this house is called flux & form

there are three hours til mike’s battery gives in so i will do my best to briefly recount the madness wot has gone on. yesterday morning we all woke at crazy times because of jetlag and such, and some went out exploring early morning tokyo. we visited toko’s oldest public park in ueno, where there are exciting ponds. cats roam the place and there are two museums. mike and keith are both arch-nerds and take that kind of thing seriously, i just thought they looked like buildings, probably the ulster museum. turns out this was not far wrong.
we checked out of the hostel at about 1059 and hung out in train stations for a bit. keith met a girl he knows called Fan who helped carry his stuff, providing an amusing photo oppurtunity (keith and fan, etc etc. it’ll probably get to flickr eventually). the gig was in a venue called marz in shinjuku, which was the first we’d really seen of cool, exciting tokyo. you know, the famous bit with all the lights and everything.
alex found the venue using expert skills (it was very very near the red light district, i don’t know whether these facts are related). marz was very similar to junktion 17 where the gig in nottingham in summer had been. that is not interesting to you as you were not there. sorry. right.
gigs here cost a hell of a lot more than they do at home.
(side note: people kept warning me before we left that everything is much more expensive here. as long as i keep getting into the shows for free, and i hope to, i will disagree with this. everything’s been somewhere between reasonably priced and downright cheap so far. i will blog further about cultural differences another time)
anyway, the upshot of gigs costing a lot more is
1) they are better
2) people pay more attention.

four bands played at the first gig:
Folk Squat, Lite, Miaou and the AMC.

i shan’t start trying to review every single band that plays on the tour, not least because my critical powers are pretty limited (‘they were good, aye’, and such insights). miaou really really impressed me, though, and while it’s hardly good form to say how good tracer were on their own website, the tour got off to a pretty good start.
the famously polite tokyo crowd called for an encore, which is something of a rarity. in fact, the lights had gone up and people were leaving when the manager came into the dressing room and asked them to play another song. tracer amc hadn’t really practiced any more songs. they played nineteen anyway and it rocked everyone’s asses off. there was talk for a while that we might be able to get digital video tapes of the gig (it was filmed from three angles) but it looks like that won’t happen. drat.
ANYWAY afterwards it was agreed that Lite would come play in belfast (they’d played in dublin with Gaju and confessed to having listened to Islands while driving around, mentals) and we all had a jolly time.
i’m partly here as ‘merch man’ but last night i wasn’t needed for that (my japanese is somewhere between nowhere and pish) so i helped the soundman out. it was the first time i’d actually done the faders, rather than just asking for a little more of this or a little less of that, and it was a lot of fun (and, i think, beneficial to the gig). jonny played through a marshall stack, which was pretty controversial but it made for a good photo ( )

later on two unnamed members of tracer amc were removed from an establishment called Hot Men’s Box, but not before finding out there was a floor inside it called Sexy Pub. i pretty much need to get in there, but they were removed for not being japanese, so i might have a problem there. BAH.

we drove 100km or so to our friend’s house after the show, he has a second house out in a town called Yugawara. they’d laid on loads of really nice food for us and were absolutely lovely, apart from taking the piss out of me for.. well, for loads of stuff. it’s been a bit of a theme.

so now we’re in Nagoya having driven here this morning (it took around three hours i think). the venue tonight is called Tokuza, and the motto is “good booze, cheap foods & hip music”, pleasingly. fingers crossed all of these turn out to be accurate.

there’s loads i’ve forgotten, it’ll come back to me, but here’s a funny thing:
mike and annette went to a cafe called “coffee and cake” earlier, which sold coffee. and cake. sadly, though, the lady who worked there didn’t understand the words “coffee” or “cake” when they tried to order. it seems the language barrier is becoming more of a problem the further we get from tokyo.
can’t wait to get back there next week and explore properly.

grub’s up. type at you sooon


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