Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SHLONK 's Two Fisted Japan Tour 2009

Occasionally Pacifiction Records helps out overseas garage and punk bands with touring in Japan. This can be a result of having personal ties or, in the case I don't know you, if I really like your band. And ultimately it comes down to being able to afford the trip and expenses. That's just a fact of touring the country. I latched onto SHLONK, largely because of their obscure history in the NYC punk scene playing alongside performance/art punk bands like Lunachicks and GWAR and guitarist Anji's grimace-inducing comic strip of GG Allin's trip to Canada. Also the fact that at the time they started out as a grrrl band with vocalist Al Warnock as an onstage tranny. SHLONK sent me a bunch of their 7" BRUTE EP from 1994 with beautiful silk-screen sleeve depicting beach girls being ravaged by killer sharks which I distro to a couple shops (Micky Room and Senseless Records) in Japan. You can also buy it NOW online here. Then I got word from Anji that they were recording a new CD and wanted to make a tour in Japan. So I started casting out the lines to see what I could come up. The end product was a 6 date tour of shock, awe and debauchery that hit Chiba, Yokohama and Tokyo. Here's a short summary of that week of horror:

October 28th - Chaotic City @ Club Goodman in Akihabara, Tokyo

Mochi from GROUNDCOVER was one of the first contacts I asked about getting a noise punk/experimental show together for SHLONK. When I found out that Mika from EMULSION was an old friend of Anji's as well as Mochi, I suggested that the two bands work on it together. Unfortunately members of GROUNDCOVER were busy preparing for their Taiwan trip and Mochi could only perform with his electo-noise unit VWVW which blast through about 5 mins of screeching and grindy guitar effects. EMULSION played an energized set with more emphasis on progressive hardcore. SHLONK made their Tokyo debut with Al dressed in Jesus robes and gave his benediction to the host of Club Goodman.

October 29th - Fuck the Bitch Goddess @ Heaven's Door in Sangenjaya, Tokyo

Girl bands with wicked attitudes marked the theme for SHLONK's first show hosted by trash rockers ED WOODS. ANAAKIES gave their creepy, evil nun performance an extra dose of neo-feminist chinko talk! The HARPY's keep putting more energy into their cabaret garage act and BO-PEEP played a tight energetic set of female alt-rock. During SHLONK's set, AL came out wearing a sailor girl uniform and their T-shirt as a daiper which eventually came off and was offered to the audience as a freebie to whoever dared to sniff it! I think Harpy's Satomi ended up taking it home!

October 30th - NO MATTER IN FIGHTHING TOUR! x SHLONK JAPAN TOUR! @ Club 24 West in Yokohama

This was the only pure hardcore show of the tour with Yokohama bands like STOOPS, ECHO meeting head-to-head with Tokyo heavy hitters PADLOCK and AKUTARE. Al came onstage wearing a sailor uniform, this being Yokohama Port and all, and started yelling, "Where're all the whores???" The irony was a bit lost in translation and he looked more like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man rolling around on the floor... Nonetheless, SHLONK managed to grip the 24 West scene and get the respect of some crazy local punks!

October 31st - NAKANO HALLOWEEN PARTY @ Moon Step in Nakano, Tokyo

Halloween Nite was a horror show carnival with the grotesque droogie punk styles of HAT TRICKERS, monster lovin' zombie trash band ED WOODS and Nagoya's hardcore group ADA-MAX.  I came dressed as the invisible man and dran a bottle of red wine before the nite was up. Al dressed once again in holy robes and Anji chose to attire as a spooky New Orleans voodoo doll. Lots of freaks in the audience this nite! Read more about it on Detroit Jack's blog here.

November 1st - Fuck the Scum Rockers @ Zone-B in Waseda, Tokyo

Everything wound itself up tightly to this point... and then sprung at Zone-B. The nite was kicked off by ED WOODS again followed by samurai punk/yakuza rock 'n' rollers TOKYO-RYOZANPAKU who brandished katana blades and sported sumo loin cloths. Punk SM diva Eliza Royal got friendly with Al back stage and performed a set of feedback scorched punk classics with her band ECO-DAMNED.

Bringing back the sounds of MC5, NY Dolls and Johnny Thunders, HOWLING GUITAR rocked with original punk attitude and were even joined by BOROCK1 vocalist who did a fuck-all Iggy Pop impersonation for "I Wanna Be Your Dog." SEPPUKU PISTOLS arrived onstage and threw around the mic stands and drum kit amidst a cyclone of nationalistic breakcore techno. SHLONK arrived on stage with all wearing his sailor top and tighty whitey long johns which got pulled down frequently during the band's frenzied set. TOKYO-RYOZANPAKU vocalist stripped to his skivvies and the Iggy Pop lookalike assaulted Al in a faux-moerotic orgy! After SHLONK the legendary JET BOYS took to the stage blasting through a set that included songs from their new release ending with the white radish grating, milk drenching antics regular fans are used to. Climax indeed.

November 2nd - Riot Grrl in Japan - K's Dream in Inage, Chiba

K's Dream is a pretty cool grunge themed club in Chiba (K stands for Kurt, get it?) with an upstairs bar and top notch live house downstairs. The opener for this event was a Bikini Kill cover band, called, um... BiKiNi KiLL. But they kicked ass and covered a bunch of classic and obscure riot grrl tunes. Not strictly adhering to the girl band rule, GNOSSIS played a Seattle grunge inspired set.

Before SURGE came on with their throwback 90's alternative sounds, Al appeared onstage with a pink wrestling mask which he rocked with hardcore attitude and SHLONK surprised the hipsters and barroom rockers with their tightest and cleanest set of the tour. Rated PG for the teenage grunge heads in Chiba.

Novemeber 3rd - Sayonara Party - Poor Cow, Stay Free in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

I got the idea to arrange a Sayonara Farewell party at the coolest RnR bar in Tokyo, Poor Cow, operated by Fifi of the coolest garage punk band Teengenerate and more recently Firestarter. I met up with the SHLONK crew at the station and guided others I met at the station to the living room sized bar filled with records and RnR videos. Attendees included Billy and Jet Trash of ED WOODS, Mari of ANAAKIES, Maki and Satomi of the HARPY's, Mika of EMULSION, the tantalizing Eliza Royal from ECO-DAMNED, TOKYO-RYOZANPAKU vocalist and the Iggy Pop lookalike from the Zone-B show, among other Poor Cow regulars from bands like Hey, Supersnazz, Kannana Speedcats and Young Parisienne. We gabbed about the tour and weird times telling stories until the last train... which I missed!

During this tour, original SHLONK members Angie Shlonk and Al Warnock were joined by support members and Japan residents Matt (bass) and Joe (drums). The band recorded a new CD over the summer in Canada with more or less a stable line-up entitled Two Fisted Tales of Christ which can be purchased by contacting the band. They got T-shirts from the tour, and they're clean too!

Monday, November 16, 2009

BACK from the GRAVE! : Halloween Ball '09 featuring THE MUMMIES in Tokyo!

Well, So much for promises. I never got my Minolta sorted with a flash and I also still need to buy a battery for it. And to top it off I didn't actually get to see the MUMMIES at Shinjuku Loft. Tickets sold out lightning quick and I was feeling rundown after partying several nights with SHLONK, a scummy Canadian band that hit Tokyo for Halloween week. However, my girlfriend did muster up the strength to stay out all nite after seeing SHLONK with me at Nakano Moon Step (more on that later). She used my Pentax digicam and came back with some alright pics!

And here's some of the GO-DEVILS in neko neko mode:

I missed a bunch of other cool shit like Dai from the BAIT ONES joining THEEE BAT onstage... The Fly & Miss Tarantula, Jackie & the Cedrics, 5678's... this list goes on and on and on. And also some bizarre announcement I read about that the MUMMIES decided to actually be mummified upon their deaths?! Well, kinda pissed it was the first Back from the Grave Halloween Ball I missed in two years, but hanging with SHLONK was a week-long roller coaster of scum and villainy that I'll post about next!