Next Tokyo visit, next week!

I take off for Tokyo next Friday…and am getting excited!

It has been 11 months since I was last there, unlike when I used to go 2 to 3 times a year. Last November I spent 9 or 10 days there and here’s a little recap of the highlights.

Shopping!

I bought this now favourite jacket of mine, a teal feather jacket from gal brand Sly - seen here with Issey Miyake Pleats Please lurex top and multi cross necklace from Black Peace Now.  I’ll be wearing another Pleats Please top I bought in an upcoming outfit post, but in bright aqua.

Sly Japan, Issey Miyake, pleats please

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Tokyo Clubs & Events August 27th to September 4th

I always start to plan my nightlife soon after booking my flight, and this is what’s coming up in my next jaunt.

(If you’ve just started reading, I go to Japan twice a year to soak up the culture, check the gothic fashion, sample the food and nightlife, and catch up with old and new friends).

August 27th – Gothic Bar Heaven

Run by D’s Valentine, it’s one of those clubs where there are very few foreigners, so while it can be a little more daunting than, say Midnight Mess or Decadance, it definitely is authentic, by Japanese for Japanese.
Something I’ll miss the fortnight before, but sounds great is the Artism Festa – a 2 day extravaganza bringing together the people and sounds of all the various artism nights – Gothic Bar Heaven, Classic Alamode, Decora Alamode, Tokyo Cyber Monster and Club Theatic. Bands include GPKism, Calmando Qual, Suicide Ali, Velvet Eden, Iruma Rioka and the Cabinets!! (The Cabinets are a punk band with a sweet lolita as their singer)
The latest Alamode magazine no 7 is also out – must grab a copy while I’m there:
Check out GBH and the other clubs, events and publications at artism.jp
August 28th – Grim Rock Stomp
GRIM ROCK STOMP Vol.4 “HOLE”

Featuring the bands: GRAIS, CRACKS, THE PRISONER, and my fave +13th MOON+ (Singer Nao)

DJ’s:
DJ/MIYAKAWA(THE PSYCLOCKS),BAKABILLY,MASUMI(Dr.Martens)
 

And at the very end…

4th September all Punk festival - Shibuya Crash
as mentioned in this post.

4th September – Tokyo Dark Castle

And then on the Sunday I’ll be packing and heading back to Oz. In between these though, be sure I’ll be shopping (and checking out the latest trends), hitting some hotspots, interviewing some designers and bands and generally finding out what’s happening in the Tokyo alternative scene right now. As I always say, stay tuned!
What places would you go, if you visited Tokyo in the next few weeks? What would you like to see me cover in the blog?

After Tokyo Dark Castle

Another post from March 09 – after pulling an all-nighter at Tokyo Dark Castle, I stumble into the light and interview people…

Bear in mind we’ve been drinking for 6 or 7 hours, and it’s 6am. So we’re drunk and silly :) I’m with Utarou and Miki from Baal, Nao – singer from deathrock band 13th Moon, Sisen, assorted TDC regulars and Chihiro in the background.

Miki has a touching message at the end for Dom, Karl & Amelia, saying “we need you back in Japan”. Aww…


After Tokyo Dark Castle
http://mediaservices.myspace.com/services/media/embed.aspx/m=55586512,t=1,mt=video
trashtastika | MySpace Video

If that doesn’t work on your pc, here’s the link:
Chatting with Nao & Sisen after Tokyo Dark Castle

And here’s the link to the Harajuku one, where we walk down Takeshita Street and meet Sisen at Takuya Angel.

Harajuku
http://mediaservices.myspace.com/services/media/embed.aspx/m=55592113,t=1,mt=video
trashtastika | MySpace Video

BAAL. Japanese Industrial Cyberpunk band.

How to describe the awesomeness that is Baal? Think hard rock/metal/industrial  – or as they describe themselves “Cybernetic Heavy Industrial Rock,” transcending industrial, electro and modern heavy rock styles.
Baal is
  • U-tarou: Vocals
  • MIKITO: Guitars, programming, synth, concepts
  • Chihiro: Drums
  
I’ll let the Gauntlet  describe the band’s beginnings:

BAAL came into being in June 2005 as the next step for CHRONOTRIGGER, the band’s former name. In both guises, the band has been at the forefront of spreading the Digital Heavy Industrial sound concept throughout Japan’s underground scene.

As CHRONOTRIGGER, the band played many shows across Japan’s industrial and dark music scenes including Android 666, the Kobe Underground Festival and Auto-Mod’s Tokyo Dark Castle. During this period, the band also released its demo CD featuring the tracks “On the Surface” and “Judgment.”

In 2005, the industrial event “JUNK CHILDREN#1″ was held in Japan, headlined by BAAL and Despair. In the same year, BAAL released their debut single CD “Bloody_Logic_Communication” to rave reviews.

2006 saw BAAL hitting the overseas market and gaining good exposure. In November they toured Germany for the first time.

U-Tarou appeared on the cover of Astan Magazine in Germany, and a 4 page interview appeared in The Dose, (download it here). This issue focused largely on the Tokyo scene and also featured Sisen, Aural Vampire, Psydoll, Blood, D’espairs Ray and Australia’s own (and very awesome) Angelspit!

In November 2006 their first mini-album was released: “TERRITORY OF B.A.A.L”.

June 2008 saw BAAL touring Australia for the first time (performing gigs in Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney) with ANGELSPIT on their “Splatterball” tour. They released their new album “RELIGION 616″, in conjunction with the tour.

BAAL’s second Germany tour (Berlin, Chemnitz,Koln) took place in March 2007, and was even more successful than their first. They also did a fantastically dark and moody photoshoot with brilliant alternative scene photographer Viona, which you can see more of here.

In July 2009 BAAL organized their own event, “King of Evil 13″ – and the second one will be held next month in Shinjuku (which I’ll be attending!)

The band continues to play at clubs such as Tokyo Dark Castle and are well known on the Tokyo and Osaka scenes. BAAL has also remixed tracks for several well-known artists including ANGELSPIT, LEFT SPINE DOWN and Spectrum-X to name a few.

For more, see the official BAAL website, or go to their MySpace to hear the raw power of BAAL.

I’d like to also talk about the other side of the equation – the great people that U-tarou and Miki are personally.  Baal had met Angelspit on a European tour, where they hung out and bonded, and planned to one day tour together. I then met Baal when they came to Australia for the Splatterb
all tour.

As I was mates with Amelia and Karl, I got introduced to Miki and U-tarou. Another friend Briony was the merch girl for Angelspit, as well as interpreter, so she got to know the gang really well.
When Briony and I hit Tokyo last year, we hung out a lot with U-tarou and Miki, and I soon came to love them as well. They are really funny people, ridiculously generous, and humble, with no rockstar pretensions whatsoever.
Here are a bunch of pics from my visit last March/April.
Having arvo tea in Shinjuku, U-tarou had iced coffee and got BRAIN FREEZE!!

Then on Saturday, we descended on Harajuku, visited Takuya Angel and hung out with Sisen (here’s the video of the day).

They even came out to Alamode with us – and knowing everyone in the goth scene there, got us backstage to the green room! You’ll see quite a few familiar faces below. We took lots of pics (and drank lots of beer!)

GPK was there (Briony is to the right with the gorgeous make-up and lashes)
And then after the club, drunk and silly, we took MORE photos…

That’s more than enough for one post. I can’t WAIT to get back there, see these guys live at King of Evil 13, and just have more fun. Check Baal’s music out – if you like hardcore, I think you’ll be impressed!

More upcoming Tokyo punk & goth gigs. My great big Tokyo itinerary – clubs and bands galore.

So I’m off to Tokyo again in a month - woohoo!

Last year I went for 3 weeks and had the BEST time (see my post on the Wild Rover punk festival here and Tokyo clubs here).   But onto this upcoming trip.  As usual music and clubs form the skeleton of my itinerary, with fashion, friends and sightseeing all fleshing it out, as it were. This time it’s just over 2 weeks, from ~12th to 28th March.

 So this is how my dancecard is looking (actually it looks like a lot of club posters).

13/3  King of Evil 13 gig (and possibly Decadance?)

Starring:
 Baal (I’ll be doing a post shortly on this band, who are great people to boot), Auto-Mod – of Tokyo Dark Castle fame, P.I.M.P and Destruct System, as well as DJ’s Raveman (from Aural Vampire, also here), and nAo12xu (from 13th Moon -  on whom I did a post earlier)

Unfortunately I won’t be there for March 6th, but for those who are, remember the next Tokyo Dark Castle:

14/3 Theatic Alamode Sunday 4.30 – 10pm

With the usual  array of bands, performers, dancers, DJ’s, it is also the Alamode Magazine Vol.06 Release Party.

So I’ll be picking up the new Alamode Magazine. The previous one looks like this (with friends GPKism on the cover):

20/3 Club Walpurgis

This isn’t a Visual Kei type gothic club in the way the others are, but is definitely one that plays alternative music, probably much closer to what I hear in clubs at home. It began in Shinjuku in 1983! So it’s pretty bleeding authentic.

Every Saturday was UK Alternative Positive Punk Nite.
Every Sunday was UK Alternative Hyper Kitsch Nite.
Every Wednesday was Psychedelic Nite.

 

The resident DJ’s and what they play: 
  • Zinny Aerodinamica (GOTHIC/UK/US/GERMAN PUNK, THROBBIING ELECTRO, DARK FRENCH WAVE, BATCAVE & More/a.k.a.ZIN:Vocalist of ZEUS MACHINA, ROMEO MIRROR, Madame Edwarda)
    (Mixture of Gothic & 80′s Dark Pop & Underground Negative/Positive Punk, GLAM)
  • Sato M. (WAVE, POSTPUNK & More/Ex: UK Edison, Paranoia Night)
  • Naoto (BATCAVE, DEATHROCK, INDUSTRIAL, GLAM & More)
  • TAIZO (GOTHIC/GOTH, COLDWAVE, FOLKLORE & More)
  • NARIKI (POST PUNK, 80′s Goth ) Ex: Phaidia, Coma, Mephisto Walz: a Christian Death side project

This will be a first for me, and I can’t wait!

22/3  Wild Rover - Monday from 3pm

Paddy Punk, here I come! See my earlier post on the Wild Rover festival.

26/3  Gothic Bar Heaven – Friday night midnight til 5am.

I don’t think I’ve been to this club before either, but it’s run by D’s Valentine, who also runs Alamode.

27/3 Midnight Mess - Saturday night midnight til 5am.

Maya and the MM crew are fantastic, and I know I’ll have a fab time.

On top of that, Japan Fashion Week is 22-28 (not that I can attend – could I crash something?), and Hanami should happen around then as well.

The last Sunday I was there last year saw a HUGE number of Hanami parties/picnics happening all over, and especially in Yoyogi Park.  Sisen invited me to the Decadance Hanami party last year, but when I arrived I was too late, and he and Takuya were going back to the shop, and Adrien was filming his big dolls for the next event. Next time, gadget!

I’ll fly out Sunday night the 28th, very tired from all the clubbing, probably hungover, and definitely with too many clothes and boots stuffed in my bag!

Do you know of anything on in that time that I should get myself to? Anything you’d particularly like to see pictures of ? Let me know, and I’ll pencil it in :)