Images: Matthew Kiss | Words: Paul Galloway
This is the fifth and final part of my own Japanese cultural Golden Week, taking in film Close Knit at Rich Mix, comedy duo Sandwich Man at the Leicester Square Theatre, the legendary Frank Chickens headlining the Stoke Newington Music Festival and starting Terrace House – Aloha State on Netflix. That said, the first band tonight aren’t Japanese at all. Formed in Watford in 2011, Lost in the Riots describe themselves on Twitter as a four piece instrumental sledgehammer and are bracketed as post/math rock. Lensman Matt says he spots some Rage Against The Machine riffing. I hear plenty of cool metallic precision. At times though it’s brutal, relentless; and I’m watching out for the Bush Hall chandeliers. The sizeable early crowd are appreciative. I want to get lost in the riot but stay impressed.
Kobe, Japan’s The fin. (that’s with a full-stop) are a completely different prospect. Young and paisley shirted the first synth stab is eighties and the vibe is warm in the red and yellow glow of the stage. Having spent a formative time in France the four piece have been variously described as dream pop, chillwave and ethereal and differentiate themselves in Japan by singing in English. The vocals are outstanding and the band makes me think of Tame Impala at their most pop. Apparently though there are technical difficulties as singer Yuto Uchino pulls at his in-ear monitor and the set ends abruptly, seemingly before it can reach it’s peak. Speaking to Yuto afterwards it turns out the band couldn’t hear themselves properly on stage. It’s a shame because from the audience it felt like they had the potential to carry us away. I hope next time they’ll get to finish what they started.
Headliners LITE describe themselves as older brothers of The fin. and are playing the second date of their European tour, heading next to Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and Germany before returning to Japan. After two songs guitarist and occasional vocalist Nobuyuki Takeda tells us it’s hot as hell and he wishes he was naked. He was drunk in Leicester last night but I sense no hangover. The band are here to promote their 5th album ‘Cubic’ and even judging by the CD’s and T-shirts flying off the merchandise stall at the end it’s clear Bush Hall is totally sold out. Call it math/progressive/post rock if you like, but this crowd want to dance. An early record was called ‘Filmlets’ and you understand why. Sometimes it’s the theme to the best spy movie you ever saw. At other times it’s like you imagine it would sound if you lived inside Godzilla’s head. Variously it’s almost loungecore in the breakdown or the guitars are pretending to be the wild jazz trumpet on ‘D’. Encore ‘Contemporary Disease’ is the opportunity for drummer Akinori Yamamoto to channel Keith Moon, except as if he was precision tooled by German engineers. Sugoi as they say in Japan.