Japan Tour Diary, Part 3

Tuesday 10th of February Drunkard’s Stadium


After decent enough six or seven hour sleep we get up late and have to pack up in a hurry to get out of the apartment for checkout at 10am. Keita arrives in perfect time to load up the van and head off to the first venue, Drunkard’s Stadium. The Stadium is a 200 capacity in Chiba, a city on the outskirts of Tokyo. It’s on the fourth floor of a concrete building.  We arrive before the venue is open and so to settle slightly dishevelled stomachs we head to McDonalds to take some familiar junk food. Brian keeps it real by ordering a prawn burger. “Om-Nom!”

At soundcheck we meet up with Marvin’s Revolt, Shinya’s band Deepsea Drive Machine and Irish folk rock band Johnson’s Motorcar with ex-pat Dubliner Brian on guitar, Canadian Martin on fiddle and Japanese girl Rinamame on drums. Johnson’s Motorcar tell us all about the Irish Folk rock scene in Tokyo. We’ve heard of the Cherry Coke$ before but it’s fascinating to see how Irish folk can become an established genre of music on the opposite side of the world!  

A few beers are had and I’m feeling a little nervous and giddy. Soundcheck goes fine, with Keita acting as translator and roadie, passing on our complicated sound requirements easily where we would struggle. We find out that standard power adaptors wouldn’t allow our pedal power supplies. It seems they draw too much current for a standard 230-110V adaptor. A quick run to the shops gets enough 9V batteries to keep us going and we finish the check. The venue is pretty impressive and LITE have lined up a great range of amps for us to use. I go with a Fender twin valve amp.


After the sound-check I go off to the van to find one power adaptor and see if it might work. While back there I pick up some deodorant as I am starting to sweat profusely in the venue. I stick it under my shirt “KSSSSSH”. That’s not right. Yep, I have sprayed shaving gel under my arm. Now THAT’s jetlag! Well, stupidity more like. I sheepishly make my way back to the venue.

Later we go to an izakaya which seems like the Japanese equivalent of a Tapas bar. We order a mix of dishes - calamari, rice, tomkatsu, sushi and more. The restaurant is packed due to some big business night out and dozens of Japanese businessmen file into the restaurant. We discuss the concept of the “salaryman” in Japan, a term used to describe any male careerist businessman regardless of occupation. Just after dinner around 5-6pm we feel a “slump” where by we feel wrecked and need to sit down. This will become a running theme on this tour. Well it’s 8am in Ireland and I should be getting up for work so my body is more than a little confused. 

We get back too late to see Clean of Core, featuring Sunao, brother of Nobuyuki, LITE’s guitarist, which is a shame. They were one of the local supports I was most looking forward to seeing. Also we get to meet Asuka, who befriended us on Myspace in the run up to tour and already has the record, which is cool!

We catch a bit of Deepsea Drive Machine. Shinya’s band play very upbeat guitar based dance music with live drums and melodic vocals. Later on Johnson’s Motorcar take the stage featuring dexterous rhythm guitar from Brian, amazing fiddle playing from Martin and classically trained percussionist Rinamame is a great drummer. This sets things up nicely for us to go on stage. We are a little shakey, the first three songs are a little limp and we finally get into form there after. It’s a short set (25 mins) but enough to shake us out of our jetlag and get us going. We’re happy enough but reckon we’ll do much better in Nagoya tomorrow.

Marvin’s Revolt play a great set, all complicated post punk/post rock riffing with some great group vocals and catchy as hell. I reckon our set has confused them a little and they are not sure what to make of us musically speaking (this is not uncommon for us!). We have a beer or two before packing up. Keita drives us back to Kazuto’s parents’ house in Saitama. Poor Keita is jetlagged as badly as us but has been working hard all day, between driving, carrying gear and manning the merchandise stall. 

We meet up with Kazuto who is arriving from a LITE gig in a Shibuya. It’s great to see him, the last time we talked was when LITE last played in Dublin back in October. He’s very welcoming and brings us over to his parents’, a beautiful modern Japanese house with a garden which is pretty unusual for Tokyo. Inside we see pictures of Ireland’s own Adebisi Shank and the legendary Mike Watt, who all stayed here last year. Kazuto’s mum is still up and has prepared for us a wonderful meal of sushi. “OM!”  After eating we all (Spooks and Keita) crash out. Myself and Brian are in a beautiful room with a shinto shrine. It’s 2am and we each grab a quick shower and get a short but decent sleep as we have to be up at 7am. It’s so cool to be staying at a Japanese home and to be so well looked after.