October Live

by Satoru Teshima

Special To The Japan Times

October seems to be a good time for indie music. A lot of the smaller artists that need to do the festival circuit in Britain and the United States take a break in September and October, which gives them the chance to pop over to Asia for one last shout out before the New Year’s holidays.

To start with, indie-music enthusiasts will be thrilled to see Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Nite Jewel and dancier group The Samps play Harajuku Vacant in Tokyo on Oct. 6. Joining them will be Tokyo’s experimental-pop darling Sapphire Slows (4 p.m. start; ¥4,500 in advance; 03-6459-2962). The two U.S. acts will then head to Conpass in Osaka on Oct 8 with support provided by Osaka producer Metome (6 p.m. start; ¥4,000 in advance; 06-6243-1666). Sapphire Slows has a new album coming out around the end of the month and this will be her last gig here before she sets out on a North American tour. Either of the shows provide a chance for expat hipsters to claim bragging rights for seeing her first.

People in Kansai will also get the chance to experience excellent minimal electronic music by Ohio producer, Mark McGuire. He will perform at Oil in Kyoto on Oct. 14 (6 p.m. start, ¥3,000 in advance; 075-241-1355). The guitarist, formerly of the band Emeralds, loops harmonies and layers them into ambient compositions. The set will also feature Japanese acts Oorutaichi + Ytamo and Polar M. Those looking for a chill night out will not be disappointed.

If your interests lie in discovering new Japanese bands, Shibuya Home has the answer with Rhyming Slang × New Vibration on Oct. 9 (8 p.m. start; ¥1,500 in advance; 03-5774-5882). Fuzzy guitar-pop band Slow Marico, beachside indie-pop duo Boys Age, and lo-fi psychedelic outfit DYGL are in the lineup. DYGL (pronounced Day-glo) in particular has been grabbing the attention of a lot of music journalists lately, this show might be a good chance to catch them.

Taking a leap to something slightly more major, veteran U.S. rock group Huey Lewis & The News are coming to Japan to perform in Tokyo and Osaka. They’ll be at Shibuya Kokaido in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Oct 7 and 8, and Mielpark Osaka on Oct 10 (all starting at 7 p.m. ¥9,500-¥8,800 in advance; 03-3402-5999).

One solo act that should not be missed this month is British singer Beth Orton, who’s playing Shibuya Club Quattro in Tokyo on Oct. 15 (8 p.m. start, ¥6,000 in advance; 03-3444-6751) in support of her new album, “Sugaring Season.” Orton was successful in the 1990s with songs such as “Stolen Car” and her work with the Chemical Brothers. This show will mark her second tour in Japan and the first in 13 years.

Jazz fans in Kanagawa Prefecture are said to often describe its largest city, Yokohama, as the Japanese “City of Jazz.” Proof of this might be that venues across the city are getting jazzed up for October. Yokohama Jazz Promenade will take place Oct. 12 and 13 (¥4,000 for a one-day pass, ¥7,500 for a two-day pass; 11:30 a.m. starts on both days; 045-221-0212). More than 50 venues will take part from smaller jazz cafes to music halls and public parks. Some of the highlights include Osumi Toshio Band (made up of the renowned jazz drummer Toshio Osumi), avant-garde musician’s collective Hikashu and Toronto-based folk/jazz singer Jessica Stuart.

Sunshine, sangria and surprises; if these words hit the spot, make sure to check the Do-Over, a weekend party that originally started in Los Angeles in 2005. It’s happening this year at Harumi Passenger Boat Terminal in Tokyo on Oct. 13 (11 a.m. start; entrance is free with RSVP). Following tradition, DJs and guests are a well-kept secret and not revealed until the last minute. A variety of food will be served at the venue, but don’t go home without tasting their own brand of popular Sangria.

Annual outdoor rock festival Asagiri Jam will take place at Asagiri Arena in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Oct. 12 and 13 (10 a.m. open; ¥13,800 for a two-day ticket in advance; 03-3444-6751). The event is known for selling quickly, and this year Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra is set to headline. Also making appearances are Beth Orton, Mark McGuire and Mala. Thanks to its location, people can listen to the tunes with Mount Fuji as a backdrop. That’s earned the festival an unofficial nickname as the “real Fuji Rock.”

Metalheads, the wait is over. After months of avoiding the sugary sweetness of J-pop, Loud Park is almost here. The festival is happening at Saitama Super Arena on Oct. 19 and 20 (10:30 a.m. start; ¥14,500 for a one-day pass; ¥26,000 for a two-day pass). Participating bands include Europe, Carcass, Stratovarius and Behemoth, but the most anticipated act is Stone Temple Pilots, who will perform their first live show in Japan in 20 years. However, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington will be replacing the Pilots’ former lead singer Scott Weiland. The band moves on to Osaka and plays Namba Hatch on Oct. 21 (7:30 p.m.; ¥7,500).