Thursday, April 24, 2008

BORDER CROSSING: Fast Cars in Japan!

Again thanks to 1977 Records, the same label that brought The Kids to Japan a couple months ago, arranged for the UK power pop/mod revival group The Fast Cars to play a string of shows across Japan in celebration of their 30th anniversary. The band is know for appearing on the same bill as Joy Divison, The Jam, The Rezillas and other power pop, punk and post-punk acts of the day. In Japan, they were backed by some of Japan's best punk and new wave revival bands including Water Closet, NanoX and the Romanes.

I saw the Fast Cars at their Saturday nite show at Shinjuku Red Cloth. When I arrived, pogo-punks, greasers and parka sporting mods crowded the joint watching The Romanes, an all-girl Ramones cover band, who played a set of rough but appreciable classics! Then the spastic organ-powered neo-wave group NanoX took the stage making a few pogo-ers quite happy.

(S. Takahiro---->Bass---->Nanox)

The Fast Cars played a set that included their classic repertoire with songs like "The Kids Just Wanna Dance" and "Every Day I made Another Mistake" (the lyrics ironically foresaw their cult popularity in Japan!) alongside songs on their new album Well... You Started It! The Red Cloth show was particularly lively with spiky haired punk girls jumping on stage and stage diving. After much "We Want More!" cheering, the band came back out to do an encore that included covers of The Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols and The Undertones.

(The Fast Cars live at Graf in Hakata!)

After the show, The Fast Cars showed their appreciation by meeting and taking pictures with the audience. Another special thanks to 1977 Records for bringing a great classic band to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Monday, April 14, 2008

BORDER CROSSING: Mindless in Translation

Last month I came across a Myspace bulletin announcing a free Mindless Self Indulgence show in Roppongi and figured I'd go check it out. I listened to them nearly 8 years ago when a college party friend played "Bitches" all around our dorm floor and a bunch of us went out to see them at the Chance in Poughkeepsie. My friend ended up becoming their publicist and quite successful in the NYC goth/shock rock scene. Anyway, being from NY and having this connection, and also the advantage of it being a free show, I headed out to Roppongi for my first time.

(Japan Promo Spot)

I made it from the station past all the hustlers to the club, to find a line of Japanese and foreign teenage alterna-kids waiting in a line which started shortly moving. Despite it being a "free" show, in Tokyo you still gotta pay 500 Yen for a drink ticket. Another cool thing was that MSI were the only band on the bill, so the kids got into it right away. Admittedly, I'm not up on their new material, but I was happy to hear some of songs that I knew from the college days for nostalgia's sake.

Afterward, the band hung out with the audience for pictures and autographs. I introduced myself and Pacifiction Records to the guitar player Steve and he surprised me with his Taiwanese language ability... he learned GAN INIAN (meaning"Fuck Your Mother" in English) from a Taiwanese elementary school classmate. That being said, Mindless would be a great act for the Formoz festival in Taipei.