Dir En Grey returned to San Francisco with a headlining set at the Regency Ballroom. Where openers Dagoba brought the thrash, Dir En Grey brought the dramatics ... taking the stage with dimmed lighting and frontman Kyo draped in a black veil.
Dir En Grey

DIR EN GREY returned to San Francisco with a headlining set at the Regency Ballroom. Despite doors to the venue opening nearly an hour late, the Regency staff managed to get the long line of ticket holders (which had made its way all the way down to Polk St.) into the venue where they promptly be-lined it for either the barrier or the merch line. By the time Dagoba took the stage at 8:15, the line out front was gone and the Dir En Grey fans were in position.

French metal band Dagoba took the stage at 8:15 pm and proceeded to tear through a generous 50 minute set of thrashers that may have been lost on some of the audience whose reactions ranged from polite head-bobbing apathy to full-on mosh-mode. When frontman Shawter summoned the legends of Bay Area thrash to inspire a wall of death, most people seem genuinely confused (i.e. no wall and no death). Regardless, it was a great set and a fitting start to the night.

Where Dagoba brought the thrash, DIR EN GREY brought the dramatics … taking the stage with dimmed lighting and frontman Kyo draped in a black veil. The crowd, in particular the line of ladies crammed up against the barrier who seemed to have a particular fascination for bassist Toshiya, went nuts before the band even hit their first note.

Skipping formalities and between-song chatter, Dir En Grey let the performance speak for itself and it spoke loudly. Kyo performed most of the 90 minute set beneath the aforementioned black veil, periodically pulling it aside to reveal his corpse-painted face, each tease triggering a loud reaction from the crowd. The most dramatic point of the night occurred mid-way through the set when Kyo performed with his back to the crowd but with a camera projecting his face on the big screen.

It didn’t matter that most of the lyrics were in Japanese. Not even the healthy representation of “gaijin” (even those that came for Dagoba) were going anywhere as the band banged out a career-spanning setlist that included several updated versions of material off of Dum Spiro Spero. If you missed them, you’re out of luck because the U.S. tour is over.

Supporting act: Dagoba


  • Reijetsu Nariseba
  • Obscure
  • Red Soil
  • Unraveling
  • Inward Scream
  • The Blossoming Beelzebub
  • Dead Tree
  • Vinushka
  • Inward Scream
  • Bottom of the Death Valley
  • Rinkaku
  • Different Sense
  • Kasumi


  • The Final
  • Stuck Man
  • Hageshisa To, Kono Mune No Naka De Karametsuita Shakunetsu No Yami

© 2013 Alan Snodgrass | www.digitaldiversion.net. Please do not use without express permission. If you like what you see, leave a comment below and subscribe so you can be notified of new posts. You can also become a fan on Facebook.

2 thoughts on “DIR EN GREY | November 23, 2013

  1. Thank you for the review, for the most part, it reflects many of my own opinions on the show. however, I would like to point out that Dagoba is not thrash. Thrash requires constant upbeat tempo with the feeling of the music speeding up. I think the genre the writer was actually thinking of is death metal, which includes a double kick, growling vocals, and multiple tempo changes.

  2. Thank you for your article!

    Is there any chance of you being able to send these photos in full resolution? I would like to draw with them as reference! I think they are truly remarkable photographs. I plan on posting my drawings on deviantart.com with credits to the photographer and link if you like to this article. Here’s my deviantart page: http://erikbjornor.deviantart.com/

Comments are closed.