Festival Review: Vampillia

Vampillia. Photo by Rob Walbers.

Featuring members of bands from all over the musical spectrum (but mostly noise and experimental rock), Vampillia are an eclectic (and very eccentric) band.


Vampillia. Photo by Rob Walbers.

Vampillia. Photo by Rob Walbers.

Presented by Vampillia
Reviewed 6 March 2015

Wild and frenzied, Vampillia are a noisy alternative rock band from Osaka, Japan, all too keen to show relatively quiet little Adelaide how to get crazy.

Featuring members of bands from all over the musical spectrum (but mostly noise and experimental rock), including vocalist “Death” from Wood Cutter Mongoloid and drummer Toyohito Yoshikawa from Boredoms (one of my own favourite noise groups), Vampillia are an eclectic (and very eccentric) band.

Whether their weirdness borders on pretentiousness is a matter of debate, but if you can endure the wall of sound they throw out you are probably going to dig their brand of high-energy, spacey-goth-noise-rock.

Supporting Vampillia at their Adelaide Festival show was Melbourne ambient, post-rock group Fourteen Nights at Sea and Trash McSweeney and Alix Kol, two members of orchestral rock group The Red Paintings.

Trash (great name, I know) and Alix opened up the night with a few string heavy, emotional punkish songs with a bit of an emo/goth flavour. The pair managed to blast out some powerful sounds, even without the rest of their band. Their rendition of Mad World was a little off, but otherwise an enjoyable warm up set.

Fourteen Nights at Sea are undeniably strong performers, but unless you really go in for droning post-rock you might find it hard to give your full attention throughout the set without drifting to your phone screen or friends in the back-row. Their soaring, hypnotic tones take you to another world, but ultimately brought the crowd low when they should have been getting ready to party for the headlining act.

Vampillia themselves were truly a sight to behold. The band slowly built up with some beautiful violin and dramatic orchestral vocals before absolutely erupting into one of the loudest blasts of drumming and guitar strumming I have ever heard. The man known as “Death” runs through the crowd in a bear-like camouflage suit, knocking over beers and causing some chaos, before arriving on stage to begin growling and roaring.

The most striking aspect of seeing Vampillia on stage is their members’ rather random collection of styles. Death wears a “Run_D.M.C.” sweatshirt and colourful shorts, highlighting his energy, while those members of more gothic style wore all black and flowing robes. The bassist (and Justin Bieber impersonator) “Micci the Mistake” wears nothing apart from some scary face paint and tight white underpants. Vampillias lack of a centralised style may be a downfall for other bands, but for a band that plays such chaotic music it is almost fitting.

While it’s definitely not every-day-listening music, I’d definitely recommend Vampillia (or even a similar band like Boredoms) for any serious music fan. There is a sense of something so exciting, ferocious and even beautiful that you can only get from these bands, and so it was great to have a great representative of the scene in Adelaide for our Festival of Arts.

Reviewed by James Rudd
Twitter: @james_wrr

Rating out of 5: 3

Venue: Freemason’s Hall, North Terrace, Adelaide
Season: 6 March 2015 only


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