Being granted a surprise interview with VAMPS was probably one of the most frightening shocks I’d ever received. When I had gotten an email that said I secured an interview with the princes of darkness, I just stared at my phone and questioned reality. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. How did this happen? Well, you see, I offered up IAFTB as a blood sacrifice and the Gods of J-Rock were apparently pleased. (Don’t tell him, though. Halloween is gonna be really rough for him. Tee-hee~!)
Editor’s Note: What the fuck.
The tour bus door opened and I stepped into a very classy black leather interior living room. I blurted out “WOW!!! THIS IS SO NEAT!” before I turned around and found Hyde and Kaz sitting there, chuckling at my childlike excitement.
In the interview itself, we spoke about their new sound, their favorite songs, and collaborating with Miyavi! Unfortunately, due to the recent earthquakes in Mexico, one of their tour stops had to be cancelled, leaving fans bereft but understanding due to the severity of the situation. Hyde explained that they are hoping that the Guadalajara tour stop on October 3 would be a charity event to help those affected by the earthquake. They haven’t actually told anyone yet, but they’re working on it.
It was a short interview, one that I felt I’d barely survived, but it was all so very surreal. It started and then next thing I knew it was over and I was thanking them for their precious time. They stood and smiled, thanking us for the interview. Hyde reached out his hand and I gingerly took it, his strong grip and cool skin making my brain melt into my boots. It was in direct contrast to Kaz and his gently warming touch. They literally are the balance to each other, Hyde basically having mischief rolling off of him, while Kaz has this aloof presence but the ability to draw out joy from inside you. I could have talked to them all night about anything and everything if they’d allowed me.
By the time the show started, everyone was beyond ready. The Roxy was full to the brim as a sold out venue when the opening band, Black Map took the stage. Everyone meandered around, talked among themselves, and hit the merch booth … until the band actually started to play.
Their sound, reminiscent of Queens Of The Stone Age with a strange unique twist thrown in, caught the audience off guard. Everyone stood in shock as the Black Map succeeded in what most opening acts in LA fail to do, they hyped the crowd so much, people were cheering and rocking out!
The curtain fell as they thanked the crowd and we waited for Vamps.
The lights turned so low it was almost pitch black, and then the curtain rose. VAMPS stood on stage as the crowd went from excited to hysterical. Everyone rushed forward, pushing to get a piece of their favorite band. Hyde stepped out in an open hoodie, no shirt, cargo pants, and a bomber man painted megaphone. “Midnight Celebration” began, Hyde’s voice crooning into the megaphone causing everyone to scream.
They greeted their LA audience and performed “Evil” before going into the title track of their new album, “Underworld“. With an unrelenting, aggressive beat, we were quickly introduced to the new album.
Next they performed “Break Free” and “The Calling“, which is Kaz’s favorite song. By the time they performed “Bleed for Me“, the world was spinning a bit too fast and we were all being mildly crushed by each other.
Hyde, in various states of undress and looking like the damned devil that he is, wooed the crowd and whipped them into a frothy mess of fans screaming and writhing. Everyone was determined to be blessed by Hyde’s very being. Song after song, there was no stopping VAMPS as they drilled away at the set list, not giving their audience a chance to catch their breath.
We raged through “Rise Or Die“, “Bloodsuckers“, and “Inside Of Me“.
Finally, they ended the show with “Rise Up” screeching from the sound system.
They left the stage and the crowd finally relented. I took my first deep breaths of the night, trying to clear my vision and get a grip. The audience screamed for an encore and VAMPS took the stage one last time to oblige.
Just as the crowd surged like a wave crashing against the stage, I crawled out and headed for the bar in the back, past the pit, and up into the light. I knew what was coming. I’d learned my lesson from the year before. “Sex Blood Rock N’ Roll” slid off of Hyde’s tongue through his fun megaphone into the mic and over my skin like a net, pulling at me back into the sea of screaming fans. I fought it, though, scared Empanada would be damaged in the revelry.
When the show ended, I stood outside the Roxy, the cool breeze allowing my mind to process the entire day’s events. I shivered at the realization that I sat and spoke to VAMPS within their inner sanctum. And as I look through the pictures that survived this insane night … well, I can’t wait for next year’s show!
Special thanks to @Ceceemagery for being my videographer.