Tuesday, 14 October 2008

anything but crass

sorry i haven't updated in a while i've been busy working in order for me to be able to stay in london, it's going well, and in between pouring pints of peroni and sailor jerrys and coke i've managed to find time to attend two of the most exciting gigs i've been to in a long while, foot village @ the luminaire and japanther feat. pennie rimbaud @ the old blue last.

foot village, for those who aren't aware, are somewhat of an underground supergroup of sorts, hailing from LA they feat. members of the awesome gang wizard, among others. put along side that the fact that one of their members also helps to run deathbomb arc and the smell and this really becomes a band that demands your undivided attention and they certainly know how to go about getting that. from the moment they begin setting up their vast array of drums all eyes in the room are fixated.
foot village you see are everything but conventional, they aren't just out to make music and sell records they are out to create a civilisation one where "the national language is drumming and the national pass-time is screaming". they start with the ocean of drums which spill out over the stage from the inside out, presumably heading for new land and thus the promise of fresh resources and followers to help realise their intentions of a new age. the boats land ashore and the primitive sounding drums hit you instantly and perfectly notify you of the arrival of these forward thinking explorers obsessed with creation, but refreshingly, it's creation which is very much on their own terms. as the conquering continues, you become less and less aware of how involved you are as you're just so immersed in the evolution of the feral drumming, from what at first seemed like unrefined chaos to that which you soon understand - through their leadership - to be uniformed precision and the founding of their nation. the vocals shriek and wail out the orders over the top as the everything starts to come into place.
by the time it's all took shape and you're just beginning to understand what they are all about they already have london quartet pre (who did an amazing job of head support on the night) dancing under their banner, who join them onstage to aid them in our own complete conversion. you very soon begin to realise that these aren't just a bunch of tribal savages with a radical idea, because in terms of discovery and creation, they know exactly what they are doing and if that is building a world based on this background and these simple principles then write me up a deed of citizenship and i'll be on the next boat out to join them.

here is a track taken from their latest album friendship nation (tome) which was recorded by jonathan snipes of captain ahab and mastered by pete swanson of yellow swans!

a few months ago i had a brief e-conversation with one of the two members of japanther which left me with a sour taste in mouth due to him telling me that they are tied down with touring commitments in the u.s until at least early next year. this was awful news for me as their most recent effort, skuffed up my huffy, with it's distorted sing-a-long vocals, dance inducing hooks, hilariously defining samples and positive lo-fi energy has been a permanent fixture in my stereo this summer. so you can imagine my excitement when i get a facebook invite, of all things, on friday afternoon informing me that they're playing a gig at the old blue last that coming sunday. not only that but that they'd also be feat. pennie rimbaud of infamous punk legends, crass (at this point i'd been working may to much recently to realise japanther had brought out a new album very recently feat. pennie doing spoken word/beat poet on a few tracks).
they opened their set with pennie doing some of this spoken word and at first it was very interesting, if not awe-inspiring to be watching this totally still with-it old punk rocking back and fourth with complete disregard for his surroundings warbling on about africa being so very far away and other such vague insights. unfortunately this ended up making up what felt like the majority of the set and while i completely respect what both pennie and japanther are doing with this i couldn't help but think that this perhaps would have been best suited for the album and just a little bit to much live. despite the lack of audience participation during these mellow offerings it took not much more that a few notes of a song we all recognised for japanther to whip the crowd up into crowd surfing, floor punching, teeny bopping frenzy, which exactly what they did, consistently. the energy during the room - perhaps partly due it it being so pent up during the rest of the set - when they played their older material was so delightfully enthralling i couldn't help but find myself singing along at the top of my voice, which is something i haven't done in a long time!
japanther describe themselves as pop-punk, a term which so often has people turning their noses up, recalling misspent youths queuing up and getting drunk hours before gigs and generally being feeding off of each others excitement to see our heroes play all our favourite songs onstage. i'm happy to say that this gig, in it's element, did a wonderful job of recapturing my somewhat lost youthful enthusiasm and i left with that feeling you can only get from seeing a a band you love play the songs you love to sing-a-long to, a joyous warmth that kept me smiling all the way home.

here are two tracks which between them perfectly portray japanther and for serve as a great introduction for anyone who hasn't heard them. the first with it's simple hooks and distorted vocal chanting taken from skuffed up my huffy and the second from an older release wolfenswan which highlight's their knack for consistently using samples so effectively. enjoy.

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