Japan Tour Diary, Part 7

Saturday 14th of February, Lush Tokyo:

We wake up relatively rested to another wonderful breakfast from Kazuto’s mum. Tonight we play our last show. I wind up going back to bed for an hour as I’m so knackered. It’s a sunny morning and Kazuto drives us to Lush, a venue also in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. On the bill tonight are Tokyo noiseniks Kuruucrew9dw (Nine Days Wonder) jazzy fusion project of Kensuke from Catune Records, who distributed the Spook CD in Japan and finally Z, experimental jazz noise band and Transduction label mates.


We have a full hour set to play so will do our full set, including a newly arranged cover of Lizzy’s “Emerald”. As the 5 o’clock slump hits the lads head off to buy a present for Kazuto’s folks. I’m a little too tired to head off so head backstage as soundcheck finishes up. Kuruucrew sound amazing: like the proverbial flight of stairs falling down another proverbial flight of stairs. I’m slumped over a table backstage trying to get a little rest. The lads arrive back and its time to wake up and watch some of the bands. I head to a 7-11 and buy this energy drink with an alarm clock logo that tastes of condensed coffee and cough syrup. I really like it but the rest of the lads hate the taste. This is supposed to do the trick, and it does. Soon I’m jittery but very awake. Most of LITE are here and its good to be hanging out for one more night. I also meet some of Keita’s friends who have an excellent band called Knock Note Aliens who are hopefully coming to play Ireland next year.

Kuruucrew take to stage. Their set is one long pounding freakout, driving bass and drums, atmospheric feedback soaked guitar and effects laden sax. Its not a million miles from Lostage, who we saw in Osaka, but even more demented. It brings to mind Cope’s “Japrock sampler”. In the book he describes how post World War II Japanese embraced western musical influences but passed it through what he termed as “the Japanese cultural filter” to produce something even more out-there and inspired than the original inspirations. Kuruucrew demonstrate this filter, they could be from nowhere other than Japan right now, yet they sound as universal and relevant as anything I’ve heard round the world in the last while. There’s talk of them touring with LITE next year and I hope this happens!


Next up is 9dw who play layered jazz fusion with sequenced electronics, live drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards. Kensuke from Catune is the main man in this band. It brings to mind some of the more upbeat Tortoise stuff I know and some French dance music such as Justice or Daft Punk. Groovy!

Z (pronounced Zed) plays next. They are also signed to Transduction. Recently they have lost a member and so are now stripped down to drums, guitar and saxophone/ vocals. Its an incredible sound – mathy jazzy rhythms, chugging post metal riffing and demented vocals and saxophone from front man Jun Nemoto. It seems to bridge several gaps between experimental jazz, noise rock and Japanese folk. At one point Jun plays two saxophones simultaneously! Holy shit!


Finally, we take to the stage. This is our last and longest set of the tour. Its nice to be able to play the entire set, including the Lizzy cover. The sound is great on stage and I feel we nail the harmonies. We build up and up, through a run of 3 guitar-based songs “The Spook”, “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Down Comes The Bridge”. We follow with “Emerald” and it goes well, although I wish I could do a meaner solo!  Brian is pummelling the kit and we’re giving it our all. As per the previous night Brian gets up and gives a short speech in Japanese to the appreciation and amusement of the crowd, which gives us a bit of time for re-tuning (and a rest!). We start into our last tune “Pimlico” and in the noisy outro I jump off the stage into the audience and start running around the front of the stage to everyone’s amusement. And that’s that, the tour is over.


After we pack up quickly, Keita heads home for the night and the rest if us leg it over to the Shinjuku venue Marz where Marvin’s Revolt are about to play. Marz is another very modern Tokyo venue, full of people and there is a bit sense of expectation in the air. The Marvin’s lads take to the stage and play out of their skins and the crowd are into it. They finish on “Days Are Getting Shorter” the main track off of their Parabolica released record and are done to rapturous applause. Nez appears to have gone back to his hotel. It’s been a long night’s drinking so this is understandable.

Afterwards, we hit the bar just before Jun from LITE begins DJ’ing on stage. He starts by playing “The Hare” off of our album. He wants us to come on stage and dance but we’re too sober for that carry on (yet). Soon after he plays some Adebisi Shank to a dancing crowd and later The Vinny Club remix of “Infinite Mirror”. We bust several moves! A few pints later and we’re on stage locked, pogo dancing to Marvin’s Revolt! That’s beer for you. It’s now 6am on the morning of Sunday the 15th of Feb.