A series of coincidences led me to a Shimokitazawa club called Basement Bar, to see a band from Osaka: first, by chance, I picked up a compilation album and liked a song by the group, Contrary Parade; then, a friend of a friend just happened to know this band and said he will e-mail them to see if they could send me a copy of their demo CD; and by luck, Contrary Parade turned out to be the sort of group that was happy to send their CD-R to people who were interested in their music; and finally, months later, when they decided to make their first trip as a band to Tokyo, my e-mail address happened to be stored somewhere in their archives so that they could let me know about the show, which I was keen to go to.
Contrary Parade was three jittery girls on guitar, bass and keyboard, and a guy on drums. They were nervous because this was their first Tokyo show, in front of a sparse audience at the Basement Bar, and they mostly stood still as they went through their long, bright, guitar pop tunes. But there was something charming about them: the vocalist/keyboardist sang softly but with emotion in a high voice that trailed away at the end of phrases, while the rest of the quartet played with obvious enthusiasm and joy. After their show I met the four friendly, shy members of the band and had the usual clumsy conversation of people meeting for the first time, but I told them I won’t miss them the next time they are in Tokyo or if they were playing when I went to Osaka, and I meant that.