And they were very, very good last night. The singer/bassist Natsuko is astonishing, she's a great player and performer but also seems to be loving every moment when she's onstage, throwing her arms around and shooting huge, unselfconcious grins all the time. She knocked over her mic and some of the drum mics with a few exuberant swings of her limbs. She also jumped down into the audience to rock out at the very end, spinning round and staring ecstatically at everyone. She's awesome. They also announced that they were playing Rising Sun this year and I will be there for their set with bells on (n.b. I may not actually be wearing bells).
It was the first time I'd been to Hall Spiritual Lounge, one of Sapporo's indie venues. It's not much of a hall or a lounge, but they've certainly got a sound system. It was deafening - on reflection in the top ten loudest shows I think I've ever seen (which includes Wolf Eyes and that two piece British metal combo... I don't remember their name, and My Vitriol, who weren't loud, but who worked with torturously trebly sonics). I'm 24 hours away and my ears are still ringing and certain frequencies are still distorting in my ears - man that's a show.
There were three other bands too, and none of them sucked. The first band (who probably did most of the ear-damage) were fluke, from Sapporo. I'm gonna have to listen again when I can actually tell the difference between a bass and a guitar, but they actually sounded really good. Straight, hooky post-punk rock with great shouty vocals. I'm gonna try and check them out again.
After that was a secret guest which turned out to be Discharming Man. Discharming Man, as a spoonerism of the Smith's song, is an awesome band name and I'd checked them out before and... y'know. Wasn't blown away.
The flyer I picked up a few months ago was full of endorsements from bands like MOTFD and Bloodthirsty Butchers, and they're an up-and-coming band from Sapporo but I'm still not sold. However they (or he? possibly it's a one man band with backing musicians) were much better live. He has a great voice, the music sounded good, the arrangements were interesting... I just don't like the songs much. Oh well. Actually, the video above is kinda growing on me... maybe it's a grow-on-you thing...
It was interesting because Hideki Yoshimura, the singer from Bloodthirsty Butchers (who are from Sapporo, why do I always forget that?) was playing guitar in his band, and often talked between songs. Because Yoshimura is much older, and I would guess, is acting like something of a mentor here there was a lot of respect flowing his way across the stage, a real sempai thing going on.
The third band was another local group called dry as dust. They were very... competent? They all looked about 12. As Matt said, "mass appeal" but not much appeal for me. They didn't suck at all, mind you, just... not as exciting as the other groups.
And that was what is probably gonna leave my ears ringing for a few days. Just like the old days when it never used to go away at all.