It has been a question for many musicians, after the many cancellations and postponements of concerts, big events and tours: What is a smart thing to do now? This year has been a strange year with the first few months all possibilities to visit concerts without many worries and resulted in no concert or any event at all (with some exceptions). April in 85’s celebration show, for the release of their second album SLEEP IN WHITE, was supposed to take place on the date of release in April. There was no possibility to let this show go through for the pop-rock band, so it got postponed, but eventually, it was decided to let the show go on, not only for their fans in Japan, but for a worldwide audience, in front of the camera for a live broadcast on the 18th of October.
April in 85 is a solo project of singer-songwriter Yuichi Abe (or yuichi abe as the musician likes to write it himself), but from the start, he got support from many of his musician friends, like Ayumi Shiraishi (CUICUI), guitarist Maki (CUICUI) and drummer PIROPIRO (ex-HISTGRAM). All dressed in pristine white clothing, the colour referring to the album title, the four musicians enter the stage of Shimokitazawa Daisybar, a venue that gets frequented by the musicians. The stage of that venue is not that big, but big enough for a band of four people. Although, it can even handle some extra people, if needed, then it’s fitting and measuring.
The white clothing of the members also seems to be serving as a canvas for film images that are shown from time to time during the performance. That is an aspect that is incorporated in the music of April in 85 as one of the big influences of the singer-songwriter. Immediately after entering, the band kicks off with the title track of the second album, SLEEP IN WHITE.
We all know that watching a livestream is not the same as attending a concert and being surrounded by the loud and infectious sounds of the musical instruments and vocals in the midst of an audience. Receiving a performance ‘live in-person’, at that moment, is a unique experience that a live video does not directly offer. It also depends on how a live concert is recorded and your equipment at home, how you receive the image and sound. Nevertheless, the pop-rock band did a good job by delivering a high-quality live broadcast.
As a viewer of the live stream, you get to see various sides of the stage, which gives you a very spacious feeling. It is not a static performance where you only see one screen of the band doing their performances, the light crew of DaisyBar also did their best on offering a light plan to bring the performance’s aesthetics to a higher point. Besides, you don’t get the idea that it’s a solo project, as all band members getting the same amount of screentime. You are watching a performance by a band where every member counts. Furthermore, the sound of the performance is well-adjusted and in balance, making it crisp and clear. For example, the bass, played by Ayumi, is clearly present instead of being drowned out by the others.
After playing a number of tracks that are on the second album, there will be a kind of in-between moment where peace is created with the song, 隣室は水槽、泡音しか聞こえない。 (Rinshitsu wa suisō, awa-on shika kikoenai.), which can be found on the first album, after which there will be further embroidery on the playing of the tracks that can be found on SLEEP ON WHITE, after all, it is now a release party.
The setlist of the concert does not only consist of songs from the second album, but is an interesting mixture of the first and second album, including a track that can be found back on EDUCATION, creating the right atmosphere for the show. Some of these songs were first released as a single or even on the ‘greet disc’ that April in 85 handed out at the start of the project, before they received their destination on a full album.
An interesting fact to add is that the band was actually planning to release a new double-A single on the 18th of October, unfortunately, this was postponed to a later date, but still, they chose to play one of the songs as the icing on the cake. After a number of stunners from previous releases to warm up the audience, April in 85 came up with the introduction of PRAY, which is not a new track after all. For those who have been following Yuichi Abe a bit longer, know that this song has been released earlier on a solo release of the musician in March 2016.
SLEEP IN WHITE-broadcast type- was a well put together show, in which all the finishing touches have been made to the perfection of light, sound and image. The latter even created a cinematic atmosphere. The four band members are well attuned to each other, eliminating any statism. It was also something that could easily be shown, by the control of the cameras under the direction of sentaro that were not placed in a fixed place, but moved during the performance to pay attention to certain aspects of the performance. They have thought of everything to present the perfect show for the audience at home.
SLEEP IN WHITE-broadcast type- setlist:
1. SLEEP IN WHITE
2. BEYOND THE RAY
4. 隣室は水槽、泡音しか聞こえない。 (Rinshitsu wa suisō, awa-on shika kikoenai.)
6. SHOWER ROOM COELACANTH
7. MORNING CINEMA
9. GHOST IN MY DREAM
13. YOUTH ON THE VELVET BEACH
14. SUNSHINE GLOW
15. WONDER WAVE WALKER