NMFT vol3 update
Volume 3 of the Next Music from Tokyo tour will involve the following dates: Oct 12 Vancouver (aiming for Biltmore Cabaret) Oct 14 Montreal (aiming for La Sala Rossa) Oct 15 Toronto (likely @ the Rivoli b/c they've been great the last 2 tours) Oct 16 Toronto (all-ages; likely @ the Velvet Underground unless someone knows a better all-ages venue)
Montreal got a raw deal the last two tours with both shows being held on a Tuesday. This time the show will be on a Friday. If the bands are up to it, we might play a show in Vancouver on Oct 11 BUT this is the day they arrive in Canada (at 10am). The bands seem to value playing shows over sightseeing so maybe they'll want to play but it might be best to take it easy the first day after a long flight.
Which bands are confirmed:
1. チーナ Myspace
None of the videos on Youtube give an adequate impression of how incredible they are as live performers. For me to bring a band with 5 members they have to be DAMN good and チーナ is just that. I found out they have a manager but he has kindly agreed to stay behind but チーナ are bringing a staff member who will tag along and pay his/her own way (you guys rule!!) Personally I love noise/hardcore but I can't have the NMFT tour be a moshpit fest. The point of the tour is to highlight the creativity, diversity and stellar musicianship within the underground Japanese music scene. If you bring your girlfriend to this show, she will fall in love with this band. And if you have any appreciation for skilled musicianship you will be amazed at their watertight chops and their ability to be extremely intense without a wall of guitar distortion. Trust me, this band is sick!
2. 百蚊 Myspace
Just to let you know the bands on the first tour coined the name "Next Music from Tokyo" It's a misnomer b/c I intend to bring great bands irrespective of their city of origin (hell one day I'd love to bring Adebisi Shank and they're from freaking Ireland, though they're honorary Japanese cuz we love 'em in Japan). And a band doesn't have to be on the cutting edge or "on some next shit" to take part in the tour. Hyacca are from Fukuoka which has a completely different scene from that of Tokyo. It's definitely a lot smaller but b/c of that it's also more tight-knit with less ego/posturing and greater emphasis on energy and fun. It is impossible to watch Hyacca perform and not have the urge to dance and go nuts like the guy in this video:
Hyacca's music melds intricate basslines, guitar effector madness with eerie synth-like alien tones, dual male-female vocals and guttural screaming. It's the anti-thesis of "soft rock" and "easy listening radio." But in no way should their music be dismissed as cacophony devoid of structure and melody. Amidst the noise is plenty of melody albeit eccentric and never spoonfed to you. Wait patiently and the awesomeness of Hyacca's music will hit you like divine revelation. And you WILL be shaking that ass on the dance floor.
------- And now the bad news. Natsumen are 100% committed to playing in October. They are one of the best live bands in all of Japan. BUT to say they have way too many goddamn members to belong on a tour where one person (me) is paying for all the travel/lodging expenses is the understatement of the millenium. Not to mention the band wants to bring the manager and 2 staff people with them. That makes 11 people. When I initially invited Natsumen it was to bring the band + manager (9 people) along with Midori (4 people) and maybe one other band with 2-4 members. That would have been completely doable. edit: Actually, I just got off the phone with their manager. One of the staff people they need to bring is a sound tech. Given how complex the set-up is with 8 different instruments and how musically challenging their song arrangements are I completely understand why they would need to bring their own PA man.
I have not 100% ruled out Natsumen but they are on life-support with the switch halfway off.
If I were to bring only three bands: Natsumen, Hyacca and chiina; that would be 19 members and a pain in the ass but doable.
I am still waiting to hear for official confirmation from Usotsukie Barbie who are signed to Sony Music, are the most likely to appeal to fans and music critics in Canada and are by far the most popular of the 4 bands in Japan.
Also, I haven't mentioned this yet but I may do a 2nd mini-tour this year involving the Mornings. The only reason they haven't been able to do the 1st two tours was an inability to get 9-10 days off work. Since the Mornings probably don't give a sh*t about sightseeing I might organize a tour in November that just lasts a weekend. 3 shows: Friday (Montreal), Saturday (Toronto), Sunday (Vancouver) . Fly in on Thursday and leave Monday. Bam! I've always felt Hyacca and the Mornings make the perfect tandem. Throw in thai kick murph, one of my absolute favorite bands who also have extreme difficulty getting time off work and to me this is a 3 band line-up match made in heaven. But November will be extremely cold so the bands can't expect to have fun experiencing Canada's outdoors.
Right now I'm waiting on Usotsuki Barbie and 385 who would replace Natsumen if I decide they're not worth the cost/logistical nightmare.
By the way, Jun, the original keyboard player for 385 unexpectedly left the band a couple weeks ago. It's unfortunate since he was the member I communictaed with the most. His involvement was just as important as Miya's in defining 385's sound and he was the most outspoken member of the band. The good news is that Hajime of ミドリ is the new replacement but only on a temporary/support basis.