Bo-Peep @ Sangenchaya Heaven's Door (6th July. '08)
My ears are still ringing from Bo-Peep's blistering set at Heaven's Door in Sangenjaya this past Sunday night (July 6).
The trio put in a good hour of solid rock, mostly songs from their new release Sick Orange Television which they were out to "officially" release since returning from a small UK tour last month. It seems I wasn't the only one eager to see how Bo-Peep had honed their chops, as the small live house was already crowded with people when I arrived.
As usual, the rock-and-roll T-shirt factor was high, though not as prevalent as the cool ones that I normally spot at larger gigs here in Tokyo. I love the concert shirt culture here and again I wasn't let down as I saw a slight Japanese gal practically swimming in a large faded Bauhaus shirt right off the bat. My grungy concert T-shirt jones was sated early.
I had plenty of time to scan for more shirts as the band was running late, but my initial glee quickly ebbed as I only saw pretty generic Hendrix and Stones tees from that point on - not a ripped Misfits shirt to be seen. I figured lead singer and guitar player Mika Yoshimura would up the anti though with some cool underground or ironic rock garb when she hit the stage, but alas - it was not to be. She climbed on stage wearing a green and black dress with black tights underneath and at that point I started to wonder if there was going to be any wailing, screaming, head banging, beer guzzling or jumping on the drum kit at all.
"No," I thought to myself, "this U.K. tour can't have been some sort of alt-rock charm school!"
At that point, wispy drummer Ryoko Nakano started stomping on the kick drum and pounding the toms, and crunchy bass lines started thundering out of Arie Yoshinori's rig. Mika-san fired up the power chords and we were off headlong into "Pit In Town" and all my fears were allayed. They roared happily through their first songs much to the audiences delight.
After finishing the second song of the set (or was it the third?), silence ensued. After such a bombastic opening, the silence seemed interminable. Guitars were tuned and hair brushed out of faces, but not a word from the stage. With the quietness on the brink of turning uncomfortable, drummer Ryoko meekly and politely leaned in to her mic and hesitantly addressed the crowd, announcing their new album release and asking the crowd to please listen to it/buy it. A little more silence. The crowd laughed it off. The band didn’t know what to say - like some junked out 90's Vancouver grunge outfit on the nod, except without the junk and the dry mouth.
Nakano babbled a little more, trying to keep the deafening silence at bay. Something about Mo'some Tonebender (Isamo Fujita, the guitarist of which produced their first full album Time Of Rock) and some other stuff, but I couldn't hear her. I was too busy now falling in love her - this shy, quiet drummer that transformed behind the kit when in full swing and kicked the living shit out of her drum set.
So they recovered the dissipated energy by unleashing "B-Level Motion" from last year's is it good for you?!!. This was the single and the one that drew my attention to them in the first place. With all the airplay it received on InterFM over a year ago, it was also the reason many people went to see them at the Rookie-A-Go-Go stage at last year’s Fuji Rock Festival. When Mika launched into the shrill, rapid fire opening to the song there was a small, almost festival-like push from the crowd. By the time they got to the second chorus everybody in the tiny club was moving.
They piled on the rock, and it was interesting to watch the new guy (literally) play with the band. Originally an all-girl lineup, bass player and founding member Junko Himei is absent from the lineup at the moment, so the gig has been passed to Arie Yoshinori of Vola and the Oriental Machine (who also happened to produce Sick Orange Television). Arie is no slouch on the big strings, and he adds a whole new dynamic to the group. He plays deftly and aggressively and is spot on time, all the while managing to use the whole damn neck of his suitably vintage looking Fender Jazz. He rolled out bass lines that fill out the sound and complimented in the best possible way Yoshimura-san's sustained attack on her guitar. Together with Ryoko's hard driving kick and tom drumming, it is a relentless rock percussion with Yoshinori adding a little more energy and undercurrent of melody than Junko did before. When they played "Dancing, The People" everything it all just seemed to come together in one big swirl of sound that had the crowd jumping happily up and down with their hands in the air.
About three quarters of the way through the show I found myself sticking my fingers in my ears because of the volume levels. If Spinal Tap has 11, then Bo-Peep + Heaven's Door = 11.5. With fingers fully jammed into my ear canal, I was practically scratching the back of my eyeballs, and I could still hear everything super loud. When I removed my waxy fingers, I could hear the cones in the monitors frapping - usually a sure fire indicator of impending sonic doom. I looked over at the sound board, and slacker sound dude guy didn't look the least bit concerned. Oh well. It's house, he knows how to do it, but the crackling speakers jangling my synapses, and I was quite glad when they moved on to their one and only ballad before Mika and company fired it up again.
Usually I try to tie up the end of a live review with some sort of witty closing remark, but honestly all I can say is: Bo-Peep rocked. I will definitely go see this band again. As luck would have it, they will be playing at Shinjuku Ruido K4 on July 24. Tickets are \2,000 in advance (available at Lawson) or \2,500 at the door. Bring earplugs, and stand at the front.
１．ジグソーパズル(Jigsaw Puzzle) / ２．Pｉｔ in Town / ３．エンディング (Ending) / ４．Spiral Revolution / ５．Go！ / ６．Phase Rock / ７．Trip / ８．深海(Shinkai=deep sea) / ９．メロディ(Melody) / 1０．I’m still looking for a place． / １１．Make it whole / １２．We are BO-PEEP / １３．Dancing the people / １４．Full time / １５．B級モーション (B class motion)
１６．another world（instrumental） / １７． ３ / １８．Crazy Bomb
report by jeff and photos by naoaki
24th Jul. 08 (Thurs) Shinjuku Ruido K4
Please check the details here.