News / Nightlife

Behind the scenes at an underground party in Tokyo

Behind the scenes at an underground party in Tokyo

A little while ago, I received an invite to a party on Facebook. It said (in English) that there would be a concert at a gallery in Komae, of all places. The lineup was an eclectic mix of bands, such as Hikashu, Melt-Banana, The fin. and Boys Age, with a few DJs thrown in. ‘Really? This is going on in Komae?’ I wondered. I Googled around for more information, but there was only this one Facebook event page. Nevertheless, I obviously clicked 'Going'.

The concert took place at a soon-to-be-demolished apartment building and bathhouse in the middle of a quiet residential area, about 15 minutes from Komae Station. As I walked past rows of houses to get there, I asked myself, ‘What am I letting myself in for?’ I timed my arrival to see Melt-Banana, but on the way I got a message from a friend saying, ‘The police are here, noise complaints from the neighbours, it doesn’t look good.' I quickened my pace – I didn't want to miss Melt-Banana’s explosive music leaking from the dilapidated bathhouse and terrorising the neighbours.

When I arrived at ‘The Bathhouse Show’, as it was called, there were cops outside chatting to the event managers. Behind them, the music of Hikashu was blasting through the walls. So, for the time being, the concert was not called off. I made my way into the building, into a dream-like atmosphere mixed with the kind of gritty vibe of an underground warehouse party. The bands were playing in the giant bathroom, the tiles providing a natural reverb that propelled me into what can only be called sonic heaven.

On the second floor, an old apartment had been turned into a gallery featuring works from about 40 different artists from around the world. The art was handpicked by the curator of the nearby Space Space Gallery, Ella Krivanek, and the bands were booked by Dorothy Siemens. Together, it took them half a year of planning to get this all ready – and it was just in time since the building was torn down the following day.

As Boys Age’s comparatively quiet performance wrapped up, the party came to an end (more noise complaints, apparently). Sadly, this meant we never got to see the headliner, The fin. But, considering the spirit in which the event seems to have been planned – not for a profit, but for pure fun – everyone left feeling lucky to have been a part of it...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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