In September, I went to a music festival in the heart of Tokyo called TOKYO CALLING. Over 300(!!!) groups performed over the three-day festival, many with no more than a dozen people in the audience. Here are some songs from my favorite performances I saw there.
オシャレ大作戦 － ネクライトーキー
This was the song that inspired me to go to TOKYO CALLING. There’s a bit of a story that led to this, so bear with me for a moment. Since moving to Japan, I’ve made an effort to seek out Japanese music. One of the tools I use to do so is youtube, particularly the related videos function. By happenstance I found this song. The title roughly translates to, “Great Fashion Strategy,” and the lyrics of the song talks about the existential crises of young people – kinda odd. It’s catchy enough that it got stuck in my ear, but I wasn’t quite sure I liked it or not. Indie bubblegum pop-rock can be really hit-or-miss because of how easy it is for poppy productions to sound amateurish. Anyway, I was clicking around to different songs, still on the fence, when I stumbled upon a recently uploaded live video. It shattered my expectations for the band. In their live performances, they added punk rock sensibilities to their poppy sound, with screamed vocals, distorted guitars, and taking things double-time just for the hell of it. It looked so. Damn. Fun. Naturally, I immediately followed the link in the description to their upcoming live shows, booking a ticket to TOKYO CALLING to watch them live on the second day.
They did not disappoint. This song, when compared with their others, had gone moderately viral in the months leading up to TOKYO CALLING, so the venue that had been booked for the band was way too small. It was the only packed show I went to at the festival, and the energy in the room was unreal. They bounced from track to track, throwing in distorted, aggressive variations of their studio recordings. Finally, they closed with this track and the room went wild. After the show I bought a wrist band, and later on in the festival I actually ran into members of the band. But that’s a story for another day.