Signal’s “Secret Rain” Promo Event at HMV Sakae (August 15, 2015)

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Commited to catching up, here is another report! This is dedicated to all the Sailor Moon musical fans all over the world. ❤

Signal is a Japanese pop band that had three ladies transformed as handsome guys (more like the “ikemen” type). The trio formed in 2015 with members Root, Rei, and Lyra. If you are a fan of the all-female theatre troupe Takarazuka Revue, you might recognized Lyra from the Tsukigumi or the Moon Group. Others might recognized Root from various “ikemen shoujo” magazines like KERA or Men’s Bible. But, I think a lot of people from the Western World knows Root as the phenomenal Jadeite from the 2013 Sailor Moon Musical La Reconquista.
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The group released their first mini-album, entitled “Secret Rain”, on July 29, 2015. This is the only CD they ever released as Signal announced at the end of last month that they were going to split up due to each member wanting to pursue their own individual activities.

Originally when I went the mini-live at HMV Sakae on August 15, I just wanted check out this ikemen group because they looked interesting when I researched them beforehand. I didn’t really know that Root was in this group until she did her self-introduction. I was shocked when she introduced herself and had to check the group’s blog to make sure it was true. At that moment, I grew excited as I really loved Root when she starred in the 2013 Sera Myu musical. She makes a great guy villain and is an amazing singer.

The live started promptly at one o’clock. The crowd was a bit small with most of the audience being young adult females. I stood in the back of the crowd because I didn’t know this group really well to join the front section with the true fans. The “guys” came onto the stage and did their self-introductions. Root’s acting as a guy is pretty spot-on, like always. She got the mannerisms and can produce a guy-ish tone easily. So can Lyra. However, Rei was the weaker ikemen as she was pretty girlish. She really can’t do the ikemen really well as you can tell in the picture above that she is one that looks less masculine then other two. During the MCs, she brought out the playful female side as she tried to be cute and more girlish. Maybe a career in ikemen entertainment isn’t suited for her but she was having fun.

During the twenty minute live, Signal sang two or three songs, which the very last one was “Secret Rain”, while entertaining the crowd with a couple of MCs. The group was pretty shaky live as Root and Lyra could perform in an ikemen style and Rei couldn’t. I swear she just sang the song in her normal voice (and not the ikemen-type that was featured on the PV). However, the “guys” were having fun and you could see that the members enjoyed each other and had a good relationship between them.

After the mini-live, the staff prepared the stage for a handshake event for those who bought the CD. I quickly bought the album and obtained one handshake ticket. The line for the event was small, so it wasn’t much of a wait to approach the table. The first member who I greeted was Rei, who spoke some English to me and asked me if I lived in Nagoya. Then next was Root, who I told that I loved her in La Reconquista because she was my favorite Jadeite and I will continue to support her. She thanked me. Lastly, I approached Lyra, who I had a small conversation with. The event was laid-back as the fans could spend a decent amount of time talking to each member. I swear some of the girls before me were fangirling a lot though.

I haven’t listen to much of the album since I bought it. But, if you enjoy ikemen or vocally-altered dance music, you should check out this group. It’s a basic Jpop group that you expect to be from 2015. However, the group’s charm and the great relationship between each other is what makes Signal stand out. Just look at the PV below. You might even fall in love with one the members.

Wherever You Are, I Will Never Be Forgotten (A Tribute to Maurice White)

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2016 has been a depressing year for the music world. We have lost so many great talents: Glenn Frey, David Bowie, Paul Kantner, Natalie Cole, and many more. The most recent star to fade was Maurice White, who died this past Friday from a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

White was best known as the co-lead vocalist for the disco/funk/R&B band Earth, Wind and Fire. A band who has sold over 90 million albums, singles, DVDs, cassettes, video tapes, and other media since they formed in 1969. The band is most remembered for their late 70s’ smash hits “September”, “Let’s Groove”, and “Boogie Wonderland”. White’s smooth tenor voice mixed with high pitched background vocals help to make Earth, Wind and Fire prominent in the late 70s.

One of my favorite Earth, Wind & Fire songs is “Boogie Wonderland”. I have a 12″ version of this song, which runs over eight minutes, in my music player. But, it’s never getting tiring. Its laid back, ambient feel makes “Boogie Wonderland” a pleasant tune to listen at any time.

 

By the late 80s, this groove maker’s health became worse as he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1987. He was forced to retire from his band in 1994 and cut back his involvement in other musical projects. However, that same year, the Japanese pop band DREAMS COME TRUE released their second English single, “WHEREVER YOU ARE”, that featured White as background vocals.

“WHEREVER YOU ARE” is a perfect fit for Maurice White’s vocals as it’s a upbeat funky pop tune that shares a tiny resemblance to Earth, Wind & Fire’s popular hits.  And White’s vocals compliments Miwa Yoshida’s vocals nicely as they share color and tone. Yoshida’s vocals, unlike the high pitched of the background female vocals of such songs like “Boogie Wonderland”, has a soulful but husky timbre.

This DREAMS COME TRUE song is a must-listen as it from the era when the band produced many great songs, like the one above. You don’t have to be a Japanese music enthusiastic to enjoy splendid melodies and the immense talent from each member. But also,  “WHEREVER YOU ARE” includes a brilliant vocalist, Maurice White, whose talent will never vanished and always live on.

Don’t forgot to check out White’s mini-solo from the 1:55 mark!