Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My Way My Love; All Tomorrow's Party

All Tomorrow's Party Posted by Picasa

About ten seconds into the set, My Way My Love’s guitarist collapsed onto the stage floor. For a little while it didn’t look like he was moving. But soon it became clear he was still alive: his fingers moved, stroking the guitar strings. During My Way My Love’s wild thirty-minute set, the guitarist, Yukio Murata, ended up on the floor often, crawling on his back like Prince or falling on his knees, focusing completely on the guitar like Jimi Hendrix. Those moments on the ground were the only times that he stayed anything approaching still.

I’d heard a lot about how intense this Japanese rock trio’s shows were, reading about them, for example, in Rock of Japan, but tonight at the Koenji Club Liner was the first time for me to actually see these guys, and I can tell you they lived up to their reputation. They shook so fast to the music it looked like strobe lights were on though they weren’t. In particular, when the bleached blond drummer, Takeshi Owaki, swung his head, he became a silvery blur.

And, oh my, how they rocked! They reminded me most of Sonic Youth, but really, they took from an entire spectrum of modern hard rocking styles—punk, metal, noise, etc.—and came up with a sound that was uniquely their own. Their show sped by too quickly.

My Way My Love at the Club Liner. Posted by Picasa

The final act of the night, after My Way My Love, was a band called All Tomorrow’s Party (the night also featured Blondie Plastic Wagon and a band named Seattle), and they seemed subdued after MWML’s sonic assault. The trio, who my friend Dr. I had long been urging me to see, didn’t move around much on stage, and their songs were straightforward, solid rock. But despite the lack of flashiness of this band, I liked them. All the frills in the world can’t save a mediocre band, but a good band is good even without a lot of extras. Maybe because of their name they reminded me a little bit of Velvet Underground, though their music was more British rock.

All Tomorrow's Party at the Club Liner. Posted by Picasa

This was the first event I’d been to in a while in which all the musicians playing in all the bands were guys. I prefer mixed-sex bands, to be honest.

The Club Liner is a new live house, and one notable thing about it is that it's a no-smoking joint except in the back area. It can get annoying after a while when a guy is chain-smoking in front of you in a crowded club, and I thought the set-up was a smart idea.

Also, the club was tiny, but looking at its schedule I could see it booked a lot of quality independent bands, the sorts of groups who usually play at the Shinjuku Loft or Shimokitazawa Que. I wondered how this small club was able to attract such talent, until Dr. I told me that a member of Telstar was one of the people running this club. That made sense. Telstar has been around for years, do great, hyperactive, joke-filled shows, and must have loads of friends to invite to this new club. After the show, one of Telstar’s records played on the sound system as I walked out.

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