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In a hidden corner of almost every major city there is a grotty club that serves as rock ‘n’ roll’s nerve center, a place where a talented band with a good idea can be catapulted to indie-rock notoriety. In New York, it was CBGB; in L.A., it was the Whiskey, or maybe Spaceland; and in Tokyo, for the last 10 years, it has been Shimokitazawa’s Shelter.

Yes, there are more fabulous venues — Milk, for one — and certainly Loft, Shelter’s sister club in Shinjuku, has been influential. But as the long list of groups playing at this month’s anniversary celebrations attest, no other club has consistently locked into the musical zeitgeist in quite the way Shelter has.

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