a la mode night @ studio 324, April 13th 2008
mmmyeah, A LA MODE NIGHT is a venerable Gothic Lolita institution, but since the Loli trend is mostly over, recently they have been mixing it up with rave and industrial people, so now it is kind of a smorgasbord. Anyway, say what you will about ALL those genres, it was a bargain – 6 bands PLUS over 3 hours of dance tunes, all for around $30. in Tokyo that is a deal. Also noteworthy – it is no longer an all-night event, but a 5 pm -to-10:30 event. that means you have a whole club of sober people dancing at 6PM! I think that is rad!
Also rad: the bartender knew how to make a vodka-lime, vodka-tonic, screwdriver, etc. But she had no concept of a "straight vodka." So when i asked for one, rather than pouring me a "shot", she just filled the whole cup up with the stuff. Rad! In your face, Tom Cruise’s Character From That One Movie!
Anyway, as always, the main reason to go is not the bands but the people:
he played some music. I have to say, it was pretty good. Here is a balcony view of the crowd:
I was sporting my usual gothic uniform: ben davis and chuck taylors. After getting that vodka in me, i felt pretty confident, so i figured, hey, why not do the c-walk.
Then it hit me: c-walking is basically LORD OF THE DANCE for black people (and confused chinese kids). someone make a mash-up video of this and post it to youtube, please.
Here I am after dancing : Hella soaked with sweat, which I took a perverse pleasure in drippin on other people , when i shook my flowing golden locks. . . .
#1: Rose De Reficul et Guiggles
They got a long-ass name, the meaning of which je n’e ce pas. So from here on out, I’ll just call them Giggles.
Last time I saw their semi-improv, semi guginol play, The lady was some sort of stuck-up queen, and her king got killed and then she got ravaged by the tall Frankenfurter dude/lady in black. This time around, she’s a stuck-up rich girl who is approached by three suitors bearing gifts, none of which she likes, and then she gets ravaged by the rejected suitors. So, I guess those are what we call the giggles’ MOTIFS.
Here is the main ravager – the cigar-smoking left-side-female, right-side-male chick/dude/guy. You can’t see it from my wack photos, but even the hat is ambidextrous – half top-hat and half ostritch-feather-festooned flapper beret.
Oh, and there are songs.
#2 – BLOOD
My first thought – holy cow this dude isn’t even mainly a singer – he is just promoting some Thinner Abs In Just 10 Minutes A Day informercial contraption.
My first-and-a-half thought: Gothic Stripper was writhing around the feet of the singer guy. She had the whole Hot Goth Mama look going on, but it was altogether too predictable . I started thinking, "What are the most innapropriate shoes for a goth stripper?"
2) Big puffy Air Jordans
My second thought – isn’t the name a little too short? I mean, most bands are like, Blood Beatles, or Blood Axe or Blood Witch or Witchy Blood Banquet . . . of Blood, or, at any rate some combination of "blood+other word". Just calling yourself BLOOD is like saying "We are the best of all the bands about blood," which is writing a pretty big check for your ass.
Related thought: the Swedish Viking Metal band BATHORY has an album called BLOOD FIRE DEATH. Is that not the most quintissential metal title? I know it is perfect as is, but my inner devil’s advocate/ ad executive instinctively looked for ways to improve it. .. . .just as a challenge. . . how could this possibly be more metal?
BLOOD FIRE DEATH MOUSTACHE.
BLOOD FIRE DEATH MOUSTACHE TITS
BLOOD FIRE DEATH MOUSTACHE SKULL TITS MOTORCYCLE INJURY.
Halfway through BLOOD’S set, the gigantically-bewigged keyboard player had trouble. Technical problems of a synth nature. The problems were quickly fixed but it made me ask the question, WHAT IS THE WORST POSSIBLE TECHNICAL GLITCH A GOTHIC BAND COULD HAVE?
answer: keyboards automatically and unstoppably play the demo,midi, karaoke version of TUSH by ZZ TOP.
By the way this was generic fake marylin manson stuff. i was thinking, as i usually do when confronted with a horrid band,"What would it take to make this good? How could this possibly be salvaged?" these are the questions my inner Maurice Starr asks. In this case – what would make this band awesome is, them having these dudes wearing exactly the same costumes but playing ZZ TOP covers. Not even the "goth version" — completely straight faithful texass-style covers.
They could be called ZZ TOD.
the CANDY SPOOKY THEATER
Aside from being basically the singer of BLOOD with a shirt on, Candy SPooky Theater had pretty good music. You know that circus music, the one clown song that’s all da!da!da-da-da-da-, da!da!-daaaaa,da. . .
It was like that. Kind of a Tim Burton thing going on.
Plus the bassist had a rad get-up:
(pronounced Gee Pee Kay – ism)
This was the featured attraction. I swear half the people left after this, they just up and joined homey’s entourage and marched out the building together. I think GPK is the initials of the main singer, an Australian dragqueen. And the guitarist below, he look familiar? he’s in BLOOD.
This sort of Michelin Man-Meets-marie-Antoinette character is the mastermind behind the band. He spent most of the set totally motionless, or else pretending to play a synthesyzer – it was beyond the fake-playing that bands do in music videos. . . . not only was Michellin Antoinette not playing ,but the thing he was not playing was not even a synth – i think it was just a black shoebox. But since his/her PVC fingers were like 12 inches long, a real synth would be wasted on him/her anyway, so it worked out for the best, i guess.
The other half of the set, he/she was holding a fur-fan, which actually sounds worse than it is.
also, not pictured : dildo shoes.
And again, my inner Phil Spector took over: what would be the best possible instrument for him to have, assuming he had to play a real instrument?
harmonica? hilarious but ultimately not visual – you couldn’t see it, cupped inside his monstrous fingers, so the comedy would suffer.
gothic human beatbox? ditto.
washtub bass? warm.
rhythmically zinging a washboard? warmer
BLOW ON A JUG.
perfection!!! i mean, can you imagine???
I think this was a duet from ITALY. Notwithstanding that he looked exactly like the singer for CANDY SPOOKY< who was basically the dude from BLOOD with a shirt on. They sang in English (ish) so I think i can comment on the lyrics: every song was about some supernatural force that was about to get you, and/or drive him over the brink of insanity. Either way, there was nothing to be done, becuase it HAD COME FROM BEYOOOOOOND> These guys even had a song about gnomes, i swear to god. . . I think it was called GNOME ATTACK or something. Gothic gnome-bashing as a concept is funny enough by itself, but what REALLY MADE ME LOSE MY SHIT was this: the dude in front of me in the line-to-get-in was so short, even in platform Rave Boots and a giant Cyber Head-dress -slash-robot-head-mascot, he was tiny. During the first 3 bands, every time i saw homey i was like, ho shit here comes the gnome!
or, ho shit, the gnome is dancing with the go-go dancer
or: damn gnome is from the future, dogg!
and now THEY ACTUALLY HAD A SONG ABOUT HIM. Fuck, that was on point!
Anyway, back to the band, the italian dude had a death metal voice and rapper mannerisms, the yo-yo-yo hand waving and also the crotch grabbing, which was impressive considering he was Edward Scissorhands.
Also, see the guitarist in back? IT IS THE SAME GUY FROM BLOOD AND GPKISM!!!! i am serious!
Here is something even cooler: HIS GUITAR IS NOT PLUGGED INTO ANYTHING. He played the whole set like that. Fuck, i don’t mind the fakery, but, if you’re just faking it, at least pretend to do hella wicked solos and windmills and shit, you know. The music’s all on a CD-R anyway, so there is no way you can play a wrong note. That is what i really can’t forgive about the whole scenario.
I only got one picture of them because they sucked really bad. This terrible, regular, rock music. The only good thing was their keyboard player WAS ALSO A GNOME. a gnome WITH A VISOR. standing on a MILK CRATE. he had like 3 keyboards AND A CYMBAL. a MINIATURE CYMBAL SUITABLE FOR HIS TINY PAWS. Anyway he was so fucking intense. I was waiting for him to get revenge on the SPECTRUM X guys for their anti-gnome propaganda, and sure enough my hopes came true:
He gave a little speech, "OK we got bands from italy and australia and they are good but japan’s gothic industrial scene is the best!!!" which was ironic becuase his band was neither gothic nor industrial PLUS no one in the audience liked them (despite being from the greatest country in the world and etc).
Thus proving that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel AND the gnome.
plus, even more than his misplaced nationalism, even more than his horrid boring rock, the worst thing: he was actually PLAYING a PLUGGED IN ACTUAL SYNTH – like a SUCKER.