Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives Japan Tour, Nights 3 & 4: Tokyo, 4/11 & 4/13

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives at THREE

Tokyo Nights

So things kinda got away from me post-wise. Pictures started to build up, and it's always hard for me to resist editing them right away. That takes up a lot of time. We had less downtime between shows as the tour went on; and, during whatever downtime we did have, we tried to do some exploring.

I'm covering, mostly, our show experiences here. For more detail on our daily travels, I'll refer you to the travel journal that Eilee and Evren have been sharing via

I will mention that, on Tuesday night, we had a wonderful dinner with Maki from Custard Core and her husband, Harurou. They found an excellent Yakiniku (Korean-style BBQ) restaurant; and we all had a blast talking about music, comparing notes on our respective home countries, and cooking our own BBQ. We turned in early for the six-hour ride to Tokyo the next morning.

Looking tough one last time on the streets of Osaka.
Hitting the road for Tokyo.

The show on Wednesday night was in Tokyo at a venue called THREE. Also, on the bill were The Hum Hums and The Tweezers.

The Hum Hums play punk that draws from the same well of influences as The Ramones. There's definitely and old-school rock vibe, and the three-piece have a super-tight, spot-on delivery.

The Hum Hums

More than one person described The Tweezers to us as a legendary Japanese rock band, and Maki was thrilled to have gotten them on the bill. One member of the audience asked me if I was familiar with the band. When I said that I had never heard them before, he just said, "They can do no wrong."

Featuring members of Supersnazz (Sub-Pop) and Teengenerate, The Tweezers lived up to their billing, blasting through a set that had the crowd going nuts. Check out The RockNRoll HiFives' livestream from that show. I think Joe got the whole set.

The Tweezers
The Tweezers

Honestly, The Tweezers were the big draw for the evening; but, just like every night of the tour, people packed up to the front of the stage for The RockNRoll HiFives. The Tweezers were right there dancing and screaming along. When Joe broke a string, The Tweezers' guitarist was quick to lend his SG. That level of support and camaraderie was present at every show from every band.

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives
The RockNRoll Hi-Fives
The RockNRoll Hi-Fives

After the show, we met up at Poor Cow, a bar and "Rock n Roll Meeting Place," run by Tweezers singer Fifi. Joe and Gloree walked in, and everyone applauded. People pulled out records and played them on the bar's turntable. The room was heavy with smoke and the sounds of rock music. It was really one of my favorite nights of the tour.

The next day was a day off in Tokyo. Some convenience store chicken put a crimp in our exploring (Check Evren's journal.), but we still got to get a good feel for the area where we were staying. On Friday night, it was over to Penguin House for a four-band bill with M.A.Z.E., our friends in Foodie, and Flashlights.


Penguin House sits in the Koenji neighborhood of Tokyo, which is known as kind of a hub for underground music. The venue is, literally, underground sporting wood paneled walls and a DIY vibe. Like every show, though, it was a professional operation. All the bands that wanted one got a full soundcheck before the show.

Once again, Custard Core put together a solid bill. M.A.Z.E. are a punk band whose stoic delivery contrasts with the ferocity of some of their songs. Foodie were back with their offbeat pop. Flashlights are a great garage / fuzz rock-inspired band who played right into my wheelhouse. I heard hints of The Jesus and Mary Chain in a couple of songs and definitely dug their set.


The crowd at Penguin House probably takes the prize for most animated of the tour, if only by a hair. One fan, later identified as "Mr. Takadama from Car Crash," bounced and moshed throughout The RockNRoll Hi-Fives' set. When the band broke into "Do You Wanna Dance?" he surprised Eilee by bounding onstage to join her on the mic.

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives
The RockNRoll Hi-Fives
"Do You Wanna Dance?"

Following the show, it was back to our place in Tokyo, but not before some late-night ramen. The next day would be a long one with a 5-hour drive to Nagoya followed by the trip to Kobe that same night.


I keep saying this, but show after show proved that the enthusiasm for rock and for discovering new bands is almost boundless among the crowd of people that came to all these shows. That would only become more evident as the tour drew to a close.

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