Scream If You Wanna Be In The Red Marquee
Every year I come away from the Rookie Stage feeling a little deflated. I think it’s just the fatigue of sitting through another whimsical Japanese indie-rock band comprised of four limp young men whose songs remind you of that guy at uni who loved shoegaze and Morrissey a bit too much, and whose music videos are shot to look like grainy home movies on the beach, usually involving a waif-like girl in a long floaty dress and a big floppy hat.
Thank fuck, then, that Otobokebeaver showed up and showed the boys how to do it properly. Taking to the stage in primary-coloured dresses, I was a little unsettled as my notes said “psychadelic rock from Kyoto”, so I was not sure this was the right band. Then they opened the set by screaming and suddenly all was right with the world again. Otobokebeaver’s deal is basically 2 minute punk songs played hard and tight and screamy – think frenetic Fugazi and a touch of Black Flag channelled through a high-schooler having a shit-fit. Three-chord formulas are mixed up with staccato stops and starts, time-changes a plenty and with a kick-ass-kawaii attitude that not only imbues their songs but also their onstage banter. They were determined to get that Red Marquee spot next year and made it quite clear what they came for, repeatedly telling the crowd “We’ll see you next year at the Red Marquee”. The crowd loved it. The guitarist went crowdsurfing. Hell, they even got a 60-second encore, which must be a first in Rookie’s strict history.
For once I walked away, feeling that with bands like these ladies and Friday night’s Chai, Rookie is starting to look up.