Spring is here and May is the last month before festival season really swings into gear. Before you start saving money for Fuji Rock or SummerSonic, there’s a few shows you may want to check out.
One of the most highly sought-after tickets is for one of Kraftwerk’s eight shows. The electronic-music pioneers will play May 8-11 and May 13-16 at Akasaka Blitz in Tokyo (7 p.m. start, 5 p.m. start on May 11; ¥8,500 in advance;  3402-5999). The group will present one album each night to give a complete overview of its work in what’s being touted as a 3-D and digital experience. Only tickets for the May 8, 9 and 14 shows were still available at press time, but they could sell out fast.
Moving on to some Japanese acts, eclectic electro-pop group (M)otocompo will headline an interesting gig at O-Nest in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, on May 5 (¥3,500 in adv.;  3462-4420). The day will be split in two parts with an afternoon show (2 p.m.) featuring both (M)otocompo and some supporting acts, while the evening show (8 p.m.) will solely be (M)otocompo.
Takako Minekawa and Dustin Wong’s new album comes out next month and a release party will take place at O-Nest on May 26 (7 p.m. ; ¥3,000 in adv.;  3462-4420). Alternative act Nisennenmondai joins Minekawa and Wong on the bill.
Another indie gig to check out will be She Talks Silence and Extruders and some other acts at Home in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, on May 12 (6:30 p.m.; ¥2,000 advance;  5774-5822).
Renowned U.S. rock formation Television will play Garden in Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa district on May 2 (9 p.m.; ¥7,200 in adv.;  3365-0910). These postpunk veterans will also perform shows at Koenji High in Tokyo on May 5 (7 p.m. start; ¥7,200 in adv.;  5378-0382), and Muse in Osaka on May 8 (7 p.m.; ¥7,200 in adv.;  6245-5389).
Icelandic band Sigur Ros will play Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on May 14, but unfortunately that show is already sold out. For those willing to venture out of the capital, the band will play Zepp in Nagoya on May 15 (7 p.m.; ¥7,800;  320-9100); and Zepp in Fukuoka on May 16 (7:30 p.m.; ¥7,800;  714-0159. If you can’t make those gigs, a good substitute could be the OOIOO show with Norwegian act Skaidi at Moon Romantic in Minato-ku, Tokyo, on May 10 (7:30 p.m.; ¥3,500 advance;  5474-8115).
Looking to get in the mood for summer festivals? Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa district will host a large event called Sound Cruising Vol. 2. The event boasts more than 80 artists playing at different venues throughout the day (5 p.m.) and night (11 p.m.) on May 25 (¥6,000 in adv.; 0570-00-3337). The lineup includes acts such as Shonen Knife, Takkyu Ishino, De De Mouse and Dempagumi.inc.
Over in Osaka, the party starts May 3 with the annual The “Do” Over Osaka bringing together local artists and DJs for an afternoon of free music at Nanko Sankaku Park (11 a.m.; free with RSVP). Perfect Touch on May 24 will feature electronic acts such as Yosi Horikawa and Madegg at Compufunk Records in Nishi-ku (10 p.m.; ¥2,000 in adv.). The highlight of the month for Osaka, though, has to be the Low End Theory Beat Invitational happening on May 26 at Club Circus. It brings some top Los Angeles producers to Kansai, most notably Daddy Kev, D-Styles and Nocando (9 p.m.; ¥2,500 in adv.;  6241-3822).
If beats aren’t your thing and you crave some guitars instead, check out Ozzfest at Chiba Prefecture’s Makuhari Messe center on May 11 and 12. (12 p.m.; ¥14,000 for a one-day pass;  3475-9999). International headliners include Ozzy himself with Black Sabbath, Slipknot and Tool, while local bands such as Maximum the Hormone, coldrain and Man with a Mission will also take part. Also added to that bill, idol group Momoiro Clover Z.
Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish will play Namba Hatch in Osaka on May 21 (7:30 p.m.; ¥7,000 in adv.,  7732-8888) before heading to Diamond Hall in Nagoya on May 23 (7 p.m.; ¥7,000 in adv.,  972-7466); and Liquidroom in Ebisu, Tokyo, on May 24 (7 p.m.; ¥7,000 in adv.,  3499-6669). Nightwish then join fellow Finnish acts Turisas, Mokoma and more for Loud & Metal Attack, which is happening at Studio Coast in Koto-ku, Tokyo, on May 25 (3 p.m.; ¥6,800 in adv.,  3499-6669). Also on that bill are Sweden’s Crashdiet and Japan’s Liv Moon.
Finally, not much of a headbanger? Chill out with some jazz acts. Tokyo’s Blue Note will host Fabrizio Bosso Quartet on May 27 and 28 (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; ¥7,000 in adv.;  5485-0088). Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog will play Shibuya’s Club Quattro on May 1 (7 p.m.; ¥6,500 in adv.;  264-8211); and Shinpei Ruike 5 Piece Band will play Pit Inn in Shinjuku, Tokyo, on May 6 (8 p.m.; ¥3,000 in adv.;  3354-2024). This month’s top jazz picks ends with a pair of gigs at Motion Blue ( 226-1919) in Yokohama. Orqestra F.B.I Journal will go there May 28 (8 p.m. start; ¥3,200 advance), and Aquapit, who is touring to support its third album, on May 31 (7 p.m. ; ¥4,500 in adv.).