More than 25 years ago, ZZ Top sang, “They come running just as fast as they can, because every girl’s crazy about a sharp-dressed man.” Looking quite dapper in matching suits and ties, The Bawdies will see if this still holds true as the Tokyo outfit attempts to pack clubs with hordes of screaming ladies and gents during their upcoming two-month Japan tour.
Sharing a common passion for R&B and rock ‘n’ roll classics of the 1950s and ’60s, the four childhood chums decided to band together on New Year’s Day in 2004. When they hit the live circuit, their infectious chops and the raspy, soulful vocals of bassist Ryo “Roy” Watanabe — which sound akin to the likes of Sam Cooke and Little Richard, something few mid-20s Japanese men can pull off — attracted audiences to The Bawdies’ 2006 debut, “Yesterday and Today.” The following year saw the group play two weeks of shows in Australia, a few of which sold out, and then perform on the Rookie A Go-Go stage at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival.
With Love Psychedelico guitarist Naoki Sato acting as producer, The Bawdies went into the studio last November to lay down 11 cuts for their third full-length, “This is My Story.” They briefly broke from recording to complete another Australian jaunt in December that included an appearance at the Queenscliff Music Festival. Released in April, “This is My Story” breathes more fresh life into the sounds of yesteryear, with Watanabe’s singing, which has remarkably grown even stronger, elevating the group above other revivalist peers.
Those attending the “This is My Story” gigs are in for a night of singalong choruses, fancily choreographed guitar moves and plenty of fun and dancing — timeless stuff that will thankfully never go out of style.
The Bawdies begin their nationwide tour on May 10 at Chiba Look and finish on July 11 at Club Quattro, Tokyo. They also play Aug. 1 in Ibaraki at the Rock in Japan Festival. For full tour information, visit thebawdies.com