When it really comes down to it, how much do you love music? Enough to shell out 30 to 40 grand per year just to share it with friends and strangers? That’s how Torontonian Steven Tanaka feels about underground Japanese indie rock – and is about how much he spends per year, out of pocket, bringing those kinds of acts to Canada. Dr. Tanaka is an anesthesiologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto and the tour he calls Next Music from Tokyo, coming to Canada later this month, is a passion project he’s been bankrolling for the past decade.
Tanaka really does the whole thing himself. He flies in all of the musicians, books all the shows, provides food and lodging, does all the translating, sets up all the marketing, and even secures instruments – if it’s part of the tour, he handles it. And the 2017 rendition of Next Music from Tokyo will be volume 10. That’s right, TEN years of spending roughly $30,000 to $40,000 of his own savings to put the concerts on in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver from May 19 to 24…all for the love of the genre. Incredible, right?!
The bands are all hand-picked by Tanaka each year in an effort to bring unmistakably underground Japanese groups to curious music-lovers and hardcore fans alike. The bands really get into it, too: headliner Hyacca, a return act from volume 3, will be releasing a limited 100 CD run of their newest EP specifically for Next Music from Tokyo attendees.
Online tickets for both Toronto shows are basically sold out, but physical tickets are still available for both. The Montreal and Vancouver shows are typically less attended, so both forms of tickets for those shows are available. You can find detailed ticket information for all of the dates on Tanaka’s website. Keep reading below for Next Music from Tokyo’s full schedule, band information, and a ripping promo video.
May 19 – Toronto – The Rivoli
May 20 – Toronto – Lee’s Palace
May 22 – Montreal – Divan Orange
May 24 – Vancouver – Biltmore Cabaret
Hyacca: “They’re a 4-pc band from Fukuoka with male-female screamed vocals over lightning speed punk, shoegaze distortion, krautrock rhythms, and angular prog-jazz riffs. Their sound is an equal parts mix of the Bad Brains, My Bloody Valentine, Neu! and Tera Melos. Noisy and aggressive but fiercely melodic and extremely danceable, watching Hyacca perform live should be on the bucket list for all fans of post-punk and noise.”
Yukueshirezutsurezure: “Four women from Nagoya who combine idol music with screamo/HC. Their shows involve non-stop stagediving, crowdsurfing, moshing and the entire audience in a huddle of synchronized headbanging. BABYMETAL’s infinitely cooler, older cousins.”
The Taupe: “Post-punk quartet that are masters of song dynamics. At first they capture your attention with calm, beautiful soundscapes then shatter your ear-drums with a monstrous maelstrom of overdrive and distortion. An unpredictable pattern of sublime and abrasive.”
Yubisaki Nohaku: “Japan has more female rock bands than any other country and Yubisaki Nohaku is one of their very best. Influenced by the music of Shiina Ringo and ZAZEN BOYS, Yubisaki Nohaku take pride in writing songs with pop sensibility and great melodies but also filled with weirdness, aggression and noise. They flaunt a technical side similar to tricot that is rarely seen in female bands and put on a exhilarating show brimming with passion and skill.”
Bakyun the everyday: “Speedy melodic pop-punk akin to Cloud Nothings with dual male/female vocals, occasional tricky guitars and ultra-fast, powerful drumming. The perfect combination of fun and kick-ass.”