Last night (November 22) at Koenji High was the pre-release party for The Aprils' new CD, "Magical Girls" EP going on sale on January 11, 2012. The event was even free to go to by placing a reservation in advance on the band's website. Of course the place was packed! It was even an opportunity to buy the new CD in advance, which probably most of the audience did. The event also featured a lot of special guests and two mini-live shows, all people who collaborated to the release which consists of 4 new songs and 4 new remixes.
The Aprils got on stage right from the start, and opening with exciting brand new song "New Electric", the first track of the album, and then soon inviting the first guest, Marino, to sing her rap part on "Back To The Future Music" as she does on the album of the same name. A remix of that song is included on the new CD. She said she was wearing a dress she bought just earlier that day in Koenji (an area well known for its many secondhand clothing shops). Marino also sold tea from her brand, and she hinted being working on a new release and that she has shows being planned for February and March.
The next special guest was virtual idol Hatsune Miku who appeared on a screen to sing duet on "Stainless Girl". Shortly after the two other members of CTO LAB. (Imai Kentarō is also part of the unit) came on stage for 2 of their songs, accompanied by the Aprils' live drums. Then followed another new song, "pi-pi-pi Music" that's featured in game "Music Gungun" (click where it says so to watch the Aprils play the game themselves).
The Aprils 1st setlist: New Electric / Cosmo 80's / Back To The Future Music feat. Marino / Stainless Girl feat. Hatsune Miku / Play'n Loud / CTO LAB.'s Crash Bandicoot / CTO LAB.'s Computer Disco / pi-pi-pi Music
The Aprils' first set was over, and then came a short set by Sexy-Synthesizer, located almost right above me where I couldn't see. The set opened with a crazy Mario Bros. remix, and later was played the new remix of the Aprils' "Back To The Future Music" included on the CD.
To follow was sono na wa Spade (aka The Lady Spade), leader ATG in full power with her 3 secretaries, and Mr. SLF dancing along at the back. The set started with "Hellbound" and contained several of their recent tracks, and a cover of Okamura Yasuyuki, newly remixed with samples of the same artists' popular "Bu-Shaka Loop".
The Lady Spade setlist: Hellbound / ? / Sweetholic / (E)na (Okamura Yasuyuki cover) / Black Magic
Then the Aprils joined on stage and played "Magical Girls", a track which features the Lady Spade and samples "Black Magic". They also sang "Love sarigenaku" (from anime "Creamy Mami") together in duet.
The roll of guests had yet to end, next up were both members of Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, who contributed a remix to the new EP. While guitarist Wakky often supports the Aprils live, this was a truly rare occasion to see Hayashibe Tomonori play keys live for them!
The next guest was Mizuka, an idol from Nagoya for who the Aprils' Imai-kun contributed a few songs to her mini-album in the making (coming in January). She sang two of her own songs, "kira-kira-kira-kira" and "koibitotachi no ABC", the latter which can be found in an Aprils version on their new CD. Yume to Cosme's Hase Yasuhiro also appeared from this point to play piano.
Followed more Aprils' favorites: their cover of La Casa Azul's "La Nueva Yma Sumac", and then "Pan-da" (with the huge Pandatone Gloomy bear on stage!) and the set closed with their theme song for "kaede New Town" which had singer Miho dancing ska-like.
The Aprils 2nd setlist: Magical Girls feat. The Lady Spade / Love sarigenaku (cover) feat. The Lady Spade / ki-ra-me-ki Moondiver feat. Plus-Tech Squeeze Box / Mizuka's kira-kira-kira-kira / koibitotachi no ABC feat. Mizuka / La Nueva Yma Sumac (La Casa Azul cover) / Pan-da / kaede New Town
There was an encore, where Imai-kun played solo Omnichord, but instead of the usual "boku uchū" he played another spacey song, "niji no wakusei". The band came back on stage to close everything perfectly with "Shine x Shine x Shine x Shine".
Encore: niji no wakusei (Imai Kentaro solo Omnichord) / Shine x Shine x Shine x Shine
DJing continued for a little while much of the audience hung around while enjoying another drink and talking, before heading to the merch table where the new CD was already being sold, almost 2 months in advance!
Most of all it had been really a long time since I saw the Aprils live, maybe the last time was February 2010 at their previous release party, and it was really great to see them on stage again! Earlier this year I really felt in need to see them again. This event made it obvious once more that the Aprils love their fans, and that their fans love them back!
P.S.: The new "Magical Girls" EP is just great! The new songs are still in the same fun future-pop direction, and with a hint of Shibuya-kei. Title song "Magical Girls" is a duet with The Lady Spade's ATG, and a music video is being worked on. Game song "pi-pi-pi Music" is also a lot of fun, it gets stuck in my head and now I'm thinking of checking out the game it was made for, "Music Gungun". The new remixes are also great, with ones by Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, Sexy-Synthesizer, La Casa Azul and PandaBoY. Release details here.
Nov. 25: Yume to Cosme, Kongōchi Takeshi (yes, mama ok?) & more @ Shimokitazawa Mona Records
Dec. 4: "Spade Lounge" @ Shibuya Smile
Dec. 10: "Magical Girls Christmas" Aprils, The Lady Spade, spoon+, DJ PandaBoY & more @ Shibuya Under Deer Lounge
Jan. 7: CTO LAB. presents "Tokyo Outbound vol.02" w/ Open Reel Ensemble, Urbangarde & more @ Koenji High
The Aprils "Shine x Shine x Shine x Shine"
The Lady Spade "Black Magic (live)"
CTO LAB. "Crash Bandicoot"