Feature - Back Numbers
Nippop News : HANGRY & ANGRY-f dazzle Parisians (2011.07.22)
Two former pop idols dazzle Parisians with their edgy reinvention
JAPAN EXPO was once again abuzz with excitement, celebrating anime, games, music, and other forms of Japanese pop culture. Held in the outskirts of Paris from the end of June for four days, the event saw within a span of four days a total of 190,000 visitors, comprised of Japan fans who were not only from France, but from all over the rest of Europe.
Appearing on the second day of the event on the main stage to perform were the hot duo, HANGRY & ANGRY-f, formerly the Morning Musume. Formed in 2008, the two-woman act consists of hitomi Yoshizawa and Rika Ishikawa. They clearly distanced themselves from their Morning Musume "idol" days by expressing an edgier attitude with their choice of original fashion, makeup, and even tone of voice.
The performance was the fruit of a collaboration with Mr. h.NAOTO, a designer known in Japan for creating a distinctive line of Goth-Lolita fashion. The live event began with a fashion show, featuring models strutting down the stage, donned in Mr. h.NAOTO’s remarkable threads. Even the Parisians in the audience were awed by the elegant yet bold styles. At the end, Mr. h.NAOTO made his obligatory appearance, but on this day, he was accompanied by the two ladies of HANGRY&ANGRY-f. Together, the three walked down the runway in response to the cheering from the audience. Then the stage went dark, marking the end of the fashion show.
A momentary silence prevailed, but the mood quickly picked up when the two ladies of HANGRY&ANGRY-f reappeared on stage, dressed in pure white garbs, to the accompaniment of the meldoy of Reconquista, their brand new release. The two came on stage, linked to each other by a handcuff, holding blue and pink loudspeakers in place of microphones. Just before breaking into the chorus of the tune, they tore off the handcuff and then, once they broke into chorus, they began running around the stage and howling into the loudspeakers that now doubled as microphones. There was absolutely nothing about them to remind you of their past as "top Japanese pop idols."
Reconquista, the first tune of the show, was an up-tempo, soothing pop number, marking a slight change in artistic direction for the duo. But the venue’s level of intensity kicked into overdrive soon enough, thanks to the cumulative effect of their intense singing and choreography.
When they sang their third piece, “Mr. Monkey,” HANGRY (Yoshizawa) called to the audience, "You can come up more to the front, guys!" Taking advantage of this invitation, spectators, who remained seated during the fashion show, rushed up close to the stage at once, fully psyched.
“Lady Madonna” was followed by “Sadistic Dance” and then “The Peace!” (h & A Death Tracks), the Morning Musume megahit rearranged in HANGRY style. The gathered Parisians were visibly moved and some among them were also singing along. The last number the duo performed was "Kill Me Kiss Me," their lead debut song, which had clearly caught on like wildfire among the three thousand-strong Pairisan fans gathered at the venue. The curtain closed as they were going wild with joy.
In the end, the show turned out to be a unique collaboration that saw a fashion show morph into a live music event. A highlight was watching the two women sprint back and forth across the runway while answering to the cheers of their fans. Revealing their talent in all its seasoned glory, HANGRY & ANGRY-f must have reaffirmed the power of “Japanese Culture” in the eyes of the three thousand Parisian fans.
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