Live Review: Vamps Underworld Tour at the Loft with Palaye Royale and Darke Complex

Center Stage was bustling on Friday, May 19, with each portion of the venue booked. However, the place to be was at the Loft to see Vamps in Atlanta on their tour showcasing their newest album Underworld. Joined by Palaye Royale and Darke Complex on their tour, this was the first show Vamps has played in Atlanta with each of their previous tours passing our fair city. Before doors even opened for the show, a line of eager fans wrapped around the block, some hailing from nearby while others came from far and wide, including one couple from South Carolina that was seeing Vamps for the third time this year. When the Loft finally opened up for the night of mayhem to ensue, fans immediately found spots near the stage, claiming their territory for the night. Others made their way to the merch tables to snag their souvenirs. Everyone was there for rock and roll, maybe a little metal and mayhem, with anticipation building by the second for notes to fill the venue.

The anticipation instantly faded as Darke Complex broke the still air with their jams. From the first song, the crowd was head banging and thrashing to the solid metal being pumped out. Darke Complex had a cohesive stage presence that really brought their music to life. Even with a few technical audio errors, the band killed their set. Their drummer really held down the fort with his uncanny pocket drumming while the guitars and bass battled it out over slick guitar licks and bass beats. And a shout out to their vocalist, who exhibited a wide vocal range of talent. Darke Complex overall displayed promise as a new metal band in the music scene.

As the bridge between Darke Complex and VAMPS, Palaye Royale took the stage to change the pace of the evening from metal to rock and roll. To give you a visual of the band, think of crossing The Clash and Sex Pistols but leaning more towards the Johnny Rotten side of things. Before their set, Sebastian Danzig, the band’s guitarist, said the band “sounds like we dress, good old rock and roll”, and upon hearing them perform I can only nod my head in approval. Remington Leith, the band’s vocalist, looked almost at home while on stage cracking jokes with the crowd between killing it with his mad chops. Sebastian and some guest performers took over the guitars and bass to really bring home that classic rock sound people crave. And we can’t forget the drummer Emerson Barrett who kept the night moving with his impeccable beats. The band played through many originals that got the crowd bumping. They have a true classic sound, one that blends the traditional roots of blues rock with the culture of punk rock. When they played a cover of My Chemical Romance’s “Teenagers,” everyone at the Loft joined in. It was a refreshing take on a tune that most rockers have heard. Overall,  Palaye Royale is definitely a band going places and not one to miss if touring through your city.


When VAMPS took the stage, all eyes were instantly on Hyde and K.A.Z, the lead vocalist and guitarist respectively. The crowd instantly went wild when K.A.Z struck the first chord of “Underworld” off their new album, turning the Loft into a frenzy of fans that made a cozy venue seem like a roaring stadium show. Hyde took the stage over with his contagious energy while adorning a hood that covered his face. When he removed his hood to reveal his trademark hair styling, the crowd went nuts and kicked the show into full gear. Hyde was in full performance mode, in his element, showing why he is an icon in the world of metal. There were people head banging and moshing like no tomorrow. When “Calling” was played, the entire crowd joined in, creating a feedback loop of energy between the crowd and Hyde. K.A.Z’s guitar solo during the song brought this to a screeching, silent halt as his fingers playfully tickled his guitar to make it scream with pleasure. However, the silence abruptly ended with the audience helping Hyde finish out the band’s most recent single. Following, the band played a mix focusing more on their most recent album drop. However, Vamps played a few of their classics “Bloodsuckers”, “Redrum”, and “World’s End”, which somehow brought even more hype and energy to the already killer show. To round out the night, Vamps finished with “SEX BLOOD ROCK N’ ROLL”, keeping their stage presence at rock god tier until the very last note. Vamps overall has a solid stage performance and savage sound that puts them at the helm of modern metal music.

Not a single frown was seen in the crowd after the show, only longing for more music, one more song from Vamps. To see what you missed out on, check out the future tour dates for Vamps at

Interview with Hyde and K.A.Z from Vamps on their Underworld Tour

In the world of metal, the duo of Hyde and K.A.Z have made their mark as pioneers in Japanese music with their band Vamps. In their most recent album titled Underworld, the duo collaborated with Kamikaze Boy of MAN WITH A MISSION, Chris Motionless of Motionless in White, Richard Kruspe of Rammstein, and Apocalyptica. On their Atlanta stop for their album tour for Underworld, I had the honor of interviewing both Hyde and K.A.Z at Atlanta’s Center Stage. As they don’t speak English as their primary language, their tour manager Hiroki served as a translator.

Hyde and K.A.Z, it’s a pleasure to meet you guys. Let’s start. As you have been on a few tours in the United States, how do Japanese fans differ from American fans?

Hyde—Fans in America have more freedom. They go super hard and really show their true feelings. People go crazy.

K.A.Z—In Japan, audience engagement is different from what you see in America. It’s very uniform with everyone doing the same thing. If one person is head banging then others join in. In America, everyone is different.

On your most recent album Underworld, you collaborated with many artists. Tell me about making the album.

Hyde—We both really enjoyed working with all the different artists and producer Kane Churko. The album came out exactly as we wanted. We liked working with Apocalyptica the most. We have toured with them before and became good friends. We had very tight performances while touring with them. Working with them again was great.

What got you guys into music?

Hyde—I was originally in art school for drawing and painting. While there, I fell in love with music. I found it was a better way to express myself. There is more freedom in music. And it’s simply cooler.

K.A.Z—My older sister played piano. I wanted to follow in her footsteps and learn piano as well. However, my school friends got me interested in rock and roll. I started listening to Iron Maiden and the Scorpions. I liked it a lot more than piano music and fell in love. So I learned guitar.

Food abroad is very different from traditional Japanese cuisine. What is your favorite food to eat while on tour?

K.A.Z—I like to eat Indian curry and tacos. Very tasty.

Hyde—I like to eat cup noodles. Like ramen, but just the noodles and no soup.

Why metal music and not Japanese pop music?

Hyde—We wanted to follow the “American dream” as you put it. We saw many famous Japanese abroad but not many in music, especially in rock and roll music. We wanted to be a pioneer in Japanese metal as we both really enjoy the music. We wanted to keep true to ourselves.

If you had to play a different instrument, or in your case Hyde not sing, what would you play?

Hyde—Well, I would play the drums. It would be a good exercise (jokingly).

K.A.Z—I agree. I would play the drums. Good exercise. (jokingly)

Where do you see yourselves in a few years?

Hyde—We want to play at a big venue. We want to play Madison Square Garden.

K.A.Z—I can finally become a drummer (jokingly).

What advice do you have for other musicians?

Hyde—If you keep playing, you can get girls, money, and fame. Who doesn’t like the industry?

K.A.Z—Actually, I want advice from others on how to do better. Then we can become the best.

How has the tour been so far?

Hyde—We have had good vibes so far. This is not our first tour, but it is our first time in Atlanta. Even so I feel very confident and relaxed going into each show. I know tonight will be a great show.

K.A.Z—Our tour is based on our new album. I am very confident in our new album. We want to deliver good music to our fans. The producer on the album did a great job keeping true to what we wanted. Because we are showcasing our album, the tour has been good.

What hobbies do you guys have outside of music?

Hyde—We both like to snowboard. It’s very fun.

K.A.Z—Yes, we both snowboard. When I was a kid I used to snowboard a lot. My family moved to Tokyo and I couldn’t as much. However, after we moved I broke my ankle. After getting surgery, I used snowboarding as physical therapy to regain movement in my ankle. I took rehab to the extreme.

I have one last question. Seeing as you guys are from Japan, the place where anime reigns supreme, what is your favorite anime?

Hyde—I like Neon Genesis Evangelion. I grew up watching Devilman as a kid in the 70s. Evangelion and Devilman are very similar to each other.

K.A.Z—I’m not currently a very big fan of anime. However, when I was a kid I used to watch an anime called Makoto-chan.


Check them out on their tour at:

Purchase their new album at: Amazon | iTunes

Augustana at The Loft Nov. 28

Augustana returned to Atlanta Nov. 28 at The Loft, touring in support of the band’s fifth album, Life Imitating Life. The album, the first since the departure of several band members, has received critical praise since its release in April of this year, with lead single “Ash and Ember” getting steady radio play.

Fans who got there early were treated to a great set from supporting act Colony House, an indie trio out of Nashville. The band, named after the apartment complex that all of them lived in at one point in time, performed songs from its debut album, When I Was Younger, such as “Keep On Keeping On,” “Roll With the Punches” and current single “Silhouettes.”

Then it was on to Scars on 45, a four piece rock act out of Bradford, UK. The band, driven by the lush harmonies between co-vocalists Danny Bemrose and Aimee Driver, just released sophomore album Safety in Numbers in October and single “Crazy For You” has become their most successful to date. Before performing the song, Bemrose and Driver told the audience the story behind it; they had two friends who were both secretly pining for each other for years without ever saying anything. Eventually the couple got together and ended up getting married, thus inspiring the song. The band’s first single, “Heart on Fire,” kept things going, with Bemrose and Driver performing it with an understated elegance. Halfway through the set, the duo asked the audience if they would be okay with a very intimate performance, then proceeded to hop off the stage and weave their way into the crowd to perform a hushed, acoustic version of “Tasted Every Tear.”

With the crowd sufficiently warmed up, Augustana took the stage and kicked things off with “On The Other Side,” a track from the band’s 2011 self-titled release. Frontman Dan Layus was all smiles as he continued with current single “Ash and Ember” from Life Imitating Life. The new album is a turning point for him, as he remains the only founding member of Augustana. “Ash and Ember” is about the transition to this new state of the band, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Layus said. The Life dominated setlist with songs such as “Need a Little Sunshine,” “Youth Is Wasted on the Young” and “Fit Together” was well received by the crowd. “I Still Aint Over You,” “Hey Now” and “Sweet and Low” took fans back to 2008’s Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt, while “Sunday Best” represented the band’s first album, 2005’s All the Stars and Boulevards. Layus then took his seat behind the piano for “Fire,” “Remember Me,” and the band’s biggest hit, “Boston,” with Layus ad-libbing lyrics to the end of the song, telling the audience that he remembered recording it in Atlanta “Just down the street” 10 years ago and he was glad all of the fans “Still remember my name.” Layus returned to guitar to close out the night with “Shot in the Dark.”

Colony House

Scars on 45