some shows I went to in Japan

In March, my friends from Toronto and I went to watch Merpeoples at Sangenjaya Heaven's Door. It was a reunion of sorts since Larry and Keleng (along with Lana, Jesse, and Hiro) were the friends I entrusted to look after Merpeoples when they came to Toronto last year. Here's a clip of a new song by them:

Apparently my friend Jesse had an influence on Merpeoples since Charlotte and Ikuko have since started taking hip hop dance lessons. lol.

Fast forward to April when I went back to Japan to catch Akai Koen vs Natsumen. On this brief four day trip I also went to Shinjuku NINEspices and caught a hardcore show. It was nice to see that Tokyo still has a thriving HC scene. What's also refreshing is how many girls are interested in the music as well. The person who curated the event also happened to be a girl. The bands that played on this night were: the brown(from Osaka) /Liaroid Cinema (from Osaka) / A.O.W / johann /IZP /waterweed / wakamiya

Watching A.O.W. I felt like I was transported back in time to the 80's NYHC scene at clubs like CBGBs and ABC No Rio. The band set up on stage but then brought their gear onto the dancefloor. The audience stepped back because they were well aware of the mayhem that was about to ensue. As soon as the guitars and drums ignited the singer ran full bore, jumped and slammed into me... and I was more or less near the back of the crowd. It was particularly dark for their set so I couldn't get any decent footage. Also I was afraid my camera would get smashed/trampled. So here's a clip someone else took at a different show:

It was a fun set. Straightforward speedy old-school HC with a madman of a vocalist.

The two bands I came to watch were: the brown and johann. The brown play the type of emo-metal that I normally can't stand but the guitarist shreds like TK of Rin Toshite Shigure and Ai (vocals) has really beautiful eyes. hahaha. Ai sings in English or tries to and the results are unfortunately grating to my ears. She might as well be singing in Russian because I can't make out any of the lyrics. Having said that she is very confident and passionate on stage and is quite articulate when speaking to the audience in between songs. She always seems to have something meaningful to say and isn't content with idle chatter. It's a trait of hers I clearly remember from when I saw the brown perform at Shelter a couple years ago. Here's a short clip from NINEspices:

Sorry Ai, but I can't understand a single word.

johann play ultra-melodic instrumental hardcore that sounds like And So I Watch You from Afar meets Chrisite Front Drive(minus the vocals). The drummer is the size of a defensive lineman from Samoa and loves to annihilate his kit by ponuding and smashing it as hard as humanly possible. He's a beast! The entire band plays with a ton of energy while exuding a cheerful and positive vibe as the music builds toward a series of mammmoth, facemelting crescendoes.

The next day I caught TLKY and thai kick murph at Shinjuku Motion.

I think it had been almost three years ago since I last saw TLKY but the members still remember me like it was just yesterday. From jump I recognized every song they played and was worried they hadn't come up with new material in the three year interim. However the last two songs were brand new and sounded FIERCE due to the surprising complexity... dare I say mathiness.

here are some older songs (uploaded by TLKY)

and finally, one of my fave bands: thai kick murph

thai kick and the Mornings are the two bands I've tried my hardest to bring to Canada but to no avail due to their strict office job schedules that won't allow them to take enough time off work.

Just focus on Etsumi's fretwork on bass. So smooth and so fast. Goddamn! The whole band rules.