NAG Live – November, 2013

Friday 1

Wild Rooster
Live and Lounge Vio (19:30 | ¥3,300)
When I think of Swedish music, I start with ABBA and finish at Ace of Base. If I had bothered to explore the alphabet further, I would’ve discovered that they also have a rich history of rockabilly. And by “rich history” I of course mean this one awesome band. And you can’t have a 50s rock and roll show in Nagoya without Duck and the Billys!
Saturday 2

Brian Cullen and Friends
Coat of Arms (19:30 | ¥500)
In a valiant effort to breathe some life into the local singer/songwriter scene, our favorite son of Ireland is hosting what I hope will become a regular night of talented singers backed by nothing more than a guitar. He’s off to a good start with performances from Aya Kawakami and Elijah Ben (from the musical Dreamcatcher, opening on November 23) and many more.

Sunday 3

Club Buddha (21:00 | ¥2,000)
Anyone who keeps up with my Facebook feed knows that I forgo the usual fare of “selfies” and “look at what I’m eating” pics for the occasional peek into whatever record I’ve just bought. Yes, vinyl is my drug of choice, and Record Shop Zoo in Osu is my crack house. Owner DJ Kazoo knows music, and his sets are as extensive as the selection at Zoo. Catch him and a few other local DJs playing along with special guest DJ Cherry Bomb (Tokyo) on this night.

JACK ft. Idjut Boys
Club Mago (22:00 | ¥3,500)
For 20 years, UK DJs Dan Tyler and Conrad McDonnell have been producing smooth disco house under the moniker of the Idjut Boys.

Jah Shaka
X-Hall (22:00 | ¥3,500)
A legend of roots reggae, Jah Shaka’s sound system is a mainstay of the London scene. His Jamaican-born groove is also much-loved in Nagoya.

Huck Finn (17:00 | ¥3,000)
This doom metal band hails from California, and their name hails from a Dr. Seuss book. I am certain the great Dr. totally had their despair-burdened “music” in mind when he penned “There’s A Wocket In My Pocket”.

Wednesday 6

Ra Ra Riot
Club Quattro (18:00 | ¥5,500)
I am really enjoying the latest album, Beta Love, from this New York indie rock act. The sci-fi inspired tales of unrequited love and life in a post-human existence are a unique juxtaposition to their upbeat synthpop… uh, it’s really good! Also, popular J-rock band Asian Kung-Fu Generation opens!

Thursday 7

Ghost of Matsubara
Sonset Strip (18:30 | ¥2,000)
I couldn’t make it to GoM’s HUGE Halloween blowout last month. I will not miss another chance to hear their hot album From The Ashes Not Yet Cold performed live. Other acts on this night include Nemu from Osaka, Djemba Djembe and more.

The Get Up Kids
Bottom Line (18:00 | ¥4,900)
Way back in 1999, it was easy to dismiss this American band as just another emo/pop punk band. However, 15 years and a breakup later, their more mature sound is easy to dismiss as just another indie rock band.

Friday 8

Electric Lady Land (18:00 | ¥5,000)
After a series of hit singles, this sultry Malaysian singer has established quite the following in Japan. Her sultry R&B is a nice change of pace from all the J-pop infesting Japanese radio. Speaking of which…

Bonnie Pink
Diamond Hall (18:45 | ¥6,000)
Kaori Asada took a hat, filled it with the cutest English words she could think of, picked two, and thus was born Bonnie Pink. Either that or she wanted to appear in Google searches for either P!nk or Bonnie Tyler… Ah, well played, Ms. Asada.

Saturday 9

Metro Anniversary party
Club Lover:Z (22:00 | ¥2,500)
Happy 21st birthday, Nagoya Metro Club! For longer than most of us have been in Japan, you’ve provided a haven for the international and local LGBTQ community. Such a momentous occasion deserves one hell of a shindig, and you can bet Madame d’Metro will provide with amazing drag queen shows, pole dancers, DJs and all types of artists and performers. This is my ichiban choice for parties this month. Do NOT miss it.

Lounge and Live Vio (23:00 | ¥3,500)
Not nearly as long in the tooth as METRO, but also celebrating a special night, the Gold Experience DJs are doing up their third birthday in Vio, right alongside the SMASH party at Club Mago. Live performances and house music all night long.

Tight Rope (23:30 | ¥2,000)
Despite not having released an album in 5 years (or a decent one in 17), Japan loves Oasis. People with a better taste in music will be happy to know that DJs Shirai, Safari and uki will also be playing various other UK bands on this night.

Sunday 10

Club Quattro (17:00 | ¥3,800)
It doesn’t seem possible but Japanese synthpunk band POLYSICS somehow managed to release another CD since they toured here in February. I’d like to call them prolific, but that would denote they were churning out continuously good music; instead of just releasing every song that tumbles out of their studio sessions. Their discography is a study in stream of consciousness.

Friday 15

Phoenix Rising
Bottom Line (19:00 | ¥5,800)
If Armageddon had a soundtrack, at least two songs would be provided by this Spanish symphonic metal band.

Saturday 16

Asta Kask
Huck Finn (17:00 | ¥4,000)
Man, I am learning all sorts about Swedish music this month. This punk band has been kicking ass throughout Europe since the late 70s. Why? Why couldn’t we have gotten them instead of ABBA?!

Thursday 21

Alpaca Sports
K.D. Japon (18:30 | ¥4,000)
Seriously, was there a revolution in Stockholm or something, and Japan is kindly taking in all the refugee bands? Whatever the reason for this sudden Swedish spring, I am very happy that it includes this indie rock band. Their guitar pop is reminiscent of the early days of Belle and Sebastian.

Dark Moor
Club Zion (17:30 | ¥4,000)
Yet another Spanish symphonic metal band… though making my job easier, these coincidences are getting eerie.

Friday 22

the pillows
Diamond Hall (18:00 | ¥4,200)
It must be hard being a Japanese musician. No matter how popular you are, a “nation-wide” tour can only cover so many cities before you’re just running in circles (see POLYSICS above). It’s even harder to find a market outside of Japan seeing as most of the world doesn’t openly embrace whatever creep fetish keeps the AKB sort alive. That’s why I love the pillows. Not only are they Japan’s best and longest running indie rock band, they’ve managed to build quite a following of Little Busters around the world.

Saturday 23

iD Café (19:00)
Amsterdam-based producer Born To Funk, along with being one of the foremost tribal house DJs in the world, is a Nagoya favorite. Probably because his sets are the funk and shake that epic nights are made of. With support from local rising superstar Andy S., you’re going to want to head straight to the second floor of iD on this night.

Purely Evil #06
Lounge and Live Vio (20:00 | ¥3,500)
Osaka’s OOIOO is hard to describe, let alone pronounce. I wouldn’t call their experimental sound music, but that’s not an insult necessarily. The passion with which they assault their instruments and their audiences is equivalent to watching a pack of lions take down a gazelle. There is a peculiar beauty in the carnage. Murder Murder from San Francisco will be an accessory after the fact.

Sunday 24

Tokuzo (18:00 | ¥2,300)
Earlier this month, Budo Grape was on their second UK tour in as many years, including a performance at the Manchester Japanese Festival (apparently that’s a real thing). Local Grape Heads, longtime fans of their unique blend of bubblegum pop and new wave rock, are ecstatic that this hard-working band is starting to get the attention they so deserve.

Friday 29

Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
Club 3 Star Imaike (18:00 | ¥4,300)
Besides being the best Goonies reference ever, this band has combined 2 terrible sounds to create something so mystifying I can’t wrap my brain around it fast enough to hate. Their song Captain Blood is what I imagine you’d get from dropping Blink 182 and Sepultura in a blender.

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