Saturday, October 20, 2007

Call And Response Event At Koenji 20000V

“You've come at exactly the wrong time!” Ian said to me as I stepped in late to the event he'd organized.

“Right before this was a girl indie pop band...and right after this is digital hardcore!”

Call and Response's Ian apparently felt bad that I missed the evening's only Japanese girl indie pop group, a genre that he seemed to think I'm obsessed with. Hmm, wonder what made him think THAT!

In any case, though I was disappointed to miss the girl group, I actually ended up thoroughly enjoying the digital hardcore guy, Non-poli Radical. Over loud sampled sounds and music, he screamed repeated slogans, as hyperactive video images of cops, Bush, warplanes, bombs, etc., flashed on a screen behind him. The cartoon and collage images reminded me a bit of the animation in Yellow Submarine, though this was about a thousand times more manic and disorienting. I especially liked a song (?) called “Art School Asshole”. Multi-media music shows are good—everyone should do them.


Next up was tacobonds, a time-signature-change-abusing, “hard psychedelic”, neo-prog quartet who are regulars in Tokyo's underground music scene. They aren't exactly super-showmen on stage, but the music is fast, tight and unpredictable enough to keep the audience's attention, plus the drummer should be declared a Living National Treasure for awesome technical prowess.


Band #4 was MIR, a girl bassist in a bunny rabbit cap, and guitarist and drummer guys both in white overalls. They alternated between sentimental, kayoukyoku-like ballads and hardcore explosions. At one point, the bunny rabbit girl screamed that, “Of all the religions, Capitalism is the most barbarous!”, to which I thought, yes, but it's also the 'religion' that bought you that nice headless bass...


The band I most wanted to see was the last act, Hyacca, 'A Hundred Mosquitos' from Fukuoka, because of the positive reviews I'd read of them, and they WERE good, but I don't exactly remember in what way, because by that time I was tipsy from the cheap wine that was on offer for 100 yen a paper cup. (Not to criticize, but when I sipped the wine at first I thought it was sour and maybe had been left out in the sun too long, until I realized that's just the way it normally tastes...Still, I got used to it after a while, and it did the trick on the inebriation front.)

“Have you all drunk the cheap wine?” asked the girl vocalist Mosquito, in a rust-red dress, and we answered Y-E-E-E-S. From that point, the wine seemed to gradually go to her own head, so that in a few minutes she tipped over an amp tower, and at the end she was crawling around on stage, ripping out the strings of her guitar and creating spontaneous found-object artwork with the effect pedals. Ian said they were overcompensating tonight because their show the night before didn't go well for some reason I didn't quite hear and wouldn't have remembered anyway at that point, but that 'overcompensation' sure made for fine entertainment!

The event was at a Koenji punk live house wallpapered with band stickers called the 20000V, and part of the reason I was late was because I got lost on the way over there, but it was pleasant wandering Koenji's streets, with ramen stores galore and one-counter bars and old izakaya's all over the place.

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