Special Feature

Aomori Rock Festival


Location: Hiranai-Machi

Date: Saturday, September 14th

Time: Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7!

Price: 3,000円 (Pre-sale), 3,500円 (Day of)

Website and more info: http://natsunomamono.com/


By Jade Bonus

One of my prime motivations for heading to the land of the rising sun (aside from being able to say the word ‘Godjira’ without a hint of irony and being able to eat my height in tonkatsu) was the culture, more specifically, the music. A far more savvy friend got me into Japanese indie a couple of years back and it’s been rather righteous. I mean, aside from ace tunes, the ability to answer the question ‘What are you listening to?’ with a hair flick and a ‘You wouldn’t have heard of them, they are from Jaaapaaan’ was pretty dang priceless. Good times.

Fast forward to actually being in the land of the rising sun and finding that the inaka of Aomori prefecture isn’t really the hottest ticket on most touring band’s itineraries is a little disheartening. Add to the mix a level of Japanese language that guarantees nothing but a sympathetic smile and a shoulder shrug from my local Lawson cashier,  the process of finding new Japanese indie tunes to aurally ingest becomes, well, difficult.

Thankfully, I (and you because I like you and  think we have a thing going, but I’ll respect your boundaries) had a little help at hand thanks to Aomori Rock Festival, which is happening this September 14, in Hiranai-Machi. As a side note I think there is also a wrestling component to the event, which is always worth the price of admission alone. That said, this conclusion could also be due to my lack of kanji skills, apologies if you do pay the price of admission to see previously stated wrestling and there was none. That would suck for you and I would feel kinda bad.

At first glance the festival roster’s the use of the word ‘Rock’ is rather confusing nomenclature (much like the word nomenclature) with DJs, idol groups, indie kids, punks and ROLLY (who I know only from Suicide Club and looking amazing in a spangly onesie) attending the festivities.

Whilst the sense that the line up makes is the kind that can only happen in Japan (it’s the same sense that says ‘Kewpie mayonnaise on everything’, which is one I have grown no less confused about but increasingly fond of) what it does make for is a festival guaranteed to have a little something for everybody. Yay for everybody, you’re swell and stuff, here, have a sandwich.

Leaving everybody out of the equation for a moment (they have a sandwich, they’re happy), there are a couple of gems on the line up that, if walk on the indie side of life are well worth a sneaky peak either at the festival or via the YouTube machine.

Kinoko Hotel
Rarely do I get to say that a band has enough BDSM in them for my liking, but thanks to Kinoko Hotel I can. Bedecked in matching millitaresque uniforms, this fox force four drips with the kind of danger that would win an approving nod and eyebrow raise from Tura Satana. Expertly straddling the line of kitch and cool Kinoko Hotel injects an alluring jab of crazy into a 60s pop sensibility with a breezy taint of Miserlou. Think a more likely to stab you in the face 5,6,7,8’s and that’ll be pretty much on the money. In short, when I grow up I want to be one of the chicks from Kinoko Hotel.

50 Kaitenz
When indeed I do grow up, change nationalities, drop three inches in height and seven dress sizes to become one of the chicks from Kinoko Hotel, my boyfriend will be one of the dudes from 50 Kaitenz. Top marks from the get go with matching outfits and Beatle bowl cuts, 50 Kaitenz machine guns punk in a decidedly Ramones vein. If you like short, sharp songs that get to the point, great! If you don’t, well it will be over soon enough. Everyone wins.

Meaning literally ‘Emergency exit’ if noise isn’t your thing, then this may prove to be your destination when Hijokaidan enter the fray. Traditionally, noise music is the  intersection where pretentious art and unskilled musicianship meet. Like all types of collisions, sometimes they are fun to watch but are, in general, horrific.  Hijokaidan’s chaotic noisescapes could be brilliant or they could just be feedback and a chick screaming nonsensically and flailing, I haven’t decided yet and won’t do that for you. Regardless, an fascinating listen and probably not one for after your 10th chuhai – lest shit get too real.

Zazen Boys
Math rock is music that speaks of being thoughtfully insular and not getting laid made by indie boys who totally are getting laid because they are in a band. Well played gentlemen. If you like your music angular and socially awkward in the same way that has made Michael Cera a sex symbol then Zazen Boys is your hot tip. Up there with my personal favourites Ogre You Asshole for their primo use of staccato riffs and tight hooks, Zanen Boys make a worthy addition to any self respecting indiphile’s playlist.


One thought on “Aomori Rock Festival

  1. Pingback: Issue #9 | Japan life in pictures and words

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