When I first saw Super Butter Dog at an industry showcase a few years back, I thought they were a joke. First, of course, there was the name. Super Butter Dog sounded like one of those quasi-edible agglomerations of animal byproducts and chemicals you buy at dubious-looking matsuri stalls. And the band members, with their ersatz ’70s fashions and the odd Afro looked decidedly dodgy.

Having been subjected to innumerable Japanese wannabe bands where form took precedence over content, I was prepared for the worst. But then they started playing. Not spectacularly, at least at first, but with a sense of funk and tightness that few bands could even get close to. In fact, you could say their performance style was restrained, in the best sense of the word. Since then I’ve seen Super Butter Dog a number of times, and each time they’ve put on a righteously funky show that reflects the depths and strength of their musical roots.

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