Tokyo Damage Report

reup: tetsuarei, nightmare: ONE ON ONE LIVE

5/29

Went do a slightly different kind of punk show tonight. A ONE-ON-ONE show. This means only 2 bands play. Both bands are very old-school jappa-core from at least 15 years ago. It was a good concept except for this: instead of doing like a 2- or 3- round fight where each band would take turns playing, they opted instead for a ganman-style EACH BAND PLAYS AN HOUR OF NONSTOP THRASH approach. Which, aside from not fitting the fight metaphor, was just not a practical thing to do with bands whose members are approaching 50 years old.

 

BAND NAME: nightmare

from: SENDAI

How long they’ve been around: 15 YEARS

Sounds like: I couldn’t tell. Because the sound man fucked them up SO BAD. In Tokyo the rule is, you HAVE to fuck up the sound of the first band, EVEN IF THERE ARE ONLY 2 BANDS PLAYING. The ideal goal is, on a 10 band show, to make every band unlistenable except the last. The vocal was hella quiet, the guitar sounded like the guy from R.E.M. twanging through a 5” tall practice speaker, the bass sounded like some guy in the garage next door revving the engine of his delivery truck, and the drums, jesus, don’t even get me started on the drums. The single loudest instrument in the whole band was the kick drum, which didn’t even sound like a kick drum even remotely. Every time these poor saps would try to play a note, they’d be interrupted by the kick drum “HERE I AM!” “HERE I AM AGAIN!” “HEY GUYS, YOU MISS ME? THE KICK DRUM?” “HEY THERE!” and so on. what makes this even more amusing is this: do they get mad at the sound guy? no. who do they get mad at? ME. because i was taking pictures. Whatever, whitney houston.

anyway, from what I could tell by listening to the kick drum alone, they were probably old thrashly stuff.

Stage posing: bassist just gave 100%. Totally throwing his bass around. He was one of those bassists from the “extend the strap until the bottom of the bass is around your knees, and then pluck the strings halfway up the damn neck” School. As for the vocal, he was totally ‘henly lorrins.’. he was intense too, but he didn’t move around much. His intensity was more like “I’m barely holding my violent misanthropic rage inside”. His face was clenched. His fists were clenched. Somehow he managed to clench HIS WHOLE BODY. At first I was deeply impressed by this feat, but then I realized the singer stole that ‘whole body clench’ schtick directly from the famous black flag singer. Plus his FACE looked like Alfred e. neuman?the gap teeth, the bumpy nose, the preternaturally wide face and twinkling malicious eyes. Like imagine if Alfred e. neuman grew up to be a 40 year old PCP-abusing construction worker with a black flag fixation, AND a head scarf that made him look like a Mujhadeen for good measure.

Funny faces: aside from the Clenched Face, none.

Fashion: aside from the random head scarf? 0 points. Just an average “we’re all workin’ men” kind of look.

crowd frenzy : 2

music heaviness: 4. they played REALLY hard and intensely. But the fact is, the crowd wasn’t moving and the sound was just unbelievably bad, and this pretty much sucked the enjoyment out of what should have been a terrific performance. Also the fact that they didn’t acknowledge the audience AT ALL during the entire 1 hour set.

band scariness: 4

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: 0

the vocal was all trying to poke me with the microphone stand because I was taking pictures. I was like, “what? Am I going to get rich selling the photos to the, like, 15 people that came to see your band?” but whatever, I stopped. It’s not worth getting my jaw broke, just to get documentary evidence that the singer looks like the Mad Magazine mascot. My friend later told me that back in the ‘old school’ days no one took pictures, so these guys were just trying to ‘keep it real’ or whatever. I couldn’t be mad at them though. . . I just felt bad for them. They were totally rocking harder than bands half their age, but the sound was such utter shit, and the crowd was just not moving at all. In return the band just totally ignored the crowd. It was just awkward and endless, like a Saturday night live skit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAND TWO: TETSUAREI (鉄アレイ) ("dUMB-BELLS")

Where from: tokyo

How long they’ve been around: at least 15 years

Sounds like: not-so-fast thrash with really catchy hooks and ‘whoa whoa whoa’ backup singing.

Stage posing: 4. vocal had this total Pro Wrestling fixation which was vastly entertaining. Not only did he have the LOOK down, but during the songs he’d totally do these wrestling-promo-style “You’re going DOWN, BROTHER!” moves while singing.

Funny faces: 4. everyone in the band was constantly ‘grimacing musically’ (to quote berke breathed). The drummer in particular looked constantly chagrinned, as if he felt bad for kicking the drums’ ass so hard the whole time.

Fashion: leather shorts with hiking boots. Who says Japanese guys can’t be Bears? Also key: EVERYONE had the Painful Neck Tattoos. The P.N.T. ratio of this band just can not be beat. The drummer not only had a Mohawk, but he actually looked like he might actually BE a native Mohawk. Homey was not all Japanese.

Band frenzy: 3. not a lot of crazy jumps or hurled instruments, but they paced themselves really well so they didn’t get tired halfway through the 1 hour set (unlike the first band)

crowd frenzy : 4, considering that there was NOT a big crowd.

music heaviness: 2

band scariness: 4

creativity / technical ‘wow’ moments: punk with HARMONICA SOLO. Plus between every song the singer was like , ‘ONE ON ONE!! ONE ON ONE!!’

# 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: 3

besides NOT being dicks who took themselves too seriously, TETSUARE just brought a hella fun pro-wrestling vibe to the night. Hella fools were pogoing, tough-ass construction workers were all smiling and grinning.

One guy in particular was just SPECTACULAR. He had the Aladdin-pants that all Japanese construction guys wear, plus the mullet, the moustache, the baseball cap, the vest-with-no-shirt, the no-front-teeth, and he was just grinning and dancing like CRAZY. I didn’t know what to do so I gave homey my drink ticket. One OTHER fan was just the absolute MASTER of air punching.

It’s a wonder we didn’t all die of asphyxiation, he was kicking the air’s ass so hard I figured it would just run away from the building and leave us all choking.

Just EVERY NOTE the guy was like “take that, air!” “what did you say about my sister, air?” “ahh! Sticking around for more, eh?” the one time I looked over and saw him, he was not punching the air at all. I was like, “yo, what’s wrong with my man?” suddenly, with blinding speed, WHAM!! The biggest air-punch of all. I was just totally floored by this. He was DELIBERATELY not punching the air, so he could, like, lull it into a false sense of security, and then just when it wasn’t expecting it, WHAM. Like, he had actual TACTICS and shit. This just, as you might expect, blew me away. I want this guy to EDIT A MAGAZINE about air-punching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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