Japan Underground club night set to tour the UK

Charlotte Cripps
Friday 14 January 2011 01:00

Someone once said that New York is the city that never sleeps. They obviously haven't been to Tokyo. Japan Underground is a music club night touring the UK next month, bringing Tokyo's music scene and alternative nightlife to London, Birmingham, Brighton and Nottingham.

The show includes authentic karaoke with more than 60,000 songs to pick from, a Japanese style purikura sticker-photo-booth, while guests are encouraged to wear Harajuku- style fashion, including hybrid teen styles, such as Gothic Lolita.

On the main stage the DJ and creator of Japan Underground, Tom Smith, will spin the biggest tunes from Japan's rock, punk and metal music scenes, including metal rock from Dir En Grey, whose grim sounding albums, include Withering to Death, Macabre and Vulgar.

"Their latest album Uroboros has been described as what would happen if Thom Yorke did metal," says Smith.

Also on the playlist is hardcore electro from Mad Capsule Market and the new-wave rock band Polysics, who often wear bright orange boiler-suits. Songs from bands of the visual-kei scene, which incorporates elaborate hairstyles and flamboyant costumes, will include Miyavi, who recently wrote the guitar part to Good Charlotte's 2010 single, "Like It's Her Birthday", as well as The GazettE, X Japan and Luna Sea.

There will be gaming and pop remixes from Hikaru Utada, TM Revolution, and Japanese idol group, Arashi.

As well as songs from modern punk bands like Maximum the Hormone and FACT, there will be classics such as Shonen Knife, "a Japanese band loved so dearly by Kurt Cobain that he had them support Nirvana," says Smith.

There will also be the first live overseas performance by Tokyo's urban techno-punk double act Hibari, who are largely unknown street performers, even in Japan. "I'm hoping that Japan Underground will become the platform for artists from Japan, both big and small, to get into the UK and play to people beyond the hardcore fans," explains Smith, for whom everything changed when he discovered Japanese rock. "If you are a fan of any derivative of rock, come to the DJ booth and I'll find you something new from Japan tailored to your tastes," he promises.

Japan Underground, on tour 2 to 9 February (www.japanunderground. wordpress.com)

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