Tokyo Damage Report

PROG: kouenji hakkei, saito electric goodsound, synergetic nuts

Went to this progressive show. The most dangerous prog rock show ever. Why dangerous? Well, look at who-all is going there ? me, taking a lady who likes me but I don’t like her, and to make things even soumore weird I am bringing a guy I have never met before, plus at the show is a girl who I like but does not like me, plus a guy I am fighting with AND my ex-best friend who hates my guts but I miss her every day AND she looks exactly like the girl who likes ME.

The general theme of tonight was, WE HATE GUITARS. Each band had a different sound / gimmick but they all eschewed the hated Stick of Rock.

MACHINE AND THE SYNERGETIC NUTS

The first band was a drums-and-sitar duo which did rather silly math-rock, and closed with a sitar version of 20 TH CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN.

CONTI

Then was some hideous jazz-funk fusion wankers who managed to be technical and boring, and incredibly smug. Just oozing smugness onto everyone in a manner which we did not appreciate. And yes I AM using the Royal We because I am the King of HatingThatBandIstan. I mean, they had chops but they just made the beginner mistake of having like 5 riffs that all sounded the same and had very little dynamics.

 

Then SAITO ELECTRIC GOODSOUND.

Photos by Jim Youll, thanks Jim! see more of his tokyo photos here . . .

Fuck!!! This was probably the most fun band of the night. Trombone, drums, 2 vintage moog synths, and xylophone. it was like Zappa mixed with early american cartoon music, all helter-skelter and zany. Songs all 30 seconds long. The really crux of the band is this: not the wacky melodies or the totally odd sounds that come out of the moogs ? bleep, frap, blooorrsh, wrmmmple ? but the real deal is, at no point are more than half the members playing! Like 1 or 2 people will play a phrase which lasts 3 seconds, and as soon as they finish, another, seemingly random, group of instruments will pick up where they left off, and play a phrase which only lasts TWO seconds, and then the trombone will play one single note that lasts like 45 seconds, followed by 4 minutes of silence and then the xylophone playing 100 notes in 1 second, and so on. Often everyone will stop playing, and then exactly 3.45 seconds later, all hit a note together. The left side of the orchestra will finish a creshendo while the right side is just starting one. If it sounds pretentious or arty it is because I am a shitty writer. The sounds are so cartoony and everyone is smiling, and the atmosphere of general fun totally obliterates any arti-fartiness.

KOUENJI HYAKKEI

 

(first and best photo also by Jim Youll, thanks again!)

Literally this means, the hundred scenic spots from the town of Kouenji. Which makes sense, since that is where the band is from. It is one of Tetsuda Yoshida-sensei’s million side projects besides RUINS. But unlike RUINS it is not really spaztic. Like RUINS it is totally absurd, overblown and bombastic though. Picture opera vocal duets, jazz saxophone, fuzz bass, and plus Mr. Yoshida’s general over-playing spazz attack and you will still have no idea how totally overwhelming this band is. like, the singers are wailing some Ring Of The Nibelung shit at glass-shattering pitches while the piano is playing like 80% of the speed of the rest of the band, and the bass and drums are locked into some crazy groove and on top of that the saxophone is playing a hypnotic melody that does not go with anything else. But somehow it all works together! I would have preferred something with more percussion and less melody, but I guess that is what Mr. Yoshida’s other 388 bands are for.

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