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Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Apparently the Devil has got the best tunes. At the same time there can be no other explanation for the popularity of 'musicians' such as Coldplay, James Blunt, Embrace et al than some kind of Satanic pact whereby souls are exchanged for the ability to create mystifyingly popular, stadium filling dross. So how does this work? Simple. Satan, being the diabolical bastard that he is keeps all the best tunes to himself and only lets them seep out through those that don't ask, bands like SHIFT. A singer that may or may not have Tourette's Syndrome; songs that vary in length from twenty seconds to five or six minutes; a highly politicised ethos - anti-war and anti-Bush; protest songs written in their second language - none of this should work, but it does. Gloriously. In the space of a twenty minute set SHIFT restore some of my faith in the potential of music to bring change, make me grin like a goofy bastard while scribbling down things like 'elemental', 'shimmering', 'noisecore', 'Fool's Gold era Roses' and 'ungodly fucking racket' and never wondering at the incongruity of it all, and perhaps most strikingly, make me forget about the bottle of beer that has been ever present at my side throughout tonight's shows. Yes, they are that good. Vocalist Yuki Funayama does not in fact suffer from Tourette's. I spoke to him after the show and he's very articulate and charismatic. On stage he is pure energy, seemingly everywhere at once, defying those in the crowd who are trying to take pictures of the band. Off stage he is surprisingly small and fragile looking. I walked past him on the way to the bar without recognising him, but luckily M did.

Yuki, and the rest of SHIFT should be your new favourite Japanese anarchopunkpopdronerockkrautrockhardcore schizo band. We all know there is no justice in the world but occasionally gold shines through the shite and the bands that ought to be selling out the stadia of the world break through into the wider consciousness. SHIFT ought to be one of these bands. Buy their CD, but more importantly, go and see them live. They're touring the States in the autumn - buy plane tickets, take a ship, fucking hitchhike - just go and see them. Support them, make them as well known as they deserve to be, and put Yamagata on the map.