“Standing against those that ruin art,” was the tagline for the After Hours festival, which took place across four venues in Shibuya on April 9. The sponsor-free event, curated by the bands Mono, Downy and Envy, featured more than 30 artists from a wide range of backgrounds and genres, coming together to provide an antithesis to the stagnant and corporate domestic festival scene.

Instrumental rock band Mono set the tone for the event as it opened the festival at the biggest participating venue, O-East. Starting off with “Ashes In The Snow” from the group’s “Hymn to the Immortal Wind” album, the performance felt like the beginning of an era, almost a call to arms directed at the packed-in crowd. The set, which was quite dramatic, closed with “Requiem of Hell” and with it the band immediately set a high bar of artistry for the rest of the day.

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