Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Live: Backward Region / Little Marmaid / Live Clean, Stay Young / Anti-Social Students @ Okayama Pepperland (6/10/2011)

Local pride is a really awesome thing, and hailing from the tiny island of Guam, I can proudly say I know how important that is. Imagine how awesome it felt to see Matala, a band based on Guam that I had known since junior high, featured in an issue of Giant Robot magazine. It's this amazing feeling you get when someone puts your little unknown hometown on the map.

You can probably, then, imagine that the same goes for bands from Okayama(and well, probably every other place in Japan that isn't Tokyo or Osaka or Kyoto or something) that have hit the bigtime. Though I admit I didn't really know of any, one band I had seen around that was getting
big news was Live Clean Stay Young, a punk band from here that was touring actively all over Japan and released CDs that you could find at every record store. While here, I had the perfect opportunity to see them with a couple other punk acts at Pepperland, the (in)famous live house just outside of school grounds that I was very fond of. The event was cheap, and I hadn't seen a punk show in awhile, so I took advantage of seeing them in their home turf.

Other than them, I was also stoked to see Backward Region, a band with roots in thepop-punk/emo stuff I listened to in junior high. They had also recently made their national debut and their CD was all over the tower records in Okayama.

Backward Region opened up the show that night. They ran through their entire EP(which I had listened to a couple times before). They were pretty good live, and even with the crowd still making their way into the live house put on a really lively show, jumping around on stage and not
letting anything put them down. Their sound was really reminiscent of pop-punk that was storming the US some time ago, but my only concern is that the band might be a little late to the party with their sound. Still, it took me back to a time when I was young and naive, writing lyrics on my notebook and trying to find the most "unknown" bands out there. It was a trip.

Up next in the lineup was Little Mermaid, a band from Kumamoto that wasn't quite famous yet, and probably will have trouble with considering their name. They weren't doing anything extraordinary with their music, but they were a lot of fun on stage, running back and forth and
surprising me by doing the first on stage band only mosh pit(or close to it, at least) that I've seen. They were fun, and I think that's what mattered, and played a hardly distinguishable
version of "I want you back" that made me laugh, in a good way.

I missed the next band, Okayama's own what's what, since i had to grab something at my dormitory, but made it back for the last two acts, Live Clean, Stay Young, and Anti-Social Students.
I was expecting a packed house for LCSY but the live house still wasn't really packed, with less than 20 people or so watching the stage. Still, the few people there made things a lot of fun during their set, one guy dancing around in a drunken trance the entire set. They played a pretty standard melodic punk but they did small things in their songs that made them stand out, little things that make you think "wow, who would've thought to add that in there?". I loved their set a lot, and I could see why they had made it to the big time. They didn't disappoint. I was even more impressed when they were getting ready to leave the stage and the crowd called out for them to play more songs and they immediatley belted out another 2 or 3 tunes without hesitation. Probably the first time I've seen such a sudden impromptu encore, but I'm sure that
since they were based at this live house they could do whatever they wanted to.

Afterwards were the event's organizers and the headlining act, Anti Social Students. I had seen the name around a couple times and I knew they were pretty well known(at least among people into this music) but their set didn't impress me in anyway. Maybe I was too blown away by LCSY, maybe I was tired, I have no idea. But they didn't wow me in any particular way.

The night was pretty good, and I walked away compltely satisfied with seeing Live Clean Stay Young. The local's pride in their entry into the national punk scene was definitely justified. If only they came to town more often, I'd probably love to see them again. Punk is a lot of
fun, and the strength of the performances on this night only proved how much awesome talent is still out there in the punk scene. Not all is lost!


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