お勧めLive Houses: Shinjuku Motion
capacity: 120 (I think it's closer to 80-100. Definitely not 120 people the size of me or Ian. You would need attendants with white gloves cramming bodies into the club to hit 120!) situated with 2 sister clubs in the same complex: MARZ (capacity 300) and Marble (cap: 150) other live houses nearby: LOFT, NINEspices, JAM bands that frequent: OWARIKARA, SuiseiNoboAz, 太平洋不知火楽団, the Mornings, Artless Note, otori, 股下89, 東京カランコロン, FAR FRANCE, グーミ, thai kick murph
How to get there: Take JR train to Shinjuku station and take the east exit (or Kabukicho exit). Then follow this girl from Live House☆Map:
Good lord she must have stubby legs cuz it doesn't take me anywhere near as long to walk the same route to Motion!
Booking agent: 鶉野拓人 (Uzuno Takuto)
You might recognize Takuto as the skilled and insanely fast sweep picking guitarist of about tess. He also partners up with Nakano Pierre of 凛として時雨 to form CHAOTIC SPEED KING.
Motion doesn't have the crusty, dilapidated, eau-de-urine-smell, "true livehouse" feel of Shelter, Yokosuka Pumpkin, the old 20000 V, or Heaven's Door. To be honest the interior of the club is rather boring and lacks personality. There's nothing that makes it stand out like the detailed glowing moon backdrop of 月見ル君想. It doesn't reside in a bohemian, hipster neighbourhood of interest like Shimokitazawa or Koenji. But if you asked me to name one live house in Tokyo as my favorite, I wouldn't hesitate to say Shinjuku Motion. Why? Because almost all my favorite bands play here frequently. I love the staff and Takuto does a damn good job of booking quality shows more often than not. I know most of the regulars (I live in Canada and I'm a f*cking regular there myself!). The sound is great. When the room has a full crowd, the acoustics are especially awesome.
Some of the best shows I've ever been to were at Motion. My very first time there I saw the Mornings / Fukuro / Sorrys! / YOMOYA / knock note alien / birds melt sky /viridian / school food punishment. SFP was the band I came to see however I had no clue who the other bands were but they all killed it! That show changed my life! sfp + 7 unknown bands completely kicking my ass. I couldn't care less about school food's music now but the Mornings, SORRYS! and viridian are among my favorite bands.
Swan Song Council is a 3 day (used to be week-long) festival at the end of December counting down to the new year. Takuto invites a slew of his favorite bandsto play at both Motion and Motion's big brother club next door Shinjuku MARZ. The higher profile bands play at MARZ but the performances are always more fun at Motion. On Dec 31, 2009 when the Mornings, Sorrys!, and JUGONZ (final performance) played in a row upstairs at Motion that was probably the most fun I've ever had at a gig. Although mothercoat put on one of the most awe-inspiring performances shortly after downstairs at MARZ.
Last year's Kyushu Pop Fes (curated by Ian Martin) was another "one of the best shows ever!" memories I have of Motion. 百蚊, zibanchinka, and my last time watching the great ruruxu/sinn and ミー愛さしみ. Kyu-Pop 2011 is being held at Motion again and in Ian's own words it's guaranteed to make your balls explode.
In addition to Takuto of about tess, some of the other staff are also in bands. For the longest time I had ordered drinks from Takahashi Hyouri not knowing he was the Gt/Vo for OWARIKARA. With the success of his band he rarely bartends there anymore but you might still see him working at Motion once in a while. (mana-chan of kyojaku & merpeoples between Hyouri and Takuto) You can see him working hard in the NMFT vol 1 documentary (skip to 4:51 and press closed captions (CC) for subtitles)
OWARIKARA's PV for "砂場" takes place at Motion.
Kobara Sae of otori also works part-time at the front for Shinjuku Motion.
And here's her band playing at Motion:
There may be nicer looking venues or live houses with more history and personality, but Shinjuku Motion will always remain one of my favorite places to watch a show.
太平洋不知火楽団 (Taiheiyo Shiranui Gakudan) during Swan Song Council 2010/12/31 F*cking EPIC! Make sure you watch the 2nd half "Dancing Hell" from 5:08 onwards. Tsuda and Kameda of OWARIKARA are just as awesome as fans as they are performing on stage! (see if you can spot me in the clip near the end)
The Mornings "Chief" @ Motion 2009/10/04