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DIR EN GREY Tour 2013: Ghoul

» written by Brian [Discuss]

I first saw DIR EN GREY many years ago on the recommendation of a friend. It was different from what I usually listened to but it was a good different. Kyo’s growls and haunting vocals amidst Die and Kaoru’s guitars sound, if you’re open to them, magical. A beastly magical. Kyo is the main draw of the band; he’s a unique one and people are drawn to him. It’s hard to put them into just one musical genre; there’s a mix of death, melodic, and progressive metal, and sometimes just straight rock.

It’s been a while since I last had the opportunity to see them in person. Their last concert that came out to this side of the country was cancelled as Kyo was diagnosed with vocal node dysphonia. In other words, he was unable to fully output what he is known for. The growls, grunts, howls, screams, and even the clean vocals that make up a huge part of DIR EN GREY were in jeopardy. I’ve seen other bands thrown into chaos because of the loss of a vocalist (possibly the most crucial piece of a band) and what happens afterward truly shows the strength of a band. This hasn’t been Kyo’s first run in with throat troubles and it probably won’t be the last but hopefully it will never stop him.

Much as they have in other tours they will be playing at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom. Located in the heart of San Francisco at the intersection of Van Ness and Sutter Street, it’s been a long time home to the band whenever they stop by. If you’ve never been to a DIR EN GREY show be prepared for a war, especially if you want to be at the front. The front, and particular the fence, is a battleground. If you’re not comfortable with being smashed on all sides by fans you should stay towards the rear of the establishment. There might have been the illusion of space when the opening act played but it’s going to get very intimate.

Expect to hear a few songs from the albums UROBOROS and DUM SPIRO SPERO. Songs from their newest EP released in April, The Unraveling, will be featured as well. One thing you can always count on is the song “The Final.” It’s a fan favorite ever since it was released as part of the 2005 album Withering to Death. On a side note, DIR EN GREY has some of the best band t-shirts I’ve had the privilege of buying. There’s not even a question of whether or not I’ll buy one when I go to one of their shows.

Coincidentally the night of their 2010 San Francisco concert with Apocalyptica was also the night of a massive gas explosion near my house.  Over three dozen houses and numerous lives were lost to the eight-alarm fire.  For that night, at least, I rocked my ass off. Not much else to do when you can’t go home. Throw yourself into the music because what you’ve got might not be there anymore. That’s how you should face every concert. Get out there and have fun.

DIR EN GREY comes to San Francisco on November 23rd at The Regency Ballroom (1300 Van Ness Ave). They are accompanied by French band Dagoba. Tickets are $28 at the door. This is followed by the final stop of the tour at the House of Blues in West Hollywood on Sunday the 24th.

This post will be updated after the show.


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