2011 in Anaheim, California.


Expectation high, heidi. delivered - treating fans to a full three-day weekend, complete with two Q&A panels, an incredible live concert on Saturday night, daily autograph sessions and a Polaroid photo session on Sunday. Without a doubt, they took Atlanta by storm, there’s no question as to who our feature artist of the month goes to.


Atlanta Set List:

  1. Hello!

  2. Twilight town

  3. Gekkou showtime

  4. Landscape

  5. Synchro

  6. Charles

  7. Remu

  8. Yuuyake to kodomo

  9. Yokan

  10. Urusai

  11. Omaesan

  12. Utakata

  13. *ENCORE: Sixsense


We hope you’ll enjoy our collection of reports!


 
[tab:Rita's Live Report]

It was two and a half hours before the first act, Eyeshine, and there was already a small line forming as I waited near the beginning of the line. Later that night, as the shows began, I found out first-hand that every second was worth the wait. But as nine o’clock drew closer, the line began to grow. It was so long that it snaked around the corner and down the stairs as fans of both Eyeshine and heidi. flocked to wait for the chance to see the concerts. Despite having to stand most of the time in line, we were not allowed to sit, fans waited eagerly and remained excited to see the bands.


The atmosphere around the stage started building up as the audience started chanting for the band members to take to the stage. For a few moments, the crowd was teased as Kiri walked on stage, briefly tuning his drums for the performance before he left without starting the concert.


Thankfully it was only a few minutes later when the lights went down and the crowd began screaming out “Yo!”, “Nao!”, “Kiri”, “Kohsuke!” Within an instant, the band kicked things off with “Hello!”, which ignited an energetic fire throughout the entire crowd with its danceable, rock vibe. Their energy was almost infectious as they each played to the audience in their own ways which gave a glimpse of why they are considered a great live band. The explosiveness of the piece was only a taste of what was to come.


As the first few strokes of “Twilight Town” blared from the stage, the audience went wild as they began to head-bang. Yoshihiko’s fast paced, smooth voice entered the piece, and immediately he emitted an alluring aura; guiding the audience into singing along during the chorus while he moved around the stage. You could definitely tell they were having a good time. They continued to feed off the energy of the crowd, an effect that continued beyond this song.


Just as fast paced as “Twilight Town”, the groove of “Gekkou Showtime” quickly took hold of the band. I couldn’t help but dance to this song. The energetic crowd began moving together in unison, doing hand movements similar to Yoshihiko’s in the song’s PV. That is, when the crowd wasn’t too preoccupied with head banging at every opportunity.


As “Gekkou Showtime” ended, the band briefly stopped to talk to the audience. Yoshihiko riled up the audience, seemingly because he wanted to hear everyone scream. After this, they performed “Landscape”, the latest single from their new album, Alpha, --  and the crowd exploded.


This concert was full of unforgettable moments. One of my favorites moments was during “Synchro” where Yoshihiko reached out to the audience as he sang. You could feel every bit of emotion in each note. The level of that emotion was high and personally I couldn’t help but get choked up as the song drew to a close.


The ultimate highlight of my night was when they performed “Charles.” This song’s intro  gives Kiri the spotlight, and watching it live was breathtaking. With each beat of the drum, a haunting feeling set in, as if you could hear your own heart beat with each drum stroke. The song has such a dark, twisted energy on their album, but it truly came alive, by watching the body language of each band member as they play. As Yoshihiko stood on stage, his eyes had an intense, borderline insane look that seemed to take hold of him during this song. With each small step or movement of his hand, you could feel the intensity of the song. With each drum stroke, Kiri seemed to summon the energy of life around him, even from the back of the stage! All the while Nao and Kohsuke harmonized together like thunder and lightning as that energy consumed them.


Following the dark, sinister and twisted nature of “Charles”, the heaviest piece of the concert, “Rem”, took over. Although I found myself dancing for a decent portion of it, the intensity felt from clashing of the guitar, vocals, bass guitar, and drums made it truly headbang-worthy at times. Throughout this piece, Kohsuke played like the music possessed his spirit as he thrashed around his area of the stage. This intensity was matched by the harshness of Yoshihiko's vocals at certain parts of the piece, while balanced out by the smoothness of Nao's backing vocals. In my opinion, the highlight of this song was Nao’s solo. It had a soothing, almost enchanting effect which stood out from the rest of the piece.


After “Remu”, they danced their way into “Yuuyake to kodomo”--their first ever single back in 2006. This song really showed their playful side as they danced slightly on stage. Much to the delight of the anime-lovers in the audience, they played “Yokan” next--which is the first ending theme song of the anime, Kaichou wa Maid-sama!


For the remainder of the concert, they simply did not stop with their high voltage energy levels exploding in all directions. After "Yokan" they played the relentless, drum heavy "Urusai." At one point during this song, they all turned to face Kiri and had a full out jam session. Their level of energy continued to skyrocket as they kicked it into gear with “Omaesan”, as the band rocked across the stage. During this piece, Nao and Kohsuke switched places on stage, making the crowd go wild. Their high energy levels continued, as they called out for full audience participation by screaming “Yea!” repeatedly as the crowd returned their call. The audience was totally into it due to the band's magnetic aura and skill.


This audience participation traveled into what seemed like their last song: “Utakata”. It was such a great way to end the concert because you could clearly feel every element of the song, from the vocals to the drums, from the guitar to the bass guitar. The audience  couldn’t help but move with the band, as they did throughout their entire concert. The amount of soul they put into it was amazing.


After the band left the stage, it wasn’t long before the chanting for an encore started. It seemed like no time really before people all around me were calling. The screams for an encore quickly grew louder and louder. It didn’t take long before they came back, answering the crowd’s call. The band decided to give one more song that rocked the house. You could just tell they were having an amazing time and they gave the audience exactly what they wanted. They gave it their all. As they ended the encore, you could feel that no one wanted it to end.


This live was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. If you ever have the privilege of seeing heidi. live, you will not regret it. They are truly an amazing live band.


- Rita Nokkaew (Ayva Trance)


 

[tab:Kaitlin's Live Report]

I recently had the pleasure of seeing heidi. perform live during the 18th annual Anime Weekend Atlanta on Saturday, September 29,2012.


During their live concert I found myself lost in music in a language that I don’t speak. That didn’t stop me from feeling as though I understood it all. In my opinion, that’s how you know a band is really powerful; when you feel as though you understand them, despite any sort of barrier – language or otherwise. That… and when the noise level increases with excitement!


But it’s not just about how amazing a band can be, it’s about music as a whole. Music has been said to be the ‘universal language’ and heidi. only serves to prove that, they show you just how powerful music can be. It’s a beautiful thing when music transcends boundaries of culture, language, and leaves you entranced with its tones.


Standing front row center, it was easiest to see heidi.’s vocalist, Yoshihiko. Let me just say this – he was amazing! It wasn’t just his voice, though he is certainly talented, but also the way he moved on stage and depth of his facial expressions! He was particularly good at engaging fans as they started singing along, he’d give them a look to them, encouraging them further.


Guitarist Nao seemed to be rockin’ hardcore! The leader and main songwriter of the band, he was very into the music of every single song! You could see it as he moved with the music!


Bassist, Kohsuke, was a fan favorite from the start; it was obvious from all the screams as he came onto the stage. Without a doubt he lived up to that hype, from start to finish he performed with strong intensity.


Kiri, was one powerful force of nature behind his instrument of choice, the drums, and you could just see how much energy he was putting into every beat and that definitely added an extra punch to how the music made you feel.


As they played to the crowd the screaming never stopped, it just continually increased!


No one was happy to see the end of the concert. Their performance throughout the night had been fabulous, but we were not ready to let go! It didn’t take long after heidi. left the stage before the crowd began shouting for an encore. The energy built as more and more of the fans called out.


Some bands won’t come out even with a stadium-full of chanting fans, but thankfully this band was different! heidi. was the opposite, if anything, they seemed happy to jump back on stage for an encore, making the crowd extremely happy. This shows the more down-to-earth side that my friends and I noticed about the band. They seem to be true music lovers themselves and have fun with what they do.


The only bad thing was when the encore finished and the concert was actually over. The end is always sad, but the live was wonderfully fulfilling!


A powerful voice in perfect harmony with three instruments producing addictive melodies; it was magic, and I couldn’t help but be drawn in by that. Several times throughout their performance I found myself speechless, and not because I lost my voice from screaming, though there where many people that did.


One thing that was undeniably clear was each member’s dedication to the band and their unwavering dedication to the music; they all worked together to create one hell of a concert! The band as a whole was breathtaking. I was left speechless, but incredibly happy and excited.


heidi. was a huge success at Anime Weekend Atlanta; one of the biggest, if not the biggest, bands they’ve had yet. I truly hope heidi. will return to the US soon; I personally cannot get enough of their music and I would LOVE to see them again.


-Kaitlin Maginnis (Rain)


 

[tab:Staff's Impressions]

Several Visual KEIOS staffers were present at Anime Weekend Atlanta, below they shared their impression of heidi. and their live performance;



Alicia R. Thomas (ARThomas) -Their second time in the US, and their first time on the east coast; I’m so glad that they chose to perform in Atlanta. I’ve been enjoying heidi’s music since 2006, words can’t express how happy I felt to see them live in concert and to interact with them throughout the weekend.


All of the members are so charming with their very laid-back, cool personalities; they really seemed to create a pleasant atmosphere wherever they went, and I think all the fans really responded well to it. They truly connected with their fans and it felt as if a very genuine bond was formed. I think because of their approachable personalities and their responsiveness, fan’s felt more earnest in expressing their appreciation to the band for their work, their inspired performance on Saturday, and the fact that they had traveled so far to be there.


I was blown away by their live concert; they surpassed all expectations with an intense performance overflowing with raw, unfaltering energy. There was no such thing as a language barrier, they conveyed the messages within their songs flawlessly, and there wasn’t a soul in the room that couldn’t feel what they had to say. Their song「レム」has been one of my personal favorites for years, so I was ecstatic to hear them play it; I was singing along at the top of my lungs. Hearing that song, right on the heels of the soul-stirringly powerful「Charles」left me in a state of euphoria.  Amidst the familiar favorites on their setlist, they played tracks from their latest release, Alpha. I was really anticipating hearing these new songs live, and they did not disappoint… it was absolutely incredible!


Their presence on the stage was equally incredible. Their individual ways of expressing their passion for the music they played… that unmistakable enthrallment; witnessing them getting lost in the music only heightened the experience. The way they engaged with the audience, you could feel them giving back every ounce of energy that they received from the crowd -- again that feeling of a bond being formed.


While interviewing the band, Yoshihiko mentioned wanting to put on a performance that everyone would remember them for, and I believe they did exactly that. Nothing embeds a song in my heart quite like hearing it live, and with the passion they packed into every piece, there's no chance that I could ever forget heidi.. It was truly a captivating performance, and I hope they’re return to the US very soon.


Many thanks heidi. and Anime Weekend Atlanta for a fantastic weekend!


 

Jeong (jechoi) – My impression of heidi is that they’re cool, down-to-earth, boyish guys… even a little geeky at times. They were very friendly and seemingly eager to overcome language barriers with smiles, humor, and positive attitudes. They were really in tune with fans and seemed genuinely curious and eager to relate with them (the questions directed at the fans during the panel, asking if we know this anime, or our impressions of them), all of this gave the impression of extremely dedicated musicians.


During their concert they had a very energetic stage presence and were all transformed into majestic, charismatic beings. In tune with the audience– Yoshihito especially seemed to want to engage the audience members individually; smiling at fans who sang along, nodding at them, waving, etc.


Rita (Ayva Trance) - Amazingly down-to-earth guys, that are easy to talk to and approachable. They seem to have great sense of humors and are willing to poke fun at each other, given the opportunity. I agree, they seem really eager to hear what fans think about them… they also seemed genuinely surprised that they had fans before the concert, as well as the amount of fans they gained afterwards.


I felt a deep connection to the band during the concert. It was like I felt their soul as a band, through every song and it was amazing. I nearly cried during one of their songs because of the emotion that I felt. It truly proved that it didn’t matter if there was a language barrier that it’s what you feel as much as what you hear that affects you. I found myself head-banging and singing along to most of their songs. The level of connection they created and the energy they brought to the stage was just incredible and one of the best concert experiences I have ever had.


Whitney (Bibi) - They seemed like really sweet and funny guys!


Kaitlin (Rain) - They were very kind and genuine. They were funny in their panels, making sure to leave an impression on their fans while still actually answering the questions. heidi. was great!


The concert was fucking AWESOME! heidi. just blew my mind. They rocked the joint and captured their audience with ease. I was impressed at how they kept the audience so involved. The vocalist made sure to engage the crowd, as was said above. I felt like every last member gave it their all. They were so amazing that I was swept up in their music. Even without speaking the same language, they were able to convey the songs to their fans so well.


CMT (CMT) – Top quality music, top quality performance… they really put on a great show and the Atlanta fans absolutely loved them! All of them were very funny and created a relaxed and good-natured environment. Great band, I can’t wait to see them again, hopefully right back here in Atlanta.


[tab:Live Concert Gallery]

See our complete heidi. photo gallery


[gallery columns="5" ids="11457,6656,11447,11467,11469,11499,11497,11491,11308,11495,11500,11501,11498,11486,11471"]

[tab:END]


Find more from heidi.


 

Official Homepage | Official Facebook | Official YouTube | heidi. staff Twitter | Kohsuke's Twitter


Visual KEIOS' interview with heidi.  |  heidi. photo gallery - Live at Anime Weekend Atlanta



Many thanks to heidi. and their manager Tanahashi-san!

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