Sub culture mega-zine Trash Up!! invaded Club Saeta last weekend with the Kichijoji Shock Festival to celebrate the release of their fourth issue.
Their latest offering features an interview between Kool Keith and Masaya Nakahara to celebrate his first Japan tour, an in-depth look at the bands that make up Nagoya's underground music scene, a talk with Martyrs director Pascal Laugier, along with the customary DVD filled with live concert footage and whatever grindhouse trailers they've managed to dig up.
But enough business, on with the show!
If Polysics redesigned their signature orange jumpsuits to look like Zack Morris' trapper keeper and wore handmaid furry masks, they would be a lot like de!nial. Behind the electronic noise loops and animal skins it was hard to tell how much of their sound the band was producing themselves, but this aural camouflage set them up to mob the crowd and go totally nuts on stage.
It was a waste to put these guys on first. The crowd was sparse and if anyone would have benefited from audience interaction, it was de!nial.
Doddodo wouldn’t be as terrifying on stage if she wasn’t so cheerful and personable off. Seeing her stomp barefoot back and forth with wild eyes leering from behind her tousled hair like an agent of chaos, I have to ask myself if this is the same person who was trying to sell me vegan sandwiches but a half hour earlier. Her sound was equally schizophrenic, oscillating between adorable pop and gothic sutra chanting.
At multi-act festivals such as this, performers tend to melt into the crowd and disappear after their set. Unless they’re Doddodo. She was everyone’s biggest fan, literally howling at the other bands and dancing herself stupider. You don’t meet many people with the same sense of hand-made determinism. Just look at her live DVD, why the hell did I put down good money for a CD-R? Because Doddodo gets under your skin like a bot-fly, that’s why!
Katsurei are old enough to respect as an authentic classic rock group. Their sound was heavy in that bluesy 1970’s way, but it was the Hare Krishna drummer that made the group work for me. As the other members worked their fretboards solemnly, he wailed on his kit with the ferocity of a monk at an exorcism.
Something about these guys just didn’t click with me. Their instrumentation was on point and their onstage banter was engaging, but their sound never came together as one cohesive whole. It was like each member was from a different band and their playing just happened to sync up. They were, however, shameless self-promoters so I’m sure they’ll find their audience.
Talking Dead Goats”45
These dudes drove non-stop overnight from Osaka to deliver the event’s most exciting set by far. They began by rearranging the holy trinity of rock by placing the drummer on the left so he could face the guitarist on the right, while the bass stood at attention in the back. Their frontman used a series of delay pedals to layer spacey riffs on top of one another, creating a nebula of noise and freeing up his hands to conduct his bandmates, while cutting off and distorting loops with the battalion of pedals at his feet. Speaking of feet, they were the second and final barefoot band after Doddodo. Must be a Kansai thing.
You need to see them live to truly appreciate their on-the-fly sound design. Thos of you over by Osaka, take note! For everyone else in Kanto, come out to see them on December 19th at Shinjuku Nine Space.
Support their CD here!
I approve of SIKASIKA if only for their guitarist whose face is constantly contorted into a sneer, mugging for some invisible camera. Her and the singer had to be extra-crass to make up for the coquettish bassist and drummer. At one point the singer donned a keytar simply to swing around his body and cause a general ruckus, falling over monitors and crashing into the other members. Well worth your time if you liked fuzzed-out guitars and respectful acts of vandalism.
Tons of math-rockey fun with equally obtuse banshee vocals. The combination of screeching guitars and strobe lighting made it feel like someone was squeezing my guts with a wrench, but isn’t that why we pay money to go to shows? Long live the experience.
For whatever reason Japan is totally bonkers about UK pop rock. So when you have a group that labels themselves as the Japanese Artic Monkeys, you’d be right to expect the floor to explode.
Everything about 6eye’s performance was larger than life. The frontman had the whole sexy-in-a-totally-creepy-way thing going on with his Mick Jagger, the tip of his mike protruding purposefully from the top of his jeans as he moved offstage to incite the crowd. And what a crowd! Japanese venues are normally as awkward as a junior high dance, but 6eyes had everyone moving and flailing their hands like, I don’t know, they were watching a kick-ass band for a change.
It felt like I was as a sold out stadium and not a middling club with fifty-odd people. Where did this energy come from? Oh sure, the music was driving and danceable and catchy in a formulaic sort of way, but the presence of the band themselves was hypnotizing. They had all the charisma of someone that you’d expect to be famous, and the privilege of being in the same room as them was exciting.
After developing asthma from spending five hours in a smoky snuff box I decided to cut out early and unfortunately missed them. Sorry guys, maybe next time!
On the way out I snagged a delicious yam and pumpkin sandwich in a moist focaccia from Vege Canteen. They serve up vegetarian dishes every Wednesday in Koenji so stop by and give your colon a break from all the beef bowls and curry.
I was hoping for a larger turnout, although it was hard to tell how many were in attendance at any given time with all the action in the lobby. People were relaxing at the makeshift horror manga café between sets, guys were selling old Troma VHS tapes, and the bands were trying to hock enough swag to make gas money back to Nagoya.
Talking Dead Goats"45 and SIKASIKA I would definitely pay to go see again. Let's hope that Trash Up!! brings everyone back to Tokyo sometime soon.
|Trash Up Shock Fest|