Hostess Club Weekender: Japan – live review

The Hostess Club Weekender
Zepp DiverCity, Japan
3 and 4 November 2012

Live review

It has swiftly become one of the names to keep an eye out for in the Tokyo gig guides, the tri-yearly two day festival Hostess Club Weekender: a live music fans fantasy made real, the Japan-based label and promoter Hostess Entertainment’s delivers an engagingly diverse and talented roster of music delights, adds the excitement and joy of a festival, puts it in a city location with swift easy transport access allowing the indulgence of being able to sleep and shower in your own home – thus delivering up a fresh an undeniably must attend event.

Hostess Club Weekender pack their days with a sensational and intriguing bill of establish acts mixed with the crème de la crème of music’s fresh new talents. 2012 has been a jackpot year so far, alumni includes The Horrors, The Cribs, Hot Chip, Wu Lyf, Spiritualized and Bloc Party, the third and final weekender this year is certainly no exception.


Hostess Club Weekender: Japan – live review

Barefoot and buzzy the Californian duo Deap Vally open the with their hard pounding dirty lo-fi bluesy rock and Lindsey Troy’s excited engaging banter combines with the ferocious raw – living in the moment sound is a powerful and vivacious, unsurprisingly their first single ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ garners a lively vocal response and the soon to be release ‘End of the World’ really stirs up the audiences’ energy to end their kick in the pants set on a high.

“It’s about 2am to us right now” explains Adam Granduciel “That’s why I don’t mind drinking whiskey this early”. The War on Drugs 2011 album ‘Slave Ambient’ is a monumental nod to music from musicians and live the layers of those tracks feel and sound, surprisingly, less voluminous yet the textural elements are aggrandised – mighty yet calm, matured yet verdant. The mix of the four band members is potent and the draw of Granduciel’s rich smooth voice delivers infinite depth. It is a testament The War on Drugs hypnotic talents that a 50 minute set is over in a blink of an eye.

Hostess Club Weekender: Japan – live review

Carrying a reputation for delivering quite the live performance had secured the audience being right in front of the stage well before the curtain pulls back, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead did not leave that rep tarnished today.

Performing in full their album 1999 ‘Madonna’ the swing between the mesmeric lyricism and dynamic stage presence is compelling – but it’s not all fists and fury with Trail of Death they defy conventional definition, today is no different.

Trail of Dead are both consistent and creative taking us from almost meditative reverbs to a full on sonic over load plus all the side roads and diversions in-between we have quite the heart pounding journey – tour high’s include ‘Mark David Chapman’ and ‘Mistakes & Regrets’ and ‘A Perfect Teenhood’.

Hostess Club Weekender: Japan – live review

Damien Abraham is a gregarious, charming and engaging man so it should be no surprise that once Canada’s Fucked Up took to the stage he would want to touch base with a few new friends and that he did. The front man took his part of the show to the audience – literally. He sang as he posed for photos, miss-judged the positioning of breaker barriers falling to the ground often only to bounce back on his feet in a split second, the mic cord being fed further and further above the heads of the assisting audience. It was a joyous set a few old songs and a few not so old pulled from last years ‘David Comes to Life’.

Make no mistake this is no novelty act; Fucked Up are not messing about, although due to the performance nature of the wonderful Damien, they do have the odd mess up they certainly are all about an almighty big ass sound and at the end the crowd radiate from all aspects of the Fucked Up experience.

Hostess Club Weekender: Japan – live review

Dinosaur Jr. have been out there doing this for over three decades and are part of, yet still relevantly, creating music history, half the audience have waited and dreamed of witnessing a bit of it for a very long time the air is charged with excitement as the bands stage time arrives.

Towers of Marshall amps flank J Mascis: a man in his man cave, his head bowed in what seems reverence to his moodily noisy guitar, Lou Barlow is a mass of black curls, the whites of his eyes making only rare appearances and Murph is centre stage.

No formalities we hit the heavy distortion the frenzy the static feedback and it is loud. It is what the audience came to see the frenzied energy is palpable and visual J pays it back by ripping up his guitar the sound a permanent crescendo defined by melodic swells and this is only the opening song ‘Just Like Heaven’.

Each track is authentic Dinosaur Jr relentlessly annexing your physical desires with an amalgamation of emotions. The set list is creative and incorporates tracks from several albums, those from ‘Bet On Sky’ work in unison with songs from 19 and 24 years old, and the band themselves handle the set without one beat missing its mark, the night culminating in a double encore of ‘Little Fury Things’ and ‘Chunks’.


Hostess Club Weekender: Japan – live review

Clock Opera’s build a wall of theatrical and dramatic kicking it down at just the right moment for a powerful yet engaging show. “Thank you all for such a great welcome” states Guy Connelly warmly, the overall feeling from the band is one of happiness and comfortableness – it’s catching the crowd is swaying in unison to the cacophony of harmony playing out on stage alongside the dynamic light show.

There is an infectious merging of synth, growling guitars and majestic percussion for ‘Move To The Mountains’ that creates a mass outbreak of dancing the swirl of tracks played are done so with passion and abashed mastery to a intrigued and appreciating audience: Clock Opera depart having won a more than a few more hearts.

Post name change POP ETC are a whole new ball of enjoyment, it is engaging and sweet the audience enjoys the precise chilled pop rock, lyrically the majority of songs are not complex and do consist of a lot of repetitiveness and I wonder are this previously lo-fi indie band now a satire of pop song singing boy bands? Neither offended nor impressed the audience are extensively enjoying the show at face value, Chris Chu is an agreeable front man, he interacts with the audience and the band smoothly deliver up the necessary sound, and are enthusiastically applauded at the culmination.

Hostess Club Weekender: Japan – live review

Okay I grant you I knew nothing about EFTERKLANG … I can’t claim to know a whole lot more now about this Danish band. Opening their set with ‘Apples’ a gentle circular feeling track that ultimately is the most linear one they play, EFTERKLANG seem friendly even jovial characters who clearly take their music very seriously. Singer Casper Clausen explains that the band have collected sounds from decade old abandoned Artic mining towns and ocean stones.

Their creative output is clearly not thrown together, it is minutely crafted, the elements layered piece by piece with thoughtfulness, even the way the band moves around the stage appears to be part of the songs. Sanguine, exultant, inventive even EFTERKLANG delivered a great set: a very intriguing band.

Hostess Club Weekender: Japan – live review

It is a treat to be just the third show to hear Local Natives playing tracks from what will be their sophomore album due for release in the UK in January.

There is a distinct change in sound from Gorilla Manors the bands 2009 album; however the new tracks are a cogent and fluid refinement that does not forfeit the depth and harmonies of their sound that is much loved. It is with some akin to wild abandon that the audience greets the old guard ‘Warning Sign’ and later in the set ‘Sun Hands’ they seem to have everyone moving and singing.

Local Natives play unapologetically and wonderfully loud and with nothing less than impassioned fervour, when a huge basement venue like Zepp DiverCity feels like it’s shaking you knows something special is taking place for everyone.

Hostess Club Weekender: Japan – live review

Thurston Moore introduced himself and the band as Chelsea Light Moving; guitarist Keith Wood, drummer John Maloney and violinist Samara Lubelski and within a few seconds of Thurston Moore picking up his guitar you realized Chelsea Light Moving were going to have your ears ringing for at least the next day or two but it could well be worth every vibrating note.

‘William S Burroughs’ sounded like a swirling guitar battle between Moore and Wood as they formed feedback with skill and intensity that left swaths of the crowd opened mouth in disbelief.

There is a fair amount of vain grandstanding to be witnessed however the overall experience was accessible and enthralling delivering a captivating cross-section of tracks from Moore’s catalogue, however his comfortable with the crowd sharing occasional details and banter, the audience for the most part silent between track so as not to miss a word.

When it comes to bands the collective sum of their parts are the key to their success and solo project can fall short of heights previously reached while Thurston Moore will always be the guy from Sonic Youth to many people he is still on stage performing and still creating and after today there could be a few number of people the ghosts of the past just faded a little more.

Exiting Zepp there is not just the joys of the past two days to ingest we are glowing with the news that Hostess have announced the first three names for the next Hostess Weekender to be held February 2 and 3 2013 (tickets details and venue are yet to be confirmed).

Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich’s new band Ultraista, five piece New York indie rock outfit Ra Ra Riot! make a welcome return to Japan after their 2011 Fuji Rock appearance and the first head-liner will be the always enjoyable Vampire Weekend, so we can already start dreaming our next Hostess Weekender dreams.

All words and images by Katie Clare. You can read more from Katie on LTW here.

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