Hostess Club Weekender: Tokyo – live review alt=”Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 17.18.34″
width=”211″ height=”299″ />Hostess Club
February 2nd and 3rd
Zepp Diver City,
Hostess Club Weekender is a
regular festival of independent bands put on in Tokyo every
few months. The latest edition was last weekend
& Louder Than War, naturally, were in attendance once
Saturday It’s
the middle of winter yet Tokyo has woken to a heat wave, not just a
face warming sun, no, full on “T-shirt weather”, turning the trains
into moving saunas. So it is with some relief as well as joyful
excitement to alight at Daiba and the first <a
target=”_blank”>Hostess Club Weekender of 2013.
Fidlar’s set was like drinking 8 pints of beer, throwing some glow
sticks, bricks and, well, yourself into a tumble dryer on the fast
cycle for an hour. This LA quartet is carving out some serious high
octane pop-punk, but it’s not all grind and beer bubbles. There
are, admittedly, very brief flashes of lyric ingenuity and melodic
inventiveness so it’ll be interesting to see how they progress over
the year. Essentially for now Fidlar are definitely the sort of
debauched, unstoppable, quite probably damaging to your health band
that get your heart thumping. I – and judging by the very sizeable
mosh pit going on that includes most of the audience – loved every
second. Hostess Club Weekender: Tokyo &#8211; live review alt=”FIDLAR Hostess Club Weekender Saturday 2nd February 2013″
width=”584″ height=”442″ /> Suffering by following Fidlar,
Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s set is like having your lilo pop on you
an hour before the end of the day at the beach. While they offer up
enough to keep you happy inside you just want the damn lilo back to
play on. The glossy chemical laced bass heavy pop rock finds its
groove, only for the band to then play a fuzzy mellifluous song
like Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark) which loses it. No matter, with
the quality and talent in the performance, structure and
production, you’re still left feeling like someone’s told you to
‘calm down’ just as the party’s started. "Palma Weekender Saturday 2nd February 2013 1″
width=”584″ height=”442″ /> Already pretty smitten with <a
href=”” target=”_blank”>Palma
Violets having bordered on requiring assistance to deal
with my “twenty plays a day of their track Best of Friends” habit
of last year, all it took was one 40 minute set and we are way past
smitten. While there are obvious weaknesses in some tracks and
they’re not exactly original, Palma Violets are steadily amassing a
set list of indisputably contagious dirty guitar riddled psych pop
that, given the opportunity and time to do so, will indeed produce
a creative revolution. A middle set trio of Best of Friends, Step
up for the Cool Cats and Last of Summer Wine win over any sceptic
in the franticly animated audience. The instinctively visceral
relationship between Chilli Jesson and Sam Fryer does nothing less
than infect your entire sensory circuit boards; their intimacy is
surely part of their magnetism. Will Doyle and especially Peter
Mayhew create a solid and perceptible structure for the alluring
Sam and Chilli to go wild on, and as Chilli launches into the
audience you can’t help but wish these guys were able to stay this
fearless, uncontrived and young forever. "Band Weekender Saturday 2nd February 2013″
width=”584″ height=”443″ /> <a
href=”” target=”_blank”>Band
of Horses are the surprise package of the day. On first
glance they seem a reasonably likable mix of Mumford and Sons and
My Morning Jacket, perhaps with slightly better beards. What we get
is a genial canter into a wildness peppered with home grown,
country air dried, wilderness-rock. The enthusiastic audience is
rewarded regularly by several set list highlight’s including the
heartfelt intense melody of Great Salt Lake to the richly toned
upbeat gallop of Knock Knock. Band of Horses display not only their
musical talents but a prodigious ability to make their recordings
come truly alive before your eyes, a refreshingly unexpectedly
enjoyable performance. "Vampire Saturday 2nd February 2013″
width=”584″ height=”766″ /> <a
href=”” target=”_blank”>Vampire
Weekend would not have to work hard to win hearts
tonight, offering a nicely pitched meander through their greatest
hits. Opening with Cousins they kept their catchy melodies coming
through the first half of their performance with Cape Cod Kwassa
Kwassa, M79 and A-Punk. Vampire Weekend skilfully communicated a
myriad of meaning via their sharp lyrics and their amalgamation of
indie pop, warm tonal melodies direct from Africa and new wave punk
foundations. They executed Campus, Oxford Comma and Giving up the
Gun impeccably, before they left the stage only to return for an
encore to heartfelt enthusiasm from the crowd who were suitably
rewarded with three songs including a nicely punctuated version of
One (Blake’s Got a New Face). While at times it is easy to dismiss
Vampire Weekend of lacking anything radical or progressive, however
what they do they do well with a certain amount of sharpness and
with enough elegance and charm to merit the seriously good time we
all just had. Sunday The day starts
with a new My Bloody Valentine album, crashing websites which
together add up to a late arrival at Zepp Diver City, which results
in missing all but the last moment of Ireland’s <a
target=”_blank”>Villagers set. Their gentle indie folk
would have been just the ticket to refocus a frantic mind. I feel
suitable punished for my tardiness. "Ra Sunday 3rd February 2013″
width=”584″ height=”444″ /> target=”_blank”>Ra Ra Riot’s first two albums were
lacking resolution and focus, but fast forward 15 months and, after
losing a band member en route Ra Ra Riot have landed in the world
of 80’s Sunny Delight, fast food and chewing gum commercials.
Primarily a colourful burst of shiny electro pop, swinging, bouncy
and cheery it all soon proves to lack any solid substance and the
wholesome cuteness ends up seeming a bit dishonest. Not to sell the
band short, they do know their instruments and front man Wes Miles
is confident, engaging and has an inspirational voice that really
does not need the occasional auto-tune that, at least it is used
with restraint thankfully. Together they get the entire audience
moving from start to finish and that is no mean feat at 2pm on a
Sunday afternoon. Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 16.54.52 src=””
width=”544″ height=”597″ /> There are some of the briefest
points when <a
target=”_blank”>Ultraista are a voyage of atmospheric
rhythms. Laura Bettinson’s vocals are a sirens call to watery
dreams, however for the most part Ultraista are a little lost in
front of the headache inducing visual show that’s playing out on
the cinema screen directly behind them & the music becomes
secondary. I find myself fading all the music  out. Nigel
Godrich explains that drummer Joey Waronker is absent due to his
baby “arriving very very early”, it’s doubtful his absence is what
leads to this emaciated, formulaic and adventuress set. “We’ll be
hanging around says Nigel come kiss or punch us depending how you
feel about us”. I’m feeling way to apathetic to do either and I’m
sorry for that. The indie lo-fi rocker duo<a
href=”” target=”_blank”> Best
Coast with their lyrics promoting the pleasures of
California and the pains of relationships are clearly more about
singer Bethany Cosentino than guitarist Bobb Bruno. The sunshine
coast waves and doo wop oohs of Cosentino have many classing Best
Coast as a take on classic Cali girl bands of the 1960s, however
she is way more bristly live and there’s more country pop rock to
her sound while Bruno sticks to the script with his guitar as he
delivers quintessential reverbing surf tones. There are some
pleasant tracks in the set and The Only Place is especially well
received. Finishing the set with the repetitive yet crowd pleasing
Boyfriend – it’s hard to see Best Coast is anything more than the
sum of their already middle-of-the-road parts. <img
class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-44184″ alt=”Dirty Projectors
Hostess Club Weekebder Sunday 3rd February 2013″
width=”584″ height=”443″ /> I may be the only one here but I’ve
heard very few records by Dirty Projectors and I am filled in on
their history by several animated fans. When the band arrives on
stage I find there are a lot of odd rhythms being thrown around.
The target=”_blank”>Dirty Projectors offer up a lot of
very complicated tunes entwined with skilful harmonies from the
singers (three in total) blended with a slightly disquieting mix of
acoustic and electronic percussion. There is quite a dizzying array
of sounds welded together, a little folk pop, some jazzy
undercurrents and lots of heady African beats & at times it
feels almost experimental. Frontman Dave Longstreth is centre stage
for most of the set flawlessly accomplishing every complicated
guitar chord while striking all the notes in several octaves. The
audience are appreciative and are enjoying the set, all around me
people are giving it their vocal all in unison with the band. What
they do they seem to do well, however I can’t say I plan to
investigate their back catalogue any time soon. An addition to the
bands at this year’s Hostess Club Weekender are three movies which
screen during the stage changes. While <a
target=”_blank”>Efterklang’s The Ghost of Piramida was
compellingly beautiful and initially fascinating, its protracted
pace becomes frustrating and after the second half of the movie the
applause seems to be more for it having ended than the pleasure of
watching. target=”_blank”>Team Me in Japan; Sayonara
 is an absorbing and utterly adorable movie
not only about the physical journeys made by Norwegian band Team Me
and Team Me fan Aiko to Tokyo, but the emotional ones too. ALT-J:
Live In The Woods Festival a well edited film showcasing Alt-J’s
performance at In The Woods 2012 in Staple Hurst, Kent. Major kudos
to Hostess Club for once again amassing a diverse roster of bands
to experience, we look forward with genuine excitement and
anticipation for Hostess Club’s June Weekender which will take
place on the 8th and 9th of the month. Moving from the water
breezed air of Zepp Diver City to their inner city home at Ebisu
Garden Hall, Tokyo. Keep an eye on the <a
href=”” target=”_blank”>Hostess
Entertainment website for band announcements and of
course ticket details. All words and photo’s by Katie
Clare. More of Katie’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at
her author archive <a

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