Envy @ Bentley Music Auditorium

Presented by local independent record label and gig organiser Soundscape Records, 11 July 2009 was the night that Japanese hardcore/screamo band Envy rocked Bentley Music Auditorium. Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Envy, consisting of vocalist Tetsuya Fukagawa, guitarists Nobukata Kawai and Masahiro Tobita, bassist Manabu Nakagawa and drummer Dairoku Seki, has risen to become one of the most prominent bands in Japan’s independent hardcore scene. The band has also gotten props from Steve Aoki who names them his favorite live band ever.

Text Ronald Yeo Image Ricky Sow

I arrived just in time for the first opening band, sociopolitically-charged punkers Deng Deng Etc. The band, largely known to the underground scene for their destructive live sets, proved surprisingly tame that night. We had to wonder if the formality of auditorium had muted their performance. Only at one point did guitarist-cum-vocalist Hong and bassist Mat charge and grind their guitars together. Hong eventually tripped and fell mid song prompting the band to replay it later.

Local screamo outfit Love Me Butch took over the stage straight after, opening with their new single ‘Come Out, Come Out’. They played a tight 20 minutes and ended with their hit single ‘Reconcile’, which got the crowd singing along to the chorus. In between this and the anticipated Envy coming on, some members of the audience ducked out of the smoke-free Wisma Bentley for their vitamins.

I got back just in time to catch Envy’s band members entering the stage one by one before launching straight into ‘Zero’. The track got the crowd headbanging, before the stage diving and crowd surfing took over in the mosh pits. And if the swaying lighters down the front rows were a surprise, nothing tops seeing a a headbanging burst into tears from the emotional intensity of it all.

This is Envy after all, a band full of build-ups and teardowns, lulling you to sleep with their instrumental ethereal and ambient soundscapes, then about-facing to stab you in the eye with their chaotic, soaring guitars and lightning fast drums, and vocalist Tetsuya Fukagawa’s raspy larynx-destroying vocals.

Despite all the hardcore screaming, Fukagawa was a soft spoken guy, thanking the crowd after almost every song. Envy ended their set with the track ‘A Warm Room’ returning for a 2 track encore. The restlessness of the crowd when the lights came up indicated that even though necks were hurting, they wanted more. Emotionally and sonically Envy delivered what they promised, a rocking hell of a show. Time to dig out those Black Flag albums!

Envy rocked our socks off on 11 July 2009 at Bentley Music Auditorium. Check out the carnage in the gallery.