Saturday, September 27, 2008

Serbia Pt. 1


The day of my first solo show in Europe has arrived, but before that I went to a couple of radio stations to plug the gig and that went pretty good. Around 1pm my brother arrived with Singing Loins – a damn fine English combo who had 4 shos booked in Serbia. We had lunch together and then went to the city. Singing Loins were scheduled to play in Novi Sad (third biggest city in Serbia, 80ks north of Belgrade) and my brother had to take them over there, while I had to take care of my show in Belgrade.

Dicking around in front of a huge billboard

The headliners for the show were Qui – new band of David Yow (ex-Scratch Acid/Jesus Lizard). Before them we had Gerda Blank – half-New Zealand/half-English band. We caught up with them around 5pm and soon after Qui guys came, so we all had a drink together.

The we went for a soundcheck and dinner after that. Qui guys seemed nice and polite. After dinner they went backstage to chill out and I went to set up my gear. The show was suppose to start at 10pm, but one thing I learned here is that everything is running so fucking late. I was ready at 10pm, but there was no one at the venue except for me and two sound guys. I went outside and saw a bunch of people hanging there, drinking cheap from the supermarket. I recognized one guy and asked him to tell people I'm about to start and if they can be bothered to get inside.

I went in, plugged in and started making noise. I didn't dare look up for at least 5 minutes and was surprised to see a few punters in the venue already. I played for about 15-20 minutes and finished. People clapped after it. Don't know if they liked it or were just happy for me to finish.

Gerda Blank were loud and rocked hard. Two piece (guitar + drums), kinda half indie/ half garagey stuff. Spent next 3 days with them, top guys. Qui were good, but I was too busy taking care of business and catching up with people to pay too much attention. Also, there were only 60 or so people there, so the band seemed to be going through motions a bit.

After the show I helped them load up and take them to the hostel, then I took cab to my parents' place and went straight to bed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Japan Pt.2


Today was my last gig in Tokyo and the only one I played without Chris and Stina, and since Kenta and Scott have left already I had to go to the venue all by myself. I stopped at some flea market on the way, but there was nothing there to write home about, so I went straight to the venue.

The gig was at Nishi Ogikubo at Rinky Dink Studios – basically a rehearsal space with 4 rooms on three floors. The event lasted for two days and there was 100 bands/acts in total.

When I arrived I saw bariken guys who organised my pass and introduced me to the organiser and some other cool people who showed me around. The drinks were AUS$2 and bands already started playing, so there was no time to waste. I got onto the booze (sake and grapefruit juice) and checked some acts. The bands were all different styles – from ska-punk to math-rock to hard core to acoustic to noise... and all of them were fucken great! But when you have 50 bands to check and cheap drinks and cool people to hang around with it becomes a bit hard to see every single band. The rooms varied in size – from tiny to slightly bigger rooms.

My show was at around 4pm. I did a quick set up, checked everything and all was cool. I started playing and the first track went for about 15 minutes. I had another 10 minutes of my set and decided to get the audience to participate. I put my guitar on the floor and said “Let's make noise together”. The punters took turns on guitar while I was on pedals. Everyone had lots of fun and by that time I was slightly pissed and enjoyed even more. At the end we had a laugh, I got some CDs (including the one from a Tzadik band who I saw in one of the rooms earlier) from the punters, and the it was time to check Tiala.

Some of Gutter Guitar's special guests.

Tiala's singer Minoru is the manager of eM SEVEN, and I was looking forward to see them live, but could not expect them to be so incredibly good! The room was packed and 5 seconds into the first song everyone went berserk. The vocalist was all over the venue, the punters were following him in a manic dance and the band just chucked the song after song... Hopefully we'll see a 3-way split between Bamodi, Bariken and Tiala in next few months.

Tiala's singer Minoru after the gig.

And this is what it looked like on video:

It was 6pm, I got drunk and after hanging outside with Bariken guys I opted to head home. I said goodbye and they said they'll organise some gigs for me when I return in October. I jumped on train, and after 3 stops the train went in different direction. Suddenly I ended up on a station I never heard of. I asked some guy in my broken Japanese if I could catch a train to Shinjuku and was told that I can catch a train to Seibu Shinjuku, which was good enough for me, even though I didn't know where the fuck that was.

Once I got there I came out of the station and I was right in the middle of theTokyo madhouse – neon lights and zillions people everywhere! I didn't have a clue where I was and was too drunk/proud to ask anyone for directions, so I started walking down the street, looking for Shinjuku station, but it was nowhere in sight. I was thinking of catching a cab, but was afraid they would just laugh at me and tell me it's just around the corner. Finally I asked some Combini attendant and he gave me good directions. 10 minutes later I was on a train to Yokohama...