LA-based mysterious duo Drab Majesty played a special show at beautiful Moon Romantic in Tokyo on Wednesday night. They are recently touring world with their third album ‘Modern Miller’, which was released in 2019 and has been critically acclaimed. Since this was their first visit to Japan and they played only one night, the venue was fully packed and filled with fans’ anticipation. I had an extreme honor to photograph their fantastic show.
Originally, Drab Majesty was a solo project of Deb Demure, who is an alter ego created by Andrew Clinco. After self-releasing first EP ‘Unarian Dances’ in 2012, Drab Majesty signed with Dais records in 2015 and released three studio albums and several singles to this date. In 2016, keyboard player and singer Mona D (Alex Nicolaou) joined Drab Majesty for live performances. Their sound showcases their unique blend of dark wave, synth-pop, post-punk, gothic, shoegazing, ’80s new wave rock and so many others. However, Deb named their music as ‘Tragic Wave’, which seems like a proper description.
On this night, Japanese DJs —mio from Tangle, Natsuki & Erica from popular dream pop band called Luby Sparks, gothic punk legend ZIn from MADAME EDWARDA, Yuka & okn from PØRTAL— spun lots of cool records to entertain the audience. Selected tunes were well accepted and the house was filled with enthusiasm. The whole event was hosted by Japanese label and promoter HANDS AND MOMENT, which mainly specializes in dark wave, shoegazing, alternative, dream pop music.
After 80 minutes DJ play, finally Drab Majesty appeared onstage dressed resplendently in trademark white suits, white bob wigs and huge black sunglasses on white painted faces. Their androgynous look and artificial stage persona were very interesting and wonderful to watch. There was a big full moon on the back of the stage and their aesthetic stage performance, which was sometimes theatrical like pantomime artists, went well with this beautiful venue.
They opened the set with ‘A Dialogue’, the first track of the latest album ‘Modern Miller’, and the audience was hypnotized by their dreamy sound and atmosphere right from the start. Next up was ‘Kissing the Ground’ off 2017’s ‘The Demonstration’. This post punkish number, which was one of fan’s favorites, got them excited. Deb’s reverberated guitar arpeggios and his left-handed fingerpicking style added magical feeling on their ethereal synth sound. In addition to that, deep synth-bass booms, thumping beats of drum machine and waves of feedback noise were highly addictive. Everyone was swaying to the sound and loving every second of it. Their 100 minutes set was mainly composed of their latest album and some songs from the second album ‘The Demonstration’. And they treated us to one song ‘Everything is Sentimental’ from their debut album ‘Careless’.
Drab Majesty’s unconventional live performance was a whole new level of excitement to me. They were far beyond my expectations. It’s more than a live show, and I’d say that it is thing like their creative and experimental activity, which has been evolving and never stops.
After the Tokyo show, they go to play in Australia and New Zealand. Get your tickets and witness their perfect performance. Check out their albums and updates via their social media links.
You can get their latest album on Dais Records.
If you are based in Japan, place an order with Garnet Records.
Mona D (Live Synth/Vocals)
- A Dialogue
- Kissing the Ground
- The Other Side
- Dot in the Sky
- 39 by Design
- Everything Is Sentimental
- Long Division
- Cold Souls
- Out of Sequence
- Noise of the Void
Words and photos by Aki Fujita Taguchi: https://www.aftphotography.tokyo
Proofreading by Yosuke Taguchi