Japan's Must-Read Magazine

Out & About in Nagoya

Hanover resident to English tourist: "You will notice that there are no old buildings in Hanover. That is because you bombed them all."

Funny, no? Pfft, that’s German humor for you. At any rate, it gets this column where it needs to be geographically this month: yes, the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany will be revving into action on Friday 9th. Will Zico’s Team Japan make it past the group stage? Will Brazil trample the crap out of all and sundry? Oh, and most pertinently: why do footie fans always use the first person plural when talking about the teams they support? "We won 2-0 last night…" Excuse me? What, just by cheering at a TV screen and dribbling beer down your top? Remarkable.

But I digress… Yes, football. Lots of it. Various joints around town are promising to show all of the World Cup matches live – which is mighty brave, seeing as how some don’t start until about 4am. Still, since when did the Beautiful Game ever involve being sensible? If you don’t mind readjusting your body clock a little, you can catch all of the World Cup live at Shooters and The Red Rock, and a fair whack of it at MyBar and The Elephant’s Nest. Even Radix is getting in on the act, though I’m not convinced they’ll get many takers: their screenings of Japan v Croatia on Sunday 18th (22:00 kick-off) and Japan v Brazil on Thursday 22nd (4:00 kick-off, so it’s actually Friday I guess) cost ¥1800 a pop. On the plus side, the price includes snacks and a free bottle of Zima, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a meet and proper manly drink.

Okay, moving swiftly from shameless populism to the niche market stuff: hands up who here likes J-Pop! Hmmm, not quite the rabid response I was hoping for. Anyhoo, a few of the finer (or, at least, more tolerable) exponents of the art are heading to town this month. First up, Rip Slyme are whisking up a pint or two of hip-hop lite at Zepp Nagoya from Thursday 1st to Saturday 3rd. 20:00 start on Thursday/Friday, 19:00 start on Saturday, ¥6300 each night. Catch one-time indie darlings turned major label rock stars Asian Kung-Fu Generation at the same venue on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th, 19:00 start, ¥3800 adv. Oh, and don’t forget the ever-so-slightly-quirky  Ego-Wrappin’ – who, just in case you missed them at Quattro last month, are back again, this time at Club Diamond Hall on Friday 30th. 20:00 start, ¥4200 adv.

Anyone looking to give their third eye a long, hard squeegee has got a range of options this month. You could start with Cinema Soloriens and the Cosmo-Drama at Tokuzo on Friday 16th – a special screening of experimental films by James Harrar and footage of Sun Ra and His Arkestra, with musical accompaniment provided by Harrar, RE Mahoney and the Arkestra’s own sax skronkmeister Marshall Allen. 19:00 start, ¥3500 adv, ¥4000 door. The following night, meanwhile, they’ve got legendary underground noiseniks JOJO Hiroshige (of Hijokaidan fame) and Keiji Haino, who should be kicking up a storm of mind-melting proportions. (Seriously, Haino’s is the only gig I’ve ever bailed on simply because it was too intense: approach this sunglassed mofo with caution.) Saturday 17th, 19:00 start, ¥2500 adv, ¥3000 door. Last up, get an earful of electric jazz freakout from Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden at Club Quattro on Wednesday 28th. 19:00 start, ¥4000 adv, ¥4500 door.

If, on the other hand, you aren’t satisfied by a gig unless your ears are bleeding by the end, don’t you dare miss Lightning Bolt at Club Rock’n’Roll in Shinsakae. The bass and drum (as opposed to drum & bass, natch) duo’s Hypermagic Mountain was one of last year’s unholiest slabs of noise pollution, a vicious romp through the best bits of heavier-than-thou rock, grindcore and metal. If labelmates the USA Is A Monster’s show at KD Japon in April was anything to go by, you can expect the tinnitus to last for about three days. Support from Mucid Cuspidor (aka Matt Brinkman of Mindflayer and Forcefield) and DMBQ. Friday 9th, 19:00 start, ¥3000 adv, ¥3500 door.

At the softcore end of the spectrum (and I feel dirty just writing about this stuff), the enfant terrible of UK light jazz, Jamie Cullum, is tinkling the keys on the old Joanna at Club Quattro on the same night, Friday 9th. 19:00 start, ¥5800 adv. You might also want to get your tickets now for Coldplay’s show at Rainbow Hall on Monday 17th July. Well, if you like that kind of thing, at least. 19:00 start, A ¥7000 adv, S ¥7500 adv.

Also worth a look this month: blues-rock axe god Ben Harper and his Innocent Criminals at Club Diamond Hall on Friday 9th, 19:00 start, ¥6500 adv; Beastie Boys-endorsed (and not-as-interesting-as-they-sound-on-paper) art popsters Buffalo Daughter at Club Quattro on Friday 16th, 19:30 start, ¥4200 adv; Boom Boom Satellites – an act frequently (and only slightly inaccurately) dubbed as Japan’s answer to The Chemical Brothers – at Quattro on Saturday 24th, 20:00 start, ¥4200 adv.

Over in club land, the month looks like it’ll be getting off to a roaring start at Club Mago on Friday 2nd, courtesy of XLNTZ’s V Recordings Exclusive Bass Night with Bryan Gee. Together with partner-in-crime Jumping Jack Frost, Gee was one of the pivotal figures on the early jungle/drum & bass scene in London, and went on to found one of the genre’s defining labels, V Recordings. Which was very nice of him. Support from DJ Aki, Kazuaki Suzuki, Ago and Asayo. 22:00 start, ¥2500 adv, ¥3000 door.

Sticking with Mago, the Grammy-winning duo Deep Dish are booked to appear there on Wednesday 7th, though I think I’m right in saying that we should just be expecting one half of the team, Ali ‘Dubfire’ Shriazinia. Two questions: does winning a Grammy actually give you any kudos in the dance community? And who the hell goes clubbing on a Wednesday? For people with more, er, conventional scheduling requirements, there’s always the ‘Frisco dub-heavy dance stylings of Wicked on Friday 9th, with Grayhound Recordings’ DJ Garth and DJ Jeno. That’s at Mago (again), 22:00 start, ¥2500 adv, ¥3500 door.

Bangin’ bondage bash Dildo’s last appearance at Radix was a bit of a headscratcher: pulverizing hard house and techno mixed with a series of disarmingly camp S&M and drag queen slots… Yer wot? If nothing else, their next one on Friday 16th certainly promises to be one of June’s more, er, esoteric nights. Featuring DJs SHU-TA, Hirolyn, RocKEN and others, with a "special fetish show" by JAIL sm LIVE.2. Ooh, mistress! 21:30 start, ¥2500 adv, ¥3000 door.

Sticking around at Radix, they’re getting a house call from none other than Carl Craig on Friday 30th. You know him: he’s that legendary Detroit Techno bloke. And, yes, there’s a fair few of them "legendary Detroit Techno" fellas around but, hey, let’s not get into a tizz about meaningless nomenclature. Though he’s been largin’ it up since the glory days of Rhythim is Rhythim, last year’s Fabric 25 mix album proved that Craig is still at the top of his game. Well, it just would’ve been a bit embarrassing otherwise, wouldn’t it? Support from A Hundred Birds’ Yoku (also rather good) and Apollo. 22:00 start, ¥3000 adv, ¥3500 door.

Right, that’s my word count done and dusted. In the spirit of footie-speak: it looks like we’re going to have a fun month, aren’t we?