Update: NMFT7 line-up
The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster ride. Oomori Seiko, Akasick and Microcosm were all very interested in participating but couldn't fit the tour into their schedule. So I agonized between Gekitetsu, OWARIKARA and PENs+.Gekitetsu would put on the most entertaining show but their music is repetitive and sort of an 'empty calorie' sugar rush. OWARIKARA have the best overall musicianship and stage presence with some really, great songs. My Montreal friends Salim and Roumaïssâa picked OWARIKARA as their top choice and I don't want to disappoint them.... BUT after weighing a multitude of factors I decided on PENs+ for the fourth and final spot on the roster.
Why PENs+? Because they're incredibly skilled musicians for such a young age and they write complex but catchy songs with lots of melody, energy and guitar wizardry. After watching them perform live I decided they were a shoe-in for a NMFT spot sometime in the future. However, because they're such a young, new band they don't have a large discography of songs, there's not too much variety in the types of songs they play as of yet and they could use some polish in their stage presence and emcee'ing skills. That's why I was going to wait on PENs+ until NMFT8 or so. BUT compared to Gekitetsu and OWARIKARA their music best exemplifies the idea of 'next music' as these kids are definitely on some 'next level' sh*t.
In Japan there is an annual high school music festival called 閃光ライオット (Senkou Riot) that is curated by the popular radio program School of Lock! on TokyoFM. At this summer festival 9 - 10 of the best high school bands from all across Japan are chosen and given the chance to perform in Tokyo in front of tens of thousands of high school students.
In 2012, PENs+ were chosen out of hundreds of high school bands to represent Tokyo. And if you're reppin' Tokyo, you're basically representing the best in all of Japan since it has by far the largest population and greatest amount of competition. What's also awesome was that back in 2012, one of my fave actresses 能年 玲奈 (Nounen Rena) was the DJ for School of Lock! and the 応援ガール 'hype girl' for the 2012 edition of Senkou Riot. This is Nounen Rena announcing PENs+ as the Tokyo finalist for Senkou Riot 2012 and describing what she loves about their music:
赤い公園 (Akai Koen) were even younger than PENs+ when I brought them to Canada and their experience performing in a foreign country and getting such an awesome crowd reaction did wonders for their confidence and improving their stage presence. Hopefully, NMFT and Canadian fans can give PENs+ the opportunity to experience a similar growth and boost in confidence.
The members of PENs+, especially frontman Ryo Arai are really great, easygoing people and they'll have a blast sightseeing around Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Their enthusiasm for the upcoming tour is boundless.
By the way you can listen to music by PENs+, otori, mothercoat, Akasick, Gekitetsu and Owarikara for FREE on Spotify!!) Unfortunately PENs+ is lumped in with some lo-fi garage band named Pens but look for PENs+ ep called "RULES" because it certainly does.
So there you have it.
There is the remote possibility of a 5th band but initially I was going to do this only if Microcosm were involved since they just have two members and wouldn't have been expensive. Unfortunately, Honami is supremely busy with Gesu no Kiwami Otome and Mio is now playing support guitar for Wozniak.
I also found out that Mio and I know each other from before because she worked at a record store I frequented in Tokyo. She happens to be a big fan of NMFT and is looking forward to bringing Microcosm to Canada possibly next year (assuming Honami can get time off from Gesu no Kiwami with a year's advance notice. lol). Actually she wants me to bring her and Wozniak to Canada this June but I decided on PENs+ because their music is more melodic/upbeat which was necessary for balance in the line-up.
I'm not sure if I should include a 5th band but otori, ame no parade and PENs+ are relatively new bands that don't have a huge catalog of songs. Also, having to play last in the line-up when the audience is smaller because of idiots leaving early for home is a drag so with a 5th band I can distribute the pain of playing last more evenly amongst the bands.
So I do have a 5th band in mind with only three members but I'm not sure if they'll be able to come in June. Gekitetsu is a possibility and out of all the bands I've mentioned so far would bring the most energy and incite the most dancing, moshing and crowd surfing. OWARIKARA would be awesome but they deserve more than just a 30-35 min set. It might be better if I bring them next year.
Tsuno Maisa of Akai Koen introduced a band to me called セプテンバーミー (September Me). September Me are from Tachikawa, the same neighbourhood as Akai Koen. I first saw September-Me perform live when they played in Fukuoka with Ame no Parade. Their music is a bit too close to generic Jrock BUT their drummer Kishinami Ai is BADASS. The members of September-Me are all really cool people and it would be neat having my current two favorite female drummers on the tour ( Osawa Mineho of Ame no Parade, and Kishinami Ai).
I think my friend Geoff might slit my throat and carve the word Gekitetsu onto my chest if I invited September-me but it would be cool having two of the most attractive yet exceptionally talented female drummers on the planet coming to Canada. What do you guys think?
硝子越しの暴走 (Garasu Goshi No Bousou) is one of the better all-female bands currently active. homepage As musicians they're nowhere near the level of Akai Koen or tricot but their music has a more soulful or honest quality to it.
Some of their music is softer, folk/blues while they also have a couple songs that blaze with raw power reminiscent of Mass of the Fermenting Dregs. Since they're only three members, they're affordable. If you guys like them enough I can invite them.
P.S. If 能年 玲奈 (Nounen Rena) ever forms a band, they're automatically invited to NMFT. LOL. P.P.S. Thanks for all the comments in the last post. It helped decision making a lot!! So feel free to criticize or make any comments on PENs+, September-Me, Garasu Goshi No Bousou, wozniak or any band you might like to see at NMFT.