Altz, Hotel Mexico to play weekend bash

by Ian Martin

A mid the continuing developments surrounding the March 11 earthquake, clubs and live venues, at least in Tokyo, are gradually getting back to their regular schedules, much to the relief of musicians and fans.

This crawl back toward normality comes in good time for Shibuya’s Club Asia, which is holding a pair of events to celebrate its 15-year anniversary.

While Saturday’s Anniversary event features mostly club artists such as DJ and remix maestro Altz, Yasutaka Nakata of electropop duo capsule (whose incredibly unfortunately titled album “Killer Wave” has seen its release plans kicked firmly into touch by recent events) and electronic musician Rei Harakami. Sunday sees Club Asia getting into Rock Action, with a plethora of indie bands and DJs.

Well represented on Sunday, and one of the best reasons to go, will be Kyoto’s Second Royal label, who’ve provided a slew of the past year’s best indie releases.

The band Hotel Mexico spent the latter part of 2010 flying the flag of Japanese glo-fi following the summer release of the limited edition “His Jewelled Letter Box” album and the Pitchfork-endorsed single “It’s Twinkle.” Earlier this month, the album received a full nationwide release and is now available via mainstream outlets such as Tower Records and Amazon.

Also from Second Royal, Turntable Films offer something for those with a taste for folky melancholy, with a sound influenced by Americana and roots music along the lines of The Band or Wilco. Behind the decks DJs Moro and Seiya, of labelmates The New House, will be spinning tunes, as will label boss Shinsuke Osanai.

The lineup elsewhere is largely concerned with dance-oriented indie rock, with new wave disco-funk band Africaemo, electro rockers Pills Empire, and the cheesily-named Anglophile indie disco of The Brixton Academy giving the event something of an updated, relocated Madchester air.

Among the long list of DJs, most of the Tokyo area’s foremost indie club nights and DJ teams are represented, including Style Band Tokyo, Melodic Sunshine, Full Circle, LEF!!! Crew and more. There is a lot of interrelationship between the performers involved, with many of the DJs and bands regularly performing at each other’s parties, sometimes in much more intimate bars and clubs, and as a result, the atmosphere is sure to be friendly and positive, despite the current general mood of the nation.

Club Asia 15th Anniversay event takes place March 26 from 6 p.m., March 27 from 3 p.m. For details visit www.clubasia.co.jp.