Well, I received an e-mail from the Auto-Mod a while ago informing me of this cool event. I mistook it for “Battle of the Bands,” when it was Bands with Battles (so I can’t read Japanese okay!). So, dressed in ever-suitable black, I headed off to see what it was all about.

The event was at Club Chop just a short walk from Ikebukuro station’s North Exit (man I hate how JR does nice yellow signs and Tobu do scatty blue signs in that place – confuses the hell out of you). From the North exit, take the road that goes at 45 degrees to the right (from the perpendicular of the tracks), walk past one set of lights and turn left at the drug store and you’ll see the club after about 10-15 meters. Good stuff.

So, there I was, paid up for the bands, my one drink and the 7-9pm nomihodai (a very useful term to know – it means all you can drink), and slinked down to the hall. It took me three minutes to find the bar, but once I was there, I just slapped the first drink token down and grabbed my motivational beer.

All cool and good. Only one other gaijin in the place, and he was surgically attached to a professional camera – even better. As I reached the 1/3 mark on my beer cup the first band got on stage and blew me away. Super Sister (I think) put on some really energetic thrash for their miniset and it freaking rocked. That first beer disappeared very quickly as Igor started to enjoy himself. If I still had my gnarly skeg shorts (I can’t skate, but who cares), this is the kind of band I could chill too.

The next band was Guilltin Terror (I think) with the lead looking like a foreman from a construction company, belting out some seriously freaking hard and angry tunes for their set. Damnable fine stuff with an edge Igor likes. Nomihodai had opened up sometime during this set, and Igor had pretty much covered the additional cost with two, three, possibly four beers.

Following that, there was the first fight event. I worked out it was a night with wrestling by that stage, so I sat down right next to the mat to ready for amateur K-1. Of course, what came on was a catfight, which featured two wrestlettes…. Pretty amazing and it looked pretty painful for the contestants, but there you go. The promoter was very glittery, all the way to his Stetson hat.

Okay, by this stage I had pretty much worked out that this is not Goth, but I had also imbibed quite a bit of nomihodai juice so just set about having a good time.

More bands came out and they were heavy metal/hard rock, sporting a lot of energy and attitude. They held their sets together well and got that place pumping. Sorry, I was just enjoying the scene at that stage and forgot to take notes, so you’ll just have to trust me. One band was a bit poppier than the others, but again, they held the set.

One of the real K-1-esque fights took place while I was getting another beer so I couldn’t see it, but I managed to get close-up floor space for the second fight. The guys were pretty big by human standards, but not like the monsters you see in K-1/Pride. The second fight was a quick, brutal affair with the winner knocking out the second-best guy in a matter of seconds. From the looks of things it was due to knee to headshot that finished the fight. Being five feet away from these guys with no rope in between made me feel relieved when the match was over.

The last act came on and, unless I’m mistaken, it was Genet/Auto-Mod doing some pretty wild industrial stuff. Igor liked it so much he was bouncing…. bounced so much Igor found himself indulging in a proto-mosh with the more enthusiastic members before locking his hand on the rail in front of the band so he could bounce in safety. Wild stuff indeed.

The highlight of the night for Igor was the handshake he scored from the lead of the last band (I think it was Genet, but he wasn’t dressed up or anything so I’m not sure).

All in all a great night out of the mainstream. Igor’s guestimate for attendance would be 100+, which makes it a pretty big do considering the size of the place (150 capacity, but that would leave very little room for Igor’s fat footsies).

Afterwards a tired and intoxicated Igor slithered into a nearby Matsuya beefbowl for a large serving of the fuel that feeds this site and found his way home to entertain ferrets like a responsible owner should.

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