Monday (Nov 14) is a holiday for us at work. Combined with the fact I get Friday off due to working a 24 shift on Thursday, that meant I would have a 4 day weekend! huzzah!I was supposed to go camping on Saturday with the peeps at JCSA but when I found out Akai Ko-en were playing back to back shows in Tokyo and Sendai I said to myself, "Hey you crazy ass motherf*cker, why don't you go to Japan for the weekend?"

Hmm..... hey, why not?

So I'm in Tokyo right now. hahaha.

I worked 24 hours in a row (without sleeping) then cabbed it straight from the hospital to Pearson Int'l airport, hopped on a 13 hr direct flight to Narita, got on the 1st limousine bus to Shinjuku station and walked over to Shinjuku MARZ to watch nhhmbase and 0.8秒と衝撃。 Akai Ko-en were scheduled to play at 8pm @ Kichijoji WARP so I had some time to watch a few bands at MARZ before heading over to WARP. It was fairly packed inside MARZ. The show was a record release party for the band 完全にノンフィクション and the line-up for the night included the following bands in order: キドリキドリ nhhmbase 0.8秒と衝撃。 about tess 完全にノンフィクション

As soon as I walked inside I was greeted by Takuto (Gt) of about tess. Takuto's also the booking agent for my favorite live house, Shinjuku Motion. We talked about the NMFT tour and he told me how much fun Akai Ko-en said they had playing in Canada. When I asked him to recommend some new bands to me the first band he recommended was スカートの中 followed by きのこ帝国. :) It's too bad it would be difficult for me to bring about tess since Takuto's band consists of 2 guitarists, 2 bass players and 2 drummers. The biggest pain in the ass would be renting 2 sets of drums. about tess has to be one of the loudest bands on the f*cking planet. It's hilarious to see them play with Akai Ko-en b/c about tess dress in all-black in contrast to Akai Ko-en's all-white. Check. Mate.

I missed キドリキドリ but made it right on time for the legendary nhhmbase. A few years back they were one of the hottest and most widely respected bands in Tokyo's underground scene with major crossover appeal. But similar to Mahiruno, they were never able to convert "buzz band" status into commercial success and broke up due to a difference in member opinion on how to proceed next. In nhhmbase' case, Mamoru continued the band after the break-up solo with a rotating cast of support members. Luckily, I had the chance to see them a couple times in 2008/2009 with the original line-up. It's funny how clueless people are on "download sites" when they comment on nhhmbase' music as being overly mellow, wimpy and lame. First of all it's stupid to make a blanket statement on the quality of a band based on just their studio recordings. It's how a band sounds live that truly matters!! Secondly, nhhmbase' music lacks overdrive and distortion but the complexity of their songs and the skill and passion with which they play make them 10x more badass than any cookie cutter J-rock band that plays trite chord progressions in 4/4 with the amp volume at spinaltap11. What made nhhmbase such a breathtaking band to watch back in the day was the unrivalled passion and intensity with which they played:

Note: Mamoru sliced open the back of his scalp on the drummer's platform and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance (see end of clip).

Most of the young crowd came to watch 0.8秒と衝撃。 and 完全にノンフィクション and sadly most had never heard of nhhmbase before. The crowd reaction was kinda limp (compared to all other nhmmbase shows I've been to, even with the new line-up) but at least the sound tech and DJ were dancing.

Here's a clip form the tail-end of their set:

The crowd was way more amped for 0.8秒と衝撃。 I've never been enthusiastic about this band's music. Sure, they're raw, loud and chaotic but the songwriting is sophomoric and they come across as pretentious and poseurish. Having said that, the female in the band is damn hot so I've been interested in seeing this band play live for quite a while. hahaha.

I watched them play two songs before I had to leave in time to catch all of Akai Ko-en's set in KIchijoji. I'm pretty sure I got the gist of this band with the 2 songs I saw. Lead singer with ADD in continual relapse, hot female muse, J-rock band of the month on instrumentals, standard riffs/progressions, loud and constantly in your face, not much in terms of diversity (mind you I only saw two songs but I seriously doubt they offer much range in tone and style). The crowd was really into this band. Here's a clip I took before one of 0.8's or MARZ' staff told me to stop:

I'm sure if I brought 0.8秒と衝撃 to Canada they'd be a big hit but something about them seems so manufactured, pretentious and lacking in substance/soul. Maybe I'm being obstinate and clouded by first impressions since alot of people seem to love this band but I'd take Mow Mow Lulu Gyaban over 0.8 any day mostly because I like the music a whole lot more.

When I got to Kichijoji WARP I made it in time for Akai Ko-en but the place was so packed that when I opened the door all I could see was a wall of people. I could barely squeeze my way in and close the door behind me. Talk about fire hazards. At least both shows I went to had excellent turnouts. Singer Chiaki freaked out when she saw me. I never told Akai Ko-en or their manager I was coming b/c I wanted it to be a surprise. Chiaki said she could see me even way at the back since I'm in the 99th percentile for Japanese when it comes to height. She announced to the crowd that they had just recently toured Canada and that "Steve" the guy who was nice enough to bring them there was in the audience today. Only Chiaki had noticed me so when the other members realized I was there they screamed "maji desuka?!" (Seriously?!) and "Yabai!" (Oh sh*t!). hahaha. Out of pure coincidence they started their set with one of my favorite songs "くい" which they usually never play. It was a song that they played at my request (along with the song "coward") in Vancouver. Here's the set list: 1.くい 2.血の巡り 3.ナンバーシックス 4.副流煙 5.塊 6.のぞき穴 7.ふやける

These girls rule! チーナ's guitarist Shouta and their staff member Rika also came to the show to watch Akai Ko-en. In fact it was the first time for all three of us watching Akai Ko-en perform in Japan. All four members of Akai Ko-en and their manager Kubota-san are going to watch チーナ and 東京カランコロン's "two-man" on the 26th. It's awesome how the bands continue to be friends and support each other in Japan (none of the vol 4 bands had played together before the tour).

We figured Akai Ko-en and the other bands would take a while before heading out for uchiage so Shouta, Rika and I decided to get something to eat beforehand since we were starving. I was going to treat Shouta and Rika to this awesome steakhouse: Satou

Unfortunately, we missed the last order at Satou (fortunately for my wallet. hahaha). So we ate an awesome udon place instead which happens to be Shouta's favorite restaurant in Tokyo. It was actually damn f*cking good udon. After eating we headed back to WARP. It didn't lool like there was going to be an uchiage. We said bye to Akai ko-en. Though I'm headed to sendai tonight to see them play with: mudy on the 昨晩 te' OLDE WORLDE

mudy on the 昨晩 is a band I'm considering for NMFT vol 4 so I want to remind myself how good they are live since I've only seen them once before over 2 years ago. Gyutan baby. Gyutan.

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