Punkrockers Bowl Vol.11
Feat. Razors Edge, Melt-Banana, Wrench
@ Shinjuku Loft (10th Sept. '05)
Half Hour Of Power
Presented by Pizza Of Death Records, the eleventh incarnation of Punkrockers Bowl brought a good-sized crowd of Japanese and foreign aggressive rock fans to the underground (both literally and figuratively) music haven known as Loft. The enthusiastic ate up the powerful half hour sets of quality punk-rooted tunes provided by Razors Edge, Melt-Banana, and Wrench.
Wrench took to the stage promptly at 8:00 p.m. As his bandmates kicked into their opening number, singer Shige instantly began bouncing around and spitting out his lyrics. Aside from pausing occasionally to play with a synthesizer, the animated frontman was constantly on the move, shaking his arms and dancing from one side of the stage to the other. The act's music mixes punk and rock sounds with spacey bits of electronica. The excellent concoction was heavy enough to please the aging punkers in attendance, yet upbeat and slightly dancey at the same time. This side of the band's music appealed to the young, sweaty fans jumping up front. With Shige doing an impressive job of keeping the kids riled up, the rest of Wrench were able to concentrate on turning out tight versions of their awesome, intricate songs.
Having just wrapped up a two-month US tour, and currently in the midst of preparing for an equally long European jaunt, Melt-Banana were in peak form for their Punkrockers Bowl showcase. An angry squeal of feedback erupted from the speakers as the video screen that covers Loft's stage slowly rose to reveal the Tokyo quartet. With a white hood masking her head, lead singer Yasuko O. stood stone-faced as guitarist Agata lead the band into "Shield For Your Eyes, A Beast In The Well On Your Hand" from 2003's brilliant Cell-Scape. As the song increased at a feverish pace, Yasuko O. began nodding along and slowly wrapping her mic chord around her arm. A minute and a half into the song she pulled the hood off her head and unleashed the first of many blistering vocal attacks.
Focusing on material from Cell-Scape the group ripped through their set with unbridled ferocity. Although some may argue that the band's ear-piercing sonic barrages are a far cry from traditional punk, their innovative hybrids of noise, electronica, metal, and rock performed at break-neck speeds fit in perfectly with the attitudes and ideals of the genre. Along with Yasuko O.'s screeching singing style, the highlight of the show was the remarkable abilities of Agata. Armed with a full arsenal of pedals, his effect-laden and heavily distorted playing is truly unique. Wearing a baggy toque and his trademark surgical mask, only the eyes of the talented guitarist were visible as he twisted out strange, wonderful notes from his instrument and delivered countless series of insane licks that sent fans into hysterics.
Razors Edge ended the night with a whole lot of street punk and fun. Vocalist Kenji Razors shouted "Hey, hey, hey Punkrockers Bowl party people give it up!" as he bounded out on stage. Meanwhile, the rest of the Osaka group started jumping up and down. Usually this wouldn't be a big deal, except that the music hadn't started yet. This was just a small indication of the lively show that the group had in store. Having definitely eaten their Wheaties, Razors Edge looked like kids at Disneyland as they joyfully danced, leapt, and rocked out with reckless abandon. The big smiles and positive vibes radiating from the stage soon spread through the venue. People pushed towards the front to try and high-five Razors and an old, white-hired man wearing a pair of geta tried crowd surfing.
Unable to stand still for longer than a few seconds, the hyper-active Razors was the star of the party as he hung from the ceiling and climbed on top of the speakers. In true punk fashion, the passionate frontman went to great lengths to get as close as possible to his fellow rockers. Leaning over the crowd, he sang his lyrics mere inches from audience members, often holding out his mic so that they could scream along.
After a great version of "I Feel Alright" Razors Edge made their exit. They were coaxed back on stage for a brief encore that featured more explosive energy before finally packing it in for the night. The beaming faces of both the band and attendees adequately summed up the night of great music. Punks old and new should definitely try their best to make it out to the next edition of the fantastic showcase when Punkrockers Bowl Vol. 12 hits Shibuya Club Quattro on November 26!
report by shawn and photos by hiroqui.
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