It’s almost time to whoosh your tush to the tunes of world-class DJs as we welcome in another new year. Next up in the Chinese zodiac’s menagerie is the wild boar, or inoshishi, as it is known natively in Japan. The boar is best characterized by the single-minded determination and speed with which it attacks — straight ahead at full throttle. The “wild” tag seems more pertinent to its behavior than its habitat.
So suit up and get ready for the wild thing, because this New Year’s Eve you can pig out and let loose, with the added advantage of being able to blame it on the stars. The accompanying list of Christmas turkey specials will allow you to indulge in the former, and a wide range of countdown parties should adequately facilitate the latter. The Year of the Pig promises to be anything but boring . . .
2007 Unit New Year’s Party 7UP!!!
DJ: Hikaru; live: Vooredoms
The lineup at Unit’s annual countdown party is not quite as exciting as last year’s, but it promises to be every bit as interesting — with a capital I. The creative force behind local band Vooredoms goes by the name Eye Yamataka. I last saw him live at this year’s Asagiri Jam, where he limited himself to just three full drum kits on stage, and worked feedback from a wall of guitars (custom built something along the lines of a vertical xylophone, with each guitar tuned to a different key). Genius or just noise; let the listener decide. That said, he is a legend in Japan and will pull a huge crowd.
Unit in Daikanyama; 6,000 yen (5,500 yen in advance); 9 p.m.; unit-tokyo.com
Main floor — DJs: Takkyu Ishino, Fumiya Tanaka; 2nd floor — Moodman, Thoru Takahashi, Nori
With only two DJs on the bill, this party may sound slim on entertainment, but when those two are Takkyu Ishino and Fumiya Tanaka you can bet that this event will be well patronized. Both are giants in the local tech-house scene and regularly tour overseas. Liquid Loft, on the second floor, hosts a countdown party with seasoned turntablist Moodman heading the bill.
Liquid Room, Ebisu; 5,000 yen; 8 p.m.; www.liquidroom.net
Ageha Countdown 2007
Arena — DJ: Emma; live: Loleatta Holoway (U.S.). Island Bar — DJs: Hasebe, Muro & K.O.D.P., Masterkey, Yoshikazu, O-Ken, Nobu; Performance: Tokyo Cabunny Girls. Water Bar — DJs: Masterpiece Sound, Mackdaddy, Blastar, Bana, Asian-Star, East Blaze, Te-quila (VIP Hi-Power); dancers: Hottie Cat. Tent — DJs: Q’Hey, Wada, Toby, Mayuri, Amahheigo Tani, Uiroh, Dske. Factory — DJs: Ryukyu Disko, Disco Twins (Tasaka & Kagami), Dex Pistols (Daruma & Maar), Hitoshi Ohishi, Dr. Shingo
For a mega-venue like Ageha, the countdown party for this year is a bit ho-hum. Mind you, all of the DJs are superb, just not very exciting. The Factory area will be the hottest spot, I predict, with both Ryukyu Disko and the Disco Twins on the bill. The former, in particular, delivers a very fresh take on techno with an Okinawan twist. Loleatta Holoway also performs live.
Nishimura Ageha Studio Coast, Shin-kiba; 7,000 yen; 9 p.m.; www.ageha.com
Air Count Down 2006 to 2007
DJs: Ken Ishii, Sugiurumn
Air is another venue that has chosen to go local on talent for this year’s countdown party. But they have secured two top-shelf turntablists, namely Ken Ishii and Sugiurumn (the former by far the more sublime). Even with so many parties featuring local DJs, each of the venues should be packed, which makes the mind boggle as to just how many clubbers there are in Tokyo.
Air, Daikanyama; 3,500 yen; 10 p.m.; www.air-tokyo.com
2007 New Year Countdown Party After
DJs: Mieko, Wada, Miku, Mayuri, Q’Hey, Ree-K, Satoshi Endo, Reki, Taro Sugawara, Pi-ge, Salmon, Gonno; live: So La Mimie
This new up-and-coming venue even subheads their countdown event as “local talent night.” And, of course, that’s who you’ll find plying the vibe on the night — with Mieko, Wada, Mayuri and many more at the helm, they are sure to do it right.
Colors Studio, Azabu; 3,500 yen (3,000 yen with flyer); 9 p.m.; (03) 3797-5544
Tri-Mix Countdown 2006-2007 — A New Hi
DJs: Hiroshi Kawakabe, Takeshi Kubota, Jaypeg, L?K?O, Shiro the Goodman, G-Rina, Ani, Shinko, Inoue and more
If it’s local legends you’re after, then this party will definitely compete for your attention with the Vooredoms gig at Unit. Buffalo Daughter heads the live bill, and able mix-masters L?K?O, Shiro the Goodman and more spin in-between live sets.
Ball Room, Ebisu Nishi; 4,500 yen (3,800 yen in advance); 10 p.m.; (03) 5489-5408
New Year’s Countdown 2007
DJs: Nic Fanciulli, Aki Ohnishi, Techriders, Ryusuke Kawamura, AKR, Keita + Velocity, Malo, Satoshi Otsuki, Blinkblitz and more
This is one of the few parties to feature an international DJ this year, namely Nic Fanciulli, a rising star on the U.K. club circuit. DJ duo Xpress2 plugged him as being the next hot progressive house DJ in 2002, when Nic wasn’t even 20. So if you like your sound fresh, this party will juice you just right.
Womb, Shibuya; 5,000 yen (4,500 yen with flyer, 4,000 yen for members); www.womb.co.jp
Yebisu 07 New Year’s Party
DJs: Gilles Peterson, Rasmus Faber, Toshio Matsuura, Kenichi Yanai, Jazzy Sport Crew; live: Soil and “Pimp” Sessions, A Hundred Birds, Cro-Magnon, Gagle
This venue went local last year, but they have rebounded to produce what promises to be the countdown party of this year. Not only have they secured Gilles Peterson and Rasmus Faber on the turntables, they have also added excellent local acts Soil and “Pimp” Sessions and the 15-member A Hundred Birds. The latter, in particular, blew away everyone within earshot at this year’s Fuji Rock Festival with their soulful urban grooves. The former play movie-theme-type twangy jazz grooves circa Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western days; at least that’s what it sounds like to me.
Ebisu Garden Hall and Room; 8,000 yen (7,000 yen in advance); 7 p.m.; yebisusound.com
And then after hours . . .
If you want to go the whole hog, the truly wild ones will end up at one of the following after hours parties. And, interestingly enough, they both feature some of the same DJs. But, then, there ain’t no one who can deliver the ol’ doof-doof like Shinkawa.
2007 New Year Countdown Party After
DJs: Shinkawa, Uiroh, Yo-C, ATT and DSKE
Colors Studio, Azabu; 3,000 yen (2,500 yen with flyer)
DJs: Shinkawa, Yo-C, Q’Hey, Uiroh, Monobe, Nakahara, Roger Jordan, Energy-dai, Minao Ishii, Ken-gee and more
Velfarre, Roppongi; 5,000 yen including two drinks; 7 a.m.; (03) 3402-8000
Perch your turkey on the bar
For those of you wanting to get high on the hog at Christmas — or simply give yourselves piggy proportions in time for the new year, here is a roundup of what’s cooking at a select list of Tokyo pubs.
Clubhouse Sports Pub: Dec. 23, 24, 25: Christmas dinner served from 5 p.m. for 3,500 yen. Includes roast turkey, stuffing, vegetables, mashed potatoes with gravy, dessert and complimentary glass of wine or champagne. Reservations required.
What The Dickens!: Dec. 24, 25: Christmas dinners served from 3 p.m. for 2,200 yen as long as supplies last. Includes soup, roast turkey with all the trimmings and Christmas pudding with brandy butter sauce. No reservations required. Dec. 24: Paula Dowson live from 8:30 p.m. Dec 25: Billy Ross live from 8:30 p.m.
Ebisu; (03) 3780-2099
O’Carolan’s Irish Pub: Through Dec. 25: Christmas dinner served from 8 p.m. Two courses available for 4,500 yen and 3,500 yen. Call for details. Reservations required. Dec. 25: Christmas party for 1,000 yen entry. Includes roast turkey, bingo and Christmas songs performed live by Ziki Ziki from 8 p.m.
The Fiddler English Pub: Dec. 24, 25: Roast turkey dinners served from 6 p.m. for 2,000 yen. First come, first served. Dec. 24: Open mic jam session from 8 p.m. Dec. 25: The Big Easy Connection live from 8 p.m.
Hobgoblin: Dec. 25: Christmas dinners served at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. for 5,000 yen. Includes a glass of bubbly, smoked salmon, roast turkey, stuffing, chipolatas in bacon, vegetables, roast and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, plus chocolate Yule Log with brandy sauce and whipped cream. Reservations required.
Akasaka, Roppongi and Shibuya; www.tokyo-hobgoblin.com