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I was new to the country and eager to experience some Japanese bands back in 2002. Following an entertainment rag’s recommendation, I went to see BBQ Chickens at Shinjuku ACB. After four hours of searching I finally found the punk dive, but disappointingly discovered the gig was sold-out.

Not wanting the night to be a complete wash, I purchased the Tokyo quartet’s recently issued “Good Bye To Your Punk Rock” for the train ride back to my apartment. Tearing through 20 awesome, high-energy tracks in 19 minutes, I wasn’t even half-way home before their sophomore full-length finished and I was hooked. The band, which includes proficient players from popular punk staples Hi-Standard and Hawaiian6, offer up a tightly wound mix of 1980s American-style hardcore and indie rock that is loud, noisy and never takes itself too seriously. Their fun rallying cries against the supposed elite on “F#ck V.I.P. F#ck” and macho men on “Muscle, Muscle” (which has a great, tongue-in-cheek intro that rips off Metallica) are far from groundbreaking, but kept me entertained as they blasted out of my portable CD player over the following days as I explored Tokyo’s crowded streets. I’ve since learned about many other local acts, but my BBQ Chickens’ album remains a definite go-to necessity, albeit in digital form now, when I’m in need of a Japanese-flavored musical pick-me-up.

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