Crossfaith – one of the most iconic current Japanese bands, and some of the most influential faces in the alternative Japanese music scene. This year sees the group embark on their colossal 2016 World Tour to promote their latest album ‘Xeno, whilst deciding to tone down the scale on the European leg – visiting smaller cities and venues in favour of bigger, previously larger ones. This gave the band a chance to travel down to Plymouth, their first visit since 2012… and the night definitely didn’t disappoint.

With the venue slowly filling up, openers Counting Days weren’t shy to provide some ferocious sounds to start the night. The set was successful in starting the night’s head-banging, and had some excellent breakdowns and heaviness to start it all off. Their style may have contrasted the mixed genres of the other bands on the bill, but gave the show a good amount of diversity by confidently opening.  

Main support of the night came from London’s The One Hundred, who despite only playing Plymouth once before, had drawn quite a few fans to the show. Filled with headliner energy, the set proved an excellent warm up for Crossfaith, with frontman Jacob Field knowing exactly how to get the crowd moving. This instant stage presence really added to their set – and undoubtedly impressed a large proportion of the new crowd. Despite only having one EP release under their belt, the band definitely proved that only bigger things will be coming their way, and sparked a positive reaction to the new tracks tested on the audience.

With the audience suitably heated up, and the venue full – the wait for the stage to be set up alone started the enthusiasm, as Crossfaith changed the venue soundtrack and brought their own tracks. Not only was this a mash of some of their favourite bands, but included an excitement-inducing announcement welcoming the audience to the tour, and how long until the band were on. This was so effective considering the venue – it might not have been a big room, but no way the group were going to ditch their production. 

Beginning the set with the opening tracks of their latest album (System X and Xeno), energy was electrified into the crowd, bringing them to life. The magical blend of vocals, heaviness and electronic sounds from Terufumi Tamano’s keys and sound desk give an almost rave-like vibe to Crossfaith shows, but also heavy – creating a unique live experience. There was a mixture of your average ‘walls of death’, ‘circle pits’ and a lot of jumping around – the show was not short of sweat, with everyone in both the band and audience heating up immediately. It also was reflective of the intimate environment, and this was very special, as the band are one usually behind a barrier.

The set wasn’t short of previous fan-favourites, with Photosphere and Countdown To Hell proving popular. The newer material from ‘Xeno’ was also well received – with every word being recited, the show was quite eye-opening as to how many fans they have down in Devon, especially being an area with a smaller music scene. Frontman Kenta Koie asked the audience at one point ‘Who was here when we played Plymouth in 2012?’, and was greeted with a silent response. This was surprising, and really showed how successful the last 4 years had been to them as an international band – and that surprise was illustrated in his reaction to the silence, too.

The highlight of the set came after the encore, when drummer Tatsuya Amano emerged alone onstage to perform a complete drum solo for five minutes. This solo gradually worked up to a speed of insanity – making sure to showcase his incredible talent, particularly whilst drumming one handed and spinning a drumstick in the other. This was then followed up by full band performances of their famous cover of The Prodigy’s Omen, and finishing up on the ‘Zion EP”s Monolith.

The intimacy of this show really brought out another side to the band that we haven’t seen at the bigger shows for the past couple of years, and when they return to playing larger venues again, this live show will work just as well – and with just as much energy.

This Crossfaith article was written by Caitlin Damsell, a GIGsoup contributor. All photos by Max J Styles

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