STUFF BOUGHT IN 2019 (4)

I’ve already mentioned that The Twilight Sad released my favourite album of 2019, but surprisingly they didn’t, for once, provide the best live experience of the year.

Step forward Otoboke Beaver. As I said, last May in a review of the gig:-

But nothing had prepared me, or indeed Aldo or Mike G, for Otoboke Beaver. I’ve been going to watch live music for more than 40 years now, and so I will have been to at least 1,000 shows in my time. But I have never experienced anything quite as dynamic, uplifting and plain bonkers as the hour of entertainment provided by these four ridiculously talented women, Accorinrin (Lead Vocal & Guitar), Yoyoyoshie (Guitar & Vocals), Hiro-chan (Bass & Vocals) and Kahokiss (Drums & Vocals). The studio recorded stuff is fine, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to capturing the magic of actually seeing them and picking up on the energy they generate with each performance.

It was a genuine jaw-dropper of an evening.

Here’s the thing…..I’ve listened more and more to the studio stuff and it is more than fine. The live experience was such a mind-fuck that it was impossible to be properly objective about the album Itekoma Hits that I purchased at the end of the gig.

14 songs in 27 minutes. If you’re not fond of something, then don’t worry as something else will be along before you know it.

Otoboke Beaver first released music as long ago as 2011 but it wasn’t until Damnably Records signed them in 2016 that their material became more widely available beyond Japan. All the band members held down full-time jobs which restricted their abilities to record and tour – indeed their visits to the UK have been for what they have called Golden Week tours, using up precious annual leave from their employers. Such tours were underatken in 2017 and 2019 while other holidays were used for shows in the USA at events such as SxSW in Austin, Texas.

They are coming back to Glasgow tonight and I’ll be there again. There’s a major difference in that the band have now all quit their jobs and are going to have a real go at making a success of their music. I’m fairly confident that they will, not just based on the live shows and the compilation album I picked up but that some newer material, in the form of a 5″ red vinyl single, released at the end of last year, was equally wonderful. And at 1 minute 40 seconds, it faithfully followed everything that had gone before.

I’ll just post one song from Itekoma Hits but offer up a few videos so that you get the idea:-

mp3 : Otoboke Beaver – Datsu. Hikage no onna

At 2 mins and 5 seconds, it’s one of their longer efforts!

 

JC

 

HISTORY REPEATING

A few weeks ago, on Saturday 4 May to be precise, I went along to the CCA in Glasgow in the company of Aldo and Mike G.

As the poster indicates, it was to catch three bands playing on the Golden Week Tour 2019, with Glasgow being the closing show after Manchester, Leicester, Bristol, London and Leeds.  Here’s an edited review of the Golden Week Tour show in Glasgow as written by Martin Wilson for the Overblown website:-

The Golden Week Tour has been a bit of a masterstroke by Damnably who have brought Japan’s Otoboke Beaver and South Korea’s Say Sue Me over to the UK for a quick five date sprint around the country on the back of releases for both bands on Record Store Day. In Japan the Golden Week is the longest holiday of the year and given that all members of Otoboke Beaver work full time, it’s the longest period they can take off. It’s very much the UK’s gain that they did.

Say Sue Me’s sound is mainly sun-drenched indie pop, perhaps along the lines of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart or Alvvays. The occasional song veers into fuzzier territory and I’m reminded of Jesus and the Mary Chain at times. Regardless of who they remind me of they are utterly charming to watch live. They sound pristine, they look like they’re having a fabulous time and it seems the crowd are too. I’ll forever be smitten by harmonies, hooks, punchy bass lines and driving guitars and Say Sue Me provide all that in spades. Come back soon.

Then it’s the turn of Otoboke Beaver and Oh. My. God. They’re a photographers dream, I’m pretty convinced I loved them before I’d ever heard a note simply because of the imagery on social media, limbs flailing, bodies all over the place, punk rock pandemonium personified. Thankfully their sound reflects all this precisely.

What strikes me first is the ludicrous levels of musical ability these girls have. They should be adorning the covers of every muso magazine in the world, stamping a high heel in the face of whoever the latest guitar hero dude is on the way. Their ability squeezes every inch out of their songs which are of the breakneck speed variety. There’s fragments of all sorts in here, hardcore punk, indie rock, sometimes verging on metal. Can you imagine Bis covering System of a Down? No, neither can I but I don’t think it’d be miles away from the sheer mayhem of sound Otoboke Beaver conjure up.

It’s frankly impossible to take your eyes off them even to simply catch your breath for a second. They’re like an exaggeration of something from the battle of the bands in the Scott Pilgrim movie but they’d wipe the floor with any of that cinematic nonsense. There’s a lot of posturing for sure, the performance is all rock posing, call and response vocals, stop-start songs, huge riffs, crowd surfing and to be this good it’s surely all been rehearsed within an inch of its life. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t come across as rehearsed, they carry and organic sense of chaos like they’ve arrived on stage, planted their roots and are now gonna spread across the venue like creeping ivy on speed, smothering every inch of the room and destroying anything in their path.

The language barrier is irrelevant with music this good. Between songs they’ve picked up enough English to explain they’re broke and we must buy their merch. “Now dancing, after shopping” and “We have no money, buy so no go back to work” seem to be the useful phrases picked up on tour. Their English is infinitely better than my Japanese and they say this between just about every song. Guitarist Yoyoyoshie leads us into another blast of music by screaming the band’s name into the mic and manically waving her arms like she’s trying to raise the dead into some kind of vengeful maelstrom. It works. Every time.

I’m not sure when I’ve seen a performance like this before, or when I will again but I hope Otoboke Beaver will be back. If not, that’s it, I’m packing my Glasgow bags and moving to Kyoto. These four girls should be superstars. Don’t rest until they are.

Here’s the thing.   That’s the review from the Golden Week tour back in 2017.  It was one I only read a few days after I’d been along in 2019, but word-for-word it was exactly how I felt at the end of the night.

The reason for going along was to catch Say Sue Me having fallen heavily for their charms when they headlined a show at Stereo in Glasgow last Autumn.  It was one of my highlights of 2018 and the set in 2019 will live long in the memory….and I’m hopeful, like last year, they will come back for their own headline set given they are full time musicians and not quite restricted in their ability to come to the UK as the headliners (indeed, Say Sue Me toured extensively in Europe, the UK and Ireland on either side of Golden Week 2019).

But nothing had prepared me, or indeed Aldo or Mike G, for Otoboke Beaver.  I’ve been going to watch live music for more than 40 years now, and so I will have been to at least 1,000 shows in my time.  But I have never experienced anything quite as dynamic, uplifting and plain bonkers as the hour of entertainment provided by these four ridiculously talented women, Accorinrin (Lead Vocal & Guitar), Yoyoyoshie (Guitar & Vocals), Hiro-chan (Bass & Vocals) and Kahokiss (Drums & Vocals).   The studio recorded stuff is fine, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to capturing the magic of actually seeing them and picking up on the energy they generate with each performance.

It was a genuine jaw-dropper of an evening.

Oh, and I should also add that Drinking Boys and Girls Choir, the opening act on the night, were also hugely entertaining.  I’ll be picking up physical copies of their material in due course.  In the meantime here’s some tunes:-

mp3 : Say Sue Me – Old Town (single version)
mp3 : Otoboke Beaver – S’il Vous Plait

And some footage:-

JC