Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hip and Well Read

It is no secret that performances attended via advance tickets and weeks of anticipation are often less exciting than those attended on the spur of the moment. As such, the AC/DC show at the Meadowlands center in New Jersey (we'll omit the name of whatever corporation currently owns the arena) on July 31, tickets purchased that day at 5 pm, was more exciting than the one 10 months earlier at Madison Square Garden.

Similarly (though of course there are always other factors) not having been aware that Japan's Yura Yura Teikoku were playing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg until that day (9/18/09) certainly contributed to what an unexpectedly awesome show it proved to be. I have heard a handful of their records but those never had quite the impact as some of their more stylistically highly focused contemporaries (High Rise), so I went with medium expectations and left feeling it was one of the best performances I'd seen in my life (up there with The Ex at CBGB in 1992 and other such obscurities). Set and setting being what they are, I may not succeed in conveying much of the excitement, but I'd urge anyone to see them anytime.

There is a certain loosely defined Japanese power trio aesthetic of the past few decades, many of whose practitioners I have managed to see (the aforementioned High Rise plus Fushitsusha, Minimokoto, Green Milk From the Planet Orange, Overhang Party et al.). Yura Yura Teikoku are on that spectrum, but some of their most thrilling moments were not the psychedelic noise-guitar freakouts but the motorik extended two-chord trance-inducing segments, reminiscent of course of Germany's Neu and some of their latter-day inheritors (e.g. Washington D.C.'s Unrest). At times the guitarist abandoned his instrument and accompanied his keening tenor vocals solely with a pair of maracas, while the rhythm section maintained a tightly wound skeleton. A bass-player of unwavering patience is required to make this kind of thing work, which it did.


Mark S. Weiss said...

Sounds like fun. And a good mix. When I saw Fusitsusha it was so unrelenting and loud that I turned off in self-defense after a while.

Doug Orleans said...

Thanks for the pointer! I'll keep an eye out, I hope they come back (and to Boston). Overhang Party and High Rise put on pretty amazing shows. Ultra Bide were in this category too, and I think I'm forgetting someone else.