Thursday, June 12, 2008
Vasallo Crab 75 & Our Pathetic Generation
Talkin' 'bout my ge-ne-ration...
“Our generation sucks musically,” said Vasallo Crab 75's singer at this band's after-show party.
“It's because we grew up listening to punk and grunge. Playing an instrument well was actually uncool. So, now, kids in the next generation play better than we do.”
There was probably something to what he said. The generation in question, commonly tagged with the letter X (and whose ranks include myself...), didn't, for the most part, put much effort into developing musical virtuosity. We were reacting to the excesses of corporate-tainted progressive rock, we told ourselves. We were making music freer, so that anyone can play and express his emotions, was the standard line. And we still don't judge musicians based solely on their skills. Some of us might also be fashion-challenged as a result of our punk/grunge days because T-shirts and ripped jeans were cool and were the uniform, and they still seem good to us.
But...you have to watch out for the pitfall of Japanese modesty, and not take seriously everything people say. Maybe at the start of their career the musicians of Vasallo Crab 75 weren't all that hot, but now, they're solidly in the Talented Musicians camp.
And so are the other Gen X, thirty-something bands that VC75 invited for the gig: Gomes The Hitman's Toshiaki Yamada with his amazing voice, like some bronze-colored art piece you want framed; pop trio Swinging Popsicle dashing through their classics without a single misstep, while having a blast; and Vasallo Crab, that once-mellow guitar pop duo that's turned into a pimp-suited, Prince funk-imitating, Bach violin solo-ripping, ultra-tight, mini-rock chamber orchestra—they really put on a show. You forget the day's travails. Gradually they're replacing their former, mild-mannered guitar pop fan base with hyper, dance-prone club supporters, who are great company.
Seeing bands like this makes me think that buzz isn't that important. There's always buzz about the latest hot new bands in town, but they often disappoint. The trend-zoids might not be talking about VC75, but that doesn't matter at all when you see how good they are after so many years of playing live, during which they developed confidence and stage presence. And while us lazy generation X MoFo's might still suck at our musical instruments, these bands sure don't. In fact, they're the best.