Thursday, March 3, 2011

Japancore with Bells and Whistles - Brian Viglione, Elyas Khan, and Sxip Shirey at The Underworld, Camden

Thanks to my lovely sister I got the pleasure to see an exceptional concert at Camden yesterday. As I'm not so good in writing about music (and still drunk from the aftershow-party), I'll rely on pictures and short comments.

I liked the venue from first sight: Located in a cellar under the corresponding "The Underworld" pub, it had all you wish for in a venue: seperate stage area with a gallery, huge "downstairs" dancefloor,  a bar area with an appropriately sticky floor, and a (very) small selection of tab beer (but then again they served bavarian "Löwenbräu" ;)).

Pettybone played as the opener. Three quite young women in the classic GBD-combo, playing hard riffs, while the singer alternated between talking and barking. Best band member clearly was the drummer (and not because she took off her shirt, with what she was terribly right, because why should only male drummers be able to do that?). She was awesomly quick and very tight. Maybe the shirt bit was also tactics to keep people from taking pictures though. Worked for me.

Bitter Ruin
Bitter Ruin: Classic singer / songwriter duet, with strong voices and very dark texts. All the gothic girls around loved it, and I have to admit I did as well. Style of their music made it clear why they toured with the Dresden Dolls and due to folk influences (Flamenco Guitar sometimes) they even reminded me of Serj Tankian once in a while!
Bo Ningen

Bo Ningen, not from Tokyo, but from London city still spoke a lot Japanese. Not only their edo-period-samurai hairdo was notable: They used it to shake quite some time, while they rocked asses off with their metal-something - core? Anyway, it was loud, it was fast, it was melodic and Japanese.
The guitarist, playing one of his solos he brought in his time capsule from the 70ies , together with his clothes.
Not just one of the various ending chords of the show, but the mother of all of them, this one lasted about a felt 10 minutes. After which there was only eternal silence remaining. Note the hairdo.
Gentlemen and Assassins
The merit headliner (Gentlemen & Assassins): (r.t.l.): Elyas Khan on bass and synthies, Brian Viglione on the drums and Sxip Shirey with one of his crazy instruments. Although lacking a guitar most of the time, their compositions alternated between rock, blues and folk, with absorbing sound and an incredible stage presence.

Especially Sxip surrey made the sound of the band unique with his exotic instruments and improvisation. While only playing a dull paper-clip improved children's guitar the time this picture was taken, he later justified his crazy professor look more with playing the same instrument using a harmonica to pick chords, ringing bycicle bells attached to a stick, singing with scary voice effects and blowing strange whistling flutes. Him using a salad bowl and a marble to create a spheric rhythm matching the other instruments eventually let my jaw drop amazonas-snake like.

Even if I missed my last tube and still feeling a bit tired today, I'm in love with London for another time and can't wait for all the concerts to come in summer.


  1. Nice blog, brother!! I'm also looking forward to the concert summer, bring it on!!!

  2. Cheers, sister! Will maybe take a quick concert summer detour to Berlin as well. Let's see ;)