Yoshiki chosen to headline 10-hour long Ultra Fes 2017

Backed by a live orchestra, Yoshiki was invited to perform the closing song at TV Asahi’s “Music Station Ultra Fes 2017″ on Monday, September 18th. Playing a special arrangement of the X Japan masterpiece, “Forever Love ‘Life, Death, and Love…’ Piano with Orchestra Version”, which was prepared specifically for this day, Yoshiki brought an emotional finale to the 10-hour long special program which featured a total of 57 artists.

Marking the first time an instrumental piece without vocals had ever closed the special television event, Yoshiki’s first musical performance on television since his surgery had received a lot of media attention since its announcement. He appeared on stage without his neck brace, showing the painful scars from his surgery four months ago.

As he performed on the TV Asahi stage, a powerful montage of images — Yoshiki flying around the world, his energetic drumming, the deaths of his band members, his own neck surgery, his career with X Japan, and his personal history — played in the background, triggering comments on social media such as “I have goosebumps… riveting”, “Yoshiki is so amazing!”, and “I can’t stop crying” as fans expressed their awe and praise for the elegant musical presentation which climaxed in a shower of rose petals.

Afterward, Yoshiki returned immediately to Los Angeles to work on the final touches of the soon-to-be-released X Japan album. Later, in October, he is scheduled to tour a total of 10 countries to promote the European theatrical premieres of the award-winning documentary film, We Are X.

After the television performance, Yoshiki commented: “I still have sharp pain in my neck, but as my doctor said, moving forward is a part of rehab. I’m thankful for the opportunity I was given. And I want to thank the fans who are always supporting me.”

Yoshiki European Theatrical Tour 2017

October 12 – Berlin, Germany
October 14 – Florence, Italy
October 15 – Vienna, Austria
October 16 – Amsterdam, Holland
October 17 – Oslo, Norway
October 18 – Helsinki, Finland
October 19 – Stockholm, Sweden
October 20 – London, UK
October 21 – Reykjavik, Iceland
October 24 – Paris, France

Yoshiki Official Website 

Altered Sky Are On A Tour!

“I think the Sun Always Shines On TV. Its an amazing song and its got the guitar riff and its got that slight heaviness to it” says bassist Ross as I ask the band to consider what juxtaposing song they would cover as Ana (lead vocals) chips-in “Jay [band manager] wanted us to cover it but we just sent him back to the corner!”


It’s fun interviewing these crazy young scamps and references to silly 80’s pop acts aside, things have certainly progressed for the Glasgow five piece as they embark on a tour of the Philippines and Japan later this month.

“Feelings are everywhere. They can be exciting, scared terrified. Its insane” muses Ana as Ross adds “I’m looking forward to the Philippines the most based on all the response. I think a lot of gigs will be quite busy” with Jay pointing out “we discovered that the Philippines was our second biggest fan base in the world [outside the UK]”

It’s no accident Altered Sky are touring the Far East as they are big fans of some of the area’s biggest acts. Ana cites Japanese rockers One OK Rock “they create this really melodic atmospheric … I dunno how you’d describe it mwrrrwwwah!. They just remind me of the way I write” and Amy beams “I’d love to play with BABYMETAL” with Ana adding with no sense of shame “yeah, they’re mental!”

What’s really cool – aside from the interest from overseas promoters – is how the band are receiving validation from some pretty awesome endorsements such as Tuk Shoes and Germany’s Real Guitars with Tara noting of the latter “the guy who endorsed us hand builds all his guitars so we just got these incredibly well thought out machines…I would never been able to afford it [sic]” before Ryan says “its [the guitar] the way its built: with love and care”.

And sometimes the endorsement can come from a simple Tweet. Amy points out “I’m with Premier [drums]. I gave them a mention on Twitter amd they were like ‘ooh we’ll send you a kit!”

And as I reach for more vodka (this was, after all, a very – erm – liquid interview) Jay suggests I “get yer endorsement to Glenn’s mate!”. I’m working on it, Jay.

But joking aside, the serious nature of the band comes through when I ask them about the positive feedback they get from fans “It’s less surprising now. It’s still humbling and its surreal that the music that we’ve created is mentally and emotionally helping someone” muses Ryan with Ana adding “we’re obviously here because we love music and we’re here to make a mark in peoples lives. Anytime someone says its helped them it hits you right in the heart”.

Of course the music is important and Ryan observes “I dont know if I have sort of autism and when I grew up I didnt have many friends and that brought me closer to music”.

Asked about the direction of the band’s sound Ana notes “I think we’re taking a step in a heavier direction, not too much though. We’ve always been sitting on the fence with it. Do we go more Crabcore for Ryan?” at this point Ryan attempts Crabcore (no, me no idea either) and rips his jeans. Skillz.

Distractions aside, Ana says of the new album “we are sitting at about 14 -15 songs that are just about finished. So the album will be recorded very early 2018”


And that’s that. The band’s next interview is in twenty minutes but I know they’re super excited about the tour “The locations we’re going to be going, the people we’re going to speak with, we’ll be writing the whole time. I’m taking my mini piano!” beams Ana.

I bet you will Ana, and this wee outfit from Glasgow are onto something. As the song maybe goes ‘If you keep yer eye on TV….’


Images copyright Marianne Harris



BAND-MAID Begin World Tour, Latest Album Available World Wide


BAND-MAID has released latest album Just Bring It in America and Canada on CD ahead of the band’s world tour, which includes San Fransisco this weekend and the UKFranceGermany and Spain in November. The album and their previous material has also been made available in Spotify for the first time outside of Japan, as well as latest double A-side single Daydreaming / Choose me.

On the CD release in America, guitarist and vocalist Miku comments, “We’re happy and very excited that Masters and Princesses overseas are enjoying our music. It fills our hearts with excitement and joy! We’re also excited about returning to America, the first country we served overseas!”

Regarding the tour, Miku adds, “We’re looking forward to see Masters and Princesses, new and old! And also for shopping and eating lovely food in each city – we can’t wait!”

Burn! Burn! BAND-MAID Moe Moe Cune

(Sun) 10 September: JPOP SUMMIT, San Francisco. USA 🇺🇸 [tickets]

(Fri) 3 November: O2 Academy Islington, London. UK 🇬🇧 [tickets]

(Sat) 4 November: La Boule Noire, Paris. France 🇫🇷 [tickets]

(Sun) 5 November: Zeche, Bochum. Germany 🇩🇪 [tickets]

(Wed) 8 November: Bi Nuu, Berlin. Germany 🇩🇪 [tickets]

(Thu) 9 November: Backstage, Munich. Germany 🇩🇪 [tickets]

(Sun) 12 November:  Salamandra, Barcelona. Spain 🇪🇸 [tickets]

Just Bring it

BAND-MAID Just Bring It cover art

Buy on CD:

Amazon: 🇺🇸USA // 🇨🇦CA // 🇬🇧UK // 🇫🇷FR // 🇩🇪DE // 🇮🇹IT // 🇪🇸ES

WOWHD: 🇺🇸USA / 🇨🇦CA / 🇬🇧UK / 🇫🇷FR / 🇩🇰DK / 🇩🇪DE / 🇮🇪IE / 🇳🇱NL / 🇸🇪SE

Download from:

Amazon Music: 🇺🇸USA // 🇬🇧UK // 🇫🇷FR // 🇩🇪DE // 🇮🇹IT // 🇪🇸ES

CRYSTAL LAKE Announce UK Headline Tour: 23-27 October


“Dishing out apoplectic mosh-starters… worthy of global recognition” – Rock Sound

“I saw them at KnotFest. Hoo boy, they were good.” – Daniel P. Carter, BBC Radio 1 Rock Show

Japan’s metal heroes CRYSTAL LAKE have revealed their exciting anniversary plans for this October, including a string of shows across England. The band will celebrate their 15th year by throwing their own festival in Tokyo, dropping new single APOLLO, and conducting their first UK headline tour before finishing the month off with an appearance at a metalcore festival in Germany.

For a decade and half, CRYSTAL LAKE have been cranking out some of Japan’s most explosive heavy rock. Blending elements of metalcore, hardcore and hard rock, the band has created their most ambitious and dynamic album to date with TRUE NORTH. The release is out now in the UK and Europe courtesy of JPU Records, and in America via Artery Recordings, and is also the name of the UK Tour.

CRYSTAL LAKE – OMEGA music video

CRYSTAL LAKE on tour with Aviana and All Faces Down in October 2017:

23 Oct: London 229 The Venue

24 Oct: Manchester Satan’s Hollow

25 Oct: Birmingham The Flapper

26 Oct: Plymouth Underground

27 Oct: Southampton Talking Heads (CRYSTAL LAKE only)

28 Oct: Cologne MoreCore Festival

More dates to follow.

Back home in Tokyo the band will mark their 15th anniversary by throwing a festival under their name and inviting 15 of their favourite bands to perform, including Japan’s coldrain, America’s Fit For A King and Taiwan’s Emerging from the Cocoon, as well as a number of names from Japan’s punk, hardcore and metal scenes, such as SHADOWSSAND and NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST.

CRYSTAL LAKE will release latest single APOLLO in Japan from 11 October, including two new songs and a remix of Dreamscape by dubstep producer PhaseOne, as well as a DVD featuring footage from their sold out tour finale earlier this year.

Altered Sky – Why Are We Next To These People?!


Some bands play stadiums, others dodgy clubs and pubs, but Altered Sky – a rock band from Glasgow very much of the Biffy Clyro and Paramore mould – took ‘intimate venue’ to ridiculous levels last year playing homes of fans.

When I meet them today they are camped upstairs at Broadcast in Glasgow a few hours shy of their final UK tour date as Ross (bassist) explains the logic behind such an unorthodox itinerary “People on Vacation were doing a house party tour playing an acoustic set in living rooms and we thought we could do that” adding “fans really appreciate the connection I guess. It’s a lot closer than playing a gig”. Lead singer and hyper excitable Ana chips in “we learned we could fit lot of people into one room!”

The other members of the band in the stifling heat of the upstairs office at the venue are Ryan (guitar) Amy (drums) and Tara (guitarist) but they sit mostly silent as Ross and Ana do most of the talking. Last year the band managed to nab a spot on Bob Harris’s Apple Tree Sessions after a hopeful Tweet was picked up by Whispering Bob himself “he’s just like the king of music” exclaims Ana before adding with a hint of incredulity about meeting him “that’s the voice! That’s the body of the voice!”.

Tomorrow the group will ­­­­support the mighty Big Country at Clydebank Town Hall “It’s our second time, actually” says Anna about the occasion “They’re so cool! Such lads, well, old lads actually!” before Ross quickly removes the foot from Ana’s mouth, observing “I think being in the presence of someone who has been there and done it, we can learn a lot; the way they carry themselves, the way they handle the show. They exude that experience”.

Altered Sky are still not at the stage where they can resign from their day jobs and even have  to slog out a staggering 18 hours rehearsal per week when required “it fills up the time when you would be doing other things” acknowledges Ana “the practice studio becomes a second home”.

The hard working nature of the band is obvious and when I ask what’s the most important thing they could tell other aspiring rock acts, Ana advises “knowing [your] instrument inside out and really striving to be the top of your game. You have to have that effort on top to take it to the next level” with Ross explaining “playing with four other personalities makes a huge difference to how you play, that’s probably the most important thing to begin with”.

All that effort is beginning to pay off. On Kerrang radio the band were on the same play list as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath “why are we next to these people?!” laughs Ross; and soon they are trotting off on an Asian Tour. Since Asian music is my thang I ask if they are familiar with any bands from this neck of the woods; “One OK Rock” says Ana and after a slight pause sheepishly suggests Babymetal. If anything, this wakes Amy out of her Kraken-esque silence “oooooh Babymetal!” she coos while everyone else laughs.

So what’s all this effort and 6 hour rehearsal sessions and playing in fans houses all about? Is there a long term plan for all of this? Ana fills me in “I hope the band can really make a musical mark, not just in the UK. If can we maybe get across to America, have our second album out and have a growing fan base, a couple of really really good support tours, certainly in five years I want to be touring the world on our own headline show” before beaming  “I can’t imagine doing anything else. We’re gonna do it!”

I think I’m pretty good at making predictions. I predicted Trump would turn out to be a massive douche bag and the unstoppable rise of a certain Japanese rock band. So here I’m making another one: keep an eye out for this bunch of crazy kids because they might be coming to a front room near you sooner than you think.

Altered Sky are on tour in Asia from 20th September till 18th October 2017 and are working on their next album.

The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY Release Second Single With Extras for Overseas Fans

The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY, Japan’s international rule breakers, threaten to lick all who underestimate them with second single “Pelo”, out now globally. Special bundles for the single include exclusive A3 poster, t-shirt and download card, available only for the release outside of Asia via JPU Records.

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Aldious Release First Overseas Album: “Radiant A”

“These girls will rock your brains out. As metal as one can get in heels and pink bows” – Kotaku

“Groundbreaking. Japanese all-girls metal band Aldious epitomizes ‘The Female Warrior’” – NYLON

“We fell head over heels for Aldious” – Revolver Magazine

Radiant A sees Japan’s “groundbreaking” metal quintet Aldious unleash their first overseas album on 17 March, 2017, out on CD and digital formats in the UK and Europe via JPU Records.

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SCANDAL Release 36-Track Best Album in UK and Europe: 3 March

A two-disc self-titled best album from SCANDAL – one of Japan’s most popular pop-rock girl bands – will be released on CD and digital formats in the UK and Europe on 3 March, 2017 via JPU Records. The collection features 34 tracks from the quartet’s ten-year career, as well as two new songs, and is available for preorder now at Amazon (here) and other retailers, and is also available as a limited edition CD, poster and T-shirt bundle direct from JPU Records (here). Continue reading

Tommy Emmanuel Live In Glasgow

I first came across Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel about four years ago learning about Travis picking (a form of fingerstyle playing). And ever since I wondered what it would be like to see the great man in person because -and this is not hyperbole- numerous Youtube videos suggest he’s something quite special.

When I remarked to my girlfriend “ooh look, Tommy Emmanuel is playing Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Monday January 23” she was all like “I can take a hint, let’s grab some tickets and head along”. And so it came to pass I spent just over 100 minutes in the company of one of the best musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing live. Continue reading

BAND-MAID Cause Chaos in New Video “Don’t you tell ME”

Picture from BAND-MAID's "Don't you tell ME" video

BAND-MAID cause chaos in their latest music video 「Don’t you tell ME」, released today ahead of new album Just Bring It, out on CD from JPU Records in Europe from 10 February 2017.

Just Bring It is the band’s first full length album released from a major label in Japan and includes 13 tracks. The European edition includes translated lyrics in its booklet and will be available from all major CD retailers across the UK and Europe.

Pre-order direct from JPU Records: Regular edition // CD+Tshirt edition

BAND-MAID's Just Bring It cover art