LIVE REPORTRED MARQUEE8/20 FRI
TENDOUJI Raises the Roof
Before the band hit the stage, there were instructions on the screen about prophylactic measures, and an MC encouraging concert goers to comply in a way that actually had them clapping!
Then the screen behind the stage went dark, and all in attendance waited raptly. Suddenly, a whistle was heard, and a European football anthem (Olé Olé Olé) was blasted over the PA, to the rhythmic clapping of hundreds of hands. The band then walked onstage to the howl of feedback, followed by anthemic leads and slow tribal drums, to which the audience lost their minds.
The first number rocked out like the grandchildren of west-coast hardcore pioneers, but in a slightly glossier presentation which has become commonplace for anime songs. Their lead singer and guitarist delivered fevered vocals befitting of Vancouver’s DOA, by way of Blink 182, as bright lights flashed over the band member’s heads for the choruses. When a breakdown wrapped things up at the end, the audience applauded appreciatively, and immediately started clapping in time with the drummers four-four kick drum which stared off their second song.
Gang vocals which are required on most Muse songs resonated over the rapt crowd and, rather than seeming tired and trite, they actually felt refreshing; building anticipation for the Sonic-Youth-like sonic assault that was soon to follow. A dizzying display of band video clips flashed across the screen, while red and green search lights coasted overhead. Another chorus came crashing in, like a force hellbent on messing you up. Despite the MC’s warning against any aggressive dancing, the members of the audience found themselves carried away in a restrained wave of hypnotic gentle pogoing and head banging.
For their third number, the back screen went yellow before flooding an alternate of blue and red with the song tile “Killing Heads” emblazoned across it. The band rocked out like the best of British acts who try to keep rock and roll alive. And, hundreds of audience members threw their arms up at predetermined punctuated cues, despite the warnings to restrain themselves. One could say that, listening to this band, restraint is hardly possible.
The fourth number launched into motion with no more than a few seconds for audience applause. A furious drum roll and surfing-fury leads opened a very pop-punk number à la Blink 182, but harder and more driving. Once again the audience clapped furiously above their heads, as Tendouji’s lead guitarist shredded an exemplary solo. Despite being invevitably carried away by the driving rhythms, however, their fans still respected social distancing, and gave each other space for everyone’s safety.
The fifth song started with long sustained bass nones, and harmonic feedback leads, as fans watched on romantically! The band’s lead singer then called out some words of appreciation, and a legion of fans clapped in response. “Steady,” developed as a romantic reflection on days gone by, with slow tribal drumming on the prechorus befitting an arena and search lights. The appreciative crowd swayed from side to side, and the occasional attendee raised a finger in support. Hints of Weezer were detected, but morphed into something harder, rockier, and more relevant. As smoke rose from the back of the stage and the screen nearby went blue, the song ended in a hail of feedback, and the audience clapped with love. The lead guitarist took a pause after the band’s fifth number to address the curent situation; saying he was pleased to see so many fans, but also admitted he was a bit scared, given the current situation. He then ended his speech by telling the audience, “Let’s make something really wonderful with love, and enoy the music more purely; since we can’t have alcohol.”
The sixth number “Heart Beat” started with a “grandchildren of The Cars” sound; reminiscent of early American punkish pop, but, once again, with much more edge and relevance. The introduction of their seventh track, “Crazy,” caused a “crazy” rousing cheer from the audience, as the band rocked out with the fierceness of a band that blends Nirvana at their noisiest, with Weezer demos, and Japanese flair.
Their eight track of the set, “D.T.A.” began with red flood lighting, and a heavy grunge intro, before the rhythm section led the band into a mid-tempo Foo-Fighters-like romp with an indie-rock edge. The track ended in a chord solo that lasted a few second and then climaxed in some high-pitched bends; which the audience seemed to appreciate. By Tendouji’s tenth track, “Please,” their edge wore off a bit, and they offered a track which seemed distinctly like the Cars, but with early-Nirvana leads. The audience never lost their appreciation for the band, however; clapping along rhythmically to a breakdown. Returning the love, the lead singer called out, “Thank you very much, please enjoy the rest of the fest! We are Tendouji!” And, once again, when the track ended, the lead singer thanked the crowd, and the audience clapped again.
The second-before-last track started off with a slow eighth-note syncopated strumming, before breaking into a mid-tempo Weezer like verse. The track’s “feel-good beach day” vibe sent most in attendance swaying from side to side, as the screen was bathed in sunny colors. When the breakdown came around, the audience clapped on the downbeat.
The before last song started with a surf-like beat to which some audience members clapped along. The music seemed reminiscent of a down-tempo “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts, before more overdrive was piled on from the first chorus. As the music got more furious, their fans became more agitated, poggoing in place, throwing fists into the air, and nodding their approval.
Before their last song, Tendouji’s lead singer stepped up to the mic and thanked the crowd, saying they would play one more song, that they understood that for some people, music is instrumental to their lives, and Tendouji will do their best to keep playing bigger stages.
Their last number “Groupeeee” rocked harder than almost any other; bringing hints of The Clash, The Blue Hearts and tasteful gang vocals, as their drummer pounded harder and more tightly than before. The audience bobbed furiously at the knees in barely-restrained appreciation. As the last number of the band’s set would down to a close, almost everyone in attendance clapped over their heads, and then all filed out quickly but mindfully. An appropriate tribute to such a beloved band.
[Photo: 10 All photo]