Photo by Steve Cross.
We at the Spin like to indulge in theatrical Japanese punk rock as much as the next guy, so the JapaNoodle Fever Tour’s stop at the Exit/In certainly seemed like an ideal way to spend our Monday night. It was to be an exciting evening full of unintelligible shouting and complex, fluorescent haircuts, and the cutesy co-ed outfit Bakubeni led off with a semi-enjoyable set of stop-and-go punk tunes. Though we couldn’t make out a word, their songs were rife with recognizable pop punk chord progressions, and they clearly spoke the international language of big finishes and applause-milking.
Up next was the glam punk outfit Quaff—complete with a masked, paper fan-toting hype man and a lead guitarist who sported a blaze orange Loni Anderson-meets-Big Bird coiffure. While their original tunes resembled something of a Japanese Papa Roach, their covers of “Beat It” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off You” were refreshingly familiar and energetically delivered, and we enjoyed ourselves when they coaxed a handful of audience members into timidly echoing a hook that to us sounded like “bleu cheese karma soul.”
We honestly didn’t expect a lot when the three-piece TsuShiMaMiRe took the stage—they looked a bit like an Asian, all-girl Pink Spiders, and we hadn’t exactly heard anything melodically agreeable all evening. We were pleasantly surprised, however, when the trio started in on a sonically provocative and downright bitchin’ set that boasted the tightest and most skilled rhythm section all evening. Their songs were at times avant-garde and spacey and occasionally full of plunky, discordant riffs, but most often they were packed with Ramones-esque progressions and bubblegum harmonies that make Tarantino’s precious 184.108.40.206’s look like complete idiots. If you are somehow able to track down a copy of TsuShiMaMiRe’s EP Brain-a-la-Mode, buy it and immediately listen to the track “Air Control & Remote Control” on repeat.
Headliners and internationally renowned madmen Peelander Z began their set around midnight, and the fourth wall immediately disappeared. With mind-melting, vigorous sing-alongs like “Mad Tiger” and “Ninja High School,” the vibrantly adorned trio proved that they just might be ex-pats from the distant world of Peelander—a planet on which they were allegedly born. They abandoned any semblance of self-preservation as they staged-dived into a less than ample crowd, dangled upside-down from the Exit/In’s balcony, entrusted their instruments to audience members and engaged in a spirited frame of human bowling. As we perused the merch area, which resembled a miniaturized Little Tokyo, we were swept into a conga-line-turned-moshpit that—though invigorating—proved it was time to call it a night.