I'm back in Japan!

After working a 24 hour shift with no sleep, I spent 12 hours on a plane to Tokyo unable to sleep. When I arrived the first thing I did of course was go to a show!Last night I watched Tokyo Karan Koron and This is Panic! at Shimokitazawa Basement Bar. I'll talk about the show and post clips later. Right now I'm going to Yokohama for the Synchronicity Fes to support uhnellys and 385, and maybe catch Zazen

But I have to leave early enough to boot it to Shinjuku Motion to watch Kulu Kulu Garden, H Mountains and thai kick murph which starts at 6pm.


May 14, 2010

No sleep x 42 hours. Check in at hotel, then take the train to Shimokitazawa Basement Bar to watch This is Panic! vs Tokyo Karan Koron "2-man" live. ( '2 man' means just 2 bands playing extended sets. Normally 4-6 bands play at a regular show with short ~30min sets. A "one-man live" obviously means a single band playing the entire concert. I once watched the band unkie play a one-man show. I got to the show 40 min late, watched them play 2 songs and then the show was over. If a band has fewer than 10 songs in their catalog they have no business doing one-man shows!!)

東京カランコロン (Tokyo Karan Koron) is a band that is almost guaranteed to be in a future NMFT tour. Their songs are ultra-melodic pop but frequently utilize bizarre guitar riffs that sound a bit 'off' like a walrus agonizing after stubbing its toe... er finned appendage. They are quirky as hell, rock out like mad when you least expect it and are always goofing off on stage when they aren't pretending to be earnest. There are a lot of "underground pop" (ungura poppu) bands like グーミ, Sebastian X, ANIMA, Paper Bag Lunchbox, YOMOYA etc and Tokyo Karan Koron are among the best in said genre.

Here's a clip. Warning: it's very short.

This show was organized by This Is Panic ! Every 1-2 months they'll be hosting a 2 man show and choosing a different band to play with. Next month it's 太平洋不知火楽団 (Taiheiyou Shiranui Gakudan). A lot of people have recommended This Is Panic ! as a band I should keep an eye on. When I listened to songs on their Myspace and watched what little footage there is of them on Youtube I couldn't understand the hype behind the band. However, you should NEVER pass judgement on a Japanese band until you've seen them play live in person. Having said that after seeing them live I still think they're overhyped but I can understand their appeal to concert-goers in Japan who come to a show primarily to let loose and have a good time. They're definitely a good party band, but I'm not keen on their particular style of music at all. I grew up listening to a lot of underground hip hop like Binary Star, Dynospectrum, Sage Francis, J-Zone, Heiroglyphics etc and despised 'funk metal' bands like 311, Urban Dance Squad etc. Similarly, I was never a fan of the bastardized version of hip hop popular in Japan with groups like Kick the Can Crew and Rip Slyme (though HalCali were fudope! hahaha). This Is Panic! remind me a lot of Rip Slyme: 4 emcees rhyming over 'jiggy' bounce tracks for the most part with the main difference being that 2 of the emcees can also play bass and drums to resemble a live band.

This Is Panic !! were definitely entertaining with their antics and they have a song about sumo wrestling that is damn hilarious but the underground hip hop purist in me precludes developing any real interest in their style of music. Maybe I'm being too obstinate. Maybe their music will grow on me. Maybe Rebecca Black will participate in NMFT vol 4..... hahaha. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 15, 2011

Finally got a good night's sleep after being awake for 2 days straight. Took the Shonan-Shinjuku train to Yokohama, then the Minato-Mirai line to Motomachi Chuukagai to attend the Synchronicity Festival. My main reason for going was to watch and meet up with uhnellys and see how 385 sound with guitars replacing keyboards.

(it was windy!)

I'm going to be brutally honest and say that overall I miss Jun's keyboards but the guitars make some of the songs sound much more powerful and badass. 385 are going to be rotating through support guitarists or keyboardists throughout the year. This time it was Noda Kohei of URBANフェチ but in the future it'll be the Gt/Vo of 打首獄門同好会 (uchikubi gokumon doukoukai) playing support for a few shows. I love uchikubi and that dude is a seriously talented guitarist even though it may not show in uchikubi's songs.

I also caught De De Mouse:


and Zazen Boys!!

to be continued....