Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ore Wa Konna Mon Janai!

Ore wa konna mon janai could enter a weird Japanese band names competition and go pretty far. It means “you ain't seen nothing of me yet”, something a guy might say after messing up royally at work, being yelled at by the boss in front of all his co-workers, and shedding some hot, frustrated tears in a bathroom stall. Why this prog/psychedelia/rock quintet named themselves this is anyone's guess.

In any case, OWKMJ was my one fresh discovery at disk union event in Shinjuku on Saturday night. The event was held at the Marz and Motion, two live houses on the same block in Kabuki-cho, and you could go back and forth between the two, and, if you so desired, grab a meal outside or make a convenience store stop while doing so (actually, since the event went from 2PM to past midnight, there would be nothing stopping you from catching a movie or involving yourself in other Shinjuku activities and when you return, the event would still likely be going on...). The Motion is on the 5th floor, so after a show if there was a good band coming up at the Marz, a big line formed at the elevator to get out of there.

I was at the event to see 4 Bonjour's Parties (photo above) and henrytennis (photo below OWKMJ), and OWKMJ's set was between theirs. It started out like some sort of new religion gathering, the sax/snare drum guy spreading out his arms to welcome the converts while moaning and smiling. It developed into an exhilarating blend of prog, psychedelic rock and jazz, and the band especially had good moments when the sax guy pounded on his snare drum, creating complex beats along with the main drummer.

Ore Wa Konna Mon Janai

Here's a good description of OWKMJ's sound:

Mixing psychedelic rock with mysterious ambient spaces lends a timeless flavour to their music, while at the same time remaining immediate and captivating. Each song is a journey in itself, with a host of influences giving you a backpacker's view of the road less-hitched. From Moroccan desert themes and solemn pastural melodies to bastard noise-punk from the inner-city, OWKMJ covers every inch of the musical terrain with intensity and originality. by cal lyall(soundispatch)


The more shows I go to like this one where you can go in and out of the venue as you wish, the more I grow to dislike the Tokyo live house convention of not allowing re-entry into the club once you leave. The Marz even had a sign saying, 'please try to watch all the bands and not just the group you're a fan of, because all those bands have something they want to communicate to you'. Which is no doubt true, but really, to quote from Boogie Nights, that's YP, not MP: if I can help it I'd rather not waste hours listening to bands I don't like, and I appreciate musicians that subvert the Tokyo live house convention by letting fans know beforehand what time they will be playing. (And, of course, there's hypocrisy involved on the live house's part—maybe they want you to see all the bands, sure, but they no doubt don't mind the added drink revenue that comes from keeping the audience in their clubs for as long as they can).

I admire the Shibuya O-Nest in this regard: partly because they have their own bar on a separate floor from the live space, they let people go out and come back by showing the ticket stubs. Other Tokyo live houses! You can do it too! Open up your doors!


As an LA guy, I couldn't help but crack up seeing this Engrish street sign...

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