Thursday, June 14, 2012


Date: May 27, 2012
Location: Akasaka BLITZ
Written by Nex
Photos by Dao, Kai, and Nex (edited by Nex)

Outside Akasaka Blitz, the place was buzzing with people

This wasn't my first time seeing RIZE, or meeting the members of the band. However, as I road the train to Akasaka, my heart was still racing. RIZE never fails to deliver an awesome show. It doesn't matter how many times I see them, or meet them, I'll always be psyched to see them. They have an infectious energy and passion that hypes people of all ages and lifestyles. So as I walked up the stairs of the station, and the RIZE flag came into view, I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear.
It was beautiful weather, and I had arrived a few hours early, mostly to take in the atmosphere, and watch the fans and staff as they prepared for the show. I recognized some faces from previous shows. It was generally an enjoyable wait. Once the doors opened and they called ticket numbers, I was approached by two girls. They are from Thailand, and weren't sure if it was their turn to go in or not. I helped them out, and ended up making two new friends, Kai and Dao.
It was already hot in there when we entered. Even before the show, the energy was electric, like the feeling before a thunder storm. I recognized the music playing over the sound system as the Beastie Boys.  

Jesse, and RIO (of INVADERS) on support guitar
The lights dimmed and the crowd went nuts. NK's heavy drum intro for the newest song “THE SUN” blasted through the venue, beating into the chests of everyone in the audience. “THE SUN” is a heavy rock song that got everyone pumped.
As the beginning of the energetic song “KAMI” started, the crowd began jumping and shouting to the beat. The song is usually performed near the beginning of shows, because it never fails the hype the crowd up. Right by the stage the mosh pit was going wild, leaping on each other, dancing, and jumping to the music.
One of the features that makes RIZE stand out from other bands is their live shows. The wild energy of the bands performance, as well as the pristine quality of the sound allows for an experience that transcends what most bands can only dream of. A unique feeling that connects the band with the audience, creating a deep mutual respect for one another.
The experience got deeper and wilder with every song, reaching out to everyone, “Why I'm Me”, “LADY LOVE”, and “ZERO”, which was featured in a recent Coca-cola campaign for Coke Zero. By the time “GET THE MIC”, “GOTANDA” and “XL” were up, the whole place was united, the audience might as well have been on stage with the band. Everyone in the was singing, and dancing along, as if they were performing themselves.

Kenken (bass), NK (drums)

With every song, I felt more and more energy. I wasn't getting tired, despite how much energy I was putting out. I felt close to the people around me, as if I knew them for years. It felt like how I imagine lovers feel. As RIZE performed “MUPPET”, the band-audience connection grew. There were no lies, just honest passion. 
It was here that Jesse gave us a message. A rough translation is, “Everyone keeps saying 'You are my hero!', well,” he pointed to all of us, “You're MY HERO!” he shouted, thus beginning a new version of the song “American Hero”. It had a smooth rocksteady feel.

Getting everyone wet, one way or another

It transitioned with Kenken putting on a tophat, and getting out a standing bass. The smooth and swingy rhythm of “GHOST” began. The groove was a very sensual, tantalizing break for the audience with a sound much different from the rest of the songs.
The whole place was jumping along “JAPONICAN”, “RESPECT”, and “HGKROC”, and then vibed to the powerful message of peace “heiwa”. Jesse gave a shout to the musicians who stood up, and passed away, including the recently deceased bassist, Baba Ikuzo, aka IKUZONE from the rock band Dragon Ash, thus starting the song “STAND UP”.

“NIHONTO”, “FAR EASTERN TRIBE”, they lead us into the powerfully thunderous final song “KAMINARI”. Anyone who's been to a RIZE show knows the power of that song when performed live. Kenken's bass roaring like thunder, Jesse's vocals like lightning, NK's drumming like the pouring rain, and RIO's guitar like the roaring wind. It was a storm of music, passion, and energy. During “KAMINARI”, the band often brings someone on stage to perform the vocals, often a fan from the audience. Everyone was going completely wild. As the band left the stage, the instruments continued wail, along with the audience.
As the stage lights dimmed, the chant for RIZE to do the encore began. Soon enough they came back out and started their cover of the deceased rocker hide's “PINK SPIDER”, getting everyone jumping some more, followed by the headbanger “HAE”. To end it all was the playfully upbeat “NAME”.

After the band did their final bow, and exited the stage, the crowd gradually dispersed. Everyone was completely drenched with sweat. It was a hot and energetic show. I, too, was soaked head to toe with sweat. I felt no pain, except in my jaw from smiling so much. It was the best show I've been to. RIZE just gets better and better with time.
My new friends, Kai and Dao, and I got some drinks, and then waited with everyone else for a chance to meet any of the band members that decide to come out. Jesse finally came out and began signing autographs, taking pictures, and talking with everyone. He's really a very kind person. After giving so much energy with a show, he still spends hours just talking with the RIZERS (hardcore fans of the band). The band has a deep respect for their fans, because without them, there would be no RIZE. Jesse loves them all so very much.
I'd met him before in Shimokitazawa, before and after the RIZE show they played there. Plus we've communicated a bit online. But my friends Kai and Dao had never met him, so I made sure they got to meet him.
It's always a blast! We all had such fun.

It was a wonderful night. It's always a life changing experience seeing them. I would recommend that if anyone gets the chance to please go and see them. It's well worth your time. Fans and non-fans alike.
I would like to thank RIZE, the staff, Akasaka Blitz, the RIZERS, and my new friends Kai and Dao for helping make it a wonderful night!

Check out their website 
Twitter: @RIZE_Official



02. 神 (KAMI)
03. Why I'm Me
05. ZERO
08. XL
10. American Hero
11. Ghost
15. heiwa
17. 日本刀 (NIHONTO)
19. カミナリ (KAMINARI)

20. ピンクスパイダー (PINK SPIDER)
21. ハエ (HAE)
22. NAME

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