Archive for May, 2005

Obviously not parking cars.

New Wave Junkies was funkadelic, but the most surprising act of the night came from my apartment block’s very own car park. Recovering from a slightly boozy night (as opposed to my usual crazed drunken hazes) I decided to enjoy some government-approved carcinogens on my balcony (I don’t smoke inside at home) and consider how best to staple-gun the bulletin board back online when the scene began.

A couple were in the parking lot. These people weren’t discreetly secreted in an automobile at the back of the lot. The two were quite happily smooching beneath the street lights at the entrance of the lot, which is an oft-used thorough-fare all hours of the day or night. It’s hard to miss these kinds of things with street lights blazing like the fires of hell. The guy in black or grey and his lass bedecked in lemon top with a black skirt. It looked quite sweet when I first saw them and didn’t think anything of it. No doubt, they could see Igor standing up on his balcony of ashen evil, so Igor politely turned around and continued his nicotine absorbtion and enjoying the fine workmanship of his apartment wall (lovely texture).

Halfway through the second baccy, just enjoying the night buzz and getting ready to pack it in, Igor turned toward the balcony ash-tray and his eyes nearly popped out in amazement.

The couple had gone from being quite sweet to being not so sweet. Still under the (let’s be brutally honest) dazzlingly bright street lights, the guys pants had gone down and the young lady’s own clothes were draping off her body (although modesty did prevail). To add emphasis to this state of affairs she was doing some very rapid hand excercises…. it was almost as if she was trying to rip something from the guy’s nether regions. Don’t ask, you get the idea.

The only slowdown was when a cyclist breezed past the two love birds. Of course the cyclist also slowed down (quite a lot) to appraise the situation. Other people were walking past the main access point to the lot area, but prying eyes did not phase these two. Bah, I was too tired and went to bed so that’s all Igor has to say on the matter.

It was not an everyday scene in Japan, but it certainly was a scene and it was in Japan, so worth adding to the J-Life area for your edutainment.

Mistakes. They happen. But they don’t always look this good! Thanks be to my fellow desk-jockey for pointing this out to take the edge off my day! I’m not sure if someone is sniggling in a back room of Reuters online central, or quaking in their boots with fear. Either way, it is a special online monent. I even grabbed a screenshot before the error was corrected about fifteen minutes later.

Miss Canada makes it into the wrong Reuters storyThe photo next to the story is Miss Canada, and is most definitely connected the article, France braced for new prime minister, policy shift. Yes, I know. This has absolutely nothing to do with Japan, Goth or ferrets, but amusing it is desu ne!

Actually, I think Miss Canada just became Miss Universe, so I don’t think she will have much time for Prime Ministering in France!

All in a day’s Web surf.

Pineal, the sexy horned grocker from the underworld, drags himself out of hell for another dose of Pagan Portrait @ Takadanobaba AREA (Igor’s review of Pagan 1). How good is Pineal? Dead at Last’s master put it thus on his board: Pineal was as good as a blow job! Furthermore, the dark master said the dazzling angel on the ax could play straight away with Christian Death or Bauhaus! Now if that isn’t a recommendation, then I don’t know what is!

The show will also feature the ever-stylish Mushi delivering a his own mix of soviet-industrial and hard neo-glam rock (Igorian for it’s cool stuff). You also have 101A, an edgy retro-rock group with one helluva lady on vocals (almost like a 21st century Suzi Quattro or Divinyls – w00t!), Radio Strip and Smells.

Event Info:
Event: Pineal Presents Pagan Portrait Vol. 2
Place: Super Live Theater Area Takadanababa
Address: B1, 3-3-8 Takadanababa, Shinjuku, Tokyo † Map
AREA Phone: 03-3361-1069
Pineal Email: pinealATjesus-iDOTam
Date: Saturday, June 4, 2005
Start: Open 18:00 † Start 18:30 ~
Price: 2,500 yen (3,000 at door)
Note: Lawson Ticket L-code 39505 (you can buy tickets through the terminal at a Lawson convenience store – need a bit of Japanese to navigate).
Performers: Pineal, Mushi, 101A, Radiostrip and Smells.
Web site:
Club page:

Pineal returns to AREA this weekend with another night of of grand darkness (Sat. June 4 2005)! Igor has pulled out his report of the original Pagan event from the archives so you can get a first-hand account of Pagan Portrait. Pagan Portrait 2 is on a Saturday, which is when it should be! And on top of the core bands from Pagan 1, Pineal has managed to get 101A – very cool heavy retro sound with strong femme lead. Anyway, on with the report on the original event…

It was a chill night on November 5, when Igor and his partner in darkness took off for Takadanobaba AREA, to bear witness to Pineal Presents Pagan Portrait. The event started at an early 6:30 p.m. on a Friday, meaning Igor missed the opening act and only caught the last parts of the second, but there were three other bands lying in wait as the tardy night crawlers sluiced in from their day jobs. Walking down to the basement I was surprised to be among the oldest of the crowd. Goth seems to be a young person’s game in Japan with society reabsorbing the dark youth somewhere around their mid-20s. Locating the actual stage area was a bit of a challenge, with all doors painted in the same matte black and all looking like emergency exits to hell. Opening the door emitting the greatest noise, Igor and co. stepped inside to discover J-Goth….

What can I say, all the players had pretty polished performances and blew me away. The four bands seen each brought their own style to the party for a multifaceted journey through Japanese Goth music. From the dark Buddhist chants of Candy Spook Theater, to the death screams of Scorpions Death Rock, to the seductive shock-rock of Mushi and finally the dark theatrics of Pineal, the horned one himself, it was a very entertaining night.

First though, lets talk a bit about why I chose this event. It comes down to Pineal’s flyer and Web site, both stylish pieces of art in themselves. Obviously, this guy takes his stuff damned seriously – I couldn’t go wrong. Well, I posted a note on his site (in my terribly Japanese) talking about how great the site was, and Pineal/TAQV posts back in English saying We play on NOV 5th. Come our Live show, if you like….. Alright! So I swooped down to the local Lawson and picked up a couple of tickets from the convenience store’s Loppi station (convenient ticket pickup is a big plus) and got prepped for the show.

Now the location of the show is suitable for avant guarde events, located in the basement of the building sporting dark decor throughout. The arena is decked with black ceiling to floor curtains, a black and while vinyl tile floor and a rush-hour capacity of around 150 people. Finding the bar was a bit harder than expected located just behind arena entrance. Being our first time there we also had problems finding the event-area’s entrance. Our first choice was the biggest door in the foyer, where my partner in crime found herself backstage. No groupies before performances…. We adjusted our senses and sought the door that led to the loudest noise and viola, there we were. We turned up too late for the first act (sorry to Radiostrip) and missed most of the second, but there were three more to go.

So we after discovering the event space we slid up to the bar, collected our drinks and went into the arena just in time to watch the end of Candy Spook Theater. Now these guys have taken Buddhist chanting and turned it into punk-metal fusion. The lead, in his white mad scientist outfit, was punking it out quite well, interspersed with the obligatory screams (we cannot forget the screams). Towards the end of the set the keyboardist, dressed in a china-doll costume and a white mime mask, stepped up to do her prayer moves, which looked dangerously like a Gothic rendition of La Macarena (trust me, it was kind of cool to see). There were actually quite a few people in the audience, with neon cylumes in hand, mimicking her moves – evidently this band has quite a loyal fang-base.

Then it was time for a break before the death metallers of Scorpions Death Rock came out. Scorpion Death Rock are three guys dressed in black leather with a penchant for LOUD. I swear, these guys had hiked Spinal Tap’s amps (you know… the ones that go up to 11), and jacked them up to max. Good hard sound delivered with a flourish, Scorpion Death Rock knew how to play loud. The only thing I might suggest is bringing your earplugs – don’t worry, you will still be able to hear them very clearly. They had a CD (Chemical Invaders) for sale at the end of the concert that I didn’t buy because I was running out of cash after picking up Pineal’s and Mushi’s CDs, but I felt like a heel when my partner later told me the CDs were only 300 yen. I’ll pick a CD up next time, I promise.

Third beer in and Mushi comes out for his set, sporting a cane a la Alice Cooper and a demeanor akin to Marilyn Manson. This was a refined performance by a seasoned veteran. The whole performance showed Mushi was a man who loves his art. The guitarists weren’t just playing, they were grinding their axes. Even when Mushi went a step too far backwards, bumping the taller guitarist, the guy didn’t miss a thing.

The last set was Pineal, armed with his orchestral baton and horned headpiece, leading the audience on a final performance. His deep, at times, guttural voice, along with the dark undertones of the music and well-choreographed moves showed this guy invested a lot in the total experience. It paid off, imbibing the performance with a sense of being at some pagan celebration, except the druids had discovered electric guitars and had better costumes – ;-) . There was a tall female guitarist in Pineal’s crew who was doing a fine job throughout, and then she started doing some backing vocals that totally knocked my socks off!

All-in-all, this was a very satisfying experience. After having the television bombard me with J-Pop, which varies from tolerable generic to ungodly cute, it was very refreshing to go out and see what is being brewed outside the mainstream in Japan. There is a lot of good stuff going on in and around the major cities that will go under the mass-media radar, alas. Step outside the box and discover something special.

Igor tripped off for some funk for the New Wave Junkies @ Ookayama Peak 1 on Saturday evening. The night produced quite an interesting show case of bands, remixers and keyboard brooders to keep you going through the evening. It took me about an hour to get to grand Ookayama, which is off towards the Kanagawa side of Tokyo.

Cruising in while sinking an extra-large chu-hi from the station, Igor caught the last few minutes of Dummy? Dummy? some serious neo-groove going on and is the kind of band that could be creating the scene for a long set in the mid-evening. I caught them the week before and they just delivered that groove like it was what they did every minute of the day.

I grabbed the night’s first official drink with my drink ticket and caught up with act two, Freak Child. Freak Child’s set was a solo this evening and quite a delicious piece of synth remix plus keyboards. The whole time I was there, I was thinking that if this guy was buried somewhere in the dens of iniquity on the Roppongi-Shibuya axis of ego, late in the evening, the mobs would drinking up the harsher sounds.

Lord aCid brooded over his iMac as he orchestrated his creation for the night, which included an OL-dressed singer with a voice that could tear your heart out and an ax-man handling two guitars (at the same time at times) during the performance. Lord aCid himself is not the star, but really the director, leading his creation through his iMac mixing and letting the players be the stars. And so they should! Not hard, not fast, but a haunting and emotional performance. Igor gives this one a w00t for matching the evening perfectly.

The night wrapped up with JLHA a remix duo with some really nice vocals. The remixing had old and new techno flavorings and the voice was very smooth. The set started a bit slow, but as it moved and the sounds got hotter and the singer took a more central role making for a very nice finish to the evening.

It was certainly a different night from other events I have been too. All the music was quite danceable to be sure, but there was more emphasis on the artistry and style than other nights. The place was quite a nice size for this kind of event, perhaps a comfortable capacity for 40 people, with enough space for a fair-sized stage and decent bar. Everybody was very friendly and it was indeed a night to kick back, take in the sounds and the alcohol and enjoy a kind of ambience not often found in Tokyo.

Just a quick flash (woo!) for Gadget @ Ikebukuro ADM. This looks like a general pub gig with some nice local bands playing. I immensely enjoyed seing Gadget @ Tokyo Dark Castle 11 (Report), so if you’re looking for a place to hear some local bands on Monday, this could be quite palatable. Ikebukuro ADM is where I caught Satanyanko awhile back. Not a bad place for chilling and hearing some live music (and drinks were 300 yen!), but a wee bit small. Apart from Gadget itself, the band mix is pretty interesting with a bit of psychedelia, rock and new punk. I’d probably suggest earplugs as the place is quite small and the amps are quite large.

Event info:
Event: OH-MAMAS DAY vol.2
Place: Ikebukuro ADM (Map)
Address: B1F GS Heim, 1-22-1 Higashi Ikebukuro, Tokyo
Date: Monday May 30, 2005
Start: Open: 18:00 † Start 18:30
Price: 1,800 yen
Bands: Gadget, BuchiBuchi2, Setagaya Shark, How Heavy, Gun Fromy
Club page: Ikebukuro ADM

Hi there. It looks like those upgrades I was talking about earlier this weekend have a couple of niggles. I’ll be enjoying an exciting week trying to find exactly where the problem is – looks like it’s related to link pointers – that’s easy in html templates, but when you got everything locked inside tight PHP then it takes a lot more time to find…. It looks like this is principally affecting the board (links are a little crazy there), but may be affecting other areas. Anyway, I’ll be working on that. Just a quick thanks to all the guys at New Wave Junkies! Lord Acid’s arrangement was amazing and next month he’ll be doing something totally new next month. Dummy was as funky as ever and JLHA was too cool. I’ll get onto writing a bit about that later in the week after ferreting through the upgrade problem – oh my aching back!

No rest for the wicked they say. Igor must be evil incarnate because he’s got a lot of upgrades to do this weekend. That means the site might go funky (not in a good way), or possibly go down for the count (don’t worry, I’ll back up the data), or you might notice anything at all…

Nothing exciting, or even terribly helpful for you guys. You might not even notice a difference, but there will be differences. It’s like the last time I upgraded the lightning chamber for the master. We managed to zolt the creation with 20% more wattage, but all the ungrateful sod could say was “IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE!” Did he say “Thanks, Igor,” or “I couldn’t have re-animated without you”? No, he was too busy oogling at his latest friend…. I digress. Just so you know.

W00t! Another event I hadn’t heard about until this week. I got half a dozen emails about this one from people from around the place. Igor’s almost certainly not going to escape the ferrets all night for this one, but it is drawing me. The Club Hoop pages has this plastered on the schedule page for the event: “Gothic, NewWave, Industrial, EBM, Positive Punk, 80′s/90′s… more.” It is verrrrry tempting….

Event info:
Event: Club Mirage #10
Place: Club Hoop @ Shinjuku
Address: B1, 1-34-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo † Map
Date: Saturday, May 28, 2005
Start: 23:00 ~ 05:00
Price: 2,500 yen adv. † 3,000 yen @ door.
DJs: Yuu, Satoko, Tetsu, Nagano
Other: There’s a lot going on there, but my arms are dropping off.

Another dose of New Wave Junkies hits you on Saturday eve. Just a quick note, because I missed it and a couple of fantastic people e-mailed me (cheers and w00t! to you!). Anyway, my arms are starting to drop off again, so I’ll keep the info short and sweet.

Event info:
Event: New Wave Junkies
Place: Live Inn Peak 1
Address: B1, Mine Bldg. 3-28-8 Kita-senzoku, Ota-ku, Tokyo 145-0062 † Map
Phone: (Peak 1) 03-3720-0190
E-mail: (Peak 1) infoATpeak-1DOTnet
Date: Saturday, May 28, 2005
Start: 18:00 open † 18:20 start
Price: 2,000 yen adv. † 2,500 yen @ door .
Live: DUMMY?, Lord aCid, Freak Child (S.T.S.), JLHA.
DJs: S.T.S., Lord aCid, Kei (JLHA) and Kuro (Mute>
Event site:
Club site: