Last week I talked about my latest (possibly greatest? It certainly feels that way right now!) new musical obsession, the visual kei phenomenon known as BUCK-TICK. Surely, dear reader, you didn’t think I could end it at that, did you? While all of the videos that I shared last week were undeniably fantastic (they were! I challenge anyone to deny it!) I acknowledge that they were all relatively recent videos. Because BUCK-TICK have been around since 1983, there’s a whole lot more to them than just the most recent wave of highly intoxicating songs. To prove that this band may indeed be one of the greatest in the world, I’ve decided to delve a little deeper into the BUCK-TICK backlog and share some other facets of this marvelous menagerie of musicians.
Dress (circa 1993)
Hard to believe for some, but 1993 is quite old now. In fact, in another year and a half, 1993 will be twenty years old. That’s two decades ago! Yet even then, BUCK-TICK were on the scene making deeply seductive music flavored with gothic romance. Which makes sense when you realize that BUCK-TICK were influenced by the seminal goth bands of the Eighties such as Bauhaus, The Cure, Love & Rockets, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Sisters of Mercy. Lead singer Atsushi Sakurai in particular has spoken openly of his fondness for all things “dark,” which is clearly visible in his appearance, performances, and lyrics. In “Dress” we see a young cross-dressing Atsushi who exudes prowess and innocent allure while crooning in a beguilingly knowing way. If I ever get the boudoir of my dreams (a room swathed in deep crimson veils lit by candles) this song will be playing on constant repeat. So sexy!
Razzle Dazzle (live in 2010)
God, I love that moment in a concert just before the artist hits the stage. The excitement, the frenzy, the anticipation! This video captures all of that flawlessly. A band that’s just as great live as on their albums is some kind of heaven for us music geeks, and BUCK-TICK are the archangels of that heaven with their showmanship and dedication to the dramatic in their musical craft. And did I mention that this was filmed just last year? Oh to have been in that audience! The opening is delicious, but if you’re impatient, forward to 3:17 for the good stuff.
Dress (abingdon boys school with special guest Atsushi Sakurai)
This is one of my favourite videos to watch over and over again. Just look at the faces of the fans in the crowd after Atsushi takes the stage with a.b.s! I get goosebumps from all of the intensely palpable energy they created, and I’m just watching this performance on YouTube. Imagine what it was like to have actually been there! The fact that not only do newer (and quite popular) bands like a.b.s. choose to cover BUCK-TICK songs, but also that Atsushi blends so seamlessly into this performance speaks to the timelessness of their work. They were great two decades ago, and they remain great now.
BUCK-TICK make amazingly lush videos and they put on incredible live concerts. Not to mention their influence speaks to a whole new generation of fans year after year. Now do you see why I would nominate this band as one of the best in the world? I could seriously make a blog that’s only devoted to BUCK-TICK, so great is my love for this band. In fact, they even inspire me to break with my traditional Top 3 format and include something extra: a live performance of what is possibly my favourite BUCK-TICK song (or at least my fav for the moment), “Dokudanjou Beauty,” from the same concert above, performed last year on the Razzle Dazzle tour.
Ah, perfection. Hisashi Imai has his Keith Richards rock-god-kick goin’ on, while Atsushi just sneers at the camera. He knows that he commands the attention of the entire room, and he doesn’t even need to try. I honestly don’t know which version I like better, the studio single or the live recording. And that, to me, is the sign of a truly awesome band.