A band I like that has made it big from time to time here is Go!Go!7188. They are usually classified as some type of rock band (surfer rock, garage rock, etc.), but I would say they are more like eclectic rock—taking from one style or another to see what they can make out of it.
The band is a trio. There’s two women, Yuu and Akko. Yuu usually sings, Akko does the base. The guy, “Turkey”, is the drummer.
This is Go!Go! about 10 years ago:
And nowadays (maybe a year ago):
My opinions about Japanese music are not the most widely held, but my feeling is the kids work harder at it here than in America, and if they have the right environment, they’re more willing to be creative within the genre. So if you are like me, and like rock music that recalls 1960’s rock and ’70’s creativity, this is a great group.
It’s the style of Japan, isn’t it? Study a concept and then see what you can make of it.
So especially, you get these bands from somewhere west of the Kantou region (places that aren’t so conformist), and the young people put together an interesting sound. If they get some backing, they actually make it to the airwaves.
Early Go!Go! was very much like this. With hits like “Jetto Ninjin” (Flying Jet Carrot) and “C-7” (C-7), the group broke through and developed a nationwide fan base. Later albums like “Ukifune” (a character from Tale of Genji), “569” and “Antenna” built on their unique sound and offbeat lyrics. “Tora no ana” was an album that covered many of the theme songs of anime and late-afternoon action shows.
The band keeps producing interesting music that follows their own formula.
As a result, (like I said), the group has built a dedicated fan base throughout Japan. And via the internet, reached a widely scattered following all over the world. I think they’ve even played some gigs in America in 2007 (including Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania of all places!), during a rock “cultural exchange” tour.
I try to see this band at least once a year here, just for the experience. I am usually one of about maybe five gaijin showing up. Several years back, it seemed like the majority of the crowd was high school or college kids. In the last year or two, it’s more like a mix of salarymen, young working women, and an older crowd. Who knows–it could be the same people five years later in life!
As it goes in life, the artists and the athletes are always the cool ones. Except the artists seem to be able to do it with a lot more class and style. It will be interesting to see what the band does over the next 10 years.
(P.S. Happy Birthday to Akko, the base. A fan [and staff!] site says she was 30 this weekend. Definitely has the Janice rocker style.)