It's 6 a.m. and the tiny studio is crammed full of people and reeks of sweat. An ear-splitting punk trio do their best to blast the ceiling off and a woman wrapped in nothing but a bit of Duct tape careers around the room, shrieking into a microphone. The crowd howls for more, begging the band to inflict even more damage on their eardrums. The band obliges.

On the one hand, the scene is pure and unrestrained youthful rejection of the traditional social structures that define much of Japanese public life, but beneath the surface there's a hierarchy that even the most conservative fossil in Nagatacho can understand.

This gig is a valedictory performance for a band called Saba, graduating senior members of Meiji Gakuin University's Genon band circle, and the event is infused with a social dynamic based on sempai (seniors) and kohai (juniors). The people squeezed into that tiny room aren't just fans, they're also diligent, dedicated kohai, paying respect to departing sempai.