Though the ladies in Scandal from Japan have been a band since their formation in 2006, tonight’s performance at the Sony Hall in Hell’s Kitchen would be my first time witnessing them in action. I had heard them a few months earlier when the press releases were discussing upcoming music and a live-streaming show. I didn’t participate in the streaming event because after doing a couple of them during the pandemic craziness I found that I couldn’t keep my attention to them. Let’s not forget that folks like myself are glued to the computer all day long which always made escaping the cyberworld for a live show very appealing. Despite some absolute favorites doing streaming shows like KISS and Trans-Siberian Orchestra I only managed to watch two of these kinds of things for the purpose of show review and that fell to Anthrax and Hollow Mellow, the latter one also being a Japanese artist that was very interesting.
So here I was ready to enjoy a band I had limited background in and this fact amused some fans up in the front who reminded me how long they were around but I had to add that sometimes you cannot simply follow everything that is out there. Now one of the things I like to do as a photographer capturing the images is to secure the set list and well, this set list while very clear was also written in Japanese. I snapped it just the same and hoped that by the time I was ready for do my show report that someone would have translated it. Lucky for me that was the case. The Scandal band is an all-girl unit and is comprised of Haruna Ono (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Mami Sasazaki (lead guitar and vocals), Tomomi Ogawa (bass guitar, vocals, keyboards), and Rina Suzuki (drums, keyboards, guitar and vocals). Fortunately for everyone in the venue, they were the only act performing which meant a not as late night home on the subway ride back to our Media Command HQ. A welcome thing for sure.
The girls all arrived onstage to resounding cheers from the excited audience and though the group is also singing in Japanese I could hear the crowd singing along. This impressed me but also made me sad because when the pandemic began I swore to learn some conversational Japanese and Finnish and sort a few thousand comic books but alas I didn’t do any of those things. Now Scandal was on their “Mirror” tour and this found them opening the proper set with that song and there was a lot of positive vibe coming off of the stage I don’t think the girls weren’t smiling for a single second and when I positioned myself around other parts of the venue to get the feel I was so impressed. I saw many American fans losing their stuff as each song was delivered and while I really was enjoying a majority of it I was not going to know what song was what until afterward. I think in addition to compiling this narrative that I will be making a playlist in Spotify to hear it all back and be reminded of which songs I liked the most. Truth be told I did like the faster numbers as they were quite energetic but overall I didn’t find a single number in the set being one that bored me.
There was not a whole lot of talking to the audience going on and for the most part when they did speak it was also in Japanese and like I said this audience was a solid mix of both sides. A few English statements about being in New York City and that they loved us came and we expected since the girls seemed to be having a good time as well. The set ran just over an hour by my guesstimation and once they were done there was some kind of VIP meet and greet being set up with a line that was so long it snaked through the venue. I didn’t remain for this part of the fun but was glad for Scandal that so many people had chosen to participate and were lined up. This was a proper good time and I will for sure see the band in action again when they come back around or if they open up for someone else. Maybe Yoshiki or Hyde can have them along because that would be a lot of fun. Now in the event that some of the readership are interested in looking more into the band and needed a comparison, I would have to say that maybe groups like Band-Maid and Shonen Knife would be the safest bet. They aren’t as heavy as groups like Babymetal and they don’t have too much in common with Yoshiki’s X-Japan. To clarify I am not saying that Scandal sounds like either of those bands but if you like those groups you just might like Scandal as well. This was a good night for music and I am glad that I came out. Remember the bands latest album is called “Mirror” and is on Victor Entertainment in Japan and JPU Records in Europe and North America. How about you order yourself a copy.
The Set List:
Ai no Shoutai
Kanojo wa Wave
Take Me Out
Ao no Naru Yoru no Sukima de
Yoake no Ryuseigun
one more time