Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Go!Go! 7188 + American Sexism

Last week, I mentioned Daniel, the music exec I know from the UK who brings Japanese bands on tour. It was through him that I met the girl group Bo-Peep who invited me to their show with Electric Eel Shock in Shimokitazawa last night.

Knowing he would be the guy to ask, I once picked his brain about who he thought was the best J-Rock band. "Go!Go! 7188," he responded, were currently the best band in the world.

Daniel invited three of Go!Go!'s managers to the Bo-Peep show and we were all making friendly conversation. One of the guys, Shinji, gave me a free ticket to the band's show tonight at Shibuya's O-East.

I didn't know a thing about the group minus that one English guy loved them and that they were very popular in Japan. The throngs of people in and around O-East confirmed my suspicions.

And here is why I am a sexist piece of shit. When the band was ready to take the stage, a hot young Japanese girl in a black Go!Go! 7188 t-shirt carrying a Go!Go! banner walked on stage. "This band even has their own cheer-girls," I was thinking.

Then a roadie handed the woman a bass and plugged her in. I felt like a real asshole. It didn't cross my mind that the best band in Japan could have a female front lineup. It's like that old riddle where the punch line is that the surgeon is a woman.

Go!Go! is a hard rock pop-punk trio with rocker-chicks Akko on bass and Yumi on guitar, with rocker-dude Turkey on drums. And for the billionth time since I came here 4 months ago, stereotypes I didn't even know I held about gender and music broke down before me.

Yumi- holy smokes could she wail!! She was a totally amazing guitarist with a unique and commanding style, crossing raw power from the Stooges, MC5, and AC/DC, with J-Rock/J-Pop harmony. The front-center of the stage had a small platform with bright pink trim. Yumi, with her matching pink t-shirt, would step up on the platform during her solos, elevating her status and commandeering the audience. I bet that even Toshi from Sunset Drive would have been mesmerized.

After the show, I stuck around and pretended to be somebody important. When the crowd thinned, my music exec friend introduced me to Turkey and Akko. I swallowed my butterflies and told both of them about the Tokyo Werewolf project.

So Akko, if you are reading this, sorry that I misjudged you at first. You guys rocked my world!!

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