Tokyo Damage Report

electric wizard japan tour @ earthdom.


in your face.



More than Corrupted or even Celtic Frost, this was the MMMMMMetal show I had been most looking forward to this year. There were problems to be sure — the venue was way too small to accomodate the number of fans, and 90% of folks could not even see the band — but the sheer rock was undeniable. Thanks also to a sound-person who did not suck, these shows are already a legend in my tiny mind.

SATURDAY SHOW: eternal elysium (nagoya)

everybody in this band seemed to move around more and have more fun than usual — although for a Saint Vitus-y band that is not saying much. The guitarist in particular did hella rock poses with his instrument. Best solo, though, was the wah-wah solo – he’d just play open E and use the wah to play a synchopated rhythm with it.

Perhaps the reason for their happiness is, one of the other bands was late and so Elisiyum got more time on stage: "Would you mind terribly playing an extra 30 minutes of solos tonight sir?" "Oh not at all my good man, I am your obedient servant as ever."

But whatever the reason, I’ve seen them 4 times now and this was the best!


Sonic Flower is a spin-off band of Church of Misery — current bass and drummer, ex-guitarist and a new guitarist, pictured in the center. They play really really fast blues-rock, lots of complicated pentatonic riffs, like a double speed Church, but with solos instead of vocals. And lots of polyester shirts.




(myspace wizzard)

I have loved and been scared of this band since I first heard dopethrone in the late ’90s. The drums were recorded terrible, the engineer seemed to be unaquainted with the concept of "stereo," but the guitar tone was so sick, so huge and dirty, I had never heard anything like it before. You listen to that guitar and you want to get a shot of penicillin. Plus the riffs are repeated until it becomes a trance, and the vocals are repeated in a kind of chant -a sort of a hawkwind-meets-james-brown approach to Sabbath. which perfectly fits with their concept of incantations and rituals and whatnot. So in some ways they are brutally simple neanderthal rock but in other ways they are hella sophisticated.


Also, they have SWING. That should not be noteworthy. Sabbath had hella swing. But for whatever reason, for the last 10 years, doom bands have generally migrated like sheep into 2 categories: stoner rock which is too fast to Swing, and this kind of funeral doom / sludge which is too slow to Swing.

you can count real swingers on one hand: sleep, church of misery, and electric wizard. Sleep already quit, which means there are only 2 swingers left, and THEY ARE BOTH PLAYING THIS SAME SHOW.


I think my favorite guy is the bassist – he’s 9 feet tall Arab from England who doesn’t move at all, but stares out into the crowd with this zombie gaze, and his bass is EXACTLY THE KIND OF BASS A FUCKING WIZZZARD WOULD PLAY- a 6 foot tall solid black thing with mother-of-pearl flame inlay on the fret-board and matching silver flame pick-guard. Plus hella silver knobs. It looks like something you’d find at the tower of Isengard. Like Saruman would whip that out when he and Gandalf fought, and play some really foul fuzzed-out tritones, and then gandalf would bust out some slap-bass chilli-peppers nonsense and GET HIS ASS WUPPED.

The drummer had a foot-long spiked beard, and a bald head with sideburns, and just flailed around like crazy. I was in the second row, you see, so all i could make out was his arms and beard, poking out from behind the singer and waving around. . . . Like some kind of miniature conjoined twin or perhaps evil little homonculous.


below, the crowd: it was wall-to-wall people, insane. Mostly strange and clean-cut faces from the suburbs, bearing tickets bought at 7-11. Also weird — there were almost no foreigners here tonight. Normally metal shows, even without touring bands, get hella honkeys.

Below, the rhythm guitar’s haird does something prehensile with a blonde pseudopod.

People chanted for 10 minutes for an encore : denied.


later, i stuck around and was rewarded with the opportunity to meet some Wizzards in person:



Dead Pan Speakers play this kind of trancey music with a 4/4 beat, and droning guitar/bass lines. They usually play the same 1 note the whole song, but use a combination of effects and subtle changes in tempo/ volume to make it interesting. They even have a dude (in back ,with the hat) whose job it is to co-ordinate the effects of the various instruments, and sample bits of them, process the samples in real time and add the echoes to the overall mix. Ordinairly it is not my thing at all, particularly when they go barefoot or choose to be accompanied by a saxophonist. But tonight they actually did pretty good. I like how they are constantly playing little guitar notes but it never sounds like a "solo" or, god forbid, a "jam."


Then there’s the drummer. he looked like the most normal little salary-man guy, until he takes off his shirt:

That is the fucking best thing ever!! If he had like a bunch of body-mods and tribal tatoos and bullshit, that would be just another tat, but to go from no tattoos at all to "giant fuckin’ devil head RIGHT ABOUT HERE" is just so much more badass!!

It is especially creepy because it is the exact size of a regular human head. I wonder if he does Senor Wences routines with it when he is in the tub. "sallright?" "sallright."




Church got a long set, and busted out way more crazy rockstar moves than usual. I think pretty much every band at this event gave 120% because of how much the crowd was supporting them. I already took like a million pictures of them so this time i mostly rocked out. which was hard, because i was in the SECOND ROW. the place was so packed that, out of the 350 people there, only the first row had a chance to see the band or room to bang their heads. fucking second row!! i was there like an hour before fucking doors open, and still got punked by the 10 people that got in before me! i swear to god, they all headed straight for the stage and planted themselves like greenpeace workers in front of a starving whale.

more crowds: you have to understand that most of these kids are going to leave the concert, take the last Saturday train back to the suburbs, and that train will LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THE CONCERT.


below, the singer dove out and was doing his thing from the middle of the crowd:






now, as for the crowd. . . let’s go back to the photo of last night’s crowd, during Wizard’s set:

compare that to Sunday’s crowd:


Motherfuckers went APE SHITTY.

Why is that? It was the same NUMBER of fans, and the same band. Was it some sinister time-bomb enchantment planted by Church of Misery? Was it a feedback loop where fans gave more energy to the band, and vice versa? Was it because of more metal, less -suburban demographic? I have no idea, but the insane crowd made me happy that I didn’t have a front-row spot, after all. I spent the whole set in the middle of the room, surrounded by dancing fools, all of us rocking the fuck out.

below, the band a resemble these teeny tiny figurines, about to be swamped by a huge tsunami of Yamato flesh:

This was one of the most friendly crowds ever – usually at this club you only talk to people you know, but this time i made friends with hella strange people in the midst of the chaos, based on our mutual love for chrono-nauts, super-covens, barbarians, wizards, and such.

All these pictures were taken from inside the pit, with one arm up all periscope style, having no idea what the lens would capture.

Above, a badass chick stagediving. She came up to me after the show and wanted to hang out, but I, who was pretty drunk, did not recognize her as the Badass Chick Stagediver, and kind of blew her off.

. . .

Thus proving that alcohol is good for my marriage.

Shit was off the hook. I have no idea if this was a regular live for them or not. Afterwards i ambushed the members again, this time to give them a DVD with like 70 albums on it — not my own music but the most scary psychedelic trancey avant-garde and tribal folk music from around the planet that i’d collected. Plus pictures from this.




effing metal!!!!

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