Dir En Grey formed as a metal band in Japan in 1997. The name was composed of words from several languages so that it has no specific meaning other than the band's name itself. Originally a visual kei band, Dir En Grey has opted for less dramatic attire in recent years. The five members each go by a single name: vocalist Kyo; guitarists Kauro and Die; bassist Toshiya; and drummer Shinya. That line-up has been since its inception. Dir En Grey released Arche, its ninth and most recent album, on December 10, 2014.
At the Gramercy Theatre tonight, Kyo (京) wore a long white robe and draped his head in a low hanging black fabric that partially concealed his face mysteriously. Positioned over a bright light and fan for most of the show, Kyo swayed, squatted and spun, and the robe and drape billowed and created shadow effects. As Kyo unwrapped the shroud, the audience saw a man with bizarre face paint that included two eyes painted above his real eyes. Kyo's voice dynamics echoed his dramatic movements; alternating between a cower, a reach for the sky, and nearly every position in between, Kyo's voice similarly ranged everywhere from a whispering croon to a guttural scream. A listener frequently might not understand what he sang, but his movements and vocals were hypnotic and elegant. Behind him, the musicians sometimes played a simmering backdrop or played scraping industrial, progressive and experimental metal. Free from clichés and commercial hooks, the songs were innovative and daring, designed more to be experienced than heard. The concert was non-traditional and uniquely rarefied.
Visit Dir En Grey at www.direngrey.co.jp.