April: Karl Hyde to headline SonarSound

by Patrick ST. Michel

Special To The Japan Times

The next month features a great mix of concerts for all sorts of live-music fans. Several long-running bands visit Japan in April, as do some of the most hyped-up young outfits in the world today. Whether you like apocalyptic postrock or Swedish indie rock, the next 30 days have you covered.

Anyone excited for the upcoming festival season can get an early headstart when the SonarSound electronic-music festival comes to club AgeHa in Tokyo’s Koto Ward on April 6 and 7 (9 p.m. start Saturday, 2 p.m. start Sunday; ¥7,750 for one day, ¥14,500 for two days; 03-5768-1277). This year’s edition features sets from overseas artists Karl Hyde, Nicolas Jaar, Darkstar, Actress and xxxy. SonarSound also highlights some stellar domestic talent in Toe, Sapphire Slows, Submerse and Tofubeats.

For those who want more guitars, Canadian gloom-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor plays two shows at Liquidroom in Tokyo’s Ebisu district on April 9 and 10. (7:30 p.m. start both days; ¥6,500; 03-3499-6669). The doomsday-evoking outfit released an LP titled ” ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” to rave reviews last year, a decade after their last full-length album, “Yanqui U.X.O.”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor aren’t the only throwback group touring Japan this coming month. John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd. plays four gigs, starting on April 2 at Club Diamond Hall in Nagoya (7:30 p.m. start; ¥7,500; 052-320-9000) before heading to Osaka’s Namba Hatch and then two dates at Tokyo’s Shibuya-Ax. Fellow 1980s-survivors Suicidal Tendencies celebrate 30 years together on April 6 at Shimokitazawa Garden in Tokyo (6:30 p.m. start; ¥5,000 in advance; 03-3410-3431), while ’90s rap group Arrested Development plays Billboard Live Osaka (6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. start; ¥6,900 in advance; 06-6342-7722) before heading over to Billboard Live Tokyo for three days on April 19-21.

April doesn’t just belong to the old-school circuit, though. Young American rock bands Ringo Deathstarr and Seapony, both of which make dreamy indie pop, will play a gig together in Nagoya on April 10 at Apollo Theater (7:30 p.m. start; ¥5,800 in advance; 052-261-5308) before heading off to Osaka and then Tokyo for two shows. If you can’t see Godspeed You! Black Emperor, check out these two groups instead. For those feeling a bit more melancholic, free up your calendar on April 22 for Swedish singer Jens Lekman. He will play two shows at Billboard Live Tokyo (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. start, ¥4,000 in advance, 03-3405-1133). Finally, goth-inspired rockers Cold Cave team up with Japanese scuzz outfit ZZZ’s and the experimental noise outfit group A for a show in Tokyo on April 23 (Shibuya O-nest; 7 p.m. start; ¥3,500 advance; 03-3462-4420).

Japan isn’t slacking with excellent young bands this month either. Tokyo’s Buddy Girl and Mechanic released their self-titled debut this February, and the group’s slowly unfolding blend of psychedelic rock and Krautrock have helped make it one of 2013′s strongest albums of the year. Buddy Girl and Mechanic will celebrate the release of their first album on April 19 in their hometown with some of their pals at Tokyo’s Koenji U.F.O. Club (7 p.m. start; ¥2,000; 03-5306-0240).

Buddy Girl and Mechanic isn’t the only indie act in the capital celebrating a new album. Indie-pop mumbler Boyish has a new LP out on Dead Funny Records, and it will hold a release party on April 13 at Ruby Room in Shibuya. (11 p.m. start; ¥1,500 in advance). For this special occasion, Boyish has invited some twee-leaning bands from Kansai to play on the bill such as Kyoto’s Fandaze and Homecomings, and Osaka’s Juvenile Juvenile.

Finally, space-funk band George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic touches down in Japan for several dates this month. He starts his tour in Tokyo with gigs on April 12, 13 and 14, with two shows each day at Billboard Live Tokyo. (6:30 p.m. start and 9:30 p.m. start on April 12, 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on April 13 and 14; ¥10,800; 03-3405-1133).