Monday, January 24, 2011

Live: ソンソン弁当箱/ザ・乳化剤/LAZYgunsBRISKY/THE★米騒動/THE××ズ @ Shimokitazawa Daisy Bar (12/15/2010)

I booked it from a small town in Saitama (Fukaya to be exact) to Tokyo on what seemed like an endless train ride to get to Shimokitazawa for my first concert of my trip at a club called Daisy Bar. It was already dark outside despite it being so early in the day, something I'm not so used to here on Guam. Instead of the vivid, cityscape, the window reflected only darkness for quite some time making it feel like an even longer trip.

As soon as I arrived in Shimokitazawa I ditched whatever directions I remembered to get to the club and just went with my instincts. I took a different path than what I initially planned but I ended up finding the club anyway because of the unmistakable shoe store I remembered which was on the corner of where it was located. When I got there, I ended up walking into the wrong club. Daisy bar is downstairs in the basement and there is a club on the first floor as well, by the street, that I walked into. Thankfully, I hadn't been there long before realizing I was in the wrong place and the bartender kindly refunded my charge and I headed downstairs for Daisy Bar.

Once there, I learned that the band I had went to see that night, ソンソン弁当箱(sonson bento bako), had already went on stage, as well as one other band(thankfully, it was the one band I wasn't too stoked to see). I was a bit disappointed but decided to try my best to enjoy the rest of the show regardless.

Daisy Bar had a great atmosphere to it. It was small and you could smell the spirit of rock'n roll in the air, moving in between all the young kids and I in the crowd who came out to see the show tonight. The DJ's that night, one from Lazy Guns Brisky, jammed a whole punch of old punk tunes from the loudspeakers. I moved myself to the center of the action before the next band came on and waited there, only to find out the adorable bassist(and only female member) of sonson bento bako was standing right in front of me.

The one band that didn't fit the bill that night was Lazy Guns Brisky. I was pretty sure they were older than most of the bands playing and I didn't know who invited them to be on the bill. During their set, a couple of older American guys were gathered at the front and they ended up rocking out there until the end of the set. The four girls came on stage looking really nice in their usual get ups(skimpy, and it was really cold outside) and immediately started rocking out. They were actually not bad, playing a poppy blend of punk and rock'n roll with a touch of ska, the last kind of music I'd see being played by an all girl band. It worked well for them though and I enjoyed the energy they put into their music. But since they were the odd band out the crowd didn't really get into them, save for those American guys that split the club right after their set was over. They were probably the most mature band to play the night, and put on a performance that was up to the level.

That didn't stop the night from getting it's share of awesome young performers, though. I had missed two of the bands and after seeing lazy guns brisky I had only two left on the bill. The next band on the list was the THE★米騒動 (The Komesoudou), a three piece band all the way from the frigid northern city of Sapporo who were playing gigs in Tokyo after winning this year's Senkou Riot competition for young bands in Japan. I had heard some samples of their music beforehand but not enough to get me acquainted with their sound, so their performance that night was a complete surprise to me.

The three got up on stage to an intro track that was pure noise, before putting on their own chaotic performance. The band is straight out of high school but their musicianship was amazing, they played like they had been a band forever. The weird time signature stops in some songs were executed with an unexpected precision and the manic fury that ensued with the band's brand of music was fantastic. Again, it's hard to put a finger on the type of music they play but it was loud, abrasive, while still being melodic and not overly aggressive. It wasn't punk, it wasn't hardcore, it wasn't some indie rock outfit. But out of all the bands that I saw that night they truly blew me away. There wasn't a doubt in my mind they have a bright future in the music scene and that whoever competed with them in that year's Senkou riot had no chance of winning against them.

After the drummer yelled at the top of his lungs into the singer's microphone while leaving the stage as noise filled the club, the speakers blared with the DJ's tracks again for the last time before the final band came up on stage. I knew it was going to be the show's headliners The××ズ(the chome chomezu), who also played alongside the Kome Soudou in this year's senkou riot.
I had no idea what they sounded like either but one can probably get a good idea by taking a look at the band's leather jackets and dark eye makeup that they probably liked punk music a lot.

With their full on punk get up, the chome chomezu came up on stage making quite an impression as they blazed into their first song. They played punk that sounded like a more youthful blend of the clash, the ramones, and the like, but with load, unrestrained female vocals. The vocalist put on a really good performance, landing on the floor a couple of times and looking like she was going to easily shred her shirt to pieces. Her vocals were really the one thing that set this band apart from a lot of the others like them, shouting more often than actually singing the lyrics to the songs. For the encore they even played the pistols' Anarchy in the UK, but the singer belted out the lyrics in Japanese which prevented me from singing along.

After the gig was over I made my way out into the extremely narrow space between the club and the stairs back up to the main street. A couple of bands were selling merch here, which narrowed this space to that of about one person, causing quite a traffic problem for those looking to get merch and people exiting the club. Actually, in a confined space that was probably for storage, a guy that was probably the manager for sonson bentou bako was crouched in a mess of containers with a flashlight, grabbing shirts for those that asked for one from the band on the opposite end of the hall(which was a few feet away). I needed some fresh air so i squeezed through a bunch of people and made my way up the stairs to check my phone. I went back
down a little later to get myself a shirt for the next day and some CDs and then made my way up and out of daisy bar and back on the street. It had gotten late and stomach was empty, but my ears still resonated with the sound of the young, aspiring, acts I had seen that night in this hole in the wall club in Shimokitazawa. I was humming Anarchy in the UK all the way home on the train.


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