Saturday, September 13, 2008

Murmur, advantage Lucy, Caraway, Lost In Found

Facing pounding rain as I headed out to see advantage Lucy and others, I remembered a line from the Lucy song “Smile Again”: “I realized there's no rain that never stops (yamanai ame nante nai to kizuita)”. And, indeed, by the end of the Basement Bar show, the downpour had run its course.


There were many friends at the Basement Bar. Watching the show next to the stage was Three Berry Icecream's Mayumi, whose music advantage Lucy grew up listening to. Mayumi's daughter was also there—she's known these bands since she was a baby. But where once she danced and called out the names of favorite singers, now, in elementary school, she ducked behind the stage and plugged her ears during the loud parts.

The evening's headliner, Murmur's Mai Tsuyutani, was an advantage Lucy fan from when she was a teen-ager. She was too shy back then to say hi to the band and tell them she's learning to play the guitar; hearing that, Lucy guitarist Ishizaka gave Mai's mom (who had taken her to the show) a guitar pick to pass on to her daughter as a souvenir. Mai says she still has it, in her little treasure box at home.

Lost In Found, the first act, toured Seoul together with advantage Lucy in 2004. They were always good, in a cute amateurish way, but in a few years' time they've developed into great, fun live band, at once relaxed and energetic, and featuring one of the prettiest-sounding guy-girl vocal duos around. They've become a band I want to see every time they play.

Act two was Caraway (the top photo), Swinging Popsicle guitarist Osamu Shimada's other band. Swinging Popsicle and advantage Lucy both hit it big in the late-90's, and they considered each other as rivals of sorts back then, in a good way, but now, a decade later, they are good friends. Swinging Popsicle's vocalist's husband runs the Nakano pasta joint where advantage Lucy filmed their “Sunday Pasta” video. (By the way, my friend David Cirone has published a photo collection of Swinging Popsicle. It's full of gorgeous pictures of the bands, plus two interviews, one by me. If you're a Popsicle fan, check it out! Info here.)


Outside the club before the show, a mikoshi, a portable Shinto shrine, was being carried around, bounced up and down, when a fight broke out. One of the fighters was a guy in dreadlocks; his challenger grabbed his dreads, and he latched on to the challenger's hair too, so the mediators found it impossible to pull them apart, and all the revelers stood and watched the the spat in silent disgust. It must have been all the drinking that prompted the fight—fights happen from time to time at festivals, where adults often drink continuously from the early afternoon. The crowd was unhappy the festivities were sullied by a fight. But, I couldn't help thinking that maybe one thing being celebrated at a matsuri like this was the elemental nature of humans, not only love and fertility, but also fighting and destruction, so the spat wasn't completely out of place...

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