"Frenesi school: The legendary end-of-business ceremony"

Text and photos by Patrick Benny for Tokyo's Coolest Sound


The last show I saw in 2014 was Frenesi, and it was a very special one. In November Frenesi announced that she would put a stop (though maybe temporary) to her music career. Her last activity would be this concert held on December 27 in the Denshō hall of the Shibuya Cultural Center Ōwada. This seated hall seems to be more often used for traditional performances such as rakugo (Wikipedia), so it felt special to see a pop-oriented concert there.

For the last 2½ years or so, Frenesi's shows have always had a "school" theme, where Frenesi is the "head teacher" and those who attend are "students". Also for at least the same time she has been hiding her face from the public (Internet and photos), except in her shows where her fans are allowed to see her. The reason is unclear as she is really a cute and charming person, although this definitely works great in building a lot of anticipation for fans who get to see her show for the first time.

The show began as a kind of ceremony. People sitting in the front row were called one by one on stage to receive a pile of certificates, and once back to their seat they had to keep one and pass the rest to the person behind. Remember those school days? Yup, this is Frenesi school! The large square sheets were distributed to everyone. On one side was the certificate proving that one attended Frenesi school's end-of-business ceremony, and on the back was... Frenesi's signature cartooned face, just like the board she holds as a mask every time a photo is taken!

The show then started. It was going to be divided in two sets, with a manga contest in between. Frenesi was accompanied by her usual band, with Shock Tarō (blue marble) on keyboards, and label Otomesha's "boss" on percussion (etc.), and also bass and drums. The first set featured mostly songs from her first album "Cupra" (counting from when her career was restarted with a techno-pop direction), and a few from the 2nd "Märchen". Every time a song began I remembered that it might be the last time to hear it live. On the wall was projected some specially selected archive footage to go with each song.

Set #1:
nero / shinonome / Lowrits Arc / watashi no Yes Man / kasō kako / Sprawl / kaisentō / Märchen / Marginal

Then came the manga contest, that featured 4 guests (musicians, and a manga artist) who were asked to draw "what happens next" after seeing a drawing by Frenesi on three different themes. Then the MC (label boss) gave a score to each drawing, used to determine the winner in the end. I'll spare you the details, but the three themes were: 1. "What will Frenesi do after she quits?", 2. "Imagine that Frenesi comes back under a new name, what would it and the album title be?", and 3. "What will become of Frenesi's mask board?"

After the contest there was a time where a photo of the audience was taken, all wearing the Frenesi masks! The impressive result was this!

The 2nd set began with a special guest, small happiness aka Kumahara Masayuki (a long-time arranger/engineer for FPM). In 2010 he had two songs released that featured Frenesi's vocals, so those were performed live. First was "Heart no Earring" (a cover of Matsuda Seiko as heard on "MemorieS ~Songs for the Season of White~") followed by "tashika na koto" (YouTube, from compilation "Happy ~song for wedding~" (2010), Amazon).

Then Frenesi's band came back on stage, and more of Frenesi's best songs were played, this time some from latest album "gendai", and a few more from the previous albums. X Shampee, a member of Inn Japan (one of Frenesi's favorite bands ever) joined to play electric guitar on two songs.

Set #2:
Heart no Earring (w/ small happiness) (cover of Matsuda Seiko) / tashika na koto (w/ small happiness) (cover of Oda Kazumasa) / chikyū kūdōsetsu / fukumen chōsain / tajū jinkaku R / Computer obaachan (cover of Cosmic Invention/Sakai Shūko) / furyō Mannequin (w/ X Shampee) / jōbutsu sasete yo (w/ X Shampee) / gendai

After some applause, it was time for the encore! "Pure Shampoo" and then "Inflation"... Before the last song of the encore, Frenesi did a touching speech saying that she's very sad to call it quits, but that it's for a reason (which remains untold). However she also said that she might come back someday, and that until then she preciously keeps the keys to all of her students' (fans) hearts and will use them when the time comes. The last song was "silly joke", one of my favorites from "gendai". I couldn't keep from shedding a tear realizing that we won't be able to hear Frenesi's sweet voice live again for a while.

Pure Shampoo / Inflation / silly joke

Her last show now over, fortunately all of Frenesi's wonderful music remains, so it's never too late for those who have yet to check out her works. Also, Frenesi fans do have something to look forward to, as she has announced on her blog some upcoming releases in which she has participated:
- an album by Inn Japan (to be released in 2015) will feature her as one of the "Inn Gall"
- an album by Techma! (to be released in 2015) will feature her on song "Celeb nano? Säffle nano? koko wa Roppongi!"
- some vocals on an album by Wools (to be released in 2015)
- a new single EP by Frenesi titled "jikū no Bug ni te" to be released by Disk Union in 2015


Also check out Frenesi's official self-report here.


"furyō Mannequin"


"Pure Shampoo"

"fukumen chōsain"

Find out more about: Frenesi

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