Alice Nine are a band that stick to their guns.
While other Japanese rock outfits like X Japan, Luna Sea and Dir En Grey have ditched their visual kei roots in favour of a cleaner, sleeker appearance, this five-man act are keeping their dyed hair, powdered faces and generous lashings of eyeliner.
Visual kei is a sub-genre of J-rock, characterised by extravagant make-up and androgynous styling.
In an e-mail interview with M, Shou, 33, got all riled up when asked if the visual kei phenomenon had died down in Japan.
"Visual kei will never die!" he wrote simply, punctuating his sentence with an exclamation mark.
Shou's reply was in stark contrast to Luna Sea's when the latter were here for their gig last year.
Then, Luna Sea guitarist Sugizo said firmly to The New Paper that it was "impossible" for his band to make a return to visual kei.
"Back then, the look was kind of like our armour. But right now, we are very confident of our music, so we don't need to arm ourselves (with make-up) any more," he said.
Alice Nine - formed in 2004 and also consisting of lead guitarist Hiroto, 29, rhythm guitarist Tora, 34, drummer Nao, 34, and bassist Saga, 32 - will play in Singapore later this month as part of their first Asian solo tour.
Known for their melodic metal sound on thumping numbers such as Gemini-0-Eternal, Stargazer and Gallows, the band believe it is their "unity" and "diversity" that have made them stand out from their J-rock peers.
Said Hiroto: "It is very important that our band be together and united. Also, we have a strong connection with our audience. "Compared to other rock bands, we have a considerably wide variety of songs."
The guys, who last played here in 2012 as part of annual music fiesta Sundown Festival, cannot wait to be back in Singapore.
"The city is very fashionable," said Tora. "This time round, I would like to go shopping at Orchard Road and have a drink at Clarke Quay."
Be prepared for a wild time at their live show as Alice Nine are not ruling out spontaneous surprises, including stage dives and moshing.
"We will do it if our audience is eager to see us (in action). We are expecting our fans to join in and go crazy at this party," he said.
WHAT: Alice Nine Tour (Supernova Symphonia)
WHEN: June 28, 8pm
WHERE: The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa
TICKETS: $98 from alicenine-singapore.peatix.com
This article was first published on June 11, 2014.
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