J-Rock Comes to Florida

After originating in Japan's heavily theatrical makeup- and aesthetic-driven "visual-kei" music scene several years ago, Dir en grey comes to Fort Lauderdale to embark upon its first-ever headline tour of the United States. The Osaka-based band eases between death metal, thrash, goth, glam, and straight-ahead hard rock with a fluidity that often is like watching an object shape-shift before your eyes. The group also maintains its image with rare poise and control on stage, allowing its ghoulish fashion sense to underscore and heighten the music's drama without veering into silliness. Hooks, atmospheres, evocative chord progressions, and nimble changes — not to mention equally elastic vocals that range from grunts to melodies to moans and groans — together become impossible to overshadow with visuals. Dir en grey also presents its songs entirely in Japanese, which takes a lot of heart in xenophobic, culturally blind America. This band's appeal has little to do with novelty, and its music has crossover appeal stamped all over it. Here's hoping the tour turns into a barn-burning victory march.

Dir en grey performs at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, on Thursday, February 1. Also performing are Bleed the Dream and Fair to Midland. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $29.50. Call 954-727-0950, or visit

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Saby Reyes-Kulkarni