There they were, the band I'd been wanting to see, the 21st Century group that cherishes the 60's and 70's, the creators of a mini-CD called Theme of Atami Sex Museum—Salome Lips. To a bittersweet kayou melody that made you forget you were in Shinjuku 2009, two girls go-go danced in shimmering pink and aqua, while between them, the stunning diva sang. What I noticed most were her glistening eyes, on a little face always wearing a restrained expression—the eyes acknowledged the melodrama of the lyrics, and accepted it. They made her seem like from some other place, the eyes of a sad cabaret singer in a desolate port town, in a time long past. What an enchanting actress! She sang in a low voice while her partner, the bassist in 70's hair, boogied to the retro resurrection.
Salome Lips were beautiful and captivated me, but other parts of the Shinjuku Jam event made me realize that retro music for retro music's sake can fall flat. The mediocre stuff is at an even bigger disadvantage because the music is already so old. Lovers of past music still need to create their own sound—and I think of the epitome of that, the great Asakusa Jinta.
The Lady Spade's MC-narrated, hip, nostalgic karaoke is nice too, but the third time around, I knew the act, including the dancing. A first time Lady Spade sighting is a shock, and should be included in any music lover's Tokyo visit itinerary if possible, but for the benefit of the regulars I hope they continue innovating.
Wow, the Jam was packed though, and there was one bartending girl to take care of the whole, mostly all-you-can-drink crowd, resulting in long lines—I was thirsty at first. They were lucky it wasn't, say, an Australian or English audience.
I liked this article on Tokyo, by the way, though some of it seemed to verge on the fantastic. Still, it's true in many nameless, cramped buildings, you can feel like you are in a dungeon or maze of the unexpected, something that you don't experience much except in big Asian cities.