Tokyo Police State, Vol. 2
Adrian Sherwood and Scream Team DJs
@ Aoyama Cay (11th Feb. '00)

Double De Dub...

Tokyo Police State is a party to watch. It was born of the newly appointed Azabu police chief's purge on dance clubs with questionable licenses in his precinct, including Roppongi - an area with one of the highest concentrations of nightlife in Tokyo. Ma-chan, the master of 328 (pronounced "san-ni-pa" in Japanese) - a funky little basement dance joint in Nishi Azabu and co-sponsor of the event, recently spent serveral days as a guest of the state.

Ma-chan learned the meaning of police state the hard way. As a DJ bar owner of some 20 years standing, this was not the first time he'd had a brush with the law, but in the old days the punishment was less brutal. Raiding him on a busy weekend night and sending everyone packing was enough to hit Ma-chan where it hurt - financially. Apart from that he'd get a slap on the wrists and be told to sell sandwiches if he wanted to stay open after midnight (the origins of that law being a story in itself).

328 was closed for serveral weeks but unlike many other less fortunate establishments, it managed to reopen. And out of the ashes of these recent police sweeps came the concept for Tokyo Police State - three old mates banding together to host one of the coolest DJ 'n' dance events in Tokyo. The name states their protest. Ma-chan joined with Masa (owner of local concert promoter Smash) and Ray Hearn (producer of the White Stage at the Fuji Rock Festival). Through the Smash connection, the first Tokyo Police State party featured the Chemical Brothers DJing and this, the most recent event, featured Adrian Sherwood and members of Primal Scream spinning up a wicked brew of rock 'n' reggae.

First up was bassist Mani from Primal Scream, who launched into his set with a couple of hip-hop tracks followed by a couple of crowd pleasers - Swastika Eyes and Get Your Rocks Off. Hmmm. Spinning your own - allowable but not very imaginative. A kind of gear-grinding mix followed which brought dancing to a holt, but then former band member cum road manager Paul Wetheral took over just in time, opening with Death In Vegas off Iggy Pop's new album. The crowd congealed. I smiled. And was that Public Image Limited after that? I conferred with Urban Steve, a bereted foreigner standing nearby. Sure sounded like it... Whatever it was, Paul was spinning a set that was consistently leading us closer to the rhythm and the bass.

By the time Adrian Sherwood took over the crowd was ripe. His segue into raw undiluted dancehall and roots reggae was rife with rhythm. Everything he flipped sounded familiar but these were the original recordings - the kind of tracks that, 20 years ago, would have inspired the then prodigious 17-year-old to start his own dub label. There were whiffs of Prince Far I and Dr. Pablo, but he was hitting us with straight-up cuts; clean and simple riffs - the kind that would have formed the base of his producer's bag o' tricks. He span the kind of unique, specialist's set that a reggae buyer would die for.

The crowd was energized. My hair was standing on end and I couldn't keep your feet still. The bass thwaped us en masse in the belly and we let it sway... Everyone was smiling as if at a private joke. There were no screaming sirens and no Police Raid Dub on the fly. We were uplifted in the Tokyo Police State...
report by sisterchill
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buttonRock wo suru... in Shinjuku : Joe Strummer &The Mescaleros (1st Oct '02 @ Shinjuku Liquid Room)
buttonno title : Elvis Costello (7th Jul '02 @ Shibuya Kokaido)


buttonOld Fela's Son Shines Bright : Femi Kuti And The Positive Force (14th Apr '00 @ Shinjuku Liquid Room)
buttonDouble De Dub... : Adrian Sherwood and Scream Team DJs at Aoyama Cay (11th Feb '00 @ Aoyama Cay)
buttonCaptive in the casbah... : Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros (18th Jan '00 @ Akasaka Blitz)

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