Sunday was girl band night at the Club Que, but the three featured groups had little in common other than that they were all girls.
First up was Kinoco Hotel, AKA "mushroom ryokan" (...OK, not really), a quartet in red, Sgt. Pepper-like coats with miniskirts, whose songs were a throw-back to 60's Group Sounds, surf rock, and kayou hits. They were spirited (both the vocalist and lead guitar dashed into the audience section on separate occasions), skilled at their instruments, and looked great, with short, sharply-cut hair. The singer had a voice like a Golden-gai bar mama's; she called the other band members "employees" while they called her "general manager", of the mushroom hotel.
They seemed to have lots of fans, and the word from the Japan Times is that they're in talks to play at high-profile festivals, so maybe they're rising stars. Personally, I felt the band would benefit from some sort of extra ingredient--the retro 60's thing has been done by others, and wild stage action isn't new either.
Band #2 was Tokyo Pinsalocks, and though I remembered I liked them in previous appearances, this time I was a bit shocked how good they were. Had they changed their style, in a perfect way? Their guitarist quit a few years back, and they've replaced the guitar band sound with this driving, electronics-heavy musical creation of Mac samples, synthesizers, bass and drums. The bassist, in particular, was super-cool, tall as a volleyball player, with two-toned long hair in black and blond. She plucked out repeated, effect-laden parts wearing an expression that was at once expressionless and nirvana. The trio's loud, rainbow outfits were also dazzling on stage. Here's a recent performance by them (though, as always, it loses something in the transfer):
I only caught a few songs of the last band, Noodles. They were great--vocalist Yoko is a Tokyo indie scene demigoddess--but I was pretty tired of the event by then. The Que is a lovely live house, but it's far from the most comfortable spot when crowded, with no space to move. It has to be a band I'm crazy about for me to want to risk a sold-out gig at the Que, but I'm old and jaded.