New Year is almost upon us again, and for those not satisfied with the TV and sake followed by a shrine, there are plenty of places about Tokyo to listen to good tunes and get monkeyed. While the city may not boast New Year mega-lineups to compete with the likes of London and New York, there are enough DJs and musical styles on offer to guarantee that if your thing is dancing, drinking champagne and kissing strangers, there will be an event for you.
Yebisu ’08 New Year Party
As it did last year, Yebisu Garden Hall will host from 7 p.m. until late an event that joins the dots between house, jazz, funk and hip-hop as locals Kyoto Jazz Massive and Jazztronic mix it up with British legend Gilles Peterson. There will also be a live set from Soil and “Pimp” Sessions, the current darlings of the global crossover scene. Those who went to this party last year, however, may be a little disappointed to see that this year’s live acts are almost exactly the same. Further down the bill there will be sets from Zero DB, Alex from Tokyo, Jazzy Sport All Stars and others.
Ebisu; ¥8,000; www.yebisusound.com
Womb has also opted to bring back a similar lineup to its 2006 bash this year, with Nic Fanciulli again the headliner. Fanciulli is a British DJ who captures the regular Womb Saturday night sound — somewhere between progressive and techno — and should rock the club. His NYE set will certainly be unique, featuring songs one would not expect — Fanciulli played a track by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke on a recent Essential Mix for Britain’s Radio 1 — mixed with cutting-edge equipment. He will be joined by around 14 other local artists, including Ohnishi, Tommy Wada, Ryusuke Nakamura and Techriders on the night.
Shibuya; ¥5,000 (¥4,000 after midnight); www.womb.co.jp
Yellow will likely pull off the party of the night this year. For one, it is handing its club to just two artists, ensuring that there will be a consistency of sound from dusk ’till dawn. Headlining will be New York DJ Quentin Harris. The Harris sound is essentially deep house, but as usual for its New Year’s Eve bashes, Yellow has made sure it gets a diverse DJ able to cover all genres. Expect a vibe similar to New York’s Body and Soul parties with disco, hip-hop, house, soul, garage and beyond seamlessly mixed. Harris will be joined by DJ Katsuya.
Nishi Azabu; ¥5,000; www.club-yellow.com
It may surprise some that ageHa has no international DJs at its biggest party of the year, but there really is no point. Having secured Emma House for the main room, ageHa is guaranteed to be packed. Emma has done little by way of production and is relatively unknown outside of Japan. Here, though, he is famous for hours-long sets and continues, after more than two decades of DJing, to fill clubs throughout the country. His set won’t be cutting edge, but anybody who can hold down headline sets at Womb, ageHa and Yellow for that long obviously has something going for them. ageHa’s other rooms will play hip-hop, reggae and electro, with headline sets coming from DJ Masterkey, Mastersound and the Disco Twins, and if the music gets all too much, there will be live cabaret in the club’s island bar from acts including Tokyo Ca Bunny.
Shin-Kiba; ¥7,000 (¥5,000 first 60, ¥6,000 next 30); www.ageha.com
Japanese dance music legend Takkyu Ishino will be joined with Fumiya Tanaka of Fantastic Plastic Machine for Liquid Room’s NYE party. Ishino is famous for his role in the 1990s techno-pop band Denki Groove but since then has promoted Womb’s Sterne techno night and the Wire dance music festival, establishing himself as a solo artist and techno DJ with cult status among his fans. He will be joined by Tanaka, another popular local techno DJ known for innovative sets that take techno beyond its conventional boundaries.
Ebisu; ¥5,000; www.liquidroom.net
Unit’s 8 Up will be the place for those who find the harder side of dance music overbearing, as the club goes psychedelic for its NYE party. British band A Mountain of One will perform live; the blissed-out band are perfect for fans of Ibiza’s Cafe Del Mar, and should provide a different take on the standard New Year party. A DJ set by the band’s Mo Morris later in the night, in which he will play songs that influenced the band, could feature anything from gabba to prog rock. Eye from Vooredoms, perhaps the most out-there of all Japanese artists, will also play a set.
Daikanyama; ¥6,500; www.unit-tokyo.com
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