Tokyo Damage Report

theatrical rock show: zombie lolita, 213 chicks, ‘junior high school grave’


click on the photos to go to the image gallery- 40 more pictures.



Ok, I’ve decided that since I’m doing so many rock show reviews, I should have a coherent reviewing schema.

I hate passionately those hack rock reviewers in every newspaper and weekly sludge magazine that rely on awkward and fumbling synasthesia (i.e. "the riffs were heavier than steel . . and twice as cool!") , and ALWAYS WITHOUT FAIL include one perfunctory sentence describing both the bassist and drummer. It’s the same sentence in every rock review ever written. “(4 paragraphs about the singer and guitarist’s pants, followed by) … backed by SOANDSO’s pummeling drums and WHATSHISFACE’S booming bass rhythms.” As if ‘pummeling’ or ‘booming’ is communicating an iota of useful information. Like they put on their little reporter’s hat and went up to the band, all asking, “These drum beats you play, would you say they pummel? To what extent? Oh really. And your bass playing, would you characterize this as booming? Or is it more of a ‘punishing bass workout?’”


Why am I even ranting about this? It’s not like I pull this bullshit. But increasingly I am wondering, what is my goal? Am I writing for people who might visit japan AND like punk will know what bands to see? What about the 90% of readers who aren’t so into punk? Is there a way to write a review so it will be entertaining to them? Or should I just try to keep it brief and sheepish: “oh, and I went to ANOTHER amazing show you don’t care about, sorry.”

Oh, I forgot: I don’t care about ANY of you.

I’m just writing to help me remember shit 10 years from now. I’m describing the most interesting (whether good bad or frankly absurd) parts of the concert, which usually don’t involve music.

Ok, well now I’ve got my mission statement.

(shorter mission statement: ‘weird anecdotes good, readers bad’).

But I still have another problem : EVEN I am getting bored of writing show reviews. From now on, ONLY if a band does something noteworthy (=unexpected) will I write a paragraph. But otherwise I’ll just use the DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS method, and say it with numbers.

Band rating scale; 1 to 5 in most cases, though I reserve the right to dole out transcendental numbers arbitrarily. This is the first time that I’m using this DND method, so I’ll probably be changing/improving the categories as time goes on. Suggestions?


BAND #1: their name . . .it’s in Chinese. I can’t even begin to pronounce it.

Sounds like: slow bits sound like saint vitus; midtempo bits sound like greg gin doing him some heavy metal.

Stage posing: 4

Funny faces: 4. great faces on singing vocal, but maybe it’s just his massive Lemmiesque sideburns.

Fashion: pink nightie covered with the text to some brutal story; GG Allin moustache.

Band frenzy: 2

crowd frenzy : 1

creativity / technical ‘wow’ moments: good use of ‘call and response’ riff ?vs.-singing parts

# of songs I could remember after the show was over: 0

# of times I’d go back to see them again before it got boring: 1

these guys had an AMAZING doom-metal first song, but every song after that was the same sounding mid-tempo play-a-lot-of-notes-fast song over and over, with a lot of syncopated rhythms that reminded me of Greg Ginn’s songs.



BAND NAME: 213 chicks

Sounds like: trying to be Bauhaus but wind up being Duran Duran.

Stage posing: 5. fucking awesome singer.

Funny faces: 3

Fashion: singer uses props. Not fashion exactly but whatever. Guitarist has full-on Buddhist monk costume, AND does the chuck berry ‘duck walk’. Which by ITSELF would be enough reason to see the band.

Band frenzy: 3

crowd frenzy; 3. this was the only band that got even 4 people to dance tonight.

music heaviness: 1

band scariness: 0

creativity / technical ‘wow’ moments: 0

# of songs I could remember after the show was over: 0

# of times I’d go back to see them again before it got boring: 1

213 chicks had nothing going on musically and their set was like 3 times as long as it should have been, but the singer was so great?came out with a paper bag on his head, hobbling like an old man using a cane. Then off went the bag, and he just starts SPAZZING OUT like crazy. This is one singer that is not afraid to point. He spent the whole show pointing at stuff. It was almost like a nervous tic or some kind of OCD thing. Fabulous. Later homey busted out some Clark Kent glasses and wore them while pointing some more. Even though their set was like 4 hours long, he never lost any energy. Really good.




Stage posing: everyone but bassist: 1 bassist: 7.

Funny faces: 3

Fashion: 3. vocalists had all kinds of costumes but none were any good. Well, the last singer was good. Guitarist had this absurd Randy Neuman look going on.

Band frenzy: 1. really disappointing, especially when you consider that the singers weren’t supposed to sing well, their job was just to be visual.

crowd frenzy : -1. they actively SUPRESSED the crowd.

music heaviness: 1. really not heavy for a metal band.

band scariness: 1

creativity / technical ‘wow’ moments: concept was creative: “regular heavy metal band” + “ten different teenage girl singer/screamers that have no talent but want to be famous”

# of songs I could remember after the show was over: 1

# of times I’d go back to see them again before it got boring: 1

ZOMBIE LOLITA have a different teen girl singer every song. I didn’t like them so much, but only because I was promised ‘brutal death metal plus Carrie-style teen gore and carnage.’ In fact it was not heavy at all. The bass player was the shit though: she was so into posing with her bass that she’d FUCKING FORGET TO PLAY IT. Halfway through the set they got some dude to be like the ‘ghost bass player’ and double her riffs. So for that alone they were awesome. The girl singers’ function in the band was just to be outrageous, and not to ‘sing’ or ‘sound good.’ Given the possibilities, they really didn’t do anything amazing?no fistfights, very little all-out whooping screams, no blood, no big strap-on anythings. The only amazing talent I saw was when the keyboardist got up to sing. She was wearing some kind of shirt so tight that by rights her lungs should have collapsed into singularities, and yet not only could she live, but she was actually able to sing as well. THAT was interesting. And nippley. But for the most part, they just stood there while like 4 cameramen constantly videoed them.

That’s right, This band brought their own entourage of cameramen. The cameramen formed like this human wall between the band and the audience, and were all like shushing me when I tried to get in front to take a picture too. It’s like, yo. You guys are a) killing the rock vibe here, b) making this whole event really sexually creepy instead of funny, and c) is the band here to entertain us, the paying customers, or make a fuckin’ video? If they’re making a video, YOU should be paying US. It was just disrespectful and kind of creepy. Like the band could have just packed up and the girls could have just stood there picking their nose or something and there still would have been everyone watching.

At least they had something different, though. So I’d go see them again.


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