GARORINZ were setting up as I walked in. I sat down, put in my earplugs, and just enjoyed the idea that in a few minutes I was going to hear a Japanese band that two days ago I had never heard of. I learned later that they had played Knitting Factory yesterday, which I had completely missed. Theyre three young women, and the guitarist is the lead vocalist. They began the set with a few Aaahs into the microphones, were told they were fine to begin, and started into a song featuring some nice guitar lines that brought to mind psychedelia. Before it hit its stride they were into more of a boogie thing, and when it was time for vocals the song switched into pop mode. What was strangest was that there were no transitions between the various styles used, giving them an angular sound, and reminding me of new wave/alternative bands who created a hodge/podge of different styles. I was craving more of the psychedelic guitar sounds and disappointed that she didnt get more solos, but the bass was nice and loud, and always right where it should have been. The drums didnt have the stomp that they could have, but technically they held their own. The guitarist introduced them early in the set as GARORINZ from Japan, and at the end of their short set announced their last song, otherwise they concentrated on playing the music. I would have liked a bit more show, but I enjoyed their offbeat pop music, and they were very sweet when I talked with them after the set.
Fireballs Of Freedom/Gasoline--Brownies--5/9/01
GASOLINE arrived on the stage and within a minute they were cranking out a three-chord, rockin blues-structure. Apparently they hadnt really done a sound-check, because they soon discovered their mics werent on. Their response? They kept cranking away on the song til the guy finally turned em on. There were maybe twenty people in the club during their set, but the band rocked like they were playing to a full house, and the audience appreciated it. Theyre a trio, and the rhythm section kept things rockin. Regularly the guitarist would jump out onto the dance-floor to do his leads. He seemed to have quite the Hendrix fetish, even attempting to channel him once, but though he may possibly have played guitar with his teeth as well as Hendrix, he seemed a lot more interested in putting on a fun show than worrying about the quality of his guitar technique. He was the showman. At one point he grabbed what looked like a water pistol with electric lights on it, but mostly he stuck to playing with the guitar. I recognized I Can Tell and Day Tripper and there were probably a few other covers I didnt catch. Mostly they stuck to simple blues-based rock n roll. After all, he claimed to only know eight English words, Yes, No, Please, Thank You, Hamburger, and RocknRoll! They rocked. They had a good time, and we had a good time. Afterward, they hung out in the club and enjoyed the other bands.
Gaucho/Spunks/Spunk Lads/Wussy/Knocked Out Loaded--b.p.m.--8/31/02
GAUCHO seemed to take the stage as an afterthought. At first it was just a dj operating a variety of tapes and samples, and a guitarist who for the first song didnt do much more than tune up. The dj, though, had some interesting things going on, bringing into the club, via audio, an airport, a train station, and some kind of army tactical division. It may have been a warm-up. For the second song, the guitarist copied one of the many riffs that were going down, as the dj colored the swirling sounds around them. For the third song a singer joined them, and the sound continued to grow in depth, as the band seemed to be inventing itself on the spot. Next the singer did a spoken-word piece, consulting some notes from his pocket several times, and inspiring various comments from the audience, all in Japanese. The next song seemed to be an improvisation and the singer did another spoken-word thing on top of it. When it ended, so had the band. The dj certainly had some interesting things going on, but it was over before anything had really developed. It almost seemed completely improvised. It certainly was not well thought out.
Gevil/The Gay Blades--CBGB--8/23/06
GEVIL took a while setting up. Just by chance, I happened to catch them at Tompkins Square Park last week. I had no idea it was them, but there were four of them, two with taiko drums, and two with finger cymbals, and they were bounding about and chanting. I wouldnt have known it was GEVIL, except that afterward they handed out promotional cards. The only thing they set up differently than a regular band was a set of six taiko drums centerstage in front of the rock drummer. On stage there was a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and the singer/taiko drummer. The frontman had an extravagant mohawk and was dressed in a traditional robe. All the bandmembers were wearing semi-traditional dress. When they started into the first song, though, it sounded like fairly straight mainstream hard rock. There was a slight traditional Japanese edge to it, but it completely disappeared whenever the guitarist went into one of his leads. His fingers flew over the neck of his guitar, and the bassist and drummer were no slouches either. Technically these guys are very good. The singer made a good stab at chatting up the audience, but his limited English reduced him, for the most part, to praising CBGB, and expressing his happiness at playing there. He also got around to praising THE RAMONES, and used it as an intro to their cover of Psychotherapy. It didnt quite have the same blast as THE RAMONES version, and Im guessing its because they were just too good, too tight. The sound was clean, and a little sterile. They were playing it at the same speed as THE RAMONES, but sounded as if they could have played it twice as fast with no problems. Guitar solos were not their only alternative when they took a break from the vocals. Regularly the singer would get behind his set of drums and add some taiko drums to the sound, which not only made their sound unique, but was also fun to watch. Often he and the drummer had worked out ways to share the drumming. They saved the big fun for the last song, though. The guitarist and bassist put down their instruments, and picked up finger cymbals. The drummer and taiko drummer ran through an elaborate routine, which seemed to get the audience more excited than any of the rocking had, and then the two cymbal players played a little game of catch with the cymbal sound, tossing it from one side of the stage to the other. It was clever, funny, and very well synced. It was a great way to close the set, but, of course, first we needed a few more flurries of taiko drumming.
Ghost/Damon & Naomi--North Six--10/9/02
I was interested in seeing the opening act as well, as I hadnt seen them, and had read in the Village Voice that they had recently recorded together with GHOST. One of the first things Damon did was announce that they were happy to be opening for GHOST, the greatest rock band in the world. They started out with a song they had written with Masaki Batoh.
GHOST came out relatively quickly. There were six of them. The lead guitarist, and bass guitarist played those instruments throughout. The drummer began the set seated on the floor and playing small tabla drums for a lilting, folk sounding song which also featured a wooden flute, and a small harp. After that, the drummer took his place behind the drumset and remained there. The man who played the wooden flute played about five different wind instruments at various times, did a little back-up singing, and twiddled some knobs down at his feet during some of the spacier moments of the set. The man who played the small harp, also played a type of wooden wind instrument once, but mostly played keyboards. Masaki Batoh, the lead singer/rhythm guitarist, also played a strange box on a few songs. Im not sure what it was, but it apparently had some kind of electric pick-up attached, and he played it by turning a small crank. He was dressed in purple, velvet pants, and a black, silk shirt, with a chest plate of golden sparkly material brocaded onto it. He hung two pairs of finger cymbals over his mic before they began and played them during some of the softer moments of the set. With this versatile variety of instruments, and these musicians, who were obviously adept at playing them in many styles, their music ranged through folk, into prog-rock, and occasionally roamed into some very spacy realms, or launched into a summer storm of psych-rock with the lead guitarist making good use of his fuzz-wah. For the last song of the encore, they also threw in some free-form jazz, but even then, the improvisations always worked within the structure of the songs. Masaki Batoh has a deep, souldful voice, and approaches his songs with a dignity, and a stately respect that the rest of the band supports without much apparent effort or drama. His outfit was easily the flashiest thing about this band. The music though, in all its wonderful variety, has a naturalness and a humility that breathes life, and the large crowd was obviously happy to have shared the spacious world of this very special band for an evening.
Brain Failure/Hang On The Box/Peelander-Z/Noodles/Gitogito Hustler/The Spunks--Siberia--10/23/03
I was told that CMJ pretty much rejected the idea of an Asian Night. That at the last minute Siberia, partially because they wanted to be involved with the CMJ festival, volunteered to host the Asian Night. I also heard several young men with big smiles on their faces congratulating themselves, after seeing several of the bands, because, We made the right choice! Youve got to wonder though, why anybody would put an Asian night on at a place with no stage. Siberia doesnt even have a drum stand, so it was pretty much a night of watching the bands, seven of them, between other peoples heads. In spite of that, it was a great night!
GITOGITO HUSTLER were up next. Theyre four women with two guitarists. They came out dressed in plaid suits with energy to spare, and were obviously having the time of their life playing a slew of uptempo numbers. The band are as energetic as they can be, and Yago, their singer/guitarist is bubbling with it. Her English is obviously not top-notch, but she regularly stopped to talk with the audience, telling us how happy they were to be playing in New York again, and encouraging us to enjoy ourselves. It was pretty obvious the audience was having nearly as good a time as the band. GITOGITO HUSTLER were tight. They were bouncing around the stage, and there was so much joy in their rocking, that you had to love em. At one point Yago introduced a dance song and let us know that she expected us all to dance. Were they gonna play a disco number? No, of course not! They launched into a bouncy version of Little Evas Locomotion. At the end of the set they invited anybody who liked them to say, Hi! anytime during the rest of the night, and true to their word, they were out in the crowd, dancing and enjoying themselves to almost every band that played throughout the rest of the evening.
Japunks #7: The Spunks/Gitogito Hustler/Peelander-Z/54 Nude Honeys/Blue
Japunks once more treated us to a wonderful evening of rock n roll. Ive actually seen all of these bands before, and yet there is no way I would have missed this. It was a great collection of bands, and the largely white audience got more than they ever could have wished for. The women carrying the cards with the round numbers on one side (each set was a round), and each bands name on the other, were dressed tonight in black vinyl nurses outfits, with black crosses rather than red ones. Once again, the result was a knockout show!
GITOGITO HUSTLER took the stage with even more enthusiasm than I remembered, if thats possible. They are a quartet of young women, and soon had the audience as overjoyed and energetic as they were. The bassist and guitarists bounded about the stage like bumper cars, feeding off each others energy, and though their live sound is rough and edgy, catchy pop hooks regularly bring a fresh joyousness to the overly energized proceedings. Several times Tae, the bassist, brought out notes to help her with the English announcements, but Yago, the lead singer/guitarist, who usually stuck to Japanese, would interrupt, and mostly what they both were saying was how happy they were to be there playing for an audience that was obviously having as great a time as they were. There wasnt much slam-dancing, but the joy and energy of the performance had no problems translating itself in spite of the language barrier. Toward the end of the set they again exclaimed how happy they were, but that there was still something wrong, and they launched into a song about the problem of having no money, which they pointed out could easily be solved if after the show everyone would go to the back of the room and purchase their CDs. My guess is that a good number of people did just that. Me? I didnt need to. I had already purchased their latest release on the strength of the last performance I had seen them do.
Tokage/Gitogito Hustler/Tong Ching Kang Kun--Siberia--5/24/04
GITOGITO HUSTLER began setting up, and in not too long they launched into their set. It was a different set than they had played at the Japunks show, which was understandable, as this was the Post-Japunks show--a celebration of the end of the successful three city tour. They were looser, more disorganized, but still having a great time. The music, more wide ranging, included some slower tunes. They took a little more time tuning up, deciding on the songs, and practicing their English. It was just a lot more relaxed, but when they jumped into an upbeat number the energy was still pumping, and toward the end of the set everyone but Fusa, the drummer, was roaming all over Siberias new stage. The guitarist, Mitsuko, and bassist, Tae, were switching positions, and Yago, the guitarist and front person, was moving out into the audience, dancing with audience members, and generally taking the show to the people. By the end of the set, the looser show had become a wilder show. It was good fun, and fitting for a celebration, and I very much enjoyed seeing them again. Theyre a cute bunch of fire-crackers, and their music is sweet, yet roars like a race-car down the straightaway.
The Spunks/Gitogito Hustler/P.R.Y.D.E/The Switch/Roots Of Rebellion--CBGB--3/26/05
GITOGITO HUSTLER were coming up next, and I was excited. It had been a while since I had seen them last, and I knew they were going to be a breath of fresh air compared with the music Id heard so far that night. There had been a good crowd all night and it remained so as GITOGITO HUSTLER set up their equipment with some help from THE SPUNKS. Each of the girls had jean jackets on, with Gitogito Hustler emblazoned on the back in metal studs. They seem a little older and wiser now, and dont bounce around the stage with the same energy they once did, but I did see Tae, the bassist, bouncing. Yago, singer/rhythm guitarist, covers as much of the stage as often as she can, and Mitsuko, on lead guitar, shakes her hair and occasionally sticks her tongue out at the audience, just to keep them in their place. They may have lost a bit of energy, but on the last night of their U.S. tour, the band was tight. In between songs they often seemed to be goading us with their poor English, but their enthusiasm and obvious joy at being able to yell absurd things at a very receptive CBGB audience, made anything they did OK. After all, eventually, they always slammed back into another rocking number, and we knew that as soon as Yago finished the verse, shed be spinning her way around the stage again. The songs had a good range of catchy beats, and were all uptempo rockers, usually with a good balance of pop and punk. The drummer, Fusa, mentioned that they had CDs for sale, and then began chanting, Buy or die! Buy or die! We have nothing. Yago explained, We are poor, so give us your money!, and they launched into No Money, easily the punkiest song of the set. For the last song Yago set up a call and response, along the lines of, 1, 2, 3, rock-and-roll!, and they were a good way into the song, when she took off her guitar, and jumped down into the audience. She walked out into the audience a good thirty feet, gesturing with her hands as she went, and encouraging everyone to shout along with her. It was magnificent, and a great way to end the set, but there was another nice moment yet to come. The band had sounded fine without her, but when she got back on stage, slung her guitar back around her neck and once again added her rhythm guitar riff, the roar and the power of her guitar was reinstated, and the difference was obvious, making fine into real fine. It was nice to see them play to a good sized, and appreciative, crowd.
It was a good show, and the highlight was when Hajime pulled Yago up onto the stage. All of GITOGITO HUSTLER had been enjoying the entire set right up in front of the stage, except for Tae, who had been filming it. Hajime pulled off his guitar, and handed it to Yago, who gleefully took over the controls and kept the chords churning along in full stride, as Hajime headed out into the audience to find things to rub his crotch against. When he finally returned back to the stage, she happily handed the guitar back to him, and THE SPUNKS brought the song to a dramatic crescendo, and the evening to a fitting end.
The Spunks/Gitogito Hustler/The Emeralds/Trikuti--Lions Den--10/1/05
GITOGITO HUSTLER were up next, and I was excited to see them again. To start off the set, the guitarists and bassist came up to the front of the stage and leaned out over the audience, getting things revved up immediately. The band has a strong pop edge, mostly in their songwriting, but they are also most definitely a rock band, and they rock hard, and usually full-throttle. Theyre obviously having a great time doing it. The only one who isnt usually smiling is Mitsuko, the lead guitarist. Shell allow the trace of a smile, when she steps up on her monitor and raisies her fist to encourage the audience to rock, but usually she remains pretty serious, often turning away from the audience. Give a listen to her leads, though, and youll find some very tasty licks flavoring the songs. Thats if you can concentrate long enough, with Yago, lead singer/guitarist, bouncing about all over the stage. She would seem to be the energy source of the band. When shes not singing at the microphone, she covers the stage. Tae, on bass, and Fusa, on drums, are both smilers, too, but their rhythm section is a powerful thing that keeps the band going at a good clip throughout most of the set. Early on they introduced a love song, which was easily the slowest of their set and had a kind of oom pah-pah beat. Otherwise, even the songs with classic pop overtones and background vocals rocked, and Yagos movements and energy kept Tae and Mitsuko in motion and inspired. At one point, Tae pulled out a sheet of notes to communicate with the crowd. She read them carefully, and closed with the message, My English is bad, but actions speak louder than words, and we are going to rock! which is exactly what they did. When they got to the end of the set, they revved things up even higher, demanding the audience to give them back the energy theyd been pumping out there, and joyfully, the audience yelled, pumped their fists in the air, and generally acted like that was just what theyd been dying to do, and it probably was. Much fun was had by all!
Then THE SPUNKS covered a GITOGITO HUSTLER song, which they dedicated to GITOGITO HUSTLER, and in response, all four members of GITOGITO HUSTLER joined them on the stage, partied, sang, and encouraged the audience to rock along. Hey, thats gotta help anybodys set, but THE SPUNKS just kept rocking, which is what they do. For their closing song, Hajime, their guitarist/lead vocalist, reached out into the audience and pulled Mitsuko back up onto the stage to play his guitar, which she did with a glee I hadnt seen her exhibit during GITOGITO HUSTLERs set, and with Joji, on bass, and Al, on drums, behind her, she could do no wrong. While Mitsuko and the band rocked out, Hajime introduced himself to various members of the audience, and did some gymnastics. It was a great way to end the set and the night.
Gitogito Hustler/The Spunks--CBGB--4/10/06
I spotted most of GITOGITO HUSTLER near the front of the stage, cheering THE SPUNKS on throughout their set.
Then it was GITOGITO HUSTLERs turn. They took their time tuning up, but were using the same equipment as THE SPUNKS, so the transition didnt take long at all. They were dressed in different colored, but matching, flapper outfits, and looked like the stars they are. It was time for GITOGITO HUSTLER to blast out a very hot set. Everyone sang except Mitsuko, the lead guitarist, and she actually sang, as well. She just didnt bother using a microphone. Though the vocals didnt stand up to the clean pop vocals of their recordings, the three vocalists sounded full, enthusiastic, and very energetic. The energy of this band live is their most noticeable feature. They rock, and they do it with gusto, never slowing the pace. Fusa, on drums, opened up one song with a lusty Gary Glitter beat, and if you hadnt noticed what a fine drummer she was before that, the fact that she could keep the band cruising at that momentum throughout the set, never needing to take a rest with a slower song, inspires a certain amount of respect, if not awe. Mitsuko is another hard worker. She pounds away at that guitar as if shes pummeling it. Her blonde hair spends a good deal of time in her face as she moves about the stage with a great deal of exhuberance and enthusiasm. The only rests she seemed to take were at the edge of the stage where she stared out into the audience, sang along with the others, or made faces, sticking her tongue out the side of her mouth. Tae, on bass, keeps things pumping at a good pace; and Yago, on guitar and lead vocals, is not only an inspiring front woman, but impressed me with her guitar playing when she stopped playing toward the end of the set. It left a noticeable hole in their sound, and called to my attention what an important roll her rhythm guitar plays in the GITOGITO HUSTLER sound. The three vocalists took turns encouraging the crowd to be a joyful part of their rock show, and teased the audience with their limited English abilities. Every one of these women is a good musician, and the energy and enthusiasm of the show were undeniably crowd-pleasing. Everyone I talked to afterwards was quite impressed, and all were glad thay had checked out this show on a Monday night at CBGB. I certainly was!
The Spunks/Gitogito Hustler/Babyshakes/Noso-b.m.p.-10/28/06
GITOGITO HUSTLER took the stage, and it was great to see them again. They were obviously ready to rock it out and have a great time, and thats exactly what they did. Long time, no see! said singer/guitarist Yago, amidst announcements that this was their first time in Brooklyn, and how happy they were to play at b.p.m., and at THE SPUNKS record release party for Yellow Fever Blues. At the beginning of the set, Tae, the bassist, even wore a rainbow wig, and she was not the only one celebrating Halloween as a weekend event. With enthusiasm, and lots of energy GITOGITO HUSTLER rocked through their hyper, happy set, and it was wonderful. Unfortunately, the set was shorter than I expected, and a good deal shorter than Ive ever seen them play before. I guess they were leaving lots of room for THE SPUNKS, since it was their celebration. So, it was a shorter show than I was hoping for, but they didnt skimp on energy or enthusiasm, and they write some of the catchiest damn numbers of any band still breathing. After the show, Eric Myers, guitarist for WUSSY, mentioned something Id never noticed, that Yago was playing a three-string guitar. The machine heads for the highest and the two lowest strings had been removed. He commented that shes obviously a good guitar player, and that shes probably doing it just to give her guitar a distinctly different sound from Mitsuko, who plays the lead guitar. However it's done, they do manage to offer up a hefty slab of sound. The set was too short, but it sure was good to see them again.
Radio Heartbeat Powerpop Festival: Gitogito Hustler/The Test Patterns--Magnetic
Its always good to see GITOGITO HUSTLER. It was an afternoon show, and there werent many people there, even for the small Magnetic Field. Still, they managed to put on a good energetic show for the fans who were there. Their uniform tonight was red boots, jeans, and GITOGITO HUSTLER T-shirts. Basically they seemed to use it as a celebration party for the end of their latest U.S. tour. They bounced about the small stage, gave of their best, and tried their hardest to get the audience as excited as they were. Bassist, Tae, claimed she had lost her cheat sheet, and still made a half-hearted attempt at speaking English. Drummer, Fusa, encouraged us to buy their merchandise, and, her sister, three-string guitarist and lead singer, Yago, encouraged us to rock out along with the band. At one point she even jumped out into the audience, and played for us up close. Lead guitarist, Mitsuko, also took a turn out in the audience, and once, leaned out to the audience, stuck her tongue out, and held that pose for about half a minute. Mostly, though, she just cranked away on her guitar, and kept it comin. Even with the small attendance they seemed to be enjoying themselves just fine, and their years of touring have turned them into quite a tight band. Though the set was shorter than usual, they slammed through it with the same charming exuberance weve come to expect from a GITOGITO HUSTLER show.
Japan Girls Nite: Gitogito Hustler/Bleach 03/Noodles/Falsies On Heat/Red
Bacteria Vacuum--Bowery Ballroom--10/21/07
Wow! What a night! This special Japan Girls Nite 07, brought to us by Audrey Kimura of Sister/Benten Records, is only happening once, right here in New York, and was lots of fun, but then, I knew it would be. The crowd wasnt that big, but it was OK for a Sunday night, and the crowd was enthusiastically enjoying themselves more and more as the night went on. Interested in getting an OK to photograph the event, I had warned Audrey that Bowery Ballroom was usually very strict about photography, so I found it humorous when I saw a bouncer, who had that night accused me of videotaping, pulling Audrey aside for videotaping her own show. Oh yeah, and I think every band told us that they loved New York, though one of the guitarists of FALSIES ON HEAT may have spit and pretended to heave shortly after telling us how much she loved our city.
BLEACH 03 would have been a satisfying end to the evening for me, but GITOGITO HUSTLER came out and finished us off with a rousing set of rock ÔnÕ roll. GITOGITO HUSTLER are Yago on lead vocals and guitar, Fusa on drums and back-up vocals, Tae on bass and back-up vocals, and Mitsuko on lead guitar. This is another band that just keeps getting better, and they know how to party. Yago mentioned several times that she was happy and planning on getting good and drunk. She apologized for her bad English, but pointed out that she loved rock music and she loved beer, and that that was a good combination. At one point Fusa suggested that we should all buy their new 7-inch, and their other merchandise so that she could afford to buy gas. She soon changed her approach, though, suggesting that what she really wanted to buy was more beer. The band bounced around the stage and played up a storm. They had the audience cheering them on in no time, and had us all happy and hopping. Their material keeps getting stronger, and their pop hooks never stop coming, and guaranteed that almost everyone in the audience was wearing a smile on their face. By the end of the set Yago and Tae were joining Mitsuko on her forays to the edge of the stage, and at one point Yago even jumped off the stage, ran up into the balcony, and leaned out over the railing. At another point she took a tumble over a monitor, landed on her ass, and got up with a smile on her face. The band was partying hard, and the audience had no choice or desire to do anything but join them. They rocked, and they kept on rocking till the end of their set. They were the only band of the night to come back for an encore, and they happily rocked some more.
Guitar Wolf/Peelander-Z/The Spunks/ Goggle-A/The Young Ones/Rocket Jack
Vaders/Volume Out--Japunks Jamboree #6 @ CBGB--11/18/03
That was a wonderful night, a kind of miraculous night, and with GUITAR WOLF on the bill, the size of the crowd grew very fast, and the palefaces may have actually outnumbered the Japanese! One of the nicest touches were the women who came out at the beginning of each set and held up signs with the Round number for each set on one side, and the name of the band on the other side. There were seven rounds in all, and, yes, it was a knock out. Thanks Japunks!
Round four featured GOGGLE-A. They were another four-piece band with two guitarists, and again there was a woman who played drums. The men came out dressed in matching red velvet suits and very odd sunglasses, and the woman, Eri, had a red dress with a white design on the front of it. She was a good drummer, and played with a full set. They all played quite well. The rhythm guitarist, who wore a Beatle-haircut, handled most of the lead vocals, but the drummer sang a few. She started the set by spicing up an instrumental with an introduction of the band, and a statement about how happy they were to be playing Japunks night at CBGB. She also hoped that we would all enjoy their band and the rest of the evening, all while the band, and she, played the very catchy and tasteful instrumental. It was a wonderful way to start their set. I believe they followed that up with a cover of THE GENTRYS Lets Dance. They were fun; they were professional; and they definitely had showmanship. The rhythm guitarist apologized for not speaking much, but admitted that their English was not very good. Every Japanese person studies English in high-school, he explained, but, I'm sorry, I was listening to rock music, and I did not study. The bassist and guitarists regularly went into dance routines that reminded me of THE DAVE CLARK FIVE. Early in the set, the bass guitarist, who did a lot of jumping into the air, occasionally synchronized with the lead guitarist, made a deep incursion into the audience before returning happily to the stage. Later he climbed up on a platform to the side of the stage and jumped off, beating Seiji to the punch. The lead guitarist followed up one of his early leads by raising his guitar up to display, Thanks New York written in tape on the back of his guitar. He thanked us that way a few more times during the set. The highlight was a version of Ike and Tina Turners I Idolize You sung by Eri. She stood to the side of the drums, playing a tambourine and singing while the band backed her up. After the first verse she moved out to the front of the stage. It was an interesting choice, and she sang it well, pointing at members of the audience as she sang. By the third verse she had moved out into the audience, who parted for her as she made her way, singing and pointing, back to the tables across from the bar. She even sat down at one of the tables for a spell, before making her way back to the stage and finishing the song off in fine style on the drums. They closed off the set with a fine version of Wipeout, and the warm response to their set made them the first band to return for an encore.
Gouka/Fighting Dogs/Forward To Death--NorthSix--11/17/05
GOUKA set up, and turned out to also be a four-piece band. When they began playing, the crowd was ready. For the first time the mosh-area in front of the stage was completely full. The area exploded, and stayed more active than it had been all night for the rest of the set. It was some crazy fun, and there was lots of it. The reason was obvious. GOUKA were tearing through their songs at as fast a clip as they could go. Every song roared out of the gate at full speed, and never slowed down. The other bands had basically been rock bands with someone yelling instead of singing. GOUKA were mostly yelling, as well, but their rocking was at such a furious pace, it was as close to authentic hard-core as Ive heard in ages. Their singer, in a mini-mohawk, stalked the stage and gave his all. In one or two songs he actually talked out the lyrics rather than yelling them. At least it showed some variety. The band just kept cranking. The drummer never got a break. They rocked at a frantic pace all the time. At one point toward the end of the show I noticed the guitarist doing some some very effective lead work. Then I went back to photographing the band I couldnt see behind the crowd of young men bouncing around against each other. Once I saw the crowd passing around the guitarists microphone stand. I couldnt tell what was going on, but an enthusiastic fan had probably knocked it over, and things were just being set right. When the band stopped, the crowd began chanting, Gouka! Gouka! Gouka!, which deservedly got them an encore, during which the singer repeatedly yelled obscenities, and the mosh-pit occasionally spilled over onto the stage. Several times during the set, in between songs, the singer had yelled, Fuck the music!, and it was about the only thing he said, besides the obscenities, that I actually understood. GOUKAs style of rock isnt mine, but they do rock, and they rock hard. Im not sure why, but as I left the show I felt surprisingly happy and even reenergized!
Japan Nite 2009: Detroit7/Asakusa Jinta/Grapevine/SA/Sparta Locals/Omodaka/Flip--Bowery Ballroom--3/22/09
Ah, Japan Nite 2009! Japan Nite has become a tradition. Once a year, Audrey Kimura, of Benten/Sister Records organizes the Japanese bands for SXSW, and after the SXSW shows, she takes a bunch of the bands on a short, but slowly expanding, tour of some of the bigger cities of the United States. Thankfully, New York has always been included. Sometimes Audrey comes back later in the year, but the March Japan Nite show has become a tradition, and it’s often the best show of the year. This year she brought seven Japanese bands. Wow!
GRAPEVINE followed SA, and that may have been unfortunate for them. GRAPEVINE are a band that have been around in Japan for over ten years. They’ve had a good deal of success, and play a rather classic rock, with enough alternative rock ingrained in it to keep them current and cool. GRAPEVINE is another four-piece band with a drummer--Toru Kamei, a bassist--Makoto Nishihara, and two guitarists, Hiroyoshi Nishikawa and the singer/guitarist--Kazumasa Tanaka, but during the first song I heard keyboards, and bouncing his head up and down behind the lead guitarist’s Marshall amp I saw his head. Was he hiding back there? Was he shy? My guess is he was a support member of the band, but he was back there, helping to fill out the sound. Actually, the picture of Grapevine Japan Nite has been using only has three members in the band, which further confuses the issue. I believe it’s the guitarists and the drummer in the picture, as Japan Nite lists the bassist as Satoru Kaneto, so my guess is that’s who was playing bass tonight. The band played their material seriously, presenting it comfortably, and with feeling. Tanaka’s vocals are a highlight of their sound. He has a wonderful voice, and they showed their experience by playing through their material without any kind of showmanship to speak of. They played their music, and the people who were there to see them loved the band. Though they failed to excite the audience, they did manage to keep the Japan Nite audience interested, and there was no noticeable thinning of the crowd as they played. The richness of their songs, and Tanaka’s vocals kept the crowd as comfortable as the band seemed to be.
Green Milk From The Planet Orange/Pak--Lit Lounge--6/24/05
Like PAK, GREEN MILK FROM THE PLANET ORANGE were a trio of accomplished musicians. Technically they played like jazz musicians, but in their hearts they were definitely progressive rockers. Usually that would have turned me off pretty quickly, but they managed to rock as hard as they were progressively adventurous, and their chops were impressive. All three sat for most of the set, and now and then the guitarist would lean back on his stool and kick his legs up in the air while he chased a concept around on his fretboard. Toward the end of the first song, both the bassist and guitarist stood up. They took their seats again for the beginning of the second song, but this time the bassist sat on top of his speaker cabinet. The music was dense and often quite intricate. The bassist usually had a constant run going, and once in the last song blew a starting whistle. The drummer kept it rocking, never missing the accents. The guitarist was stylistically all over the place, and handled the vocals. When they announced their last song they had only done a few songs, and it was obviously going to be a long one. The songs theyd done hadnt been short, but this last one was their epic piece. They took it through a number of different levels, at times rocking it as hard as they had any yet, took it down to a softer, spacier place, and then went into a recitation about some futuristic society lost in its own dark maze. Then, allowing the rhythm section to head off in its own direction, the singer/guitarist put down his guitar and grabbing a small megaphone and another microphone moved out into the audience, pacing the available space as he continued his story/song with an occasional scream for emphasis. After a while he set the megaphone and microphone down where he was, and returned to the stage to finish the song on guitar. I wouldnt say that the limits of their prog rock were tested, but they did manage to give the boundaries a good work-out, and the audience responded enthusiastically.
Green Milk From The Planet Orange/Pterodactyl/Child Abuse/Michael Columbia--Scenic--10/28/05
GREEN MILK FROM THE PLANET ORANGE are a trio, and they set up with everyone sitting down. They started off playing very gentle, beautiful music, and it slowly grew. Then the pace started building, the knees started bouncing, and before long they were rocking full tilt. The bass guitarist mostly leaned forward allowing his long hair to drape down over his face, and the guitarist would rock back and forth on his chair. Their fingers flew over their fretboards, and the drummer concentrated on keeping up with their now frantic acceleration. They took the roof off that first song, and the bassist certainly kept up with him, but the guitar flew around the room like a crazy insect that never had the slightest intention of landing anywhere. It was very close to the set I had seen earlier in the year, but the performance was a good deal more dynamic. The bassist and guitarist would both stand up at the same time, or both stand up on their chairs, and even when they were both sitting down, the energy of the music was so full-on, it would have been enough, even if the guitarist wasnt rocking back and forth and occasionally stretching his arm up into the air as if reaching for a note. They closed the set with the same long song from their CD, City Calls Revolution, that they had closed the set with last time. Its a long, involved song that goes through countless changes, as it tells its detailed story. Once again the guitarist, Dead K, grabbed a small toy megaphone and a microphone and moved out into the audience to build up a dramatic vocal aspect of the song before putting the megaphone down, grabbing his guitar again, and building things up again there, all in preparation for closing it all down. The bassist, T, laid his bass down on the ground and took dramatic swats at it, as the drummer, A, and Dead K pounded the final closing chords into submission. The set was over, and though the crowd enthusiastically called for more, the band began packing up their gear, and a crowd slowly formed around T, who was selling the bands CDs.
Green Milk From The Planet Orange/La Otracina/Boa Constrictor--Cake Shop--5/19/06
GREEN MILK FROM THE PLANET ORANGE set up, and sat down. Its never easy to get a good view of the bands at Cake Shop, unless youre right in front, and with the bassist and guitarist sitting down, facing each other for most of the set, and often turning back toward the drummer, this was not the best band to see there. In spite of that, GREEN MILK FROM THE PLANET ORANGE played the best set Ive seen them do yet. They started with a little jam, and since it was improvised, the bassist was able to get a bit of a funk flavor into it, which was nice. It was apparently a soundcheck, and there was a pause afterward, interrupted by the soundmans apology, Oh, sorry! You can play now. And play they did, opening up the set with my favorite song off of City Calls Revolution. Now and then the guitarist and bassist would stand up, sometimes on their chairs, usually to run through the closing chords of a song in dramatic fashion. Even sitting down, the songs seemed more dynamic and energetic than I remembered them being, and I very much enjoyed the entire set. All three of the band members are technically gifted, and the guitarist is often unbelievable. I especially liked some of the guitar tones he got during the last song. One of them sounded like it was bouncing on a spring. The band could still use some work on their stage show, but they play up a storm, and their material only seems to be getting better.
Green Milk From The Planet Orange/Dragons Of Zynth/Aa--BIG A little a/Rah
Bras/Professor Murder/Henry Tennis/Birds Of Avalon/The Mall/Gorch Fock/Birds
Of Maya--3rd Ward--11/2/06
Thoughout the night, one bands set had started directly after the next bands, so that they were well into the first song by the time most of the crowd got there. The guitarist and bassist had wooden chairs in front of the stage. The drummer was set up like the stage itself was a drum riser. The guitarist and bassist picked up their instruments, checked their sound, and then the band left the stage area. The crowd was a bit surprised, but waited patiently, and soon they were back. Dead K had a microphone pointed at his chair, and a standing mic in the center, up front. He thanked everyone for coming, and announced that they were going to play some prog rock. He sat down in his chair and yelled out, Progressive rock is not dead! as they started into the first song. It was a good rock song, and after a while it got the bassist and guitarist out of their chairs, jumping around, and dead K sang rapid-fire lyrics into the standing microphone. Their playing was incredibly energetic. Mostly they sat in their chairs, bobbing their heads up and down, but they jumped around often enough to keep things interesting. The second song started off slowly, softly, and gently grew intricate and beautiful, as the bassist and guitarist wove notes together, and spiritually danced with warm familiarity. The pace began to quicken. Intensity began to build. The drummer built things up to a crescendo. Then the guitars took them higher. There was more running and jumping. Guitars were raised into the air, but when they sat back down in their chairs again, and began vigorously rocking their heads, the sound swirled, and roared, and fell, and roared, and crashed in splendiferous colors. The crowd was obviously impressed, and responded loudly and warmly, but the show was over, and we apparently were not doing enough to change that.
USA Is A Monster/Green Milk From The Planet Orange/ Mataluxx--Uncle Paulies--4/7/07
GREEN MILK FROM THE PLANET ORANGE started off their set sitting down and remained in their chairs for most of the set. With no stage, it was difficult to catch a view of a head now and then, if you were tall. They started off their set with A Day In The Planet Orange, a 38 minute song from City Calls Revolution, and many consider it their very best number. The first time I saw them, they had saved that song to close their set with. At that time, it was the song that won me over, and I was surprised they were opening up with it, but was very happy to hear it again. Its a long, wonderful exploration into sound, starting off softly and gently, tonight with some La, la, la vocals, and regularly diving into frantic lead guitar by dead K, who is a master. T, on bass, and A, on drums, have no trouble keeping up with him and engaging in their own active explorations. During some of the most dramatic moments dead K and T would stand up on their chairs, so that the smallish, but tightly packed crowd could actually see them, but even when you couldnt see any part of any of them, the music was often filled with such excitement and wonder, it was a joy to experience. They followed it up with Demagog from the same CD, and it seemed perfect. I was surprised when they stopped after that one. It was only two songs, but they had been playing for nearly an hour, and though I could have easily listened to them for another hour, it had been one of the most fulfilling sets Ive seen them do, and it had easily made the trip out to Greenpoint, Brooklyn well worth the journey.
Dynamite Club/Ghost Cubes/Picarince/Guva--Delancey--2/19/05
GUVA started this night off. Their extended tune-up was developing into a free-form noise jam, when the bassist droppped into a groove, and the rest of the band fell in behind him. The basis of the band consists of a bassist, a guitarist, and a drummer. In the opening song, the one woman of the band played keyboards, and molded the groove into a nice AMON DUUL II style jam. For the next song she pulled out a violin, and played that for the rest of the set. There was also a percussionist, who played drums, whistles, keyboards on one song, a didgeridoo on the first song, and he shared vocals with the guitarist throughout, though his vocals seemed more improvised. When he played drums, the two sets of pounding drums always got some good propulsion going. When the woman switched to the violin, they took the rock up a notch into a BOREDOMS style jam. They followed that up with a reggae song in which the guitarist, who often seemed to be throwing a nervous fit as he moved about the stage, launched into his hottest lead of the set. Now and again he would step out into the audience, but seemingly only to check out the sound of the band. They had revved up the rocking quite a bit toward the end of the set, and they also seemed to have allowed the jams to get a bit looser. During the last song the guitarist took a step out into the audience, raised his guitar above his head, and collapsed on the dancefloor, rolling about a bit before attempting a handstand. Then he was back on the stage, climbing up onto a drumset, hopping over to the other one, and then launching himself up into the air. Their looseness often descended into the chaotic, but GUVA occasionally managed to raise things up to a higher state.
I had no idea what to expect. Keiji Haino is said to be one of the fathers of the Japanese noise movement. I had seen him once before playing with some other people, but read that when he performs on his own he might not even bring out a guitar. Well, no such surprises tonight. He came out, sat down in a chair, tuned up, and announced that he would be playing Jimi Hendrixs Purple Haze, and we were off into Keiji Hainos world. There were definitely similarities to Purple Haze, but it was like the bare bones of Purple Haze before it had been constructed, and rather than constructing it, Keiji was beating them against a rock. He used some floor pedals to record bits of what he was playing and loop them, so he could play along with them, even adding to them if he wanted. He had what seemed more like tone controls on a table beside him, along with a supply of picks. He was dressed in black leather pants, a black shirt, black sunglasses which he regularly pushed back on his nose, and long black hair with bangs and a grey streak down the middle which he regularly tossed or flipped back over his shoulders. Adjusting the microphone, which he also did regularly, he announced the next song would be Satisfaction. Again, there were some similarities to a well known song, but Keijis version was a primal doodle, stripped down, and twisted into a variety of odd shapes. At moments in each song he added vocal interjections, which when intelligible were Japanese. Often his vocals appeared to be channeling spirits. Whatever, they managed to add new dimensions to the freeform constructions. The rest of the songs were apparently originals, but I began imagining that perhaps they too were the bare bones of popular songs, and if so what would they be? The next was based on a boogie riff, and I decided it could have been based on Golden Earrings Radar Love. Then he began a haunting song, which with overtones like icicles shooting off into tonal space, reminded me of Little Town of Bethelehem, until it changed and he introduced some beautiful falsetto vocals. The next song, also featuring nice vocals, reminded me in a bare bones way of Last Train to Clarksville. He closed the set by sticking a bent piece of aluminum between the strings and the pick-up, experimenting with the various sounds that could be created from this, and channeling an angry, elder, Japanese spirit. Throughout the show, the man next to me chuckled away, as if he was party to a joke that no one else was aware of. Keiji Haino didnt smile once the entire set. I dont pretend to understand his art, and Im not sure that he does, but after witnessing this performance, I believe he is presenting his art as openly and honestly as it is possible to do, and I believe that he believes in it. It was a unique and, at times, transcendent experience.
HARD TRICKS are a trio. The drummer seemed to either be a new addition, or a stand-in, because the singer/guitarist regularly looked back, giving him nods or glares. I kept wondering which English, late 70s, punk/pop band they were most inspired by, and decided it was a tie between THE CLASH (without the politics), or THE POLICE (without the technical skills). The songs were promising, and a few were quite good, but there was no presentation. The frontmans lack of English explains some of that, but neither he nor the bassist moved more than a foot or two away from their microphone stands. There were only about five of us at any point in the area in front of the stage, and that would explain a lack of energy, but, except for the singer/guitarist, this band seemed disinterested. One of the highpoints of the show consisted of a woman asking if she could join them on washboard for a song. Im good. I can play it! she insisted, but there was not enough comprehension going on, and she settled for sitting out in the audience and playing along there. The highpoint for the band was when someone bought them each a beer. They accepted their beers joyfully, and it was the most emotion they showed through the entire performance. HARD TRICKS closed their set with a song that repeated the phrase, Japanese punks in New York City. It tilted my scale a bit more toward THE CLASH.
Head Phones President/The Broad Band/Ethos--Pussycat Lounge--11/7/03
I didnt know The Pussycat Lounge had a rock club, so when I saw that HEAD PHONES PRESIDENT was playing their first gig (of five) there, I decided to check it out. They had a good sound, and even a good DJ. The strangest thing was the MC, a middle-aged man with a hat, who introduced bands, providing each bandmembers first name. It was a bit of showbiz out of another age. The other strange thing was that the bands on this bill were all over the map. That certainly provided variety.
HEAD PHONES PRESIDENT were up next. The drummer had an elaborate set-up, but the stage was so crowded with the two guitarists, bass player, and singer that I couldnt see it all. You could hear it in their sound, though. There were many kinds of percussion sounds used. They started out with the lights very low and an ominous recording playing. They stood still and the pulsating music hummed along for a while. Then it stopped. There was a pause, and then the guitarists both began playing a very soft, delicate thing, and the parts interwove with each other well. Gently the band came in behind them and the set was underway. The musicians are technically skilled, and the sounds they created were quite varied. Unfortunately, they covered little more than two speeds. There was slow, sometimes haunting, sometimes humming, sometimes sounding like something out of a Shinto ceremony, at other times very delicate. It was quite varied, but usually something dissonant and a little eerie. Sometimes there were transitions between the two, but eventually, they always ended up in a funk thrash mode. Then theyd switch back to the ominous dissonance. It was a good trick, but they used it in every song. Their best feature was their singer. She sang well, and her volume range was surprisingly dynamic. In the slow sections she would crouch to the floor, twisting and turning to the strange music, whispering and grumbling into the mic. Regularly she would hold her hands together as if in prayer, or cross herself, but when the band went into thrash mode, she was up on her feet in a moment, jumping, dancing, loudly proclaiming, and shaking her body with an energy that made the rest of the bands movements seem quite tame, but then, they were playing the music she was moving to. It was an impressive display and each time the audience shot that energy right back at them. It was a short set, but I was later reminded that they had two gigs coming up the next day, and were probably conserving themselves.
Head Phones President/The Willies/Edison Rocket Train--Ottos
Ottos Shrunken Head is a very cool neighborhood bar dressed up like a tiki bar. HEAD PHONES PRESIDENT began setting up. Anza, the female lead singer, and Hiro and Mar, the two guitarists, set their effects boxes out on the floor, leaving the stage for the bassist and drummer. They began playing softly, and Anza kneeled in front of the stage, pressing her hands together, and raising them over her head. She began singing a very plaintive ballad, and the music the band played could have been from a movie soundtrack. It was an effective way to begin their show. At the end of the song, Anza placed her hand on the stage, as if she was blessing it. As I remembered from the last time I saw HEAD PHONES PRESIDENT, the energy alternated between very soft moments, sometimes gentle, sometimes strangulated effects, and the guitarists sometimes used these moments to retune, and then there were the rockin moments, when the band often seemed to just explode, and would launch into pounding metal onslaughts, usually bounding about as they stomped it out. They had a bit more of a variety of rhythms they rocked out on this time, and often the guitarists seemed to provide as much of the rhythm as the drums. The nicest change, though, is Anza has really become a theatrical performer. From the beginning of the show, she not only ruled the stage and the floorspace, but the entire room. At times she would stalk about in front of the audience, as if challenging them. At other times she would crawl, or roll on the floor, expressing a variety of emotions, from depression, to yearning, to anger, and regularly she would act out like a small child. During a guitar solo she sat on a male audience members lap and covered her face, motioning that we should pay attention to the guitarist. That guitarist, with long braids, did a good deal of performing himself, covering a wide amount of the floor space. The band is technically very good. Anza has a beautiful and very strong voice. At one point in the show she sang something, and then, without using the microphone, sang it again almost as loudly. At another time, using her effects, she started off a song with her voice sounding like a foghorn. During the last crescendo, as the band cranked away, and Anza wailed, she and the long-haired guitarist both fell to the floor and began thrashing about, still contributing to the paroxysm of sound. When the sound eventually abated, they lay still. The performance was over.
Japan Nite 2001: Love Psychedelico/Bleach/The Jerry Lee Phantom/Heart Bazaar--Elbow
Wow! It was a great night with four good to maybe even great bands, all of which got a good response from the crowd. It was well attended, almost exclusively by Japanese. Thats good and fitting. Still, I cant help but feeling that non-Japanese New York rockers are really missing out. As the crowd left, Supervoid.com (who sponsored the show) passed out a free sampler CD with songs by the four bands and five others.
HEART BAZAAR opened the show. They are a four-piece of two men and two women. Its the standard rock set-up with two guitars, bass and drums. One of the women fronted the band on guitar, though she stuck to just vocals during the second half of the set. The other woman played bass. Technically the band were fine, though the drummer flubbed a few fills. Their sound was standard rock/pop, and the songs were OK, but didnt add much to the equation. The singer, though, sang from her heart. She performed those songs like they meant everything to her. It was touching, and it made you root for her and the band.
The Heiz/Meth Toucher/Fuck Fuck/Ghost Dad/The Push Pops--Don Pedro’s--11/6/09
Shaku Keiji took the stage in his white suit, his white hat, and his white boots. Unfortunately, METH TOUCHER’s lead singer, who was the birthday girl tonight, and who easily had brought out most of the audience, had left the room, and taken most of the audience with her. THE HEIZ (pronounced haze) got their sound together, tested a few licks, and when they were ready to go, and the DJ’s music had stopped, they quickly launched into Chuck Berry’s ‘Rock And Roll Music’. There were only about ten people still in the room at the time, but before they finished that first song the people started coming back. A couple of songs more of their fresh and yet nostalgic rock and roll music, and everyone was back in the room, and many of them were dancing. THE HEIZ are an amazing band. They are a standard rock trio, with Asako Watanabe (a woman) on bass guitar. They justly claim to love rock and roll, and like many others they demand to know if you love rock and roll music, too. It’s stated in their promotional material that they love THE BEATLES, THE RAMONES, and Chuck Berry. They actually didn't play any BEATLES written tunes tonight, but their own songs are seemingly so early BEATLES inspired, that that can easily be forgiven. This band can play! They’re tight, and their music is so fresh and positive that it’s a joy to behold. It was seemingly miraculous to see this jaded New York crowd be possessed by the truly wholesome spirit of rock and roll music. The dancing began after a few songs. At first it was just a few couples. When they launched into THE RAMONES’ ‘Teenage Lobotomy’, The dancefloor filled with people, and the dancing got wild, but the joy remained obvious. Kim (Takashi Kimura) pounds those drums, and when he’s not too busy at his job, he’s often got a big smile on his face. At one point tonight, after singing a song for us, he got up, grabbed Shaku’s microphone and talked up the audience, not that we needed it at that point, but it was nice that he was as excited as we were. Asako often has a smile on her face, too. She also handles some of the vocals, and regularly raises her bass up into the air. The showman of the band, though, is Shaku. When they did Elvis’ ‘Hound Dog’, Shaku even did the Elvis pelvis shake during one of the drum breaks. He’s a true performer, and he makes it all look like a natural energy that the music brings out in him. His vocals are strong, enthusiastic, and right where they should be, and his guitar playing not only seems effortless, but remains impressively clean throughout the exciting set. At one point he jumped off the stage and ran out into the audience for a portion of a song. The energy and wholesomeness of the music continued to spur the audience and the dancing continued more and more enthusiastically. It seemed much too soon when Shaku announced their last song, but the audience enthusiastically demanded two encores, and they said goodbye to us with another RAMONES’ song, ‘Do You Remember Rock N Roll Radio’, and another Chuck Berry song. It was a great performance, and incredible to see a bunch of New Yorkers, who you assume have seen it all, and very few of whom were there to see THE HEIZ, apparently turned into, admittedly wild, but happy, and fun-loving dancers, expressing the pure joy of hearing completely unpretentious rock and roll music. One final note. Though Shaku seemed to have a boundless, natural energy, seemingly inspired by the music. At the merchandise table after the show, still in his white suit, he was obviously exhausted.
Exit Clov/The Heiz--Santos Party House--11/7/09
I got there a bit late, and THE HEIZ were already up on stage getting their sound together. I had just begun looking around the club, and they started up their set. It was very much like the set I heard last night, but perhaps even shorter, as they were opening tonight’s show. I was expecting them to switch things around a bit more, but they didn’t. After Kim, Takashi Kimura, sang one of his songs, he again came out front to talk with the audience. Tonight he told us that they were Japanese samurai. That was different. It is still a great band, and they are amazingly tight. The sound was significantly better, even in the basement of Santos Party House. What was most impressive seeing them again tonight was the richness of their vocals. All three of them have fine, and distinctly different vocals, and when they all sing together they’ve got something special. The set was shorter, and there was no wild dancing, or dancing of any kind. I was kind of disappointed. Still, THE HEIZ delivered a tight, classic, rockin’ set, and everyone I talked to afterward was very impressed. I will always remember that room full of crazy, rockin’ dancers, dancin’ wildly to the sounds of THE HEIZ, and though it didn’t happen in the basement of Santos Party House, my guess is that it will happen again, probably many times--maybe tomorrow in Cleveland!
EXIT CLOV followed THE HEIZ and I was looking forward to seeing them again. They did a very nice set, and topped it off with a version of THE RAMONES’ ‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’, changing the sex of the “Baby” to a him. That was perfect! I asked THE HEIZ what they thought of it and they all agreed that EXIT CLOV had done a nice version of it, and that it was a great song. Oh yes, and one of the women mentioned that she sometimes complained about coming all the way from Washington D.C. to play a gig in New York, but that THE HEIZ had come all the way from Japan, which made her complaints seem petty.
Green Milk From The Planet Orange/Dragons Of Zynth/Aa--BIG A little a/Rah
Bras/Professor Murder/Henry Tennis/Birds Of Avalon/The Mall/Gorch Fock/Birds
Of Maya--3rd Ward--11/2/06
HENRY TENNIS seemed crowded up there. There were two drummers on either side of the stage, a woman frontstage on keyboards, a bassist behind her, another keyboardist on one side who often played xylophone, and a guitarist on the other. There were no vocals. Their songs had a large jazz influence, and meandered through a number of changes. The band was tight. It was not as improvisational as it may have seemed, and at times it was quite beautiful. When one of the drummers played saprano saxophone, and interspersed it with a bird whistle, it took on a softer, sweeter sound. When the keyboardist switched to xylophone, things often picked up pace and sprouted fairy wings. It was a pastoral sound, but their was definitely something going on in that crowded pasture.
High Rise/Major Stars--Tonic--3/14/00
When HIGH RISE started up, Sean and Mike went in. It was sold out, so I watched from the lobby. I could see Asahito Nanjo, the bass guitarist/vocalist, and the band was cranking it up nicely. It was enjoyable, so I stayed. Eventually, the door-guy took pity on me and let me pay. They didnt stray far from the standard rock trio, but were tighter than I expected and more expansive. They are not as intense as MAINLINER, who I thought theyd resemble, and some of the songs were long and slow, but if you allowed them to, the band definitely managed to take you somewhere. Occasionally, the cool look (Nanjo wore shades) too closely approached a bored look, but at other times their journeys wound through dark passages and climaxed in a wah-wah heaven. Seemingly, mid-song Nanjo stopped and left the stage. The rest of the band followed him. After a reasonable amount of applause, Munehiro Narita, the guitarist, returned to let us know that Nanjos amp was blown and they would not be playing more.
The place was packed with young Japanese. They were obviously excited and ready for a rock show. Thats what they got. Almost before the band cranked up, most of the floor in front of the stage was surging. When the band did start laying down their rocking tunes, most of the floor erupted into the biggest mosh pit Ive seen at CBGBs ever. It kept up throughout the set, with bodies regularly being passed over the crowd. At one point, a naked woman joined the band on stage and shared a chorus with the lead singer. Keyboards tastefully filled up the guitar/bass/drums sound, though why the keyboardist was hiding behind the bass amps is a puzzle. The band looked like the rockers they were, and knocked out their well-tooled songs like pros. Raised fists bobbed along with every refrain. The audience rocked harder than the band, and the lead singer obviously enjoyed it. Though not as vigorously active as he was in video clips Ive seen of THE BLUE HEARTS, he good-naturedly clowned and made faces at the audience in between songs. This is a good classic punk band with a better bunch of songs than most had in CBGBs glory days.
Koichi Makigami has been doing two shows a night, with a variety of musicians, at The Stone, a new club, at least as far as I know, on Ave. C and 2nd St. HIKASHU are a band he started up in the late 70s, and I figured that would be the best way to introduce myself to this Tsadik artist, as Id never heard of him before this series of shows. I did hear that the guys playing with him tonight were not in the original band. There was Freeman Mita on guitar, who also played a small recorder-type instrument on one song, Masaharu Sato on drums, Masami Skaide on bass guitar, and Koichi Makigami on theremin, vocals, and jews harp on one song. They came out, and the guitarist started up some sporadic, disconnected licks that seemed a mix of both jazz and blues,. One by one the other musicians joined in with their own disjointed noodling, until, about a minute in, they latched onto a ragged blues riff, and Makigami, after introducing us to his dramatic and assured theremin technique, including both low and high frequencies, launched into a vocal which reminded me strongly of Captain Beefheart. It was the last time he used that voice. Hes got a wide variety of vocal styles, at least two for every song, a good number of which reminded me of Japanese traditional singing, and theatrical characters. The drummer started off the next song, and, like the first, most of the songs of the set started off with sporadic noodling, which then kicked into a groove. The bassist started off the next song. He was usually the one who fell into the groove first, but used a variety of techniques when he wasnt pulling the groove. The fourth song featured Makigamis jews harp, which was almost more impressive technically than his theremin playing. For the fifth song the guitarist started up an improv version of Mr. Tambourine Man, and on the sixth he brought out his small recorder-style instrument. At one point later in the set, the guitarist was so involved in his guitar work, he failed to notice Makigami signaling the end of a song, and Makigami was forced to tap him on the shoulder. Only a couple of the songs approached a momentum and catchiness that led me to believe they were probably playing one of their older hits. The musicians were all quite good, and after the set I was informed that the guitarist and bassist, along with Makigami, were in the original HIKASHU. I have no idea which is true, but the guitarist announced he had come from Japan, and I suspect most of this band has been playing together a while. When they quit and went downstairs, the audience gave them a steady applause until they returned and played another catchy number that sounded a bit like a country and western show tune. It was an odd, but enjoyable set, by a band using a lead theremin and stretching their sound in some very unique directions.
HIMAWARI finally came out. The singer, Lena Ichikawa, was a young woman with pig-tails sticking horizontally off the sides of her head. She also operated a synthesizer. Her male co-hort, Takeshi Ichikawa, was controlling the bulk of the sound on a set-up of synths and the like. Both dressed in white with transparent plastic layers. Throughout their performance, a video put together by the couple, played behind them and synched up with their songs. Much of the music was the typical bleeps and pulses which define techno. Regularly interspersed, though, were upbeat pop songs that had the singer bouncing up and down happily. Sometimes the video was of her singing the songs as she sang them. In no time at all they had the crowd animated and hopping along. Several times during the set Lena pulled male members of the audience up on stage to dance with her. It was a very positive, uplifting set, and to top it off, and get us all more involved, toward the end of the set she jumped out into the audience and danced with all of us at once. Fun techno with a happy buzz, who would have thunk it?
Qypthone/Himawari/Creme Blush/Spoozys/Peelander-Z/ Condor 44/Fantasys
Core--NY-Tokyo Music Festival --5/26/02
This night of the New York -- Tokyo Music Festival was quite the success. Lets hope it does become an annual event! The pier was a nice place to be. The wide variety of bands was intriguing. The MC regularly mispronounced the bands names, when he knew them at all, but thats a small complaint. The bands set up quickly and kept coming.
HIMAWARI were a late addition to this bill. They set up, and again had videos going along behind them. What was most impressive was how incredibly well-synced the videos were with their songs. Over and over again the lyrics appeared behind them as Lena sang them. Her partner, on laptop and various boxes, provided a full and wide-range of sounds for each of their songs. She surprised me by reminding me of Bjork, not so much her vocals, but the sincerity with which she sang them. Her range is not especially wide, but several notes were held much longer than I would have expected her capable of. The most charming thing was that she regularly danced about the stage in a very open, almost childlike way. During an uptempo number toward the end of the set she let loose a good scream, and did some energetic jumping. Though Im not partial to their sound, the growth in both their music and their performance is impressive.
Local Sound Style/Ovum/Holidays Of Seventeen/Parkers
Theory/Rice Cookers--Santos Party House--10/20/08
HOLIDAYS OF SEVENTEEN took their time setting up, too, but they also played a fairly short set, so it may have been that the bands already knew they were running out of time. HOLIDAYS OF SEVENTEEN consist of a drummer, a bassist, a keyboardist, and two guitarists, one of them the lead singer. The singer/guitarist was very polite, thanked everyone involved in their tour, and everyone who was there to see them. They had a good variety of songs, and were good musicians. Their songs were pop oriented, included a ballad, and they did rock out at times. The keyboardist was the real showman of the band. While he was playing he would occasionaly lean back and scream up at the ceiling, or wave one of his arms around. When he wasnt playing, he sometimes ran out to the front of the stage and danced around, both enjoying and rooting on the rest of the band. It was good pop music, and it was good fun. It was too bad their set was so short, but we had two more Japanese bands coming up.
Hypercube/Pink Noise/Dr. Hourai--Lit Lounge--5/2/05
HYPERCUBE are a trio. From the name, I was kind of expecting some type of techno band. When I got closer and saw the guitarists Good Ol GRATEFUL DEAD T-shirt, techno seemed quite a bit less likely. The first couple songs didnt sound like THE GRATEFUL DEAD, but werent far from that genre, and sounded like the influences were from the same era. HYPERCUBE kept their songs structured, and whereas THE GRATEFUL DEAD had two drummers, neither of whom played on the backbeat, HYPERCUBEs drummer kept the backbeat straight and true, and only departed from it in some of the softer passages. The guitarist introduced the third song as Kirin, which he explained meant unicorn, or super horse. It was a beautiful song with an extended structure, and reminded me more of a band like AMERICA than THE GRATEFUL DEAD. The most remarkable thing was the guitarists singing. He had a very strong voice, which he hadnt really displayed with the full band playing, but when they took the volume down, his vocals rose up and blossomed before us. It was beautiful, and put this song across with sincerity. There were another couple of songs that put his vocals out front, but the very next song was a stark contrast. It was a rocker with the only punk edge they displayed all evening. Throughout the set, the bassists subtle playing weaved through the songs, caressing them from the inside. Though their style of music isnt one Im particularly fond of, Im glad I saw HYPERCUBE tonight.
The Ripcords/Indian Hi/Rudy Jane--CBGBs--8/22/00
INDIAN HI came out and rocked. Theyre from Okinawa, and probably because of their obvious enthusiasm, the small audience took to them quickly. Their songs were short, well worked-out, and energetic. Occasionally the two guitarists did synchronized double-leads. It was an enjoyable show and the band jumped about the stage quite a bit. They announced covers of KISS and THE RAMONES, which blended in well with the rest of their set. They have a standard drums, bass, guitars line-up, and havent really developed a unique style yet, but they rocked with a friendly, open warmth, and their spirited performance was infectious.
Invisiblemans Deathbed/The Money Shot/The Tom Kitt Band/Ambulance--Arlenes
INVISIBLEMANS DEATHBED took a bit longer to set up than the previous bands had, but I forgave them the moment the first song started up. It had been a low-key evening until then. Suddenly, INVISIBLEMANS DEATHBED was pumping out a rocking energy that electrified the room. Theyre a standard four piece. Sometimes the frontman plays second guitar. Sometimes he just sings. The rhythm section rocks up a storm. When they werent hurtling along at a hectic pace, they were, with the rest of the band, stretching out the drama and dynamics of the surprisingly intricate songs. Its the guitarists, though, who put on the show. The frontmans legs twitched, seemingly uncontrollably, as he jerked about the stage. It was difficult to judge the technical skill of his guitar playing, as much of the time he was attempting to play some form of slide guitar with whatever happened to be the nearest hard object he could shove against the neck. At other times, though, his guitar playing seemed quite delicate, and it was often his playing and experimentation that carried the band through some of the softer, and more exploratory sections of the songs. It was when he put the guitar down, though, that a question Ive wondered about for a while now was raised. Simply, when would a Japanese frontman come out and just do the lead singer thing? Im not saying that this guys not unique unto himself, but he does seem to be copping some of the mythical lead singer schtick. To his credit, hes giving it a hell of a go. He somewhat resembles Question Mark (of ? AND THE MYSTERIANS), but unlike ?, he cant dance to save himself. Many of his moves were imitations of some of Iggys poses, but the awkward jerkiness of his gyrations about the stage finally reminded me more of Jagger, who also cant dance to save himself. Regularly he would run to the edge of the stage and, with exaggerated hand motions and facial expressions, dynamically act out the drama of the well-crafted songs. Meanwhile, the first guitarist whirled through a variety of styles, taking command of the frantic arrangements, and erratically rushing from one side of the stage to the other. The set ended much too soon with a song that closed in a cacophany of sound. The guitars met at the top of a six foot stepladder, symbollically mated, twisting against each other, and finally were placed on a structure of stacked chairs in front of the stage, and abandoned. It was quite the theatrical show, and the small audience yelled and cheered like a crowd three times its size. The band did reemerge, but there was no encore.
Invisiblemans Deathbed/Table Dreams--Kennys Castaways--3/16/03
Yep, well I dont often go see a band two nights in a row, but I was so fixated on the frontman, and how to describe his theatrics, I felt that I could easily enjoy seeing them again just to give me a chance to pay more attention to the music overall. When I called up the club, they told me INVISIBLEMANS DEATHBED would be on about 9:30PM, so I headed over. Of course, I had to sit through another band first, and INVISIBLEMANS DEATHBED didnt start their set till about 11PM, but thats pretty typical.
INVISIBLEMANS DEATHBED took the stage, and again they took their time setting up. Perhaps they played a slightly different set, or maybe TABLE DREAMS energetic set, made INVISIBLEMANS DEATHBEDs set seem calmer, and more focused. The frontman moved about the stage a bit less, but he did occasionally twitch himself out onto the dancefloor, and several times stood up on chairs, so that people back at the bar could check him out. His singing seemed fuller and smoother, and the band just proved how absolutely tight and versatile they are. The first guitarist is formidable. Hes the only one in the band to challenge the frontman for the spotlight, taking rockin stances at the edge of the stage with his stylish, blonde, overgrown mohawk hairstyle. The frontman did a lot less of the experimental slide guitar noise, and proved that he does have some real guitar chops that are a very integral part of the band. The bass lines flow in and through the songs, and the drummer keeps the beats right where they should be. Together they create an energetic, psychedelic pop music that frequently roars into a searing rock. The dramatic vocals and theatrics top off this fine band. The finale tonight involved the first guitarist, with his guitar slung over his back, climbing up a pole almost to the second floor level, and the frontman cordoning off the dancefloor with duct tape. The set seemed a bit longer tonight, but again they stepped out into a crowd calling for an encore, and began hawking their CDs.
Luckily, I showed up earlier than the guy on the phone suggested, because, as it was, I missed most of INVISIBLEMANS DEATHBEDs first song. Perhaps that made the set seem shorter, but they tend to play a shortish set, anyway, and, again, chose not to perform an encore. They told me later that they never perform encores, instead they pack their set full of good, strong, dramatic songs, and lots of theatrics. Not a song went by that either Deathbed, the singer, or Masayuki Takeda, the lead guitarist, didnt climb up on top of something, or run up to the audience. They take turns, at first I thought there might be a certain amount of competition between the two, but they never encroach on each others showmanship. Its just some good, rockin theater. They both like props, too. A plant was used by both of them, and Deathbed pulled a big couch out in front of the stage, which he regularly climbed up on, and at one point turned upright and mounted for a guitar solo. Masayuki several times climbed up on a separation between two couches, and, after acting out for a while, would jump back toward the band, getting some impressive height. The bassist and drummer concentrate on keeping the music coming, and they do a good job of it. Everyone in this band is talented, and though Deathbeds occasionally experimental guitar playing is sometimes a bit iffy, he otherwise proves that hes quite capable when he wants to be. His dramatic vocals, and Masayuki Takedas masterful variety of licks on guitar are front and center, but this fine bands songs are wide ranging, surprisingly complex, and would stand up without all the theatrics. In fact, INVISIBLEMANS DEATHBEDs live performances overshadow the songs, but thats what CDs are for.
Andre Williams/Jackie & The Cedrics/The Fabulous Itchies--Maxwells--10/23/99
JACKIE & THE CEDRICS came out in matching outfits, grey tuxedo suits with black collars. That surprised me. For some reason, I had been expecting a garage band. Dan looked at their equipment and pointed out that it was all authentic. The music they played was pre-garage, late 50s and early 60s. Its not my cup of tea, but they were so wonderfully spirited, and technically impressive, you had to love em. They won the crowd over quickly and never let us go. After a few songs they were joined by their new keyboard player, Takake(?). He was playing some kind of small casio-type keyboard, which he regularly waved about as he bounded into the wall, danced madly, and even jumped into the audience. He was the liveliest of a lively bunch. The jumping, dancing, and bounding about was non-stop, but the music never suffered for it. The guitarist, Thunderbolt, occasionally sporting a sea-captain's hat, was a master of intricate leads and played them all incredibly clean. It was an impressive show.
Japan Nite 2001: Love Psychedelico/Bleach/The Jerry Lee Phantom/Heart Bazaar--Elbow
Wow! It was a great night with four good to maybe even great bands, all of which got a good response from the crowd. It was well attended, almost exclusively by Japanese. Thats good and fitting. Still, I cant help but feeling that non-Japanese New York rockers are really missing out. As the crowd left, Supervoid.com (who sponsored the show) passed out a free sampler CD with songs by the four bands and five others.
THE JERRY LEE PHANTOM were next. I hadnt heard of them before, but Im gonna make sure I do in the future. Theyre another four-piece with a woman on keyboards. The frontman/guitarist sported a T-shirt saying, Im #1, I dont have to try harder and jokingly suggested they were the number one rock band in Japan. I doubt that, but Id say theyre definitely contenders. They rocked hard with some tight funk moves thrown in for good measure. They were all technically very good, and their songs were catchy and well-written. The singer/guitarist is a card, a real performer, who obviously enjoys his work. Some people near me seemed annoyed by him, but I was enjoying his show right along with him. One of the nicest touches was the keyboardist, who occasionally added some odd techno flourishes that added some new dimensions to their basic rockin stance.
The Jet Boys/The Plungers--Manitobas--10/19/01
The Jet Boys were up and playing in no time at all. Theyre a Ramones/Thunders style punk trio, complete with the 1-2-3-4 count-ins. They steamed through their set at a rapid pace, squinting shut their eyes as they screamed out the vocals. It was good, but nothing out of the ordinary till they came to a cover of I Got A Right near the end of the set. At that point, they got ballistic. During the lead, the guitarist took off his guitar and played it in every position he could think of, behind his neck, between his legs... After running out of positions, he leaned it up against the bass drum, took off his T-shirt, and began whipping it across the guitar strings. I didnt notice when, but at some point he also took off his jeans, and played the rest of the set (another couple of songs) seemingly wearing just his guitar. It was great to see I Got A Right taken to the limit, and they cranked on out from there. I do believe I saw some rock n roll tonight!
The Jet Boys/The Plungers--Magnetic Field--10/2/04
I made it to the club easily enough, and its a nice small bar. They were playing THE ONLY ONES when I walked in, and for the most part the music didnt get much worse than Gary Numans Cars. The stage is small, and the sounds not so great, but its a cool place to see a small band.
THE JET BOYS took the stage, and in a little while they were ready to start. The lead singer/guitarist, Onoching, who was the only member who had been in the last version of THE JET BOYS I saw, began a rather manic monologue in Japanese, which I could make no sense of. Toward the end he seemed to switch to English, which somehow didnt help my comprehension at all. It was a relief when they began the first song, which surprisingly was Pipeline. The new rhythm section is good. The drummer kept the beat coming, and the bassist often did some really nice runs, sang a couple of the songs, and even did some of the playing while rolling around on the ground. Ono is definitely the front-man, though, and he led his band through a rough and ready set of energetic punk, much of which involved him jumping around, and screaming into the microphone, which had to be repositioned for him, sometimes several times, during nearly every song, and towards the end of the set the stand was completely replaced. At one point during a break, Ono went into a short version of The Star Spangled Banner. Anything seemed game, and they closed out the set this time with THE STOOGES 1970 (I Feel Alright). It was a good stomping version of it, with both Ono and the bassist taking turns screaming, I feel alright!, churning through the song, rolling on the floor, the drummer pounding along. At one point Ono went back and helped him pound. Then he stripped off his shirt, pulled off his pants, and it wasnt long before his footwear and guitar were all he was wearing. The song pumped along like a big heart, and the antics continued, including both a mask pulled down over his head, and a set of nunchucks. Then, Ono jumped up onto the bar, did a lead, and pulled out a daikon (a large phallic-shaped radish), which he used to strum the strings, slowly dicing the vegetable, and leaving gobs of its remains all over the surface of the guitar. Onos not a shy guy, and there was a good deal of jumping about remaining before they finally finished the song and the set. The band had played a fun, and exciting, set, and the closer was more flamboyantly eccentric than anyone could have asked for or expected.
The 5,6,7,8Õs/The Fevers/The Jet Boys/Sato & Jonny--Mercury Lounge--10/3/04
As she left the stage, Masayo Sato told everyone to stick around for THE JET BOYS, who were up next, but warned that we should make sure we had something to cover our eyes with.
THE JET BOYS soon took the stage, and once they were ready to start, lead singer and guitarist, Onoching, began yelling at us in Japanese again. This time he seemed to think the band was in Tokyo, or wanted us to act like we were, or something. It was difficult to understand completely, but whatever he was saying, he obviously wanted to let us know we were in for a rock show, and thats what he and his band gave us. Id guess that most of the set was different from the one they did last night, but it went along pretty similar to last nights show, with perhaps a bit more running around, for the simple reason that there was more stage. About halfway through the set, in introducing THE HEARTBREAKERS Born To Lose, which THE JET BOYS contributed to a recent Johnny Thunders tribute collection, he acknowledged that this was New York, and the rocking began anew. He even got some help singing Born To Lose from a member of the audience who had jumped up to put the microphone back in the stand. The band rocked just as hard as it had the night before, though perhaps a tad less chaotically, and eventually they made it to the last song, which started out as IGGY AND THE STOOGES I Got A Right, but by the time Ono had stripped down to his birthday suit, which he was even bolder about tonight, and did the thing with the mask and the nunchucks, and then the thing with the daikon, leaning out over the audience, as he sliced and diced the large vegetable on the strings of his guitar, the song seemed to have changed into 1970 (I Feel Alright), which is cool. It was great to see this trio taking a fine song, putting their hearts into it, and taking it to the limits. Ono, naked, slashing away at his guitar, or leaving it to feedback on its own, and his rhythm section worked the song for all it was worth.
Chatmonchy/Omodaka/Red Bacteria Vacuum/Omodaka’s/Jinny Oops!--Bowery Ballroom--3/21/10
Audrey Kimura and Japan Nite made their after SXSW stop in New York for 2010. It’s usually the highlight of the year for Japanese rock in New York. My guess is that once again, nothing will top it this year. Thank you Audrey, and my thanks to all the bands. It was another rockin’ Japan Nite! Why weren’t there more people there to support this annual event?
JINNY OOPS! opened the night with a joyous bang! I understand that shortly before this tour they were a five-piece all-gal band, with a trombone and a trumpet player who recently left the band. That leaves them a rockin’ all-gal trio. Yes, I would have preferred to see them with the horns, but this is a strong band as is. When they took the stage, the bassist came out with a beautiful Japanese umbrella which she brought out to the front center stage and set down there to ornament the stage while they played. JINNY OOPS! had a certain amount of variety, and they rocked things up nicely. The drummer pretty much stuck to pounding, but the band stuck to uptempo numbers, so that felt just fine! The guitarist had a nice voice, and was charming, often making faces when she was singing, and when she wasn’t. The faces ranged from a bewitching charm, to a look of surprise that reminded me of Mr. Bill. The drummer did some back-up singing, but most of the time the bassist handled the back-up vocals while often hiding behind her hair-do. The guitarist and bassist also did a good amount of bouncing about the stage. All in all, they were a very enjoyable opening act, and got Japan Nite started off in high style.
Jitterin Jinn/Suicide King/Peelander Z--CBGBs--2/4/01
Finally, JITTERIN JINN were going to come on, so I made my way up to the front. The band sported matching red pants and JITTERIN JINN T-shirts. They started up at a good clip, and kept it up throughout their short set. The singer, Reiko, was quite talkative early in the set. She definitely made an effort to get the crowd vocal and appreciative, but after leading a cheer between the second and third song she seemed disappointed with the results. They then played a couple of their more well-known songs, to the crowds delight, and the beat continued its sprightly pace. It surprised me that Miyuki, the drummer, was able to keep up such a tempo song after song, and the band, though rougher than I expected, stayed right with her. For the last two songs of the set, Reiko picked up a small accordian and added that to the bands quickstep rockabilly/pop. After six songs, perhaps twenty minutes, they left the stage. The crowd was justly stunned, but regained its composure quickly enough to call for an encore. The band dutifully came out and played one more of their hits before retiring for good. I like the band, and I very much enjoyed the set, but it was much too short. I can only guess that they just arent able to maintain that frantic pace for much longer than they did. The next night at Continental they played an even better, tighter set, and it may have even been a little longer.