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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Limited Express (Has Gone?) @ Shibuya O-Nest

Graeme has written at length on the merits of Limited Express (Has Gone?), but I didn't know anything about them before tonight. So for me it was a case of watching new bands afresh, without knowing any of the songs.

I entered Shibuya O-Nest with various preconceptions and also great intentions of taking notes. I thought I would just sit there, listening intently and musing on the quaint bands as a quiet audience looked on. I thought maybe, people would nod their heads a bit. I thought the bands might be okay, but not particularly energetic, with a few nice songs.

Clearly I knew nothing. And to be frank, I still don't really know who was who. So I shall have to do some research as I proceed with this review, while watching a bit of golf. Let's face it, I still know nothing, eh. But I'll just try to report straight up what I saw tonight.

Expectations were confounded right from the off, as a hardcore punk band ripped the senses with some aplomb. Several guys danced frantically at the front as the band stormed through a couple of tough-as-nails punk numbers. Black Flag and Bad Brains t-shirts were on display which should give some idea what was going on, and this video shows the crowd action whilst failing completely to record the sound in any audible fashion.

The band are... U. G. Man... and you know, I've always had a soft spot for this kind of thing. This is a bit of a random link but the best I could find on the guys:

I also took my only notes of the evening in the immediate aftermath of this set. I think as a novice reviewer I can get away with the hackneyed trick of repeating my notes verbatim: "Did I actually witness this? Yes. Hardcore." No wonder I didn't take any more - but Henry Rollins can rest assured that his legacy is safe and well, and damaging eardrums in Tokyo.

Everyone then shuffled upstairs to see the next act in the bar area, the interesting ファンタジー仲間/Fuantaji-nakama/"Fantasy mates" {vaguely}. Thus a man in short pink shorts with rather long hair howled into the mic, as next to him a girl did something similar. I couldn't really see them from my vantage point, but they sounded kind of okay in a lo-fi way. I think with this band you had to understand what the guy was singing to really get it... which obviously I couldn't. It seems that the girl, who I couldn't see, was also in one of the later acts... but one cannot be sure about this... (hey, I've had a few beers).

Back down the stairs we paraded for a rather pleasant surprise in the form of PANIC SMILE. What to make of this rumbustuous lot? A funky edge remained throughout, and the lead guitar playing was pretty awesome. I wouldn't have felt short-changed if these guys were headlining, put it that way.

Take a look for yourself:

And heres the website:

And then we were but halfway through. Upstairs everyone stomped again but I couldn't be arsed right away, thus missing about half of a band I think were "Ni Hao!" Once I had struggled up the steps I heard, from behind the same obstacles, some girls singing. One song. And the next song, which was the last one, I heard from the toilet. They sounded pretty good, but I'm afraid I just wasn't really paying attention at this point. A link to the band's website is below - it appears there was more inter-connectedness going on:

I was downstairs pretty sharpish to take up my favourite gig position in the darkest corner. Thus began the set of a duo who I believe, and I'm fairly sure, were "DODDODO" (Is this Dodd Do-Do, or Do Duh Do Do? I prefer the latter).

Now this was a show. Whilst the be-masked turntablist showered us in a sea of beautious breakbeats, our heroine the singer yelled out her numbers quite manically in the style of a frenzied wildcat. I don't think you can ask for much more than that at any gig.

I took a couple of clips, but I'm afraid they don't really do the spectacle justice:

Suffice to say this was all good stuff and it kept the energy levels right up as we headed towards the headline set.

Now Limited Express (Has Gone?)... were... noisy, shouty, jumpy, edgy. Noisy. Shouty. Jumpy. Edgy. And you stand there thinking yes, this is good. What else can you really do? Save nod your head frantically in a bid to keep up.

And they are basically The Fall ha ha. But I was thinking of John Peel during the set, and you know, I don't know if Sir John played this band before his untimely passing, but I'm sure he would have if he could have.

Then at the end, DODDODO appeared again to join the headline act and something of a chaotic collaboration ensued. I think this was the entire point of the evening, although don't quote me on anything, and we witnessed not one but two manic females jumping about and screaming and then it was all over.

I went home and watched the golf.