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Monday, August 11, 2008

Silver Elephant 30th Anniversary Festival

After Saturday's exertions at Summersonic, I was shattered as I hauled myself out of bed and shuffled toward Kichijouji early on Sunday afternoon. The Sex Pistols were still ringing in my ears, and my feet and legs ached from all the drunken jumping about. Quite good exercise in retrospect. Stepping Stone was brilliant.

Anyway, Sunday was about heading down to Kichijouji, ostensibly to see Eddy who Graeme and I had seen before. This time I ate a hearty Milano sandwich in the smoking area of a local Doutours coffee shop, and then wandered about lost for a while. I discovered a large and inviting Book Off here, but didn't go in (too dangerous for the wallet).

The event was starting rather early at about 4 pm, and it transpired that the venue, Silver Elephant, was holding a party to celebrate 30 years of existence. And that we would be watching no less than 8 bands. And most importantly, 2,000 yen entrance came with not one but 3 marvelous drinks tickets meaning 3 beers set me back merely an extra 300 yen. Wonderful stuff.

And so I set up camp on the stairs, which is pretty much the darkest corner as you will know if you have ever been there. In fact, the place is pretty small and much of it could be claimed as corner, but still. I shuffled the usual pile of fliers and smoked some of the free cigarettes handed out the previous day by some bastards.

Soon enough Amazon kicked us off in straight-down-the-middle Indie territory. Shades of England's North West abounded and it was all very nice. Amazon, in short, were quite good, and seemed to have a couple of tunes. Actually the song "Thailand" is really nice - you can hear on the MySpace and download from the band's website.

And watch Amazon perform "Thailand" here, in one of my customarily poor-quality videos of the event.


Next we were treated to andymori who are very much a Japanese Arctic Monkeys. Now I'm a little circumspect with all this direct comparison stuff, but trust me on this - andymori are a Japanese Arctic Monkeys. Take a listen to "everything is my guitar" here and then tell me it ain't so:

But they were good alright. It was a very energetic performance from the guys, as you can vaguely make out in the video below (I move the camera after about 30 seconds so you can actually see the singer). Also pretty loud so you can't hear it very well! Ha. Serves you right for going to see Coldplay instead ;)

Clearly they have something of an asset in the singer, who gave a cracking effort in the Alex Turner role and was declared kakkoii by the announcer woman afterwards. So I would say this is a band with some kind of chance to become quite big.


The video of Eddy is much better, as I had moved higher up on the stairs for this gig. And happily, Eddy appeared to be much better too compared to last time we saw them. On that occasion, Graeme noted that the three-piece were proficient enough but not necessarily possessing of anything special.

Now converted to a two-piece a la the White Stripes, and with some of the previous widdling cut away, Eddy passed a pretty decent melodic pop-rock act and seem to have crafted a few more memorable tunes. I am slightly biased because I have been listening to some Eddy CDs since the gig and the tunes are really quite nice - that's for the forthcoming CD round-up though (I swear!).

So it was all good stuff by Eddy and I was quite pleased about that, and fantastic folks too for the record.


Now the 706X were a different proposition and they just indie-rocked and shouted. They seemed to me fairly similar to Asian Kung-Fu Generation which is no bad thing as I have a lot of that time for that band.

The 706X:

At which point we had watched 4 bands and generally that is your lot most of the time. But today there were 4 more to go.

Harvey wall banger were the most un-indie band I have been subjected to over the last few weeks. One wouldn't be surprised to see them entertaining the crowd in, say, a large shopping mall or... a wedding party, or something. Power ballads were the object of the exercise and the singer certainly possesses a fine pair of lungs as you will hear on the video clip.

harvey wall banger:

Barubora / ばるぼら looked like they were going to be a reggae or ska band, but they weren't. They just did kind of quirky stuff.


As you can probably tell, by this point I was almost losing the will to live and it is taking so long to write this blog that I am suffering similar effects. I wonder if I might have enjoyed Cutting Orchestra more had they been on first or second, but as it was I think I had stopped paying attention a little, this being the tenth live performance for me in 24 hours. They were the type of indie band who sound like The Fall on a rabbit-hurting mission.

[aside: I've just noticed a guy on the Bulgarian volleyball team called Gaydarski - brilliant]

Cutting Orchestra:

And finally we had Chabo Choppu / チャボ チョップ who were a lot more lively and woke me up a bit. Not that I can be bothered writing too much about them at this time of night, but they were a 4 piece all girl band with big personality singer and tasty guitarist. You'll let me get away with that, won't you readers? Readers? oh...

Chabo Choppu: