Monday, May 09, 2005

Kiiiiii at the Shibuya O-Nest

Kiiiiii at the O-Nest. Posted by Hello

Seeing Japanese pop duo Kiiiiii play live Sunday night was like peeking into a slumber party thrown by grammar school girls.

The two girls that make up Kiiiiii, Ut and Lakin’, walked on to stage wearing bright cocktail dresses, as if they had just gone through mom’s closet for adult clothes. Their faces were painted like members of Kiss. They carried several big bags full of toys, which they placed on stage in a formation whose logic was only known to them. A day-glo pink sleeping bag covered a Fender amp. A big plastic ice cream cone was placed on top of another amp, as was a toy cassette player. An inflatable R2D2 doll stood next to the drums. The grungy club stage was converted into a basement recreation room of some suburban home, packed with toys, a brother’s drum set in one corner.

The Kiiiiii girls began the set with a cheerleading routine, with chants and dance moves. Then, after screaming, “KIIIIIIIIII!”, Lakin’, in a pink dress, dashed to the back to play the drums, while Ut, in a blue dress with a pearl necklace, stood in front, and started to sing, rap, scat, and twirl about. They were like two girls who are having fun being silly, but at the same time are acting out, in completely absorbed seriousness, the parts of their favorite stars—singers, cheerleaders, rappers, rock musicians (at one point Ut did an extended air guitar solo using the mike stand, causing the girls in the audience to titter).

I felt I was seeing in real life the sort of wacko, over-the-top Japanese acts that Hollywood employs as props in films about Japan to show the weirdness of its people. Didn’t Lost in Translation have a scene where Bill Murray is taken to a club featuring, basically, A Band From Outer Space? And the movie Tokyo Pop from way back also briefly had a scene in a club showing an out-there, bohemian band performing. Was there something like that in Kill Bill too?

But the Kiiiiii girls were charming, and those audience members that weren’t completely baffled by them seemed to enjoy their antics. Despite all the craziness their songs weren't gibberish and had actual lyrics, and there was a set list—at one point, the singer and the drummer started performing two different songs, and they said at the same time, in English: “Mistake!”

At some points in the show I got a little tired of the ceaseless silliness, but the Kiiiiii show was without doubt unlike any rock show I had ever seen before.

It seemed fitting that right after the show ended, the song that the DJ put on was the Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’.

Ut of Kiiiiii at the O-Nest. Posted by Hello

Another band I’d come to see at the O-Nest show was Clisms, a rocking band I’ve written about before. Tonight was the conclusion of a national tour, and their finale was wild: one of the drummers cimbed on top of the bass drum, then crashed into the rest of his equipment, while the lead guitar jumped up and hung by one arm from a ceiling pipe, and hopped on to a one-legged table and in a feat of good balance played some riffs there.

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