Last year, I ventured to Japan Nite in Chicago and came home with tons of great memories and new music to follow, so going to the 2015 lineup of the tour was a no-brainer. This year, I went in knowing a little more about some of the bands, most specifically TsuShiMaMiRe, who we recently interviewed and reviewed their most recent album, as well as Zarigani$, who were at last year’s Japan Nite shows.

This year’s lineup yielded six different bands, as opposed to last year’s 4 bands, and while it made their setlists a little shorter, it made the variety of the music even greater. The 2015 lineup consisted of QUORUM, The fin., BO-PEEP, TsuShiMaMiRe, Zarigani$ and Samurai Dynamites, and the difference between all of their sounds was pretty astounding and even more impressive than last year.

To start the show, QUORUM took the stage, boasting a 1970s American blues-rock sound, reminiscent of Deep Purple or Jimi Hendrix, but a little heavier and with some more modern rock flair mixed in. They showed tons of technical prowess on both the bass and guitar, trading solos and showcasing soaring, minute-long lead parts in their songs. They made for an impressive visual show as well, with lots of activity and energy on stage. Here’s a few pics from their set:

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Next on stage was The fin., a 1980s style, soft synth-pop group with flighty vocals, lots of echo-y guitars and electro-synth sounds abounding, leading to them being associated with terms like shoegaze or chillwave. The fin. performing on stage felt like an opportunity to relax and let yourself drift away with the calming sounds after the intensity of QUORUM rocking the stage, and the crowd seemed to love their style. Here’s a few shots from their set:

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After The fin. came BO-PEEP, a three-piece heavy punk-rock unit, with a huge, booming and grungy sound with nasty, heavy and fast riffs one right after another for their whole set. Their time on stage was filled with beer, dancing, screaming, moshing, and everything you’d expect from a band of this style.

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Next up was TsuShiMaMiRe, one of the highlights of this tour for me, as I mentioned earlier, and they exceeded everything I had hoped for in their live show. Their signature brand of dark, intricate and eccentric pop-infused noise-rock tunes were played flawlessly on stage and the band had fun and intensity to match the music.

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Mari, the band leader, decided to stage-dive right at the beginning of the show to get things started, literally jumping on top of me at center stage to get the energy going early. They played a variety of songs from their discography, from high-tempo punk numbers to slower, brooding numbers, giving more variety to their time slot. Here’s some shots from their set:

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Next up was Zarigani$, who also performed at last year’s Japan Nite, and they were a pleasure to see again, bringing their high-energy funk/jazz/punk music back to the stage. The sound was heavy as ever, and I’m still amazed their sound is this big, given they only have two members in the band. Here’s a view from their set:

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To close out the night, the band Samurai Dynamites took the stage, and after almost not making it to the show in time because of travel complications, they still rocked the house from top to bottom with their unique sound that mixes traditional Japanese styles and instruments with more modern jazz, punk, folk, and rock elements from around the world. Their set was a colorful matsuri-like display with traditional Japanese outfits, masks, and props.

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These guys are certainly an experience to see live, like a mix between being at a Japanese matsuri festival and rock concert. They kept the energy going until their set was over, bringing a great close to the show, with tons of members from other bands dancing in the crowd and on stage during their set.

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Overall, Japan Nite 2015 turned out to be an even more exciting experience than last year’s tour and a great night for all.

The tour is still going until early next week, and I highly encourage everyone to go see this show when it comes to a city near you. Here’s the dates still remaining on this year’s tour:

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3/26 (thu) Athens, GA – Slingshot Fest

with :TsuShiMaMire QUORUM The fin. Zarigani$ BO-PEEP

3/27(fri) Denver, CO @Lion’s Lair Lounge

with :TsuShiMaMire QUORUM The fin. mothercoat

3/28 (mon) Los Angeles @ Bootleg HiFi

with :TsuShiMaMire QUORUM The fin.

3/29(sun) San Diego, CA – The Casbah

with :TsuShiMaMire QUORUM The fin.

3/30(mon) San Francisco, CA @ Independent

with :TsuShiMaMire QUORUM The fin.

 

Related Links:

Japan Nite Website

TsuShiMaMiRe Website

Zarigani$ Website

BO-PEEP Website

QUORUM Website

The fin. Website

Samurai Dynamites Website