2012.12.20 uri gagarn / OUTATBERO / 佐藤千明 (Akai Koen) / チーナ okonomiyaki party

Tonight was one of those nights where there were too many great things going on.First, I had promised Tabata from Zankyo shop that I would stop by their Christmas party. There was food, music and a gift exchange. But it was a gift exchange with an unusual twist. We were told to write down on a piece of paper something we could do for someone else at the party.. for free. And then Santa would collect these pieces of paper and the "gift exchange" would commence. In fact, Zankyo shop is not your usual CD store. They're very forward thinking and do everything a little differently. As mentioned in a previous post they hide the identity of the CDs at their store and put descriptions of the music instead so that you can listen to the music without being prejudiced to certain artists/bands. They also run a "juku" (workshop) for musicians and regular customers to learn about various things, not just music, where the focus is on improving communication skills, life skills, critical appraisal, appreciation for art etc. Anyhow, I couldn't stay at the party for very long at all nor take part in the "free" gift exchange. I said hi to the people I knew and booted it to Shimokitazawa Garden to watch OUTATBERO and uri gagarn. Note the show I was going to was also a Zankyo (and EMI) sponsored event.

My first time watching OUTATBERO was almost exactly a year ago when they played with VELTPUNCH @ Kyoto Metro on Dec 19. OUTATBERO's music is difficult to describe but they take the softer melancholic sound of Radiohead, mix in the technical prowess of Zazen Boys and occasionally crescendo with the chaotic power of Rin Toshite Shigure. I didn't take any footage but here's a youtube clip if you're curious as to how they sound:

uri gagarn is the emo/post-punk band that cp fronted before he started group_inou. Although I've seen group_inou plenty of times it was my first opportunity to see uri gagarn perform live. The highlight of the set was easily when they played "Resistor"

The live version is even more intense and I wish I had taken video footage. I thought Shimokita GARDEN was one of those places where they strictly prohibit filming but when I saw a couple other people take out digicams I decided to at least film uri gagarn when they played a new song:

cp garden

uri gagarn was supposed to finish before Chiaki Sato of Akai Koen started her set at nearby Tag Cafe but Chiaki went on ahead of schedule! I only caught the last song "MAT BLUE" which was the song Maisa composed for the collaboration between Akai Koen and NATSUMEN. This simple acoustic version actually sounded a lot better than the original. Naoちゃん, Akai Koen's drummer, made a guest appearance playing keyboards for this song.

Although I only made it for the last song, Nakaさん reviewed Chaiaki's performance in his blog.


1. ナルコレプシー 2. ナンバーシックス 3. Let It Be (The Beatles) 4. MAT BLUE (keyboard: Utagawa Nao)

WHAT?!!! She sang "Narcolepsy" !!!! In order for me to listen to Akai Koen's music before inviting them onto NMFT4's roster, their old manager gave me an unreleased demo which is 1000x better than any of Akai Koen's official CD releases. One of the songs on this demo is "ナルコレプシー" It's a very simple track, but one of my favorites. Number Six is also one of my fave songs so now I'm kinda pissed I missed out.

If you don't already know, tricot and Akai Koen are rivals but very close friends with each other. The members of tricot (minus Komakiさん) came out to watch and support Chiaki at Tag Cafe. (In fact Chiaki was a special guest performer at tricot's show earlier this month at Shibuya WWW)

tricot are too busy in May for NMFT5 but I talked to Ikkyu about October 2013 where I'll try my best to bring Akai Koen and tricot together. That would be badass but still just in the planning stages and nowhere near official since Akai Koen might be too busy in October.

me akai tricot

That's AK's bassist Hikari covering her face with bear mittens. Naoちゃん was away when we took this photo.

After Chiaki's set I headed over to a house near Sangenjaya where チーナ and friends were having an okonomiyaki party. I came pretty late so some people had left but one of the guests that stuck around was Sensei of Tokyo Karankoron. I thought it was going to be awkward because, just like tricot, Tokyo Karan Koron was one of the bands I invited to NMFT4 but didn't end up putting on the final roster. Actually, the worst part is that I never responded to the emails Sensei sent me (I corresponded with their manager instead).

But Sensei was really nice and told me that was all in the past. Right now Tokyo Karan Koron is signed to Avex Trax and are becoming pretty huge. They are going to hold a one-man show at Akasaka Blitz next year. Unfortunately, their sound has changed and they are much poppier than ever before. What I liked about them was the quirkier, noisy, unpredictably chaotic side they included in their brand of underground pop but they've trimmed that away for mainstream appeal.

Sensei also performs as a solo artist and lots of people tell me her solo performances are well worth checking out.

The okonomiyaki tasted fantastic and so did the chawanmushi loaded with seafood.

chiina okonomiyaki party

Sensei brought a Laputa (Castle in the Sky) themed Karuta card game.

I only knew about the more traditional and complicated version of Karuta from watching the anime Chihayafuru:

But instead they played a simplified version where all you had to do was look for the card corresponding to the first hiragana letter of the poem read by the narrator. I didn't play but everyone else had a lot of fun:

Sensei has the cutest Kansai-ben and accent.

So I was worried since the Zankyo Christmas party, concert at Shimokita Garden/Tag Cafe, and チーナ's okonomiyaki party all overlapped but I managed to make all three!