One for the history books?
I took this photo above for the benefit of Rock Music History. Or so I thought Friday night with a few beers inside me. It was after Plectrum’s stunning solo show at the Que. About fifty of us were celebrating at the uchiage (pronounced something like 'ooh, chee, ah, gay'), an after-show party, at some random Japanese bistro. Everyone was excited.
From right, in the photo, is Osamu Shimada, guitarist for pop bands Swinging Popsicle and Caraway; Yoshiharu Ishizaka, guitarist for advantage Lucy and the creator of that band’s gorgeous music; Jun Inoue, singer for CleanDistortion; and on the left, smiling to someone outside of the picture, is Naoki Kishihara, bassist for Plectrum.
Each one of their bands is outstanding, and I try never to miss any of their shows. To see them all sitting in front of me, chatting about something, was the height of cool. In my musical worldview it was like seeing Nirvana hanging out with Sonic Youth, or witnessing the first meeting in England between the Ramones and the Clash. Sound overblown? Perhaps. But one of the things I’ve found out writing Japan Live is that there are many more fans than I thought, in Asia, Europe and the Americas, of these modest, friendly musicians.
The Plectrum show that preceded the party was mind-blowing. My friend Dr. I said he was on the verge of tears at the band’s rendition of its 1996 hit ‘Flow’, Plectrum’s first major label single. I was in the same state when they did “3 P.M. Lazy” from the album Sorry and “Book End” from Colombia, two of their best songs. The show lasted nearly three hours, but none of us was tired at the end—no, we were energized—and Taisuke Takata, Plectrum’s singer, hopped from one table to the next being a model party host.
Other musicians were at the party too, to revel after a great show. At one point I saw the bassist for the Waffles paying homage to Ishizaka of Lucy, about ten years his senior. During the evening, on top of beer, I downed two big glasses of awamori, the potent liquor of Okinawa, so by the time the group split into two and mine moved to some bar in Shimokitazawa, I was quite smashed. I ended the evening teaching one version of the Jive Handshake to Plectrum's drummer, Mikiya Tatsui. Next morning I suffered from a slight hangover, but I also brought back from the night the picture above to keep its memory fresh.