I recently moved to Nagoya (one reason for the lack of updates lately) and one of my goals once settled in was to take advantage of living in a city with a special music scene. The first venue I had set my sights on was Huck Finn, a small basement live house a few blocks from Imaike Station, which hosts a who's who of local artists. Having gotten past the initial money-sink that is moving to a new city, I was ready to get a taste of the local music flavor. After browsing a list of shows I noticed a band name that was hard to pass up. Crocodile Bambie (a 'cute name' as stated by frontman Yoshihiro Yasui) just sounded awesome, and upon checking out a teaser for their upcoming EP, I decided to book the evening. This was not an easy decision, as Kinoko Teikoku had a show at Club Rock n Roll the same evening, but I decided to dive into something new and different, and I wouldn't regret my decision. Crocodile Bambie, a band set to release their debut EP, may have, in name, been a relative unknown, but the band had already developed three decades worth of following. Yasui, the singer and bass player of Bambie, was previously the bassist of long-time Nagoya thrash metal outfit Outrage. It took a bit to get used to the change in atmosphere at the venue. The snappily dressed and fashionably groomed twenty-somethings I've become accustomed to at events were replaced by long hair and leather jackets adorned with studs and Motorhead patches. It was the sort of thing I had grown up with at concerts and I instantly felt right at home.
The show kicked off at about 6:30 with Osaka's The Probes. The best way I could describe this band was a fun and energetic reminder of why we all start bands at some point in our lives. It was nothing complex, but simple, straightforward, aggressive rock music. Lots of fun and a good start to the evening.
Next up was The Nibs. Another band I knew nothing about coming in. I didn't love it at the start, with the opening song feeling like a medley full of tempo changes. As the set went on, the songs turned into more down-tempo muddy tunes that had really nice grooves to them. They finished strong and made me eager to hear some of their recorded songs.
Stone Edge was the third band of the evening and by the time their set came up Huck Finn was packed tight. This show was a special event for them, being their first performance in 13 years. I had heard them described as an all-girl rock band, which wasn't entirely true as their guitarist was a guy, but the one thing I had heard that I can verify as true is that this band is excellent. Their in-your-face and fun punk rock sound was a throwback to 90s Fat Wreck Chords-esque bands. Despite it being extremely hot and crowded, the atmosphere was great throughout their set.
After Stone Edge wrapped up a decent amount of the audience seemed to have headed out. Up next was a band whose recordings I had become fond of whom I was eager to see live. Eternal Elysium is another band receiving a good amount of local acclaim. While their live performance was a lot of fun, it didn't do their recordings justice in my opinion. What I liked most is that the band had a great relationship with the audience. It was a really intimate set and at one point the singer even addressed the (rather large) non-Japanese section of the audience in fluent English. The crowd pleaded for an extended set, but Eternal Elysium reminded everyone at Huck Finn that this was Crocodile Bambie's night.
Finally the moment we had all been waiting for. After a fairly lengthy set-up, Crocodile Bambie took the stage. They kicked off the show with "Freedom", the track with which they promoted their debut EP. While Yoshihiro Yasui had made his name with Outrage's thrash style, his new band is more of a stoner rock outfit with grooving bass lines and droning heavily-delayed guitars. The set was heavy, and despite a small tuning problem at the start, it was every bit as great as I had hoped for. They weaved jam sessions and drum solos in and between songs, but not obnoxiously. There was energy and aggression but it was controlled. I am a big fan of Yasui's new style and I hope that the 4 tracks on the EP will hold me over until the next batch of sounds is released.
Some blurry iPhone pictures to come!