Tokyo Damage Report

reup : Prog: Lo*silo, dum dum dan, naikaku @ live freak

Sunday June 13, 2004 @ Shinjuku Live Freak

ok, so i should mention PROGURE, the (as far as i know) only 'prog rock coffee bar' in the world. it's the size of a closet, and the walls are covered with old LP covers. You can get you a frankfurter and some wine and listen to crazy French motherfuckers singing about outer space, and it's open all night.

address : Kitakouenji 2-38-14 , drop by sometime.

anyway one night i was in there and met some people, who were very friendly (probably 7 shots of vodka's worth of friendly). they turned out to be the owner of a prog record label and owner of a small live house, and they invited me to a gig. and here is the gig. . .

first band: SPARKY?

Sparky is an important musician; a musican for our generation; a musician who is not afraid to ask the question, “doesn’t it suck when your headset microphone gets tangled up in your extensions?” aside from my man’s multiethnic pleather fashion trainwreck, his setup was pretty interesting: he had like 2 or 3 totally separate, discrete banks of pedals, so he could have several loops going at the same time, each with its own excessive mix of reverb and flange. He was a one man band but ? instead of using a drum machine, he just would hit the guitar and loop the resulting thwacking sounds and make a drum-beat out of THAT. The diversity of both his thwacking and his rhythms were really good, fun, and entrancing. But then he had to ruin everything by soloing over it. Arrrgh!! If he just stuck to only loops it would have been awesome.

band #2: DUM DUM DAN?

the BEST BAND I HAVE SEEN EXCEPT U.G. MAN BUT POSSIBLY THEY ARE THE SAME EXACT BAND BECAUSE HOW COULD TWO DIFFERENT BANDS EACH BE THE BEST BAND AT THE SAME TIME IT’S IMPOSSIBLE LIKE AN IMMOVABLE FORCE HITTING AN IRRESISTABLE OBJECT OR SOMETHING.

THIS BAND IS SO GOOD I YANKED THE ‘CAPS LOCK’ KEY OFF MY KEYBOARD AND THREW IT IN THE TRASH APPARENTLY.

DUM DUM DAN JUST PLAYED INCREDIBLY HARD FOR LIKE AN HOUR AND INBETWEEN SONGS STRUCK ‘BUTOH DANCING’ POSES JUST FOR FUN AND THE DRUMMER DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED. HE HAD THE MOST EXTREME DRUM FACES EVER PLUS EVERY SO OFTEN HE’D JUST LOSE HIS MIND AND JUMP OVER THE DRUM KIT AND FLAIL AROUND ON THE EDGE OF THE STAGE AND THEN RUN BACK AND KEEP DRUMMING. EVERYONE WAS POSING BUT AT THE SAME TIME SUPER INTENSE AND SINCERE AND BASICALLY IT WAS LIKE TED NUGENT IF HE WAS FOUR JAPANESE GUYS, WHICH… WHEN IS HE NOT FOUR JAPANESE GUYS? HARDLY EVER THESE DAYS. ANYWAY DUM DUM DAN WAS FUCKING AWESOME EVEN IF I CAN’T REMEMBER THE MUSIC. I THINK IT WAS JUST CATCHY ROCK MUSIC WITH SUPERFAST DEEDLEYDEEDLEYDEEDLYDOO BITS INBETWEEN THE VERSES.

band #3: NAIKAKU

This was like, I kept expecting Jeff Foxworthy to come out and say, “you might be a prog band if your S.O.P. is ‘when in doubt. . .whole-tone flute solo!’ ” Or “if your bass has more strings than your robot mask has motorized tentacles, you might be in a prog band.” But he never showed up.

The bassist was pretty entertaining, he kept making Bass Face, and kept giving science lectures inbetween songs while wearing a lab coat, and accompanying himself with an echo box. One time he stopped to change the batteries on his delay pedal and I yelled out ‘BATTERY SOLO!!’ which he thought was mildly amusing. the drummer and flautist were just really boring to watch, just kind of technical and bland. The guitarist (whose lab coat had been burned to a crisp in some kind of horrible accident possibly involving a solid iridium guitar) was entertaining chiefly because I could. Not. Tell. If he was wearing a wig, and this obsession pretty much prevented me from paying attention to their music.

I guess it was mostly simple, seemingly-flamenco-devrived chord progressions that looped forever while different people soloed and soloed and soloed. I’m all for repetition but I think they should have showed off less with solos and more with fancy , expensive shiny new chords and weird difficult progressions.

Later I asked the bassist what was up with Robot Head and he said that character’s name was “anima” (‘anima’ being a term from Jungian philosophy to represent men’s repressed feminine sides.) so his feminine side is. . . a robot? Yes! See, it’s times like this I’m glad I don’t speak japanese. Also I asked him (through an interpreter) what his songs were about. He said, “they are about hypocricy because I am a hypocrite.” Fucking rock on!

band #4: LO*SILO

How many band reviews have I published on this website? Like, 400? And have I EVER been at a total loss for words before?

NO.

That ALONE should tell you something about oshirou.

how the hell do I describe ‘oshirou’? I could point out that their name is the transliteration for the French phrase ‘le silo;’ and that, yes, that means ‘silo’ as in, the shit they put grain in. I could point out that they are some of the most talented musicians I have ever seen in my whole life, and that I’ve seen ANAL CUNT. But even that doesn’t really explain much.

Their stuff at times was ‘regular plain old prog rock’ ?- you know, the hi-energy kind with crazy rhythms and meters you need a slide rule for. But most of the time it was, well ..i want to say ‘abstract,’ except for that word adds absolutely no meaning. I guess it’s like this: you know how music has melodies and repetitive refrains, and verses and choruses and shit? Well this didn’t. so I guess a good way to describe it would be to say it is ‘soundtracky.’ But that comparison falls apart because the soundtrack, while ‘ambient,’ has a purpose: to embody the emotion of that scene of the movie. Whereas the OSHIROU music’s most curious feature (even moreso than the jaw-dropping technical wheedling) was a total LACK of emotion. Not only were the guys in the band hell of stiff and non-rocking-out, but even the MUSIC was emotionless and purely technical. It wasn’t sad or happy or angry or whatever. Nor was it ‘hey, check out how fast I can play!!’ it was just . . like . . NOTHING.

Even though talent-wise it was everything.

So that discrepancy (conundrum? Irony?) was interesting.

The exception to this was their acapella song which had like 40 different parts in 30 seconds and was over before it started. THAT rocked out so hard. Also this improvised blues song where they just make mincemeat out of all the blues cliches, going from really slow, deep blues and gradually weirding it out until it’s just Diamandia Galas, and then making it normal again, and then weirding it out in a TOTALLY DIFFERENT DIRECTION. It’s hard to describe but just assume if I say it was sweet, it was sweet, ok?

Also the pianist was a real lively performer, all making crazy faces and singing in this retarded yoko ono ‘noisey eeiiiieeeiiieeeiiiiiiii style.’ It’s rare to see a Real Pretty Lady who is willing to make funny faces in public, much less make funny faces while being talented (at ANYTHING. Ever.) instead of coasting on her looks. So, bravo! As if being gorgeous and funny and creative wasn’t enough, on the final song she busted out this bass guitar THE SIZE OF MY LEFT NUT. Seriously the thing was ridiculously small, black, and immensely powerful: the strings were like see-thru nylon and half an inch thick, and it was the most preposterous instrument I have ever seen in my life, it looked like a q-tip for Mike Tyson.

So for the finale she played hammer-on basslines with one hand and soloed on the piano with the other. It must suck to be the other guys in this band, because they are incredibly gifted musicans who have studied music for 15 years. . . . but also they are middleaged guys instead of Real Pretty Ladies who play hammer-ons on Mike Tyson’s Q-Tip, so no one ever watches them.

Afterwards I hung out with people though, and the quiet band guys turne out to be really nice and had facial expressions and everything, so it all worked out.

 

—- SPARKY-don't you hate it when your headset mic gets tangled in your extensions?

 

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—- best thing about SPARKY? PLAYING THE 'KAOSS PAD' WITH HIS FOOT!!! EXTREME!!!!

 

—- DUM DUM DAN

 

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—- EXTREME DRUM FACE MONTAGE HE IS MY HERO

 

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—- NAINAKU

 

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—- the scientists hard at work on their computer

 

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—- wig? Not wig? You decide.

 

—- ANIMA. The bassist's feminine side is . . .a robot

 

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—- ROSHIROU

 

—- what the hell is up with this bass? Pay attention people!!!

 

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—- the grand finale: bass and piano at the same time

 

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—- the ANTI-GUITAR-FACE.

 

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—- g

 

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2 comments Tags: , , ,

2 Comments so far

  1. ed April 27th, 2011 11:25 am

    re: the bass which you refer to as the "size of your left nut" is, I believe, an Ashbory. they use some strange ass silicone strings. here, check the wiki– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashbory_bass .
    much love for your work on TDR.
    ed

  2. admin April 30th, 2011 6:42 pm

    @ed: thanks for telling me the name! I actually got a chance to play one for a second and it was good times. The strings are basically made from udon!

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