Tokyo Day 7: Gyoza Party!!

Ryotaro called me and let me know his band's playing tonite down the street from my hotel.So I'll be checking out Kulu Kulu Garden @ Shinjuku Motion before heading to Shimokita ERA for the gyoza party with susquatch, uhnellys and sgt. Kubota (MOTFD manager) said they might not be able to make it due to a photo shoot, but at least Chiemi will probably drop by. I'm also gonna sneak out to watch the Brown play at Shelter for a bit. They go on at 9:10pm.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The gyoza party @ Shimokita ERA started at 7pm but I stopped by Shinjuku Motion first @ 630pm to watch Kulu Kulu Garden and their new line up.

Kulu Kulu Garden are better than ever! They played 2 new songs last night which kicked serious ass. Their new full-time drummer Kanegawa Takuya is fierce and carries the torch from Tonjiru w/o missing a beat. Ryotaro is upping the ante with trickier riffs so even though the 2 new songs are catchier with more melody the aggressiveness of the guitars (and drums) make them sound as intense as ever.

This isn't one of the 2 new songs they played but it is a fairly recent one: "小指センチメンタル" (koyubi sentimental)

KKG's event Shall We Not Dance vol 2 on Dec 10 was apparently a huge success with a near sold out crowd. Instead of just Souhei playing solo acoustic, andymori played with their new drummer! Andymori's ex-drummer Hiroki left to concentrate on his own band where he sings and plays guitar. I've heard that Hiroki's band may participate in one of KKG's future events. It's great to see andymori helping out the other bands from the first NMFT tour.

After KKG's great set, I had to quickly boot it to Shimokita ERA. I got there about 7:30pm and caught the last song of Matsuko's (utanomanimani's keyboardist) solo performance. It was excellent and she got a lot of applause so I assume her whole set was great as well. (sorry I wasn't there for it all!)

Chiemi was already present but the rest of MOTFD couldn't make it to the gyoza party. After Matsuko, Kenta (susquatch) and Daiki Shibata (he) went on to perform an acoustic set. Neither of them brought their own guitars so they had to borrow ones off Baba and Hiroshi (Half-Life). They joked around and played covers and songs from their own bands.

Here they are playing "リルラ リルハ" by Kimura Kaela which is one of the most widely sung karaoke songs by kids in Japan.

You can hear Maki (susquatch drums) say, "They sound so off. Are they playing this sh*tty on purpose?" hahaha! Obviously they never rehearsed this. They came without guitars, are reading the tabs and lyrics in front of them and are clearly doing this cover for humorous purposes. But Shibata is clearly a Kimura Kaela fan (I am too! though not as much as I used to be) since the next song they played was "You."

Kenta talked about the Canada tour and dedicated the next song to me "Steven's Last Night in Town" by Ben Folds Five. Thanks Kenta!

They got a little bit more serious playing songs from their own bands. This is one of the songs by he:

he and susquatch are label mates on the soon to be dissolved K-Plan Records. They've played numerous shows together including the Studio Vanquish tour with the band apart. All three bands play a similar "bossa nova jazz" influenced style that I like to call "that Studio Vanquish sound" =) Here's what Shibata sounds like with band he:

he and susquatch are also really good friends with the band half-life and Hiroshi Uezato was the next to perform. Hiroshi (which also happens to be my Japanese name as well) sings and plays guitar for Half-Life. I had met him before at the very first susquatch show I went to but didn't recognize him since he used to have much longer black hair. The members of Half-Life lived and worked in my hometown of Vancouver for a year at the famed Guu Izakaya. The original one on Robson and Thurlow. The drummer is from Tokushima and used to be a member of Chatmonchy!!! Which explains alot because when I was last here in Japan for Tokyo Boredom and Neutral Nation (Sept 23-27) I saw that Half-Life were playing a 2-man show with Chatmonchy at Shibuya Cyclone of all places!! I was choked that I missed seeing Chatmonchy at such a small venue by just 2 days (though I saw them at the even tinier Cake Shop in New York in March).

Hiroshi has a really powerful voice similar to Kouta of Byee the Round.

As opposed to Kenta and Daiki, he took his acoustic performance a little more seriously:

Hiroshi sang and played a powerful set. He said he was really nervous but didn't show it at all. After Hiroshi, the host Baba Yusuke was next up. Although Baba plays bass for susquatch and utanomanimani on stage he's also an excellent guitarist as I remember him playing my guitar at home in Toronto. I felt extremely bad but I ended up skipping out on his set to watch the Brown who were playing across the train tracks at Shimokita SHELTER. I had never seen the Brown play live (just missing them on a couple of occasions). And to tell you the truth I have never been completely enamored by their music. They have a metal-tinged style that can sound awesome when they're in Rin Toshite Shigure mode (80% of the time) but they also veer into cheesy 80's Maiden/Priest territory as well (20% of the time). The female singer sings in Engrish and uses an operatic/diva style that I'm not too fond of. Reminds me of Evanescence who I hate with a passion. Despite this I've always had a suspicion they're a great live band. When I showed the list of gigs I'd be going to in December to members of sgt and Clean of Core they all pointed out that the Brown are a great live band and I shouldn't miss them.

I had called Shelter earlier and found that the Brown were scheduled to play at 9:10pm. I got there slightly late but Ivory7 Chord still had 3 songs left on their set. They weren't bad and rock harder on stage compared to their PVs. The Brown were the last band to perform and Shelter was crowded to capacity. Surprising since last year when I just missed the Brown @ Kichijoji WARP there was practically noone at that show other than the bands themselves and the Brown were the opening act. Similar to ジン I'd say their music caters more to a younger crowd but the band has serious chops and I wouldn't be surprised if they ever got signed to Zankyo in the near future. They're extremely energetic performers and the singer is the most charismatic of all taking every opportunity to interact with the crowd. At one point she bent over to give an audience member a hug, slightly lost balance and unintentionally rubbed her tits in the guys face. hahaha. I didn't have much of an opportunity to sneak video footage but here is an extremly short clip: The clip doesn't necessarily show it but they put on a pretty fierce set. To be honest I'm still not enamored by the vocal style but I may be in the minority. The troublesome part is that the Brown are from Osaka, are still a fairly obscure band and would therefore be difficult to keep in contact/communicate with and promote. Also, there's a local band in Toronto called the Brown. (But I guess I could sucker their fans into coming to NMFT v3 if the Brown somehow end up on the roster. hahaha.)

I got back to the gyoza party as quickly as I could. Even though he denied it, I think Baba was upset that I took off before his set. I had let him know I would have to leave for a bit and the timing was unfortunate the Brown were playing right at the time of his performance. I apologized again afterwards but hey this makes up for how I missed the last train while watching utanomanimani and ended up walking back to the hotel from Shibuya to Shinjuku. hahaha.

Here are some pics from the party.

Kenta and Hiroshi played susquatch songs as Chiemi and Daiki watched closely:

Baba had cooked 400 pieces of gyoza altogether. Everyone agreed they tasted better than at most restaurants. Kenta also made some of his famous onigiri. Kenta and I were going to go to another bar for more drinking after the party but I ended up catching the last train to Shinjuku with Koji (sgt, bass), Chiemi (MOTFD) and Maki (susquatch).

Thanks to Baba for throwing such a chill but fun party!!