Boyz in Pink Hair and Eyeliner

Visual kei band Duel Jewel

Tonight I saw Duel Jewel at the Liquidroom in Ebisu, a ‘live house’ with standing room for about 400. The band is a classic example of visual kei: glam metal overlaid with stylish Japanese punk. The guitar-thrashing boys and girls (not always clear which) take the stage in bruised-looking make-up, hair out to here, and enough piercings to set off the metal detector at Narita airport. Gotta say, though, the audience put on a show to rival the band.

Every song has an odori, an intricate handjive that turns the sea of bobbing heads into a flock of five-fingered birds, all moving in unison. Occasionally, a frenzy of hair-whip headbanging breaks out, but of course, since this is Japan, it’s all done in such a skillful way that you never get a mouthful of your neighbor’s dead protein.

The band played from 6:00 – 9:00 (nightlife depends on the last running subway trains at midnight, so events start and end early in Tokyo) and if there was a glam rock Olympics, these guys would be on the podium. Serious aerobic workout, seriously tropical conditions. It being July, the lead singer had to wring out his t-shirt several times on stage but miraculously, his hair remained PERFECT. (What military-grade hair products he uses remains a burning question…)

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, now out for the first time in paperback

More Nightshade book goodness here, in case you think you might want to, you know, read it or something

A young woman is found dead in an abandoned car, with a pair of strangers old enough to be her parents. Their suicide note apologizes for a disaster that hasn’t yet happened. And someone is stalking the…read more

…or watch the book trailer (0:52)