Tokyo Damage Report

BURNING SPIRITS : paintbox, world burns to death, slip head butt, slang, so what



 Chelsea was the guitarist for PAINTBOX, and also for DEATH SIDE.  I guess those were bands at the heart of the BURNING SPIRITS scene.

BURNING SPIRITS (for those of you who – like me – know nothing about ’80s Japanese hardcore) was the name of a series of concerts that represented the golden age of classic ‘jappa-core’  music.

Mr. Chelsea passed away a few years ago, and every year there is a memorial concert for him, where all the grandpa punks come out of retirement (or prison) to pay their respects to him.

All kinds of toothless, tattooed, elderly vatos turn up that you won’t see until the next "Chelsea no hi."

The bill was insane – 12 bands – over 8 hours of music. The audience was jam-packed even from the first band, at 3 PM:


And it only got worse from there.  This was one of those concerts where, even though the bands were all veteran punks with 100% unimpeachable cred, somehow the audience was the main star of the show. People went nuts from start to finish.


The first couple of bands: BLOWBACK, P.I.M.P.,  SL@NG and AI, I didn’t take pictures because "you’re not supposed to photograph burning spirits bands."  But then I discovered a loophole to this rule:  ". . .unless you’re drunk."   How convienient for me! And you!



(what? they have a myspace?!!?)

 WB2D were really anxious about playing with so many heavy Japanese bands, bands that they look up to. Jack kept saying "Thank you Chelsea! " and, "It’s an honor to be here!"

The fans were a little quiet at first but eventually – like so many police, priests and teachers in ’80s videos – they began to loosen up their neckties, and eventually started dancing.

 LOTS of priceless facial expressions at this event.







 Shit was NUTS.  After EVERY BAND the staff had to MOP THE SWEAT OFF THE STAGE. Sweat was dripping from the ceiling. You know how scientists say that everyone has breathed the same oxygen molecule that Einstein, Hitler and  Chuck D breathed? It was like that but with perspiration. If you DNA tested the liquids coating my body, you would have found like 200 people’s chromosomes. . . . roughly half of which was on file with the police.











 Dude was a total OG. He was so tall his mohawk got knocked over by the ceiling.


 By this time – 5 hours in – many people in the crowd had begun to liquefy.




 Dude in the lower left hand corner’s face says it all. Also, lady in the top left corner? Full kimono. For 8 hours, in 200 degree heat. I think she was the most macho person in the room.

I always liked slip head butt, but thought they were kind of a joke band. But The audience gave the band so much love, they put on a show totally unlike anything I’ve ever seen them do before. It was like seeing a brand new band for the first time.

 Gone were the long sexual monologues,  the bump-and-grind breakdowns, and interminible solos.  Somehow the audience transformed this band into The Stooges.


 Below, the vocal tries to hump the speaker cabinet and shows off his tan line in the process.


 below: master of the lascivious grin.





 I’d never heard them before, and was expecting fairly generic jappa-core, but they suprised me by doing half-jappacore with half SHAM 69.

What the hell? Can’t say it was really my cup of tea, but points for originality.

The drummer was pretty rad – looked like a wizard.







 Anyway – the camera made it barely to the end of the show and then just gave up. Oddly it was not violence or stage-diving which fucked it up – it was the sweat.


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5 Comments so far

  1. Ryan September 11th, 2009 12:20 pm

    Brillliant! Looks like everybody had a cracking time!

  2. timfool September 16th, 2009 1:21 pm

    I saw Paintbox in the late spring of 07 at EarthDOM, Chelsea passed away that summer. I describe “Burning Spirits” as Japanese hardcore with noodly metal type solos, ie. Paintbox, Crude, Etae, Forward, etc.

  3. Hey... September 28th, 2009 9:50 pm

    Far be it from me to tell you what to do (I’ve been reading the site for a long time, so I know s’up…), but I think you really need to check out Paintbox’s new(ish) album. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time, but “Trip, Trance and Traveling” is the fucking “Sergent Pepper’s…” of hardcore punk. I mean that in a good way. Check it out.

    Love the site. It’s funny, I can see my buddy from the East Coast in your crowd pics! Wish I could’ve been there, especially now that I know A.I. did Death Side covers.

  4. admin September 30th, 2009 11:39 pm

    @Hey: Thanks for props and advice. I will check out that paintbox album!

  5. Paizuire September 11th, 2010 3:17 pm

    I had the good fortune to attend 6 or 7 of these. The artwork for the posters was great and most were done by Horiken. My favorite band was Brain Dead Assassins. Loved Pickles, but Jun passed on… that's a hole other night of madness that is now celebrated.

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