Tokyo Boredom was originally a massive thank-you to indie music fans. Dedicated punters who paid at least ¥2,000 every week to get into shows were treated to a free gig when all the acts at the event pitched in to pay for it.
However, as with a similar event last September, the size of this two-day festival and the decision to bring in some more popular artists means that the ticket fee is back in place, with ¥3,000 getting you access to 36 bands over the course of the weekend. Of course, it’s still a bargain considering what’s on offer (and unlike most live events, they don’t gouge you for overpriced drink tickets).
Underground noise legends Hijokaidan and psychedelic rockers Katsurei top the bill, with the rest of the lineup a carnival of fractured and fractious postpunk and alternative rock.
The most appealing point of Tokyo Boredom is something that goes back to the event’s roots. These are mostly bands who scrape by making music, with no hope of (and often no interest in) making money from it, usually losing huge sums for the privilege of playing; nevertheless, they keep doing it for the sheer joy of performing and watching music. That shared ethos makes these events an exhilarating experience to be a part of, in stark contrast to the corporate hell of festivals such as Rock in Japan and Countdown Japan.
Those not wanting to miss highlights are advised to get down there early on Saturday in order to catch the extraordinary Praha Depart, whose irrepressibly danceable Gypsy punk funk is wasted on an early afternoon slot. Elsewhere, The Mornings never fail to excite, and nor do improv-heavy Fukuoka garage- punk blues merchants Folk Enough. On the Sunday, the unpredictable delights of Nagoya weirdniks Nohshintoh are well worth catching, and Osaka’s Yolz in the Sky and Tokyo’s tacobonds are notable for their highly rhythmical approaches, turning arty postpunk into something more akin to trance music with nothing more than a standard rock lineup with which to work the magic.
Tokyo Boredom will take place at Tokyo University’s Komaba Campus on Sept. 25-26. One-day tickets are ¥2,000 and two-day tickets are ¥3,000. Doors open at 11 a.m. and music starts at 12 noon. For details, visit www4.atword.jp/tokyoboredom