To celebrate Shimokitazawa Club Que’s 11th year in business, a series of shows has been scheduled at the Que this month, with the first event featuring advantage Lucy, the Bank$ and Paunch Wheel. The Bank$ (pronounced ‘banks’) are wild and crazy crowd-pleasers, while advantage Lucy is a brilliant pop band, and I was looking forward to their double-header Friday night.
The Bank$ is a musical unit led by Yuhi Komiyama, formerly of Hoff Dylan, and is supported by Plectrum’s Akira Fujita on guitar and Umu, formerly of the Beat Crusaders, on bass. They play high-energy, melodic, danceable pop songs that get the crowd hopping. In between the songs, Komiyama talks. And talks. And talks.
Usually the topics he discusses are off-beat. Tonight, he talked about the beginnings of Club Que, eleven years ago. At that time the Que, which is two floors down from the ground level, was barren land, Komiyama says. Nii-san, Que’s owner, cultivated the ground, planted the electric lights one by one, until it grew to become a true live house that was ready for shows…the day before yesterday.
He also asked the audience to sing along to “Boy Friend”, a song about wanting to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Komiyama points the mike to a tall girl standing at the very front in the center, and asks, “Do you have a boyfriend?” When she shakes her head no, he says, “That’s what I thought, seeing that you are standing at the very front (like a groupie).” At the end of the show, he gave the girl a bead bracelet he was wearing, for being a good sport in the face of his joking rudeness. I think she forgave him.
Advantage Lucy’s show was second to last, before the Bank$’s finale, and the Que was the most crowded then because of all the Lucy fans. The Bank$’s show may have gotten the crowd dancing the most, but Lucy’s show was what stayed in my mind afterwards (noting, however, that I’m a Lucy devotee who owns all their records).
The highlight of their show for me was when they played “Akai Natsu [‘vermilion summer’]", which is a song in their soon-to-be-released new album, Echo Park. A short, beautiful ballad (few bands create ballads as gorgeous as Lucy does) about growing up, the song made me think about all the days that had gone by since I started seeing Lucy live in August of 2003 and gradually came to know the members of the band. A loose translation of the song’s opening lines:
The lights of the days that rush by—so bright,
The rain continues falling, as I wait for summer.
So simply but eloquently, the song evokes the feeling of growing older.
Only a couple of more weeks until Echo Park comes out!
NOTE TO LUCY FANS IN TAIWAN: advantage Lucy may be headed your way in a few months’ time! Don’t miss them.