Friday, September 30, 2005

The Clicks' Second To Last Tokyo Show

Japanese girl trio the Clicks played their second to last Tokyo show at a club called the Pink Noise in Futago-Tamagawa. The three had announced a few weeks ago that they would split up, but that they would play all the shows they’ve scheduled already, and would officially call it quits on November 5, their last show. Tonight was the penultimate chance to see them in Tokyo.

The evening left me in a sad mood. The Clicks did play well, the girls giving it their all even though they were a band marked for dissolution. But when you watch a band a lot you start thinking about that band’s future, their growth as musicians, and the new songs that they make, and in all those areas there was nothing more for the Clicks.

I remembered seeing them for the first time in Yokohama and thinking how raw their sound was, and being happy to see the people behind the Clicks songs (I already owned their first album). The club was a tiny one, was packed and the Yokohama crowd dug the three, because the Clicks are from Yokohama. Tonight at the Pink Noise the crowd stood back and didn’t seem to know who the three were.

The Pink Noise itself was a strange club, or live house, as these places are called in Japan. I couldn’t understand the reason for this live house’s existence. There are already too many of these clubs in Tokyo, and the number seems to be growing, but the new venues seldom do anything to differentiate themselves from the competition. It’s always a bare basement or attic with lights, a sound system and a small bar. You’d think one of the clubs might put up a Bob Marley poster or an old guitar on the wall or a singing fish plaque or something to give it some character, but no, the d├ęcor is always plain and boring. The Pink Noise was like that, and on top of that it was behind a shopping mall in a dark street that I at first wasn’t sure was open to pedestrian traffic.

Futago-Tamagawa, the neighborhood where the Pink Noise is located, was also a strange scene. This neighborhood next to the Tama River is one of the places where the rich live in Tokyo, and the shopping center next to the Pink Noise housed Chanel, Ferragamo and other fashion boutiques. But the whole mall was too clean and sterile, as it was just built yesterday, and I had a hard time imagining people actually shopping here rather than going somewhere like Ginza or Shinjuku. Why is the Pink Noise here in the first place?

So, there the Clicks were, playing for a crowd that didn’t care, at a live house that didn’t have much going for it, in a nouveau rich town. It felt like a rock show at the edge of the earth. The Clicks, at least, played their good songs with energy, and as always they were a nice looking group on stage, but all that made the night all the sadder. Well, I also did get to see for the first time Falsies on Heat, an all-girl quarter that’s David called “Bikini Kill meets the Breeders but with better tunes and bigger attitudes”, and who were actually quite good.

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