Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Noodles, Zeppet Store, Auto Pilot

Auto Pilot at the Que. Posted by Hello

The Noodles, the Japanese all-girl band that's now a trio after the recent departure of its lead guitarist, played tonight at the Que one day after their return from a U.S. tour. They said they were jet-lagged. Drummer Ayumi said she was almost left behind in Denver when her plane flying from New York made a stopover there on the way to Seattle. She thought Denver was Seattle.

"I didn't know if I would be able to come home," she told the audience. "If not, I would have had to find work there."

Anyone reading this see them in the U.S.?

It was my first time to see the Noodles as a trio, and I have to say, I miss Junko the lead guitarist. The Noodles said in their interview with that they aren't looking for a new lead guitar, but with only one guitarist the band's sound isn't as full as I remember it.

One observation: I noticed that singer Yoko's speaking voice is higher than her singing voice. Usually with Japanese female singers it's the other way around.

Zeppet Store at the Que, watched by bopping female fans. Posted by Hello

A loud, straightforwardly rocking quartet, Zeppet Store, the second act of the night, reminded me a bit of proto-grunge bands like Soundgarden and Mudhoney. Maybe it was partly their late 80's hippie hair, though theirs was carefully sculpted with gel and hair dryers to look unwashed and unkempt, rather than actually being those things. They were popular with the girls, who bopped around next to the stage and pumped their arms in the air.


The third and final band of the night, Auto Pilot, I had confused with another band I saw once and I liked, Afterpilot. In fact when I entered Que and the ticket seller asked me which band I'd come to see (they ask that to divide up the ticket revenue between bands), I answered 'Afterpilot'. A confused look on the ticket seller's face for a second or two, then she asked, "Do you mean Auto Pilot? Are you sure this is the show that you want to see?" I said yes, yes, silly me, I meant Auto Pilot (though actually I thought I was going to see Afterpilot...).

But I'm glad I made that mistake and voted for Auto Pilot, because they were an excellent band, the best of the night. The quintet plays shoegazing type music (the singer's guitarist has a sticker of the band Ride on it) with bits of punk and trance influence mixed in, and lots of feedback and repeated driving bass lines. I have a major weakness for that sort of sound.

Though the band rocked, the audience seemed to consider them something of an intellectual band to be watched from a safe distance, and reverently left space open in the front of the stage so that the back half of the Que was packed but there were few people in the front. Auto Pilot was selling their CDs after the show, and I bought their album White Light Ride. It's discoveries like these that keep me addicted to Japanese music.

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