Title / Artist
Sugizo vs Inoran - Best Bout 2017 - in Osaka
Date: 2017.06.16
Artist:   SUGIZO   INORAN  
Date of Concert: 2017.06.09
Image © management. Photo from
It's not every day two superstars of Luna Sea caliber get together and wow a crowd the way Sugizo and Inoran can. On June 9th, 2017, the dynamic duo wowed the audience at Namba Hatch in Osaka. Coming out with their silhouettes projected onto the gauzy curtain obscuring the view of the stage, the two began the show by playing a somber guitar-violin duet. Dramatic and moody with scenery of forests and trees surrounding them, the solo came to an end with a rise of applause -- an impressive beginning.

After changing from the minimalist set up to a full band, with his trademark fairy lights draped over his amps and platform, Inoran came out. Spiked blonde hair, pair of tan dress shoes, skinny cropped black pants and a trendy white tshirt with black stars on it, Inoran looked to be at his prime despite being a 25 year veteran of the music scene. The first song of the night was the upbeat and fun "grace and glory", moving nicely into the mellow and heartfelt "Thank you". The whole venue shook when "SuperTramp" started up, the flashing lights of the stage creating a chaotic and dizzying atmosphere.

Inoran decided to take a break, greeting the audience with a quirky "Welcome to 2017!" Then he asked everyone to have a good time, and to ensure that everyone would he struck up the opening chords to "Awaking in myself". The echoing, passionate vocals had everybody jumping, and the song was a lot of fun, running into the eclectic and oddly-named tune "2Lime s", which featured Inoran rapping for a short time throughout the song's almost hip-hop feel.

Taking his last break during his set, Inoran addressed the audience to say a few things. When he said that he was so happy to be doing this live tour with Sugizo he got a particularly big clap from the crowd. He then tried his hand at using some Kansaiben, amusingly enough, asking everyone if he had made proper use of the phrase 'nandeyanen', which he had. He polled the audience on how many people had attended a different show on the tour versus who was attending their first. The poll was split down the middle. When he next asked who would buy a DVD of the show, and about half the audience raised their hands again he jokingly declared that he wouldn't be making one after all. It was a playful exchange.

Coming up next was the classic rock ballad "Beautiful Now", with Inoran smiling big for everybody as the song began. "Rightaway", an upbeat tune that had everybody clapping and bouncing along followed.

Inoran shared an intimate moment with his support guitarist, grasping his face in his hands as he sang to him, inspiring everybody to begin singing along in a brief moment of quiet where the music paused. The entertainingly named "Get Laid" was the next tune, Inoran riling everyone up and getting them to chant along with him, repeating the name of the song over and over. The whole place had a great atmosphere thanks to the band. It was a real party atmosphere. Inoran wasn't satisfied with the level of hype in the venue, telling everyone it wasn't good enough until they were yelling at the top of their voices.

The band wound down with the next couple songs, starting with the earnest "raize". Finally came "All We Are", a nice ballad that closed out Inoran's set with Inoran belting out without the mic so the whole venue could hear, showing a surprising level of passion at the very end of his fun set.

A brief break followed where the set was changed out to the impressive double-drum one used by Sugizo and his talented support band. Sugizo does not do MCs during his set so as not to break the unique atmosphere his music creates, so the next hour was very immersive to say the least.

Sugizo likes space. He likes trippy imagery. He likes Carl Sagan quotes played over atmospheric sounds that suck you into the mood he's trying to create. With all his fans in the audience seeming to call him out onstage with their hands raised in his well-known Spock split-finger salute, he came out to do the same himself. With a dramatic drop of his arm that was cued up to the ceasing of all sound, his set began.

Then came the strobe. So much strobe it was hypnotic. On the screen behind the band flashed dozens of images of nature while smoke poured out onto the stage. Sugizo utilizes a unique technique of playing his guitar for some of his songs; a very long violin bow on the frets, creating a very piercing sound. He used this during the first song, "IRA".

The trance-like mood was broken by, of all things, rainbow lasers and flashing patterns of - surprise - psychedelic imagery on the screen, hypnotizing everybody in a whole new way with the aptly named "TELL ME WHY NOT PSYCHADELIC?"

The following song, "Fatima", is a love song to the ocean. Or at least the images of the sea and the dancing belly dancers projected onto the screen would lead one to believe. This song is usually performed on the guitar, but Sugizo elected to make it a violin performance this night.

The stage was bathed in blue light for the next song, "Lux Aeterna". Sugizo returned to playing the guitar with his violin bow as images of war, destruction, protest, crumbling statues, smoke and clouds flashed on the screen behind him. The entire thing was disorienting, but poignant, despite the heavy-handed political message.

Inoran joined Sugizo onstage for the song "Decaying", their energy very playful together. They dueled with their guitars, their figures visible through the plumes of smoke that obscured almost everything else as they created a crazy, pulsing beat.

The best part of the show, hands down, was the next song, "Misogi". One of the support drummers came down from his setup to play the bongo while it was held between his thighs, somehow simultaneously dancing and getting the crowd riled up perhaps the most they'd been all night. It was fantastic energy.

The final song of Sugizo's thrilling set was "DO-FUNK DANCE", female backup vocals changing things up a little bit. The song was pure EDM, mixed up with saxophone and a surprising big band break and a full string arrangement thrown in. What a crazy conclusion to a very memorable night.



1. IRA
4. Lux Aeterna
5. Decaying
6. 禊 (Misogi)


1. grace and glory
2. Thank you
3. SuperTramp
4. Awaking in myself
5. 2Lime s
6. Beautiful Now
7. Rightaway
8. Get Laid
9. raize
10. All We Are

Author: M. Minikhiem
last update: 2017-09-19