New site Alt Scene Asia

Hellooo lovelies! I know I’ve been off in the ethernet once again….but I have been making way for a new website that will better integrate some of my interests, provide a better service and be more informative, leaving this one for my personal blogging. I’ve had so many people ask me, “where’s good to go for alternative music & culture in Japan/Singapore/Malaysia/India/Cambodia?”etc and usually I cobble together a facebook reply with lists, and point them towards my blog and certain tags.

I had a lightbulb moment a few weeks ago (drinking beer and watching something like Nat Geo or or TLC on foxtel), that there ought to be a website that alternative type people can check out, to look up where’s cool to go in each city. Now, there certainly exist numerous websites that cover their own city or country and in great depth, along with other sites that do all of Asia but with only glancing references to the alternative scenes there (like Lonely Planet or certain parts of CNN).

There are also those wesbites dedicated to their music style, such as Punk or Dark Alternative, and they cover off artists, gigs and scenes all over the world – but only in their genre. But how to bring these into the one place? While necessarily sacrificing the detail and depth of a genre-specific website, I believe there is value in putting together on one site, posts that link people to the sorts of places they’d like to visit when travelling in Asia, of course providing links to those more detailed sites for those who want to read more.

Anyway, that’s the vision, and that’s where Alt Scene Asia comes in. I’d like to cover alternative music scenes such as punk, post-punk, goth, deathrock, rockabilly, psychobilly, maybe industrial and just weird shit, as well as fashion, food, art & culture. In some places, just finding a place that plays *rock* is a battle, where everywhere you go you hear mainstream pop, R&B, urban, and artists like Rihanna blaring at you from every shop or bar. I do not want to cover off that stuff, or mainstream asian genres like K-pop and J-pop. There are enough sites serving them already ;)

So, AltSceneAsia. I’m gathering together a team from various cities and countries to write, because local knowledge is key, and also hoping to have a lot of guest writers. So if you know about a certain city, or know people who do, please drop me a line.

So that’s the place where I’ll do more informational posts, not that there won’t still be some here, but this blog will more be my personal experiences while travelling (as it always has been), alternative events etc here in Sydney, and my fashion and style inspirations.

In other exciting news, I’m off to Japan again! I haven’t been there since last November, and really need an update to stay current. Plus, I just can’t wait to go back ;) It also looks like I’ll have a quick mini-vacay to Myanmar with hubby the month after…so will hopefully get some local knowledge of the punk scene there, as well as just holidaying.

And now back to the website, to get it passable before promoting it. I’m no code monkey, and the tweaking is taking aaaaages!

Goth fashion at Wave Gotik Treffen 2011

I haven’t yet posted properly about WGT…and there’s so much to say! In all, it was fantastic to rub shoulders with so many other alternative people…and just see a whole city taken over by goths.

I was pleased to see many many different goth subcultures represented, from deathrock to Victorian to neon Cybergoth to Horrorpunk to Steampunk to fantasy to vampires and more…. There was just so much amazing fashion and make-up that floored me every single day, and often I was too reticent to ask awesome people to stop for a photo. However, here are a few fave pics from the ones I’ve uploaded so far, as I know you all want to see pretties to inspire you! (Click on any to see it full-size).

Cyber geisha and steampunk creations at left, and an amazing costume designer from Scotland, right:

 

I met a girl with the same Louise Black corset as me, but in black – who could resist a photo?

 

A stylish steampunk couple, and a horrorpunk skeleton guy:

  

Psychobilly and deathrock – on the right is a great couple from Mexico:

  Mexican goths 

I’m seen here with Rachael from Melbourne and Satine from Denmark. Right is a Vampire Lestat type.

 

Why not sneak a few more friends’ pics in? Left is me with Sisen and G-sus, right is with Brigitte Handley of the Dark Shadows, and a dutch friend.

 

More romantic goth looks, and cyber steampunk:

 

Of course, one of my favourite groups and looks is the Deathrock look, seen magnificently here:

 

How about some looks in white, just to be different? (And spot the Takuya Angel-clad Sisen lookalike next to her; one of many)

   

…and back to black….

   

I have a lot more crowd shots, photos of the architecture of Leipzig, as well as my own outfits and partying photos, but these can wait. I haven’t had internet since I got back (save through my phone), so when I move into my new house this weekend (squee!!) I will have a LOT more to share with you.

What is your fave make-up /outfit? Are you inspired to try something similar yourself? Have you adopted new looks through attending alternative festivals? Do tell :)

Punk in Japan. Punkloid, Punkafoolic, Shibuya Crash & Bayside Crash

I sometimes get asked how I find out what clubs, music events and festivals are on in Japan (so that I can plan to go when cool things are on).

Well, it’s all about looking in the right places online. Even if you don’t read Japanese (which I don’t), you can find out a lot.

Apart from my goth & deathrock interests, I’ve also previously mentioned I’m into ska and punk (see this post for a bunch of links), and I talked about various punk events coming up around March/April here.

I’ve recently discovered some more great resources for checking out punk music in Japan – and discovered some upcoming festivals to boot!

Punkloid
Punkloid is a website that has upcoming news, links to other cool sites and blogs of artists involved in the scene and TA-DA!!! also has an online magazine that keeps you up to date.

Punkloid Magazine

Punkloid magazine is an online zine which started in February this year. It likewise brings you news, upcoming gigs and festivals, has event reports of past ones, reviews, ads from the industry (cds, tattoos etc), new releases, and a section which publishes readers reviews.

The latest issue is number 5, and it promises to be a busy time in gigtown for Japanese punks by the looks of it!

Punkafoolic
Related to Punkloid, this site run by Punk Rock Confidential Japan brings the latest gigs, news, archives of past events and more.

Fat Wreck

The site of fat Wreck Chords Japan also has the latest on bands from their stable, so keep an eye out, and you never know what you’ll find. For example, the Mad Caddies are going to tour Japan in Sptember!

Which leads me to some upcoming events…

Bayside Crash 2010

Shibuya Crash 2010

And just look at the line-up!

Mad Caddies is a well known name in the west, but I also know Japanese bands Dallax, Radiots, Redemption97 and Mugwumps. (Hiro from Radiots is also in Junior, a previously mentioned favourite of mine). Take Back the Beers is just an awesome name, and a band that deserves to be heard :)

This could really tempt me to swing back over there early September, especially given that there is a Tokyo Dark Castle on the 4th from midnight. Hmm…

If you’re heading to Japan or already there and like punk, check out these resources – oh, and don’t forget the Tokyo Gig Guide while you’re there!

Wild Rover 2010 – Punk Adventures in Tokyo.

It’s about time I wrote about the wild time I had at the punk festival in Shibuya back in March -  Wild Rover 2010.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll remember my posts on Wild Rover in 2009, when I was first blown away by the likes of Junior and the Cherry Cokes. For those who are new, the festival is a day of Japanese bands playing Irish folk and punk music, a bit like the Pogues, Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys.

Well this year, not only did I go and have just as good a time – I got to meet some of my idols from Junior and the Cherry Cokes!

My good friend Valerie from Alice & Peter Punk is also (derr) into punk music – so I twisted her arm into coming along with me. Boy, did we have fun! Mind you, we did get a tad lost on the way there, but there were such cool things to see in the backstreets of Shibuya – like the mural on the side of this building, which also has a rock bar (must visit when I’m next there)

Eventually some Japanese girls came to our rescue and led us there – they happened to be going to the same gig. We arrived just in time to catch Junior, playing to a packed house! They were just awesome, and the crowd went nuts. I really think they should play later; they are that good. The singer has a bit of a Johnny Rotten way about him, and the whole band is great to watch. Catch their music here.

For a change of pace we went to see Mohikan Familys over at Glad. The guitarist was really soulful and played almost flamenco-like at times, and Joe on tin whistle was no slouch either. Mix Latin and Irish with folk and you get something like Mohikan Familys – have a listen here.

16 Tons really picked up the pace with grunge punk fervour:

At Lounge Neo, we checked out the amazing Rockin’ Enocky (from Jackie & the Cedrics) playing fantastic 50′s/60′s surf guitar and rockabilly classics.

Bear in mind that all these bands were playing simultaneously at 4 venues – really 2 buildings opposite each other with various different floors. Each time a band would finish, you’d shuffle out and go find your next preferred one. Naturally, you’d see some of the same people as you shuffled, and it was around this time that we spotted some cute guys in kilts.

Back across the road we went to check out Mr Irish Bastard – which is actually a GERMAN band playing Irish punk – go figure!  How could you resist a band with classics like “Fuck you, I’m drunk!”? The bassist Boeuf Strongenuff was cute too. These pics show how massively crowded the room was.

At the end of their set, Valerie and I were grabbing a drink at the bar when who should we see but the guys in kilts again. They waved us over to the other side of the bar, and we hesitated, until I saw that the Cherry Cokes singer Katsuo was there too. Like a shot we were over there and I was telling Katsuo how much I liked the band. Natch, he had to go and get ready for the upcoming gig, and I didn’t get a pic with him :(

The boys had little English, and we had little Japanese, but we managed in our stilted way to chat a bit. It turns out they’re in a Celtic punk band called Haggis. The pretty one in the make-up was the singer Yumeho, the other one a guitarist in the band.

We decided to hang together for a bit and check out the Moonstompers so we headed out into the street again, whereupon I grabbed this shot of them.

We all wanted to catch some Ole Dick Foggy, so back in we went, and got a great spot on the dancefloor so we could jig about a bit. Ole Dick Foggy are really funny, and often play tunes we know in the west, but in a ska or irish punk way, so it takes you a few seconds to realise and start to sing along.

And then, the finale was upon us…time to go and see – The Cherry Cokes! The room was already packed when we got there….but more and more piled in til we were almost suffocating. When they came on – WHOOSH!! The energy in the room went ballistic!

They had the audience eating out of the palm of their hand, and old faves like “1999″ got the crowd as one singing and bobbing along. Seas of bodies drifted back and forth, and we were helpless to do aught but drift along with them, and try to stay aloft. Fun though!

They are absolutely superstars now, and were even playing on the bill of Punkspring. I do hope they play again next year, and don’t get too big for Wild Rover.

Valerie and I didn’t want to go, and so we had another few drinks at the bar. I got more cool photos of and with people. This is one of the german guys associated with Mr Irish bastard, and a Japanese friend.

This girl was dancing near us at the Cherry Cokes, and I picked up her phone when she dropped it. Cool hair, jewellery and clothes.
I’d seen this cool looking girl at Rockin Enocky and said hi. Now I had to take her picture…and only noticed later that she was with the singer of Junior!

And then, in a time-honoured tradition, every person there was given a shot of whiskey and we held it aloft until it was time to toast the end of another successful Wild Rover festival. The lights went up and we had to face the fact that it was over.

Out into the street we walked…when I saw my favourite member of the Cherry Cokes, the guitarist Masayo! I told him I was impressed with his green hair, and Def Leppard shirt. He seemed amazed that I read his blog – it’s here for anyone who’s interested.

I had to fan myself I was that excited..and then I saw the accordionist from Junior, Katse. Another pic, please!

Then the cute guitarist from Junior who looks western, Hav.

Then we saw the guitarist from Mohikan Familys, and he remembered us because we’d been up the front and taking pictures – he gave us a CD of their music. Cool!
All in all, I felt quite elated. A year ago I’d only just heard of these bands, but I’ve had their CDs and been listening to them for a year now, and am a big fan.  Will I go again next year, that is the question…
If you’re ever in Tokyo around St Patrick’s Day, keep an eye out for this festival (flyers can be found at Tower Records) – you won’t regret it!

The Stray Cat Club – new rockabilly night in Sydney.

There’s a new exciting happening in town…and it’s on TONIGHT!!

Following the success of Jump, Jive & Wail every 3rd Friday of the month, now on the 4th Friday, it’s the Stray Cat Club at Hotel Chambers in Martin Place.

DJs Limpin’ Jimmy and the Swingin’ Kitten will be spinning the best in rockabilly and rock & roll, so pull on your party frocks and duds, and come on down!!  It’s the first night of this event, so there are no posters as yet, but for a visual element, feast upon the Jump, Jive and Wail promo pic.

For those more interested in the Jump, Jive and Wail night, they play:

Neo Swing, Royal Crown Revue, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Flying Neutrinos, Steve Lucky & the Rhumba Bums, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, Jump Blues, Swing ’30s and ’40s, Chick Webb & his Orchestra, Louis Prima and Big Joe Turner.

Looking into my crystal ball, I see a big Swing VS Rockabilly night by the same crew coming up in May.

Friday 14th May, to be exact, at The Factory Marrickville.

FEATURING

The Velvet Set
The Pat Capocci Trio
Danny and The Cosmic Tremors
Jordan and The Original 6

PLUS

DJ’s Limpin’ Jimmy and The Swingin’ Kitten, who run all these events, and much more - see their website.

I think it’s a grand excuse to put the hair up vintage stylee, put on a grand frock with big flouncy tutu underneath and look all glamorous for the evening. If I do, you know there’ll be pictures!