Three venues and some thoughts on culture

Three Venues – Club Sensation, Zher the Zoo and Show Boat

I want however to take a moment and talk about three Venues in Tokyo/ Yokohama,
because a lot of the total experience stems from the layout and environment like
light- and sound engineering.

I think this especially called for after being at “live places” that represent the extreme
ends of the quality scale during this past week end.
Not in size or audience really, oh well to some degree maybe,
but for the general experience.

Friday I was in Yokohama at The Club Sensation
You can read about their history here:

This place is by far my favorite small place venue in the greater metropolitan
Tokyo area (Located in Hinodecho, Yokohama within walking distance from Sakuragicho).
I admit it I have not been to more than a teeny tiny faction of places in the greater
Tokyo area….. yet, but regardless it is my favorite spot.
Because the interior design is awesome,  the staff super nice and Michiaki himself
shows great hospitality.
To make it even better:…. the sound quality is top notch!
I have seen different artists here such as
Ra:IN, Kyoji Yamamoto and CUTT.
All world class performers!!
It has that cozy, intimate feeling, where you want to sit and hang with your friends,
and listen to really good music over a few drinks and bar food.
This is a place I will definitely come back to again and again every time I’m in Japan.

Saturday i was at Zher the Zoo, Yoyogi as you can see below here on the blog.
This is more your typical live house. A dark smokey place where you can’t really see
who is in the room, besides the person next to you.
BUT this is one of my favorites in this particular category. The stage is just the
right size for musicians to move around a little, yet it is that tight feeling that you
want from a venue of this kind.
They have tables spread out, and the bar is close yet not in the middle of where people
need to pass. Lighting on stage has been a tad annoying for me when shooting videos
for example too straight out set, but not really much worse than the majority of the
other live houses in Tokyo.
Tables for artist promotions and merch is in the rear of the floor, meaning people who
are looking and buying or chatting is not blocking any pass ways either.

Photo above is me with Crazy Cool Joe (Bassist: Dead End)
at Zher the Zoo Saturday Jan 28th, 2012|

Last then, which I haven’t really blogged about yet, is Show Boat

I’m jumping ahead here since I haven’t posted anything about the Sunday Jan 29th
Live with Circuit9 YET….,
but I just wanted to use it as an example here of the other end of Live houses,
a place I did not like.. I mean I like the place, but from an audience point of
view it is horrible.

My negative feelings are probably also due to that such a good band as Circuit9
is doing a “one man show”, should have a place big enough for people to come see them without feeling like you are on a packed Tokyo Subway line during peak hours.
I’m casting no shadow at their performance, which I will write about in the next few days.
They are just worthy a  better place IMO!  Why on earth are they playing here
(edited 2018 Note .. years later I learned a lot about the social structures and dynamics in
Japan and that some places have greater influences and are more prestigious than others.
Tricky part is that you can’t tell from the looks of it or the quality of it. It’s all about who is who
on another dimension than quality)
Now if that is the case it would also be better if such a packed place at least
was designed to handle it.
– The bar is set in the back with very narrow ‘funnels’ to get to it,
– The floor area is smaller than the stage, or so it felt…
– The stage is deep and the sound amplification is on both sides really close and somehow… and yes I am definitely not a sound engineer here and talking from limited experience….
but it felt like I either could listen to them or see them. Somehow it felt like it came out
of synch because of the weird layout of the stage. Like the sound jumped around.

Luckily the drummer, in this case awesome Sakura, was set up a little higher on some
kind of platform, but he was still so far back (together with keyboardist) that they felt
like they were in another room behind the other three (the bassist, vocalist and guitarist).
Then to top it off, since this was a one-man (ワンマン – what they call a gig with only
one band performing, which is rare in Tokyo) , there are no breaks in the set-list (like
you do when there are other bands performing),  so you could only visit the bar before
or after the gig. Which is what everyone did!
With all that many people in the poorly designed space it was like a grid-lock in Manhattan
at peak hour….
Their gig wasn’t that long (if you compare it to a gig when you see 5-6 bands in a row)
and the looooong time waiting in line…and then taking the glass with me to continue to
chat with a nice Japanese fellow… staff came after about 5 minutes and said they
are closing and we had to leave, and no she did not do this nicely, but was rather rude.
Maybe if a favorite band of me came here I would still consider going, but better yet,
I will tell all my favorite bands not to play here ha ha ha
Maybe they even read this blog… who knows? and maybe I have misunderstood
something? ( I had as you could see in the edit above and I will write about that later in
a book I am now writing 2018).

Important addition / edit!

After a few comments I feel it necessary to add a few lines here.
Regarding the last review, I have received a few saddened comments from Japanese readers. This is an interesting culture difference in action here, and I want to make sure
that everyone get this right, and that no one misunderstands what I write.

This review was about the places, more specifically with a bias about physical lay-out
and audio/visual ability and quality of a venue.
I have not yet written any blog about circuit9, but will do so in the next couple of days.
They are skilled performers and as you can see from the little I do mention above,
I liked what they did and Sakura is for example a world class drummer.

Not every venue is really good, and not every venue is the same, saying this out loud,
and especially stating that you do not like something, is something I have noticed
Japanese people rather not read or see or do… it is a cultural difference for sure.

Dear Japanese readers my sincere apologies to you. I’m honest here, when I
tell you that I am sorry . Unfortunately the internet is international, and here all kinds
of behavior and writings occur. If I instead kept quiet, and avoided writing anything negative,
then I would probably hear from American readers that hey why didn’t you tell me you
didn’t like it.
So no matter how I do this people will comment back to me and being unhappy!
For example in the US, my experience is that people rather say:
“I like this, but I don’t like that!”
So if we all try to accept different ways, it is of course the best.

However this is difficult and we often act out of habit!
This means that I have a habit of writing, “I don’t like this!”, instead of keeping quiet.
A Japanese person, on the contrary, has the habit of staying quiet, instead of telling the world, “I don’t like this!”.
This does not mean our feelings really differ, or that some people are better than others,
all it means is that we have different habits and behaviors. Different ways of telling the
world how we feel. Also Westerners tend to have a bias towards verbalizing feelings,
where often Japanese tend to show in actions or body language how they feel.
As long as we understand this and have a forgiving and apologetic attitude,
we will be fine and remain in peace.
Thank you All, and I hope I haven’t hurt anyone with my blog.
It has never been my intention!
If you have comments about this please do not hesitate to send me an email:





Zher the Zoo Yoyogi

Zher the Zoo

So a few days have gone by again, with never a dull moment
and my health is improving every day I’m in Japan.
HAPPINESS can do that to you…. you become physically well,
then more happy because the body is not in pain,
then less pain because you are happy,
and the good spiral is working it’s thing out to others!
Soon I might even be able to hop  that I will be  a totally healthy person?!
I have not been on any meds for 4 months now!!!

Anyway lets not talk about me and my happiness, but some of the
reasons for all this JOY!!

I want to go back to one such evening which was MONDAY night here in Tokyo,
Actually within walking distance from my home, at “Zher the Zoo”
close to Yoyogi station.
I really like this place. By now I have seen quite a few venues with different
capacities and and different pro’s and con’s.
“Zher the Zoo” has an interior design that feels taken care of, the bar is well
placed in the actual hall, yet not disturbingly close, there were tables spread
around and over all a cozy feeling to the place. Stage is wide, but floor area is
not very deep.

All music was good, but the true surprise came with a band named HOLICS
I wrote a little bit about them in a previous blog, and I was really happy to see
something so good that wasn’t expected.
When you are out there as much as I have been, it takes a certain
WOW kind of feeling to really get me going, and this band did just that…

Phoe-Lo looked at me, and I looked at her at the same time, our eyes just met
and we were  THUMBS UP with a nod and a silent YEAH!
How FUN!!
Same feeling as when we first saw Vagu*Project, or the first time I  heard hayatebune_ed
…of course not at all the same genre… none of these are…
but that’s a BEAUTY in itself!!
HOLICS has IT, that special IT, because they are unique, yet not an extreme
kind of uniqueness. They are musically skilled, and each individual carries
an enormous amount of charisma that spread in the room like sparkles of fire.
Pure JOY ! ✧ ✧ ✧
They played a comfortable mix of a familiar soundscape yet unique.
Bassist was radiating such happiness that just looking at him when he played
made me want to freeze the time and just stay in that SMILE for a
LOOOONG time..
a smile coming from sharing music and doing it very WELL!

Guitarist Boogie, very skilled and with that wonderful Japanese androgynous
that made me think of Hizaki… and yet unique again…
they have something that’s theirs alone!

Definitely will try to go and hear everything I can, as much as my schedule allows.
Their NEXT LIVE is February 14th
and I still don’t know whether I’m in Japan or not.
here is their web site with LIVE Schedule and other info

I sure hope I am here and not in LA that day, and I sure hope that the lawyer
I’m meeting next week, will help me know where I will be when ha ha

There is so much PINK SPIDER work to be done her the next months,
that I really don’t have time right now to leave Japan ha ha
LINK to hear them would be  on Myspace

Link to the venue is here:

Still KISS the WORLD….. they are ONE OF A KIND!!!

DIE-san and MAD-san rock and RULE….

If you come to Japan and don’t have much time at least make sure you make
it to a Live gig with DIE-san!!
I promise you, you just wont be disappointed!! 
DIE has that kind of personality that he can LIFT any audience into
a celebration of LIFE itself, and no matter how you felt when you came in
(such as like I was, a little fatigued) you will leave the evening feeling
and full of LIFE!
For more videos and photos from this evening please scroll a little here don’t be lazy…
Also if you really work it you can go back here on the blog to Dec 23 and see
a few vids from Club Sensation in Yokohama with DIE-san and Ra:IN and also
the wonderful guitarist CUTT.
Actually I know some of you are too lazy here is a quick link
but keep in mind if you have reached this page on a later date the link is
no longer valid since the page numbers are dynamic: You can however,
do a tumblr search, and search for ex ‘Ra:IN’

I will see CUTT again Jan 26th and Jan 27th and will come back with
reviews from there then.
and so….so a few links to the REASON I was there at all…

for CUTTs schedule please visit: 

This Rocks

KISS the WORLD – this is MUSIC, this ROCKS!

Simplify Your Life

Simplify your LIFE –

An Important message from
“KISS THE WORLD” –  DIE-san and MAD大内 さん

There is actually a bit more of the drummer 大内 さん in this video

Zher the Zoo Yoyogi, Tokyo Jan 9, 2012

It does sound so easy though… and feels easy hearing them…
it sure is a soothing song … and KISS THE WORLD themselves is
medicine for the HEART too
Their music made me happy

Carried Away

OK yes I admit it … I got a little carried away there for a while and the video
has a bit of shaking , but how can one NOT dance and MOVE to this??
This says a lot since I usually can control myself in situations like this, when
shooting video, even when Vagu*project plays ha ha ha

Also please take a look at this professional drummer MAD大内 さん
he knows how drumsticks are handled!!!
Got to LOVE the PROS!!

Yes, LOVE these guys and ♡ Ra:IN too