2012.12.21 グーミ presents 「アングラポップたち vol.15 」 @ Shinjuku Nine Spices

グーミ (goomi) has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. They play a style of music they refer to as "アングラポップ" (Ungura Poppu i.e. Underground Pop).Unlike mainstream pop which is plastic, innocuous and superficial, Underground Pop places an emphasis on creativity and taking risks to make music with more character and depth. Over the years グーミ has invited bands with a similar 'underground pop' aesthetic and has hosted a recurring concert event known as 「 アングラポップたち 」 On Dec 21, 2012, at Shinjuku Nine Spices, the 15th edition of 「 アングラポップたち 」 took place with the following bands:

戰車倶楽部 Sensha Kurabu (Tank Club) is a 4-pc band from Saitama that plays psychedelic rock with a touch of prog. Apparently they are JoJO's Bizzare Adventure fanatics since the 2nd guitarist was wearing a Killer Queen T-shirt and they had a Killer Queen figure displayed at the front of the stage. I was a bit late for the start of the show and missed the first half of their set but the 2-3 songs I did see them perform showed plenty of technical chops and raw power akin to another band from Saitama: Rin Toshite Shigure.

The following clip is from a different show:

(I actually do have a short clip of my own from the show but haven't uploaded it yet)

Happy!Mari These guys were the best new band I saw my entire trip. The first time I heard about Happy!Mari was when グーミ invited them to play at an アングラポップたち event (?vol 11) some time in 2010. It was one of those nights where I went to multiple shows so I never saw Happy!Mari play back then but during the uchiage (afterparty) Kobata Ryogo of goomi kept telling me how awesome Happy!Mari are and that they represent the future of Underground Pop. So obviously I checked out whatever clips they had on Youtube at the time:

Hmm... mellow... whiny... emo.. not really my cup of tea. So despite Ryogo showering the band with all manner of praise, I didn't make it a priority to see Happy!Mari play live. However, I'd bump into Happy!Mari's singer Yoshifumi Shinmen a lot at shows and we became friends. I promised I'd check out his band but would always show up late just missing them whenever they played. At Fuji Rock, the most awkward moment was when Kotaro (of Deroppy Doroppy) and Shinmen (Happy!Mari) were lined up behind me waiting to get into an onsen. I didn't feel like getting naked with these guys so I jetted to a different onsen with my friends Ikuko (Merpeoples) and Lana. hahaha.

So on Dec 21, 2012 I finally got to see Happy!Mari play live and they blew my f*cking mind! What the hell?!! How come nobody told me they were so freaking good?! Oh wait, Ryogo did 2 years ago! BUT, the fact is Happy!Mari have completely changed their sound to one that is heavier, more technical, more aggressive and dancier.

The best song they played was the first one, which I unfortunately didn't film since I was too busy picking my jaw up from the ground. But here are clips of "Giant Song" (the ending is SICK!)

and "Berlin 1979"

There are better looking clips of these songs here and here but the audio is fuzzier.

I was expecting slow, whiny emo but Happy!Mari took me by surprise and tore me a new a-shole. These clips don't do the band justice and they're a lot more badass watching the performances in person.

Rintaro (drummer of aquarifa) stopped by just to watch Happy!Mari and then bolted soon after. He also thinks Happy!Mari are a great, f*cking band and is inviting them to play at his birthday party event "Rintaro Night" on Jan 11 @ Shimokita ERA.

Happy!Mari are also in the final four of a battle of the bands competition held by Space Shower TV. Coincidentally, along with their best friends:

デロッピードロッピー Deroppy Doroppy is a 3-pc band from Chiba with brother & sister Matsuda Kotaro & Hikaru on drums and bass and Tominaga Mayuko on Gt/Vo. They sound like a garage version of a Chatmonchy-Mass of the Fermenting Dregs hybrid. Their music is very raw and the singing is far from pitch perfect but I like them. Since they're best friends of goomi, I've come to know them quite well and I'm biased in wanting to support them. Kotaro and Hikaru's family live in the middle of nowhere, in a rustic house within a forest about 30 min drive away from Narita airport. I mention this because Kotaro curates his own music festival called 蔵フェス (Kura Fes) which he holds inside his family's garage.. in the middle of nowhere, Japan. Kura Fes is one of the best music experiences you can have bar none and I'll explain more in the next post.

Here's a clip of Deroppy Doroppy from アングラポップたち vol.15

As mentioned, both Deroppy Doroppy and Happy!Mari are finalists in the Space Shower TV contest and they had some fun trash talking each other during emcee breaks.

Shinmen (Happy!Mari): "So we made it to the finals of a Space Shower TV band tournament and the finals are held at Shibuya WWW on January 14. Some other band called Deroppy.. something or another also made the cut but you only need to watch us."

Mayuko (Deroppy Doroppy): "So we're in the finals for Space Shower TV... and so is Happy!Mari... but I heard their singer died or something."

hahaha! Hopefully one of these two bands manages to win the competition and we'll find out in another 8 days if Underground Pop can score a victory.

あいつのアフォーダンス Aitsu no Affordance are a 3-pc band from the northern prefecture of Iwate. The band members translate their name to "Your Affordance" but it's probably closer to "dude over there's affordance" since the word "aitsu" has very crass/rude connotations. For a band with only three members they manage to create a powerfully HUGE sound with chaotically lovely guitarwork. They were pretty good at アングラポップたち but they absolutely KILLED IT during Kura Fes the next day so just wait until the next post to sample some video footage.

グーミ This is indie music at it's finest. goomi will never make it big in the mainstream market but in my mind their music stands heads and shoulders above 99% of the crap that's heard on the radio.

Here's a brand new song (played live for the first time so it's still rough around the edges)

And an electrifying performance of "Suncatcher" where Ryogo sings the latter portion of the song hanging upside down from the ceiling:

This show restored my faith that even though the quality of music has seemed to nosedive in recent years throughout the world, there's still lots of great bands that are new and unknown waiting to be discovered, especially in Japan.