Thursday, June 11, 2009

Basement Bar

J and I met at a potluck a couple of months back. She recently moved to Kyodo, so I suggested we catch a show in Shimokitazawa sometime. We found a night we were both free, and then picked a club at random.

I really wasn't expecting much, since we had basically pulled the show choice out of our asses. I checked the bands' myspace pages, and they seemed ok. One was a little more than ok.

We made a reservation, and on the day of, met and grabbed some food and found the club with only a little trouble. When we got in, one band had already played and one was in the middle of a set.

The group, Plathome Nine, had a diminutive girl guitarist/vocalist, and brought to mind flashes of Smashing Pumpkins. Very good.

Next up was the group I had liked on myspace, Akifukuin (秋福音). They make experimental music, using lots of toys and different organic sounds. They were interesting just to hear, but they were really great live. They spent the whole set making coffee, amplifying the little sounds of scooping beans, grinding them, pouring hot water, etc. There were some other interesting instruments, like funny flutes and lots of pedals and looping. Thorougly awesome. I loved this group!
Plus, they were all incredibly cute.

Next, a group called Taiheiyou Shiranui Gakudan (太平洋不知火楽団) came on. They rocked a lot, and the best part was how awkward and apologetic and funny and humble the lead guitarist/singer seemed. He kept saying "thank you, thank you so much, thank you! the other bands were great! thank you for coming! thank you!" and had such a halting stage persona... but then would let loose on a song and would just scream and wail and sing so passionately.
It was really beautiful.

Last came a group called Karakurimusha (からくり武者). They were a really strong indie-pop band, super good. The pedal maven from Akifukuin was the guitarist. Seems he gets around.

The show was really excellent, and I was surprised, because I've been to many many indie shows. Usually, especially when it's not a show you've gone out of your way to see, at least half the bands are ho-hum. I try to be supportive, but often end up sitting in the back or outside, waiting for something decent. But we danced the whole time.

Someone's doing something right at Basement Bar.


  1. hello hello! ;) wow you live in tokyo!! i cant imagine the heat! i just travel there in the summer and i go insane

    but i do envy you being able to find cool places like this. sapporo is a bit lacking. what do you do in tokyo?

  2. Hi Sarah! Thanks for visiting!
    The heat's not so bad yet... although it's getting humid. I kind of love storm season. It will be ridiculous in a few weeks though.

    I love Sapporo! I've been there a couple of times, but always during the snow festival. I want to visit in the summer. It's actually the sister city of my hometown, Portland Oregon.

    What do I do in Tokyo? A bunch of this and that! I teach English part time, and do other freelance projects part time. I guess it's about half-half. And try to do stuff and see stuff as much as possible!

    I love the energy of your website!