My friend Larry Yuan took these great photos of the bands with the audience:
Hikashu are a legendary prog/avant-pop band fronted by Koichi Makigami. They’ve been around since 1978 (35 years!!) and were influential in the 80s as part of the new wave boom in Japan. Although they achieved mainstream success as a ‘new wave pop’ band and signed with major label EMI Records, since inception they have always pushed the boundaries of music with new ideas and sounds.
Have a peek here for their official biography in English.
I had the chance to see them at last year’s Fuji Rock Festival. Hikashu are good friends with チャラン・ポ・ランタン (Charan-Po-Rantan) and Charan-Po-Rantan have performed on stage as support singers for Hikashu… numerous times… including at Fuji Rock.
Here they are together during a show at Daikanyama Unit:
note: Momo and Koharu don’t appear until the 4:21 mark.
So if you like the quirkiness of Charan-Po-Rantan, the improvisation of Zoobombs and the jaw-dropping musical skill of NATSUMEN then Hikashu might be right up your alley.
Hikashu play in Toronto on May 14 @ the Garrison (1197 Dundas St W)
WHAT?!! That’s just three days before NMFT5 show #1 at the Rivoli (May 17)!!!!
I am going to be ridiculously busy prepping for our own tour & doing interviews but I am going to do my best to make it to the Garrison on the 14th.
Online tickets to NMFT5 (May 17) have all sold out! (Thank you guys!!!!) So I’ll try to bring a few printed tickets from my own limited stash to sell (maybe give a few away) at the Hikashu show.
Hikashu are a great band!
If you only have time and money for one show in May… see NMFT 5 on the weekend!
If you only have time and money for two shows… see both NMFT5 shows on the weekend (Fri & Sat!)
If you have time and money for three shows or NMFT5 is already sold out or if you think NMFT is plain bollocks… then GO SEE HIKASHU!!!!!
And hold the press!!
Hikashu will also be performing in Ottawa May 15 @ the National Arts Centre
and May 17 @ the Festival des Musiques du Création and May 18 @ Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville.
May 14, 2013 – The Garrison, Toronto www.garrisontoronto.com
May 15, 2013 – National Arts Centre, AB Series, Ottawa abseries.squarespace.com
May 17, 2013 – Festival des Musiques du Création, Jonquière www.sagamie.org
May 18, 2013 – Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Victoriaville fimav.qc.ca
Rob Perry created the fantastic promo vid for volume 4 last year.
In fact, Rob has been driving up from Baltimore to Toronto each year to film the NMFT tour, help supervise the bands, act as roadie, and occasionally lend us his drum kit. He tagged along with us for the entire tour: Toronto, Montreal
Vancouver last year and you can check out the footage he documented on his page on vimeo.
He’s an extremely busy guy but still managed to take the time to create a trailer for NMFT 5 (and he did it for free!)
Show some love for Rob by giving his vid the thumbs up and buy him a beer if you see him at the Toronto shows in May.
And please help us promote the tour by spreading the promo vid on Facebook, twitter, and anywhere people who might be interested in the tour might lurk.
Thanks in advance!
and props to Rob for another great promo vid!!
Mouse on the Keys are fascinated by architecture as evidenced in this interview. In fact their album “An Anxious Object” is a ‘sonic representation of Tokyo’ with each song exploring the city’s residents, politics, culture and architecture.
Since mouse on the keys are headlining the tour I wanted to design a t-shirt focussed on them and their love of architecture.
I visualized Tokyo’s buildings forming a piano and searched the net for images/graphics that came close to what I had in mind.
A designer on Threadless created a T-shirt with a piano skyline. I decided I’d take this general design but make the skyline look like Tokyo’s and add a mouse scurrying along top to manifest: mouse on the keys & Tokyo’s architecture.
I suck at graphic design so I asked my friend Jess to breathe life into my creative vision. Unfortunately we weren’t quite on the same page.
A professional designer in Vancouver then had a go at it and created a poster based on my idea.
He nailed the Tokyo skyline using famous skyscrapers in Western Shinjuku… however, the buildings did not form a piano keyboard which was the crucial part of the design. Instead, he separated the keyboard from the skyline. It looks great but it’s even further away from my vision compared to Jess’ attempt.
So I took the Tokyo buildings from the Vancouver poster, inverted the colours, created a keyboard out of them, and added a mouse.
Right now my friend Sheldon is working on making this into a T-shirt.
He’s already cleaned up my design a little bit and vectorized it.
The back’s not done yet. I want to keep it simple with the NMFT vol 5 logo, the tour dates, the bands and the NMFT url.
Sheldon doesn’t know Japanese at all and doesn’t have any Japanese fonts so I had to create something on Photoshop for him to play around with:
Sheldon’s pretty busy and I’m not sure how he intends to do something stylish with the back.
I have confidence in him, but there’s no harm in asking people here to lend a hand in designing the back of the shirt.
So if you have some free time and would like to help design the back of the shirt with the following:
1. NMFT vol 5
2. tour dates
that would help me out a lot.
Hell, if you think you can improve on the front design with the piano skyline, go ahead with that too.
Also, to make the T-shirt design economical, please use just red, white and black as the colors.
Thanks in advance!
蔵フェス (Kura Fes) is a super-DIY music festival that takes place inside a shed (kura = shed or storehouse). It’s organized by Matsuda Kotaro: drummer of the band デロッピードロッピー (deroppy doroppy). Kotaro chooses six or seven bands that he really likes and invites them over to his dad’s house to play with deroppy deroppy for a music festival in a tiny shed in the backyard.
He does this event about 4 to 5 times a year and on Dec 22nd, 2012 he held the 20th edition. Kura Fes vol 20 may have been the most interesting and fun music festival I’ve ever experienced!!
Kotaro’s sister Hikaru plays bass in deroppy doroppy. They both live at home with their parents and their house is a 30 min drive from Narita Airport but waaaaaay out in the boonies in the middle of a small forest.
The house is almost impossible to find even with GPS and a map and the closer you get to the house the more narrow and treacherous the roads get. Oftentimes guests who come to Kura Fes take a train to Narita Airport but rely on Kotaro’s dad to pick them up at the airport for a drive to the Matsuda estate. Kotaro’s dad must make 8 or more return trips to and from Narita Airport (30 min drive each way x 8 = 8 hrs!!) in one day every single time Kotaro throws a Kura Fes.
The shed itself is somewhat dilapidated and big enough to hold at most 30 people. So with up to eight bands participating there usually isn’t enough room to fit everyone in the shed. Here are a couple photos that show what the inside of the shed is like in between sets when it’s more or less empty:
Kotaro’s mom is famous for making tremendously delicious curry. She spends hours on end making both traditional Japanese style curry as well as Thai green curry in volumes enough to feed about 40 people throughout the day/night. Even though both versions are vegetarian I would have to say Mrs Matsuda’s Thai green curry may be the best damn curry I’ve eaten anywhere… for sure the best curry eaten at a music festival.
Here’s Toshi of ランランランズ playing a comedic acoustic set during one of the breaks between band performances in the Kura.
The “むかつく” irritated as f*ck expression on matashita89 Ajima’s face is priceless. I guess she’s not a fan of ランランランズ
Here was the schedule for Kura Fes vol 20:
And here’s some video footage of the bands:
I was late for the start of Kura FES and グーミ delayed their set as much as possible just for my sake. I had to get picked up from the airport by Kotaro’s dad (along with the band サーティーン）and we made it just in time for goomi’s last song… one of my favorites: ”50年”
ahme put on an incredibly tight, impressively technical set with a lot of emotion. Unfortunately I didn’t get good footage of them from my vantage point in the uber-cramped storehouse.
1000 pounds’ emo-tinged punk got the crowd moving:
あいつのアフォーダンス (Aitsu no Affordance) were good when I saw them the night before at Shinjuku Nine Spices, but at Kura FES they absolutely KILLED it!!!
Unfortunately, I had to leave Kura FES early in order to return to Tokyo for NATSUMEN who were playing at Shibuya o-nest.
But before I left I got a photo with Shinmen from Happy!Mari who had just arrived at Kura FES. Both Tobita (グーミ) and I were proudly wearing Happy!Mari T-shirts.
Kotaro’s dad drove me back to Narita Airport… and picked up someone else who was on his way to Kura FES. lol.
A music festival in a tiny shed inside a forest in the middle of nowhere with a small group of close-knit bands and friends playing loud, soulful music while drinking ice cold beer and eating delicious curry makes for a magical atmosphere that is UNBEATABLE. It was easily one of the best music events I’ve ever been to!
From Narita airport I booked it by train as fast as I could to Shibuya o-nest where BP. were holding their record release show. NATSUMEN and ATATA were the opening bands and my main reason for going was definitely to watch NATSUMEN.
ATATA performed first. I would describe their sound as a fusion of electronica and funk metal. I can respect them for having been around for ~20 years and sticking to their core sound but unfortunately their style of music despite being loud and energetic doesn’t quite mesh with my tastes.
NATSUMEN batted 2nd and hit it out of the park with everyone in attendance in a state of nirvana and awe. These guys are the funkiest, most badass band on the planet and their music would be pure bliss even at 150 dB.
I couldn’t take any video but this was their setlist for the night:
Everyone bugged AxSxE about when the new album would be released but he was equivocal. The album was fully recorded well before they came to Canada for NMFT3 (Oct 2011) but AxSxE is unhappy with the mixing/mastering and wants it absolutely perfect before the new album/CD is pressed.
Kura FES was such a fresh, fun and exciting experience and watching NATSUMEN was a perfect way to cap off the night.
After NATSUMEN, I watched a bit of BP., chilled a bit with the NATSUMEN massive, caught up with Yoshida of Zazen Boys and then met up with my brother, and my friends Sharon and Ryotaro to have a late dinner at Tonchang.
Mariko Goto (ex-ミドリ) actually took these pics of me and AxSxE. AxSxE was about to tell me something big when Mariko said “No! You can’t tell him yet!” I don’t know what the big secret is but I hope it’s something along the lines of a ミドリ reunion. I doubt it but would love for that to be the case.
We need a Tonchang in Toronto!