button Think About Life @ Harajuku Astro Hall (3rd May '07)

Thank You For Not Being White

Think About Life
      Many of Japan's foreign population have a love-hate relationship with Tokyo. Despite being one of the coolest cities in the world, like all major metropolitan areas it can definitely wear on you at times.

      Think About Life vocalist Martin Cesar went through a turmulous relationship with the city during the Montreal act's gig at Astro Hall. While it takes most weeks, months, or often years for these feeling to fully develop, Cesar was able to fall in, out, and back in love again before the group wrapped up their 45-minute set. Now that, my friends, is impressive.

      It was easy to see why Cesar was instantly infatuated. Emerging shortly after 8 p.m., the band was greeted with cheers from a nearly packed house of excited, indie rock-loving hipsters. With big grins on their faces, Cesar, keyboardist and guitarist Graham Van Pelt, bassist Brendan Reed, and drummer Matt Shane wasted little time launching into the first of several cuts from their excellent self-titled debut full-length, which will be released domestically shortly by Tokyo's Escalator Records.

      After the first song, while lying down on the stage, the animated Cesar began professing his love for Japan's capital. Hopping up, he paced back and forth and waved a towel while singing in his deep, soulful voice. No slouches themselves, his band mates turned out an infectious soundtrack of highly danceable art rock. Monitoring the pace of the proceedings, Van Pelt alternated between a table with a keyboard and other assorted goodies on it and his guitar, which definitely upped the rock quotient when used.

      Wanting to get more of the predominantly Japanese crowd involved, Cesar began passing his microphone to spectators during one song and encouraged them to scream into it as loud as they could. A short while later he began marveling about Tokyo again, praising the food and women. However, his accolades were short-lived. Lying on the stage for the second time, he thanked Tokyo "for the best sex he'd ever had" in reference to his budding relationship with the city, but confessed he needed "more than just casual sex" and cited communication difficulties as a major obstacle for the two parties to overcome.

      Of course, Cesar's entertaining ramblings were simply jokes. Realizing it was impossible to break-up with something that's so good to you, he became completely enamoured once again as the enthusiastic crowd began bouncing and singing along to the sensational set closer, "Paul Cries."

      With fans calling for more, Think About Life sauntered back out for a two-song encore. With their three-date Japanese tour marking their first appearances outside of Canada, Cesar showed the band's appreciation for being able to expose their music to different nationalities and races with the tongue-in-cheek comment, "Thank you for not being white."

The night wrapped up with Shane and Cesar changing roles. Clad in only a pair of boxer briefs, the lanky drummer serenaded attendees while Van Pelt provided backing vocals. Running into the middle of the audience, he danced with everyone while belting out his lyrics as the track faded out. Definitely leaving Tokyo wanting more, hopefully Think About Life will return soon for more nearly naked, sweaty songs and shenanigans.

report and photo by shawn
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buttonThank You For Not Being White (07/05/03 @ Harajuku Astro Hall) : review & photo by shawn

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